Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Christchurch Housing Initiative?

The Christchurch Housing Initiative is a shared-equity initiative, jointly funded by the Crown and the Christchurch City Council, aimed at helping up to 50 modest income families in Christchurch achieve their dream of home ownership over the next three years.

Habitat for Humanity (Christchurch) is responsible for operating the Initiative on behalf of the Crown and Christchurch City Council.

Why has the Christchurch Housing Initiative been established?

The Initiative has been established to give selected households a real hand-up into home ownership.

It recognises that, for many households that could otherwise afford to service a modest mortgage, saving a sufficient deposit is what is holding them back from home ownership. The Initiative aims to bridge the gap between bank deposit requirements and household savings.

How does it work?

The Christchurch Housing Initiative will provide the additional funding needed to bridge the gap between the amount of deposit saved by the household and what is required by a mortgage lender. The Initiative will then take an ownership (equity) stake in the property equivalent to the amount of money contributed, and will share in any equity gains or losses over the period of the partnership. No interest is charged on this contribution and the household has up to 15 years to repay it. The equity contributed by CHI is secured by way of a second mortgage in favour of the CHI.

For example, you purchase a home for $400,000, made up of:

  • your deposit ($20,000 or 5% of the home’s value)
  • normal home loan or mortgage ($320,000 or 80% of the home’s value)
  • shared equity loan from the Initiative ($60,000 or 15% of the home’s value)

You later sell the property for $500,000. Assuming you have not made any material improvements to the property or repaid any of the Initiative’s equity, you would repay:

  • normal home loan or mortgage ($320,000 less any principal repayments)
  • shared equity loan ($75,000 or 15% of the property’s value)

Your equity after sale and repayment would be:

  • $105,000 (plus any principal repayments on your normal home loan).
How much equity can the Initiative contribute?

The Initiative can provide between 15 percent and 40 percent of the total price of the property being purchased.

What is different about the Initiative compared to other shared equity schemes?

The Initiative has three key points of difference:

  1. The Initiative does not limit participants to purchasing a new home in a specified development. Instead, participants are able to purchase existing homes, giving them more flexibility in terms of location (although homes must be located within the Christchurch City Council boundaries) and potentially allowing them to remain in their current neighbourhood and community.
  2. The equity provided is at no interest for up to 15 years. This means households are only servicing their first mortgage debt, making it much more affordable for modest income households to buy a house.
  3. Participants will benefit from pre-purchase and ongoing support from the Initiative to help them through the home-buying process, and ongoing financial monitoring to ensure they are keeping up with the financial demands of home ownership.
What are the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible for the Initiative you must:

  • Be a NZ citizen or permanent resident and be aged over 18
  • Have total household income of less than $99,600 (including wages/salary, working for families, accommodation supplements, etc)
  • Have at least one member of your household in full-time employment (>35 hours per week)
  • Not currently own a house or any other property, or have significant other realisable assets.

Priority will then be given in order to those households:

  • With total household income at or below the median Christchurch household income (currently $83,000)
  • With children
  • With existing savings/deposit (this could be from savings, KiwiSaver, HomeStart Grant, etc)
  • First home buyers.
If I meet all eligibility criteria and I apply, will I automatically be accepted?

The Initiative has funding for approximately 50 households to participate over the next three years. Eligible participants will be chosen based on their fit with the priority criteria. We expect that the Initiative will be over-subscribed, which means that not everyone who applies and is eligible will be invited to participate.

If you are not selected to participate in the first round of funding, but remain both eligible and interested in participating, your application will be automatically entered into the second and any subsequent application rounds.

How do I apply for the Initiative?

Applying for the Initiative is easy. Check the eligibility criteria, and if you think you are eligible, you will need to complete the online application form here. To complete the application form you will need to provide basic personal, income and household information.

How long do I have to apply for the Initiative?

Applications for the first round of the Initiative closed on 15 December 2019.

Dates for subsequent application rounds will be confirmed in due course.

If you are not selected to participate in the first round of funding, but remain both eligible and interested in participating, your application will be automatically entered into the second and any subsequent application rounds.

What happens once I've applied?

Once you have applied for the Initiative we will review your application. If you meet the eligibility and priority criteria and are short-listed, we will need to verify that the information you have provided as part of the initial application process is true and correct (for example, you will need to provide proof of income). You may also be asked to provide additional information, undergo credit checks, and to participate in an interview.

