As well as having a 5% deposit, you need to meet certain criteria including an income cap. You will also need to meet the specific lending criteria of the participating lender you choose.

The criteria are listed below along with an easy guide to check at a glance if you are eligible to apply.

  • Income cap:

    • Have an annual income of no more than $95,000 (before tax) for a individual buyer; or

    • Have an income of no more than $150,000 (before tax) for a individual buyer who one or more dependents; or

    • Have a combined income of no more than $150,000 (before tax) for two or more buyers, regardless of the number of dependents

  • Minimum deposit - You will need a minimum 5% of the purchase price of the house you are wishing to buy.
  • First home buyer - Or a previous home owner, in a similar financial position to a typical first home buyer.


Key bank lending criteria

In addition to meeting the governments criteria for a First Home loan, you will also need to meet the lending criteria of your bank or credit union before your loan can be made.

Participating lenders may have slightly different lending criteria but they will include your financial ability to repay the loan, your level of debt, your credit history and the way you’ve conducted your bank accounts in the past.

Other criteria

  • You must live in the home you are buying. A First Home Loan cannot be used to buy an investment or rental property.
  • You cannot own any other property, this does not include ownership of Māori land.
  • You will need to pay a Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI) premium of 1% of the loan account. The lender may also apply a loan application fee. In most cases these fees can be built into the home loan. Talk to your participating lender to see what applies.
  • You are a New Zealand citizen or permanent New Zealand resident or a resident visa holder who is ordinarily resident in New Zealand.
  • While an age restricition is not part of the standard eligibility criteria for a First Home Loan, in general participating lenders will require applicants to be a minimum of 18 years of age.

What about if I want to build a house?

Some participating lenders allow you to build a new house with a First Home Loan. Please ask your preferred lender if they do and what their criteria is. 

Page updated: 19 May 2022