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 for a new home, or $5000 for an existing property. 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 or land
  • 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.

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 annual income, or $1000 annually. Check out Kāinga Ora’s site for a full rundown on KiwiSaver requirements.

Also see our story: New Zealand’s Top 10 Kiwisaver Funds to ensure you’ve chosen the right fund for you. Use Canstar’s comparison tools, they’re helpful and free to use. Our latest awards also highlight 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

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/older properties New properties
Queenstown-Lakes, Thames-Coromandel $875,000 $925,000
Auckland $875,000 $875,000
Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty $800,000 $875,000
Kāpiti Coast, Porirua City, Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City $750,000  $925,000
Nelson-Tasman  $650,000 $875,000
Kaikoura $700,000 $700,000
Hamilton City, Waipa, Waikato $650,000 $775,000
Napier-Hastings $625,000 $825,000
Matamata-Piako $625,000 $800,000
Whangarei, Wairarapa $600,000 $800,000
Taupo $575,000 $825,000
Palmerston North City $575,000 $700,000
Marlborough, Hauriki $550,000 $650,000
Rotorua $525,000 $650,000
New Plymouth $525,000 $675,000
Manawatu $525,000 $650,000
Kaipara $525,000 $875,000
Horowhenua $525,oo0 $650,000
Central Otago $525,000 $800,000
Whakatane $500,000 $800,000
Southland, Mackenzie $500,000 $650,000
Dunedin City $500,000 $675,000
Central Hawke’s Bay $500,000 $650,000
Gisborne $450,000 $650,000
Whanganui $425,000 $650,000
Hurunui $425,000 $650,000
Far North District $400,000 $675,000
Rest of New Zealand $400,000 $650,000

Figures correct as of 12/07/23.

Income requirements

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

  • $95,000 or less for an individual buyer
  • $150,000 or less for an individual buyer with one or more dependents
  • $150,000 or less for two or more buyers, regardless of dependents

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: Home Buying Guide: Six Easy Steps to Buying a Home

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

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.

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