Yay, I’ve been selected to participate! What’s next?

If you are selected to participate in the Initiative, awesome! We’re here to help. Participants will benefit from pre-purchase and ongoing support from the Initiative to help them through the home-buying process. Then, once you have a home, we’ll stay in touch to make sure you’re managing the financial and other commitments of home ownership.

Are there any fees?

There is no cost to apply for the Initiative. However, if you are selected as a Participant, you will be charged an administration fee of $250.


Can I use KiwiSaver for my deposit?

Yes, if you are eligible to withdraw your KiwiSaver to help you with your deposit, you will be able to use it in conjunction with the Initiative. Please click here to find out more about using your KiwiSaver as a deposit on your first home.

Can I still access first-home owner financial supports?

Yes. If you are a first-home owner you will remain eligible for all first home ownership grants, including the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant. For more information on the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant, please click here.

Am I allowed to buy any house?

Properties purchased with the help of the Initiative must be within the Christchurch City Council defined city limits, which includes Christchurch City and Banks Peninsula. Houses can either be existing or new homes, but there is a $500,000 house price cap for existing properties or $550,000 for new properties. The Initiative is not currently available to applicants wanting to build their own home.

Do I have to live in the house?

Yes, you must live in the house purchased with the help of the Initiative.

Can I stay with my usual bank?

The CHI is currently looking to partner with a number of banks, and we will announce these as they come on board. If your current bank is not a partner in the CHI, you may need to change your day to day banking to one of the banks that is.

What other costs are involved in buying a house?

Buying and moving to a new home comes with additional costs that you will need to budget for. These may include: lawyer or conveyancer fees, building inspection reports including a council LIM and a building inspection, a registered valuation, moving costs including reconnecting services, and ongoing costs like maintenance, rates and insurance. These costs are not covered by the Initiative.

Are household costs shared between the Initiative and the Participant?

No, Participant(s) are responsible for 100% of all the usual home ownership costs, including rates, insurance, depreciation and maintenance.

Can I make improvements to my property?

Yes, but any material improvements (defined as improvements costing $3,500 or more) must be approved by the Initiative before any work commences and the participant will bear the full cost of any improvements. In the case of approved material improvements, the participant will benefit from the full increase in equity related to these improvements.

How long do I have to repay the equity?

You will have up to 15 years to repay the equity provided by the Initiative. You can do this as one lump sum or you can repay the equity as you are able.


Can I repay the equity contribution before the 15 years?

Yes. There is no minimum repayment amount or minimum repayment frequency. However, each time you repay a share of the Initiative’s equity a registered valuation will need to be obtained, at your cost. Therefore, we suggest repaying a minimum of 5% of the equity share at a time.


What happens if I sell my house?

If you sell your house you will need to repay the Initiative at the time of sale. The Initiative will share in any capital gain (or loss) when you sell the property.

What are my on-going obligations to CHI?

If you are selected to participate in the Initiative we’ll continue to work with you. This includes having us regularly check in with you to make sure that you’re managing to meet all the costs of home ownership, including your mortgage repayments. You will need to provide us with personal financial information annually, and to disclose to us any material changes in your personal circumstances. You will also need to be willing to have your story and/or image used in promotional material. Otherwise, the CHI is a passive equity holder in the property.

What happens if I haven’t repaid the CHI contribution after 15 years?

The goal of CHI is to help households into homes, but also, over time, to help them achieve full ownership of the property. This means that we’ll continue to work with you to ensure that you have been able to buy out the Initiative’s equity, as and when able, within 15 years.  If, after 15 years, you haven’t been able to do this, interest will be charged on the CHI equity contribution outstanding.

What is Habitat for Humanity’s role in CHI?

Habitat for Humanity (Christchurch) has been selected as Provider for the CHI for the first three years of the Initiative. This means that Habitat Christchurch is responsible for the day to day running of the Initiative, including the selection of participants, their ongoing monitoring, and the provision of additional services like financial literacy training and preparing participants for bank applications, as and when required. Habitat for Humanity is all about giving people a hand up into housing, and is really excited about being selected as Provider for the CHI.

What is the Christchurch Housing Initiative?

