Govt Should Assist Family First-Home Buyers

Media Release 22 August 2013
Family First NZ says that the Government should do more to assist young families in to their first home.

“Since 1991, home ownership rates in New Zealand have fallen, most notably for the twenty and thirty-year-old age groups – the young kiwi families. But research shows that home ownership is beneficial for families, for children, and for communities,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“An investment in home ownership is a sensible fiscal alternative to building more state houses – which will reap dividends to both homeowners and the community.”

The New Zealand Institute in their 2004 ReportIt’s Not Just About The Money’ highlights research which shows links between asset ownership and reduced depression, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence, and increased marital stability and educational attainment in children. A 2002 study by Ohio State University found that owning a home compared with renting led to greater cognitive ability and fewer child behavior problems. Math achievement was up to 9% higher, reading achievement up to 7% higher, and children’s behavioral problems were 1 to 3% lower.

Even the government has acknowledged, in the Housing New Zealand ‘NZ Housing Strategy’ (2005), that homeownership brings non-fiscal benefits; including a degree of tenure security, and a stable environment providing continuity of education and healthcare opportunities.

Former Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies, in his ‘Forgotten People’ address in 1942, said “….one of the best instincts in us is that which induces us to have one little piece of earth with a house and a garden which is ours, to which we can withdraw, in which we can be among our friends, into which no stranger may come against our will.” Menzies was fully aware of the generational and societal benefits of home ownership. He said “The home is the foundation of sanity and sobriety; it is the indispensable condition of continuity; its health determines the health of society.”

During President Clinton’s term, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a Policy Brief examining homeownership and its benefits. According to the report, the benefits included less displacement and transiency, better outcomes for children, stable neighbourhoods with less crime, and more community involvement.

Family First is calling for urban growth boundaries or zoning restrictions on the urban fringes of our cities to be removed, a capital gains tax on investment properties, and most importantly, tax breaks for young families buying their first home.

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