What is the Kāinga Ora First Home Grant? And How Much is It?

If you’re a first home buyer looking for help navigating the property-buying world, Canstar is here to help. In this story we take a look at Kāinga Ora’s First Home Grant and how it may get you one step closer to sealing a deal on a home.

First Home Grant: What is it?

It’s access to a grant of up to $10,000. If you’re a first-time home buyer, or a previous homeowner in a similar position to one, and you’ve been making regular KiwiSaver contributions for three to five years, you may be eligible for a First Home Grant. You can apply for the grant through Kāinga Ora.

In this article, we cover:

What are the conditions?

To be eligible for a First Home Grant, you must:

  • Be over 18
  • Have earned less than the income caps in the last 12 months
  • Not currently own any property
  • Have been contributing at least the minimum amount to KiwiSaver (or complying fund or exempt employer scheme) for three years or more
  • Purchase a property that is within the regional house price caps
  • Agree to live in your new house for at least six  months

You must also make sure the house or land you want to buy meets the property requirements.

First Home Grant

KiwiSaver contribution requirements

You must have been regularly contributing at least the minimum amount to KiwiSaver for three years. The minimum contribution is currently 3% of your total income. Check out Kāinga Ora’s site for a full rundown on KiwiSaver requirements.

Also see our story: How to Pick Your KiwiSaver Fund to ensure you’ve chosen the right fund for you. Use Canstar’s comparison tools, they’re helpful and free to use. Our latest report also highlights the best-value providers and schemes on the market. Just click below:

Compare KiwiSaver providers for free with Canstar!

Deposit requirements

You must provide evidence that you have a deposit of at least 5% of the purchase price of the house you want to buy or build. This can include money:

  • From your KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal
  • From your First Home Grant approval/pre-approval amount
  • That you have saved in the bank
  • You have already paid towards the property
  • Gifted by a close family member. (If using gifted money, you’ll need to supply a completed declaration.)

Property requirements

The property purchase price must be within the regional house price caps. You must also agree to live in your home for at least six months from:

  • The date you buy your home (the settlement date), or
  • The date the code compliance certificate for the house is issued, if it is a new build
  • You must not currently own any land or property

First Home Grant

How does the grant work?

You can apply for either:

  • Pre-approval before you start looking for a property to buy – this gives you certainty around eligibility and how much you may qualify for
  • A grant approval if you’ve found a property and have a signed sale and purchase agreement

If you buy an existing home

You can get $1000 for each of the three (or more) years you’ve paid into the scheme. The most you can get is $5000 for five or more years.

If you buy a new home or land

You can get $2000 for each of the three (or more) years you’ve paid into the scheme. The most you can get is $10,000 for five or more years.

What are the price and income caps?

The house price caps are set region by region. There are two price caps for each region, one for buying an existing home, and one for buying a new build. In each region, you have access to more funds when purchasing a new build over an existing property.

Additionally, there are certain income caps that dictate how much you can earn in the previous 12 months to be eligible for the First Home Grant.

The current house price and income caps can be seen below:

Region Existing properties ($) New properties ($)
Far North District 400,000 675,000
Whangārei District 600,000 800,000
Kaipara District 525,000 875,000
Auckland 875,000 875,000
Thames-Coromandel District 875,000 925,000
Hauraki District 525,000 525,000
Matamata-Piako District 625,000 625,000
Hamilton Urban Area (Hamilton City, Waipā District, Waikato District) 650,000 725,000
Ōtorohanga District 400,000 500,000
South Waikato District 400,000 500,000
Waitomo District 400,000 500,000
Taupō District 575,000 575,000
Tauranga Urban Area (Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty District) 800,000 875,000
Rotorua District 525,000 525,000
Whakatāne District 500,000 500,000
Kawerau District 625,000 625,000
Ōpōtiki District 400,000 500,000
Gisborne District 450,000 500,000
Wairoa District 400,000 500,000
Napier-Hastings (Napier City, Hastings District) 625,000 825,000
Central Hawke’s Bay District 500,000 500,000
New Plymouth District 525,000 675,000
Stratford District 400,000 525,000
South Taranaki District 400,000 500,000
Ruapehu District 400,000 500,000
Whanganui District 425,000 500,000
Rangitikei District 400,000 500,000
Manawatū District 525,000 525,000
Palmerston North City 575,000 700,000
Tararua District 400,000 500,000
Horowhenua District 525,000 650,000
Wairarapa (Masterton District, Carterton District, South Wairarapa District) 575,000 800,000
Wellington Urban Area (Kāpiti Coast District, Upper Hutt City, Porirua City, Lower Hutt City, Wellington City) 750,000 925,000
Nelson-Tasman (Nelson City, Tasman District) 650,000 875,000
Marlborough District 550,000 575,000
Kaikōura District 700,000 700,000
Buller District 400,000 500,000
Grey District 400,000 500,000
Westland District 400,000 500,000
Hurunui District 425,000 500,000
Christchurch Urban Area (Waimakariri District, Christchurch City, Selwyn District) 550,000 750,000
Ashburton District 400,000 500,000
Timaru District 400,000 500,000
Mackenzie District 500,000 500,000
Waimate District 400,000 500,000
Waitaki District 400,000 500,000
Central Otago District 525,000 800,000
Queenstown-Lakes District 875,000 925,000
Dunedin City 500,000 675,000
Clutha District 400,000 500,000
Southland District 500,000 500,000
Gore District 400,000 500,000
Invercargill City 400,000 500,000

Price caps are correct as of 19/05/22 and subject to change.

Income requirements

In the 12 months before you apply, you must have earned:

  • $95,000 or less before tax for a single buyer
  • $150,000 or less before tax for two or more buyers.

First Home Grant

What is Kāinga Ora?

Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities was founded in October 2019. It’s a government organisation that brings together the people, capabilities and resources of the KiwiBuild Unit, Housing New Zealand and its development subsidiary HLC. It was designed to enable a more cohesive approach to delivering the government’s priorities for housing and urban development in New Zealand. 

Canstar has a full guide on buying your first home in our story:

→ Related article: Help for First Home Buyers: What’s on Offer?

You may want to also check out: Can You Buy a House With No Deposit?

Want to save money on your mortgage? Canstar can help

One of the easiest ways to reduce the cost of buying a home is to ensure that you secure the lowest mortgage rate. And this is something Canstar can help you with, thanks to our free and easy-to-use comparison tools. For our five-star home loan awards click here, or to compare rates hit this button:

Compare home loan rates for free with Canstar!

About the author of this page

Nicole BarrattThis report was written by Canstar’s Content Producer, Nicole Barratt. Nicole started her career in news journalism, working for one of New Zealand’s leading newspapers. Post her news stint, she freelanced for outlets including The Sunday Star Times and NZ Life & Leisure Magazine. More recently, she’s applied her research and writing skills to the world of finance for Canstar.

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