By Trish Willis | Member of the Property Institute of NZ (IPAC)
Buying First Home -  Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

If buying your first home, find out what help is available. From 5% loans, using KiwiSaver, the First Home Grant and KiwiBuild.

We have lots of advice to help including advice for parents' gifting money to help with loan deposits.

There are a number of government schemes set up to aid first home buyers. Scroll down for the details:

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

If you're not yet ready to buy your first home and still in the planning phase, use this step by step guide to help you plan ahead.

Buy First Home -  Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Eligibility for First Home Buyers' Grants and Loans

The income cap to access First Home Grants and Loans is now $95,000 before tax for single buyers and $150,000 for two or more buyers. Single buyers with one or more dependents can earn up to $150,000.

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, for first home buyers in Auckland, the cap for both new and existing properties is $875,000. In the Wellington urban area the caps are $750,000 for existing homes and $925,000 for new, while in Dunedin it is $500,000 and $6750,000 respectively. 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 first home buyer's grant or loan.

First home decision tool

Using your KiwiSaver for a home loan

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.

If thinking about buying an apartment as your first home, find out more about this here.

KiwiSaver First Home 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 Loan Deposits

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.

Financial Help From Parents for Deposits

Parents gifting money to help their children afford deposits is more common due to the high property values and prices being paid.

Occasionally, some parents will decide to sell a rental property to help release funds in order to do this and can quickly access thorough information about giving notice to tenants here.

Gifting money is an area that parents' should get legal advice about prior taking this step.

Learn more about Gifting Money To Family Members' loan deposits.

Kainga Whenua First Home 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.

KiwiBuild Eligibility

To be eligible for KiwiBuild buyers need to have a pre-tax income from the previous 12 months of $120,000 or less for an individual buyer, $150,000 or less for an individual buyer with one or more dependents and $200,000 or less combined for two or more buyers, regardless of the number of dependents.

Current KiwiBuild price caps vary throughout New Zealand from $550,000 for a studio or one bedroom to $860,000 for a three bedroom in Auckland, $580,000 to $850,000 in Wellington and $550,000 to $715,000 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 for KiwiBuild.

Check available KiwiBuild homes.

When buying your first home, always seek the advice of a property lawyer.

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Page updated November 23, 2022 by Trish Willis | Member of Property Institute of NZ (IPAC)

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Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose.

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