The Christchurch Housing Initiative is a shared-equity initiative, jointly funded by the Crown and the Christchurch City Council, aimed at helping up to 50 modest income families in Christchurch achieve their dream of home ownership over the next three years.

Habitat for Humanity Christchurch is responsible for operating the Initiative on behalf of the Crown and Christchurch City Council.

Why has the Christchurch Housing Initiative been established?

The Initiative has been established to give selected households a real hand-up into home ownership.

It recognises that, for many households that could otherwise afford to service a modest mortgage, saving a sufficient deposit is what is holding them back from home ownership. The Initiative aims to bridge the gap between bank deposit requirements and household savings.

How does it work?

The Christchurch Housing Initiative will provide the additional funding needed to bridge the gap between the amount of deposit saved by the household and what is required by a mortgage lender. The Initiative will then take an ownership (equity) stake in the property equivalent to the amount of money contributed, and will share in any equity gains or losses over the period of the partnership. No interest is charged on this contribution and the household has up to 15 years to repay it. The equity contributed by CHI is secured by way of a second mortgage in favour of the CHI.

For example, you purchase a home for $400,000, made up of:

  • your deposit ($20,000 or 5% of the home’s value)
  • normal home loan or mortgage ($320,000 or 80% of the home’s value)
  • shared equity loan from the Initiative ($60,000 or 15% of the home’s value)

You later sell the property for $500,000. Assuming you have not made any material improvements to the property or repaid any of the Initiative’s equity, you would repay:

  • normal home loan or mortgage ($320,000 less any principal repayments)
  • shared equity loan ($75,000 or 15% of the property’s value)

Your equity after sale and repayment would be:

  • $105,000 (plus any principal repayments on your normal home loan).

How much equity can the Initiative contribute?

The Initiative can provide between 15 percent and 40 percent of the total price of the property being purchased.

What is different about the Initiative compared to other shared equity schemes?

The Initiative has three key points of difference:

  1. The Initiative does not limit participants to purchasing a new home in a specified development. Instead, participants are able to purchase existing homes, giving them more flexibility in terms of location (although homes must be located within the Christchurch City Council boundaries) and potentially allowing them to remain in their current neighbourhood and community.
  2. The equity provided is at no interest for up to 15 years. This means households are only servicing their first mortgage debt, making it much more affordable for modest income households to buy a house.
  3. Participants will benefit from pre-purchase and ongoing support from the Initiative to help them through the home-buying process, and ongoing financial monitoring to ensure they are keeping up with the financial demands of home ownership.

What are the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible for the Initiative you must:

  • Be a NZ citizen or permanent resident and be aged over 18
  • Have total household income of less than $99,600 (including wages/salary, working for families, accommodation supplements, etc)
  • Have at least one member of your household in full-time employment (>35 hours per week)
  • Not currently own a house or any other property, or have significant other realisable assets.

Priority will then be given in order to those households:

  • With total household income at or below the median Christchurch household income (currently $83,000)
  • With children
  • With existing savings/deposit (this could be from savings, KiwiSaver, HomeStart Grant, etc)
  • First home buyers.

If I meet all eligibility criteria and I apply, will I automatically be accepted?

No. The Initiative has funding for approximately 50 households to participate over the next three years. Eligible participants will be chosen based on their fit with the priority criteria.

If you are not selected to participate in the first round of funding, but remain both eligible and interested in participating, your application will be automatically entered into the second and any subsequent application rounds.

How do I apply for the Initiative?

Applying for the Initiative is easy. Check the eligibility criteria above, and if you think you are eligible, you will need to complete the online application form here. To complete the application form you will need to provide basic personal, income and household information.

How long do I have to apply for the Initiative?

Applications for the first round of the Initiative open on 1 November 2019 and will close on 15 December 2019 (or sooner if there is greater than projected demand). Successful applicants will be notified by 31 January 2020 and we will work with these households to assist them to participate in the Initiative from February 2020 onwards.

Dates for subsequent application rounds will be confirmed in due course.

If you are not selected to participate in the first round of funding, but remain both eligible and interested in participating, your application will be automatically entered into the second and any subsequent application rounds.

Am I allowed to buy any house?

