What Support Is Available For First Home Buyers In New Zealand?
Unity is a participating Kāinga Ora First Home Loan lender, committed to helping more Kiwis purchase their first home.
Posted August 2023 by Unity
It’s no secret that house prices have soared in recent years and even though we are in an uncertain housing market, it is still increasingly challenging to afford a home in New Zealand. That’s why we’re working with Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities to give you a helping hand.
Kāinga Ora administers a range of home ownership products to help individuals and whānau purchase their first home. These include:
- First Home Grant – up to $10,000 towards your deposit!
- First Home Loan – allowing home deposits as low as 5%!
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How much can I get through the First Home Grant?
You could receive up to $10,000 towards your first home! Eligible Kiwis can use the grant towards their deposit on a new build or existing home up to the value of the price caps in your region. The First Home Grant is not a loan, so you won’t need to pay it back!
The amount you receive will depend on the number of years you have contributed to KiwiSaver and the type of home you wish to purchase.
- If you buy an existing home, you may receive $1,000 for each year you have contributed to KiwiSaver. This is capped at $5,000.
- If you plan to build a new home, you may receive $2,000 for each year you have contributed to KiwiSaver. This is capped at $10,000.
Further eligibility criteria do apply, so check if you are eligible for the First Home Grant here.
You will need to apply directly to Kāinga Ora for a First Home Grant. Further information on the application process can be found here.
What are the First Home Grant regional price caps?
To be eligible for a First Home Grant, the property you’re interested in must come under a certain purchase price. If you find this confusing, don’t worry! You can view the latest list of price caps here: House Price Caps.
What are the First Home Grant income requirements?
To be eligible for a First Home Grant, you must have earned less than the income caps in the last 12 months. The income caps are:
- $95,000 or less before tax for an individual buyer
- $150,000 or less before tax for an individual buyer with one or more dependents
- $150,000 or less before tax for two or more buyers, regardless of the number of dependents.
Alongside income caps, buyers wanting to access First Home Grant support from Kāinga Ora must have contributed to KiwiSaver for a minimum of three years.
How does the First Home Loan allow 5% deposits?
Most lenders ask for a 20% deposit before offering a home loan, which is unreachable for many Kiwis. Unity is proudly working with Kāinga Ora to offer First Home Loans from as little as 5% deposit. Under this scheme, home loans are issued by us and insured by Kāinga Ora.
Are you eligible for a First Home Loan?
To be eligible for a First Home Loan with Unity, here are some of the criteria (subject to change).
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be a New Zealand Citizen and/or Permanent Resident Visa Holder who is ‘ordinarily a resident in New Zealand’
- Be a first-home buyer, or a previous homeowner in a similar financial position to a first-home buyer
- Have a before-tax income from the last 12 months of:
- $95,000 or less for an individual buyer without dependants; or
- $150,000 or less for an individual buyer with one or more dependants; or
- $150,000 or less (combined) for two or more buyers, regardless of the number of dependents
- Have a minimum deposit that is at least 5% of the purchase price of the home you are interested in buying (inclusive of all savings, grants, first-home withdrawals, and gifts)
- Be purchasing a home for you to live in as your primary place of residence
- Not own any other property or land, this does not include ownership of Māori land
- Be purchasing a property of less than 1 hectare
- Pay a 0.5% Lender’s Mortgage Insurance premium and an approval fee
For more information on Unity First Home loans, supported by Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities, click here.