Buying First Home -  Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Buying your first house in today’s market can seem like an uphill battle for many, however there are various ways of bringing the dream closer to home.

The government has created several solutions to aid first time home buyers including recent tax law changes designed to rein in property speculation and slow down pressure on current housing stock.

Government modelling indicates between 80,000 and 130,000 new homes could be built over a 20 year period depending on co-operation from councils, iwi and private developers.

Government help to buy your first home

Buying Your First Home -  By Michael Oxendine on Unsplash

There are a number of government schemes set up to aid first home buyers:

  1. Using KiwiSaver
  2. First Home Grant
  3. First Home Loans
  4. Kainga Whenua Loans
  5. Tenant home ownership
  6. KiwiBuild

Eligibility for Government first home buyer help

From April 2021, the income cap to access First Home Grants and Loans was lifted from $85,000 to $95,000 for single buyers and from $130,000 to $150,000 for two or more buyers.

The size of the loan you can apply for varies from region to region, with a higher cap in Auckland than in Dunedin.

For instance, if buying in Auckland, the cap for existing properties is $625,000 and for new properties $700,000. In the Wellington urban area and Kapiti the caps are $550,000 and $650,000 respectively, while in Dunedin it is $425,000 and $550,000. Other places like Nelson and Christchurch lie in between. Outside the main urban or more expensive locations, the caps are $400,000 and $500,000.

Use the Kainga Ora online tool to check your eligibility for a loan or grant.

Buy First Home -  Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Using your KiwiSaver

Provided you have been with KiwiSaver for three-plus years, you can apply to withdraw all your savings bar $1000. This scheme is administered by your KiwiSaver scheme provider. You must intend to live in the property.

First Home Buyers Grant

Formerly the Home Start Grant, it is now called the First Home Grant. Those eligible through KiwiSaver can get a grant of up to $5000 for individuals to put toward the purchase of an existing/older home or up to $10,000 to help with buying a new property.

For an existing home, you can get $1000 for each of the 3 (or more) years you have contributed to KiwiSaver.

If you buy a new home or land to build on, you can get $2000 for each of the 3 (or more) years paying into KiwiSaver, up to $10,000.

Couples or other pairs can combine their grants but there is a maximum a new home and land can cost.

This grant is administered by Kainga Ora (formerly Housing NZ).

First Home Buy - Photo by Ben Ashby on Unsplash

First Home Loans

Normally banks require around a 20 per cent deposit for a home loan but Kainga Ora underwrites a First Home Loans scheme where first home buyers only need a 5% deposit.

To be eligible, first home buyers need to be earning under the income caps (see above), buy a home within the property price caps (also above), and must live in the property they buy, along with some other conditions.

Kainga Whenua Loans

Kāinga Whenua loans are designed for those who have a right to live on multiple-owned Māori land.

How To Buy My First Home In Nz

State home tenant pathway to ownership

State house tenants have the option to buy the house they are living in. The Tenant Home Ownership grant is a gift of 10% of the purchase price of selected Kāinga Ora houses up to a maximum of $20,000.


To be eligible for KiwiBuild buyers need to have a pre-tax income from the previous 12 months of $120,000 or less for a single buyer or $180,000 or less combined for two (or more) buyers.

Current KiwiBuild price caps vary throughout New Zealand from $500,000 for a studio or one bedroom to $650,000 for a three bedroom in Auckland and Queenstown, $550,000 for a three bedroom in Wellington and $500,000 for the rest of New Zealand.

Buyers need to commit to living in their KiwiBuild home for a minimum period before the home can be rented out or sold.

Find out more about eligibility

Check available KiwiBuild homes

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Article created July 1, 2021 | About

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