Alternative to first home grant

Auckland-based entrepreneur Derek Handley has set up a privately funded financial services group offering an alternative first home loan scheme.

He says he felt compelled to do this after the Government scrapped the first home loan grant.

His platform Aera is designed for first homeowners to open investment accounts with the aim of saving towards a home deposit. It is offering $10,000 in credits, which can be redeemed for a first house deposit.

The savings products, which have targeted annualised returns of up to 7.15%, unlock Aera’s Deposit Credits programme giving first-home buyers a $10,000 ‘head start’ toward their first home deposit.

First-home buyers can access Aera’s head-start credits by signing up to one of Aera’s savings products, unlocking $500 upon signing up to the new plan.

Customers can then unlock credits over the course of their savings journey through hitting savings milestones and completing learning modules, up to the possible $10,000.

Handley says the government’s $10,000 first home grants made a massive difference to tens of thousands of New Zealanders, and many more would have been planning to use it in the coming years. “Our ultimate goal is to support first-home buyers into their first house irrespective of how far they are into their savings journey,” he says.

Unlike the government grants, which had regional price caps on new homes and incomes, Aera’s programme is for all first-time home buyers.

It is aiming at 5,000 accounts as a starting point. “We are rolling the full programme out over the coming months and there are a lot of developments to come,” he says.

“We want to go further than the government scheme, though, by providing savings products, education and motivation to give Kiwis the best chance at hitting their goal.”

The pilot scheme will be available to 5,000 first-home savers initially, representing a significant proportion of the yearly first home grant recipients.

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