First home buyers divided on accepting home ownership help

The survey found 55 per cent of parents would be prepared to gift their children money.

More than half of Kiwi parents say they would loan their children money interest-free to help them buy a home, according to new research by Westpac NZ.

However, only 38 per cent would expect the money to be fully repaid.

The online survey of more than 1000 people also asked first home buyers whether they would accept their parents’ charity and the results were split.

“With house prices very high now in many parts of New Zealand, we wanted to understand attitudes to parents supporting their children into a home,” says Westpac NZ acting general manager of Consumer Banking and Wealth Gina Dellabarca.

“The survey numbers show (not only) a strong degree of willingness to help but also a range of differing attitudes and levels of knowledge.”

The survey found 55 per cent of parents would be prepared to gift their children money, 21 per cent would offer them an interest payable loan and 18 per cent say they’d be likely to buy them a property outright.

And 53 per cent would likely act as a guarantor on their children’s first home, but 45 per cent of first home buyers say they would refuse that offer, compared to 35 per cent who would accept it. The remaining 20 per cent were uncertain.

“First home buyers are facing rising house prices but at the same time many still want to stand on their own two feet when it comes to owning a home,” says Ms Dellabarca.

“Sixty four per cent of respondents say they’d feel bad about having to ask their parents for help, with more than half admitting they’d feel less independent. 38 per cent are worried there’d be strings attached if they asked for help.”

Ms Dellabarca says fewer than half of first home buyers know exactly what it means to be a guarantor – usually an immediate family member who offers their own home as security over their children’s property.

“We want first home buyers to be fully educated about getting on the property market, and able to understand and use some of the innovative products that can help them get there,” she says.

“One of these is our Westpac Family Springboard offering. Customers are able to ‘springboard’ off the equity that family members have in their own home and their savings. They are set up with two separate loans – a standard home loan and a Springboard home loan that they share with their family members.”

Despite more than half of parents saying they’re either quite likely or very likely to provide an interest-free loan to their children, only 38 per cent think they would be repaid in full.

“Most parents seem resigned to the fact that supporting their children in the current market will leave them out of pocket, but it’s a sacrifice they’re prepared to make”, Ms Dellabarca says.

Other practical means of assistance were also popular with parents with 63 per cent saying they’d likely help out with childcare to help their children save for a home. Some 43 per cent would let them temporarily move in with them rent free.

However, the survey found that most first home buyers don’t think their parents are duty-bound to help them onto the property ladder, despite their own relatively easier path to home ownership. Only 23 per cent say the older generation should help out if they’re in a position to, while 35 per cent disagree.