Financial help for first home buyers
You may be able to get government help to buy your first home if you’re a KiwiSaver member, a Kāinga Ora tenant and wish to buy the house that you live in, or are Māori and want to live on your ancestral land.
Preparing to buy your first home
Buying a home is a major financial commitment that includes paying for:
- your mortgage
- legal fees
- building checks and reports.
If you’re from overseas
There are rules for buying or building residential property in NZ.
Government help to buy your first home
First Home Grant
If you’re a first-time buyer and you’ve been making regular KiwiSaver contributions for at least 3 years, you may be able to apply for a First Home Grant (previously KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant) through Kāinga Ora.
How it works
If you buy an existing home, you can get $1000 for each year you’ve paid into the scheme. The most you can get is $5000 for 5 years.
If you buy a new home or land, you can get $2,000 for each year you’ve paid into the scheme. The most you can get is $10,000 for 5 years.
If you buy a property with other people who qualify for a First Home Grant, you can all apply but the most you can get for one property is:
- $10,000 for an existing property
- $20,000 if you buy a new home or land for a new home.
Who can apply
To apply, you must:
- be 18 or older
- have been contributing at least the minimum amount of your income (currently 3%) to your KiwiSaver scheme for 3 years
- have had an income in the previous 12 months (before tax) of less than:
- $85,000 for 1 person
- $130,000 for 2 or more people
- have a deposit of at least 5% of the purchase price
- agree to live in your property for at least 6 months:
- from the date you buy your home (the settlement date), or
- if the house is new, when the code compliance certificate is issued.
KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal
You can apply to withdraw your KiwiSaver savings to put towards buying your first home if you‘ve belonged to your KiwiSaver scheme for at least 3 years. You can withdraw your savings, but you must leave at least $1,000 in your KiwiSaver account.
First Home Loan
With a First Home Loan (previously Welcome Home loan), you might be able to get a home loan if you only have a 5% deposit. How much you can borrow depends on where you live in New Zealand and what you can afford.
You get a First Home Loan from a bank or other lender — not all banks and lenders offer this option. Kāinga Ora underwrites the loan. Before you can get a loan you need to meet criteria set by the government and your lender.
For the government to approve your loan, you must:
- have a 5% deposit
- buy a house that costs no more than the maximum price for your region — the regional cap
- have income before tax in the last 12 months of no more than:
- $85,000 per year if you’re single
- $130,000 per year if 2 or more of you are buying a house together.
Contact a lender who offer First Home Loans to find out their lending conditions. They could consider:
- whether or not they think you can repay the loan
- your credit history
- any debts you have
- your banking history.
If you’re Māori and want to live on your ancestral land
You can borrow money to build, buy or relocate a home on your ancestral land.
Help to buy a house owned by Kāinga Ora
If you’re an existing tenant in a state house you can buy your home if it’s available for purchase.