Properties purchased with the help of the Initiative must be within the Christchurch City Council defined city limits, which includes Christchurch City and Banks Peninsula. Houses can either be existing or new homes, but there is a $500,000 house price cap for existing properties or $550,000 for new properties. The Initiative is not currently available to applicants wanting to build their own home. The Initiative will also need to approve the house as for fit to the participant’s needs.

Yay, I’ve been selected to participate! What’s next?

If you are selected to participate in the Initiative, awesome! We’re here to help. We can help you with getting your finances in order, talking to banks and finding a suitable property. Then, once you have a home, we’ll stay in touch to make sure you’re managing the financial and other commitments of home ownership.

Are there any fees?

There is no cost to apply for the Initiative. However, if you are selected as a Participant, you will be charged an administration fee. Amount TBC, but likely to be $250.

If you need support to find an appropriate property or with bank/finance applications and processes, you may also be charged an additional support fee.

Can I use Kiwisaver for my deposit?

Yes, if you are eligible to withdraw your KiwiSaver to help you with your deposit, you will be able to use it in conjunction with the Initiative. Please click here to find out more about using your KiwiSaver as a deposit on your first home.

Can I still access first-home owner financial supports?

Yes. If you are a first-home owner you will remain eligible for all first home ownership grants, including the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant. For more information on the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant, please click here.

Do I have to live in the house?

Yes, you must live in the house purchased with the help of the Initiative.

Can I stay with my usual bank?

The CHI is currently looking to partner with a number of banks, and we will announce these as they come on board. If you bank is not a partner in the CHI, you will most likely need to change your banking to one of the banks that is.

What other costs are involved in buying a house?

Buying and moving to a new home comes with additional costs that you will need to budget for. These may include: lawyer or conveyancer fees, building inspection reports including a council LIM and a building inspection, a registered valuation, moving costs including reconnecting services, and ongoing costs like maintenance, rates and insurance. These costs are not covered by the Initiative.

Are household costs shared between the Initiative and the participant?

No, participant(s) are responsible for 100% of all the usual home ownership costs, including rates, insurance, depreciation and maintenance. This recognises the favourable terms under which is the equity is provided to the participant households, i.e. at 0% interest for up to 15 years.  

Can I make improvements to my property?

Yes, but any material improvements (defined as improvements costing $3,500 or more) must be approved by the Initiative before any work commences and the participant will bear the full cost of any improvements. In the case of approved material improvements, the participant will benefit from the full increase in equity related to these improvements.

How long do I have to repay the equity?

You will have up to 15 years to repay the equity provided by the Initiative. You can do this as one lump sum or you can repay the equity as you are able.

Can I repay the equity contribution before the 15 years?

Yes. There is no minimum repayment amount or minimum repayment frequency. However, each time you repay a share of the Initiative’s equity a registered valuation will need to be obtained, at your cost. Therefore, we suggest repaying a minimum of 5% of the equity share at a time.

What happens if I sell my house?

If you sell your house you will need to repay the Initiative at the time of sale. The Initiative will share in any capital gain (or loss) when you sell the property.

What are my on-going obligations to CHI?

If you are selected to participate in the Initiative we’ll continue to work with you. This includes having us regularly check in with you to make sure that you’re managing to meet all the costs of home ownership, including your mortgage repayments. You will need to provide us with personal financial information annually, and to disclose to us any material changes in your personal circumstances. You will also need to be willing to have your story and/or image used in promotional material. Otherwise, the CHI is a passive equity holder in the property.

What happens if I haven’t repaid the CHI contribution after 15 years?

The goal of CHI is to help households into homes, but also, over time, to help them achieve full ownership of the property, This means that we’ll continue to work with you to ensure that you have been able to buy out the Initiative’s equity, as and when able, within 15 years.

If, after 15 years, you haven’t been able to do this, interest will be charged on the CHI equity contribution outstanding.

What is Habitat for Humanity’s role in CHI?

Habitat for Humanity (Christchurch) has been selected as Provider for the CHI for the first three years of the Initiative. This means that Habitat Christchurch is responsible for the day to day running of the Initiative, including the selection of participants, their ongoing monitoring, and the provision of additional services like financial literacy training and preparing participants for bank applications, as and when required. Habitat for Humanity is all about giving people a hand up into housing, and is really excited about being selected as Provider for the CHI.