Progressive Home Ownership

Habitat NelsonHow we help

Habitat partners with lower income families by providing a step up into home ownership.

It’s no secret that home ownership has become an unattainable reality for many Kiwi families, having fallen to its lowest level since 1951. We know that there is a desperate need in Nelson for affordable housing – both to rent and to buy.  According to Infometrics, the housing affordability index in 2023 in Nelson City was 8.6 and Nelson Tasman 8.3, compared to 7.5 in New Zealand. 

The barriers to home ownership are high; material barriers like the difficulty of saving for a deposit, tough lending criteria, and quintupling housing prices make it close to impossible for even middle earning families to afford to buy their own home. But a loss of hope means that fewer families even attempt to gain home ownership in the first instance.

Through our Progressive Home Ownership we partner with families locked out of the private housing market. Families occupy a new home built by Habitat, and pay the equivalent of fair market rent determined by their total gross household income. This programme allows households to enter an affordable rental programme with secure tenure for at least five years, until refinancing and taking ownership of their own home.  

Application Criteria

Habitat Nelson recognises and assesses a number of factors when deciding who might benefit from our Progressive Home Ownership programme, including:

  • Be a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Be a resident in Nelson Tasman region for at least 2 years.
  • Have demonstrated housing needs from inadequate housing, unaffordable rent and/or inability to save a deposit for a home.
  • Be willing to engage in a 5 year partnership with Habitat for Humanity Nelson, invest 275 hours of sweat equity prior to moving in and 75 hours of training equity during the five year renting period.
  • Have a stable household income to meet the repayments requirements.

To find out more about the specific criteria for Nelson, please get in touch with us on: (03) 547 4626 or [email protected]



Are you building homes for families yourself?
Habitat Nelson is building homes for families through Tasman Homes, a certified building company. We have an experienced Head of Property and Projects in-house who manages and oversees all developments. We also hire specialised contractors for jobs such as plumbing, kitchen installation, concrete, and electrical work.

Why are families that move into your brand-new homes called “partner families”?
Progressive Home Ownership (PHO) is our rent-to-buy programme. PHO is viewed as a partnership between “partner families” and Habitat Nelson, with families expected to participate in, what we call, “Sweat Equity”. They are partners because they participate in the process of owning their own home. Sweat Equity enables new homeowners to invest time in their future home and is an opportunity for families to play an active part in making their dream of owning a home a reality.

How do you choose families for your homes?
Information meetings are held prior to accepting applications. Interested families are required to attend one of those meetings to be eligible to apply. This requirement is for them to understand the programme, the concept of sweat equity, their involvement and responsibility before applying. They need to supply all supporting documents, including the application form, by the set deadline. The screening, interviewing, and selection process then begins. We believe that everyone has the right to have a decent place to live, and consider various factors including housing need (overcrowding, poor current living conditions, safety, mental and physical health affected by current living conditions) and inability to purchase a home through traditional means.

Are you giving those homes for free to selected families?
These homes are not free. Families agree to pay rent for several years before they are able to buy the home from Habitat Nelson. Habitat Nelson will make an allowance for the rent paid by the families less expenses such as rates and insurance which is recognised as a deposit when the family applies for a mortgage from a bank. In addition, partner families contribute their time to sweat equity, which includes painting their home or landscaping, as part of their commitment to the partnership to purchase home.

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