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KiwiBuild, what you need to know.

O'neal Mendoza
O’neal Mendoza, Solicitor

The KiwiBuild programme: What do first home buyers and building developers need to know?

KiwiBuild is a government programme that aims to deliver 100,000 affordable, quality homes for first home buyers over the next 10 years. Around 50,000 of these homes will be in Auckland. To implement this ambitious programme, the government will work with iwi, councils and the private sector to establish a home building programme.

In Auckland, KiwiBuild houses will cost:

  • $650,000 or less for three or four bedroom homes
  • $600,000 or less for two bedroom homes
  • $500,00 or less for one bedroom homes

For First Home Buyers

To qualify for this programme, first home buyers:

  • Must be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents;
  • Must be a first home buyer or meet the asset test for ‘second chancers’ in a similar financial position as a first home buyer
  • Intend to live in the home for a minimum of three years
  • Must earn no more than $120,000 for a single purchaser, and no more than $180,000 for a couple
  • Intend to live in their first home – not for people wanting to use it as an investment by renting it out and living elsewhere

Second Chancers

Asset test for ‘second chancers’

‘Second chancers’ are people who may have previously owned a home or who now find themselves in a similar financial position as a first home buyer. For example, a couple who have separated/divorced have had to sell their family home in order to separate their finances which would find themselves with a smaller deposit to purchase a new home.

Second chancers must not earn more than:

  • $120,000 if they live in Auckland;
  • or $100,000 if they live in Hamilton City, Tauranga City, Western Bay of Plenty District, Kapiti Coast District, Porirua City, Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City, Nelson City, Tasman District, Waimakariri District, Christchurch City, Selwyn District, Queenstown Lakes District

As long as the purchasers are living in the property, the owners of KiwiBuild units will be allowed to having flatmates or renting out spare rooms during the three year period.

How to get selected

Due to the high demand for KiwiBuild homes, the KiwiBuild programme will be run through a ballot system.

Eligible purchasers (or those who met the eligibility criteria above) will be drawn from the ballot and get the first opportunity to buy the homes they have registered their interest in.

You may register your interest online  to find out about KiwiBuild and to know when KiwiBuild homes become available that fit their requirements.

The online registration will ask for your name, email, areas of interest, and preferred number of bedrooms. You can also register interest on behalf of someone else.

Should you need further information about this scheme or have any questions about buying your first home, you may contact one of our property lawyers, O’neal Mendoza by email at

For Property Developers  

To accelerate a greater number of affordable KiwiBuild houses the government targets developers that have development-ready land.  The government will underwrite or pre-purchase new homes off the plans from private sectors, also known as the Buying off the Plans initiative.

The Government may enter into either:

  • an open agreement with the developer to purchase unsold KiwiBuild dwellings (or to pay the difference between an eventual sale price and pre-agreed amount) after a defined marketing period and/or unsuccessful sales process (i.e. when an eligible KiwiBuild purchaser withdraws from a sales agreement); or
  • a sale and purchase agreement with the developer to purchase the KiwiBuild dwellings on delivery at an agreed-in advance underwrite price (as if it were a private purchaser) and subsequently on-sells these to eligible KiwiBuild purchasers.

A common challenge faced by developers is the need to sell a significant proportion of dwellings off the plans in order to secure funding for construction, which means that developments can sometimes stall or be put on hold. The Buying off the Plans initiative involves the Government giving developers the certainty and backing they need to deliver suitable developments that would not otherwise proceed or to deliver developments at a greater pace than initially planned, in exchange for accelerating a greater number of affordable, KiwiBuild dwellings. Similarly, participating in this initiative may also mean that there will be a preferable treatment for the council consent process if you are one of the participating developers.

The Process

Interested developers were invited to respond via the Government Electronic Tenders Service .

The Invitation to Participate in the KiwiBuild: ‘Buying off the Plans’ initiative closed in June 2018. However, the opportunity will be re-opened later in 2018 for further developments commencing in 2020/21 onwards.

Following an initial assessment, shortlisting of respondents, any necessary refinement of solutions and an evaluation process, financial due diligence and negotiations will take place with successful respondents. The Crown will then enter into a Sale and Purchase agreement with the developer. Each relationship agreement could differ, depending on the type and nature of any development.


The following areas will be considered:

  • developer track record, capability and capacity to deliver in the required timeframe,
  • alignment of the proposed development with the KiwiBuild objectives,
  • risk share proposed,
  • site assessment,
  • delivery of significant benefits in terms of scale,
  • pace or innovation,
  • end-to-end delivery model; and
  • construction methodology

If you are a developer who needs legal assistance when entering an agreement either with potential first home buyers or with the Crown, contact O’neal Mendoza or one of our property lawyers.