Can I get the First Home Loan or the First Home Grant? What you need to know

We’re all aware that there are more challenges than ever for first home buyers. So it’s important to know what support is out there and whether you are eligible when you start your first home journey. Two key options available are the First Home Loan and the First Home Grant.

What is the First Home Loan?

The First Home Loan is a scheme where the government underwrites mortgages. This means the government is carrying the risk of the mortgage instead of the bank and allows people with as little as 5% deposit to be approved for a loan.

What are the eligibility criteria to get the First Home Loan?

At the time of writing, to be eligible for a First Home Loan, you must:

  • Have a deposit of at least 5%.
  • Meet the income limits for the last 12 months. This is currently $95,000 or less before tax for a single buyer and $150,000 or less total before tax for 2 or more buyers, or for a single buyer with dependents.
  • Be a first home buyer or be in an equivalent financial position. This means no ownership in any other property (this doesn’t include ownership of Māori land).
  • Be buying a home you will live in. You cannot get the First Home Loan for an investment property.
  • Meet participating lenders’ eligibility criteria (income, debts, credit history). We can help you navigate this.
  • Pay a Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI) premium of 1% of the loan amount.
Home approved thanks to First Home Grant

What is the First Home Grant?

The First Home Grant is a New Zealand Government grant, administered by Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities. The grant is a cash contribution towards your deposit. Although it’s called the First Home Grant, people who once owned a house but no longer own property can still be eligible.

If you meet the eligibility criteria and are buying an existing home you get $1,000 for each year you’ve been in KiwiSaver, up to a maximum of $5,000.

The amount doubles if you buy a new home or land to build on, so you get $2,000 for each year you’ve been in KiwiSaver, up to a maximum of $10,000.

The grant is per person, so if you buy a house with a partner and your combined income is under the 2 buyer income cap, together you could receive up to $20,000!

What are the eligibility criteria to get the First Home Grant?

At the time of writing, to be eligible for a First Home Grant, you must:

  • Have contributed at least the minimum amount to KiwiSaver (or complying fund or exempt employer scheme) for 3 years or more. See KiwiSaver contribution requirements section for more details.
  • Meet the income limits for the last 12 months. This is currently $95,000 or less before tax for a single buyer and $150,000 or less total before tax for 2 or more buyers, or for a single buyer with dependents.
  • Meet the deposit requirements.
  • Not own any property (this doesn’t include ownership of Māori land).
  • Purchase a property that meets requirements, including your region’s house price cap. Check the property criteria here.
  • Agree you will live in your new house for at least 6 months from the settlement date, or for a new build, from the date the code compliance certificate is issued.
  • If buying a property with other people, be buying an equal share.
  • Provide proof of deposit, income and KiwiSaver contributions.
  • Be over 18.

Previous home owners in New Zealand or overseas may still get the First Home Grant. To be eligible, as well as meeting the standard criteria above, you must:

  • Have not previously received the First Home Grant or its predecessors, the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant or KiwiSaver deposit subsidy.
  • Have total realisable assets worth less than 20% of the house price cap for existing properties for the area you are buying in.
Savings from First Home Grant

How does the First Home Grant Work?

You apply for the First Home Grant on the Kāinga Ora website page. As part of the application process you will need to provide proof of deposit, income and KiwiSaver contributions.

You can apply for pre-approval before you look for a house. This is the recommended way, as it gives you certainty that you will receive the money when you find the right property. It also removes the time pressure when pulling together the documentation to support your application.

If you’ve already got a signed sale and purchase agreement, you can apply for a full grant approval as long as you apply at least 4 weeks before settlement day.

Next Steps

We can help you with your First Home Loan and First Home Grant applications as part of managing the mortgage process for you. Get in touch today for a no obligation chat.