First Home Grant
Find out if you are eligible and apply for up to $10,000 towards your first home.
If you’ve been contributing to your KiwiSaver for at least three years, you may be eligible for a First Home Grant. How much you receive depends on things like your income and the type of home you want to buy.
You can apply either before you find a property or after you have had an offer accepted, but we strongly recommend you apply for pre-approval. It takes the guess work out and helps speed up the process.
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, this does not include ownership of Māori land
- have been contributing at least the minimum amount to KiwiSaver (or complying fund or exempt employer scheme) for 3 years or more
- purchase a property that is within the regional house price caps
- agree to live in your new house for at least 6 months.
You must also make sure the house or land you want to buy meets the property requirements. You can find more information about this in the ‘What type of property can I buy?’ section of this webpage.
If you have been contributing to a superannuation scheme other than KiwiSaver, call us on 0508 935 266 to check that your fund is eligible.
In the 12 months before you apply, you must have earned:
- $95,000 or less before tax for a individual buyer
- $150,000 or less before tax for a individual buyer with one or more dependents
- $150,000 or less before tax for 2 or more buyers, regardless of the number of dependents.
A person who has dependents has the responsibility for the part-time or full-time care of a child, children, or other dependent adults in a household who are unable to live independently. If the dependents are aged 18 or over, you will need to tell us why they are dependent on you for their ongoing care. Providing financial support alone does not meet the definition of having responsibility for the care of a dependent.
KiwiSaver contribution requirements
You must have been regularly contributing at least the minimum amount to KiwiSaver for 3 years.
- The minimum contribution is currently 3% of your total income or at least $1,000 annually (whichever is lower).
- The 3 years don't have to be consecutive, as long as they add up to 3 years' worth of contributions. For example, if you have been a KiwiSaver member for 3 years but took a 6 month savings suspension, you would not be eligible for the First Home Grant until you had contributed for another 6 months.
- Contributions must be made from all your sources of income, not just your main source of income.
- If you are a non-earner you need to make voluntary contributions of at least $1,000 per year, in each year that no income was earned.
- If you are self-employed or on a benefit and make voluntary contributions, you need to have made contributions at least once a year for 3 years of at least 3% of your annual income or at least $1,000 annually (whichever is lower).
- If you have made a combination of automatic and voluntary contributions, the total amount needs to be at least 3% of your total annual income or at least $1,000 annually (whichever is lower).
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.
If you've previously owned a property
Previous home owners in New Zealand or overseas may apply for the First Home Grant. You can only receive the First Home Grant or its predecessors, the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant or KiwiSaver deposit subsidy, once.
If you are a previous home owner wanting the First Home Grant, you need to meet the standard eligibility criteria, and you must:
- not have received the First Home Grant or KiwiSaver HomeStart grant/KiwiSaver deposit subsidy before
- not have realisable assets worth more than 20% of the house price cap for existing properties for the area you are buying in.
For example, if you were buying a house in a $400,000 cap area, your realisable assets cannot be worth more than $80,000.
Realisable assets are belongings that you could sell to help buy a house, including:
- money in bank accounts (including fixed and term deposits)
- shares, stocks and bonds
- investments in banks or financial institutions
- building society shares
- boats or caravans worth over $5,000
- other vehicles (such as classic motorbikes or cars that aren't your usual mode of transport)
- other individual assets valued over $5,000
- deposit funds paid to real estate agent.
KiwiSaver funds are not considered realisable assets.
Test The First Home Grant can be used to help purchase new builds or existing properties up to the value of the price caps in your region.
New build properties include:
- newly built or relocated dwellings that received a building code compliance certificate less than 12 months before the date you apply for the First Home Grant
- vacant sections that will be built on
- house and land packages or apartments purchased off the plans.
House price caps
House price caps set the maximum price for new or existing/older homes based on the region the home is located in. All regions are based on the Territorial Authority Boundaries.
The property purchase price must be within the regional house price caps.
You must agree to live in your home for at least 6 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. This includes a property owned by a spouse or de facto partner that you could reasonably be expected to live in or sell. It does not include ownership of Māori land.
If you are buying a property with other people, you must be buying an equal share.
If you buy privately (not through a real estate agent), you may need to provide evidence that you have paid a fair market price, for example a registered valuation.
If you're buying an existing property
Existing properties are any houses that were built and certified more than 12 months ago.
If you buy an existing home, you can get $1,000 for each of the 3 (or more) years you've paid into the scheme. The most you can get is $5,000 for 5 or more years.
All properties that received a building code compliance certificate more than 12 months before you apply for a First Home Grant are considered existing properties.
The property must be:
- within the maximum house price caps for older/existing properties
- habitable from settlement date
- used as your primary place of residence for at least 6 months from the settlement date.
If you're buying land to build on
If you buy a new home or land to build on, you can get $2,000 for each of the 3 (or more) years you've paid into the scheme. The most you can get is $10,000 for 5 or more years.
You must have a First Home Grant pre-approval in place before you purchase the land.
- submit your application at least 4 weeks before the settlement of the land
- have plans to build or relocate a home immediately after grant preapproval
- have a signed sale and purchase agreement for the land
- provide a signed, fixed-price building contract that shows the cost of construction and estimated start and finish dates
- provide copies of all relevant associated documents such as house plans and property specifications
- have enough money to complete the construction of the property within the relevant house price cap.
If you don't have a fixed-price building contract because you are doing a self-build or partial build, you will need to provide a quantity surveyor's report showing the total build cost.
The house must:
- be a permanent residential dwelling. Transportable properties like motor homes, caravans or similar are not eligible for the grant
- be your primary place of residence for at least 6 months from the date the code compliance certificate is issued.
The total combined costs for the land purchase and the house construction must be within the relevant house price caps.
The land must be ready to build on. If it's not, the cost to get the land ready for building must be taken into consideration.
If you're relocating an existing house onto a new section
To be eligible for the new build grant, you will need to provide a code compliance certificate for the relocated house, dated no more than 12 months before the grant application date.
You will need to provide:
- a signed copy of the sale and purchase agreement for the land
- evidence of the cost to purchase and transport the property
- a copy of a fixed price building contract that clearly shows the total cost and projected timeframes to have the property completed to a consented and habitable condition
- a code compliance certificate after the house has been relocated.
If you're buying a property off the plans
- live in the house or apartment for at least 6 months from when the property has been completed to compliance standards and settlement concluded
- provide copies of the house plans and property specifications
- provide a copy of the signed contract that shows:
- the details of the proposed property
- the purchase price
- projected dates for the start and end of construction, including a sunset clause.
When you buy off the plans, we may be able to pay your grant before settlement to help you with the initial payment or a progress payment. In these cases, the grant must be held in trust, in escrow or similar arrangement, with payment to the developer only on settlement. You will need to discuss this with your lawyer and the developer.
If you're building on Māori land
You will need to provide a copy of your right to occupy Māori land.
You can apply for either:
- a pre-approval before you start looking for a property to buy – this gives you certainty around eligibility and how much you may qualify for or;
- a grant approval if you've found a property and have a signed sale and purchase agreement.
You will receive an automated email acknowledging your application. We aim to assess all applications within 4 weeks – if we need more information from you, we will contact you within that time to request it.
If you applied for pre-approval
If you applied for pre-approval, we will email you to let you know if you were successful.
Pre-approvals are valid for 6 months – if you have not bought a home in that time you may need to reapply.
What to do when you buy a house
If you have a pre-approval, when you buy a property you will need to complete and return the cover sheet attached to your pre-approval letter. You'll also need to send us:
- the sale and purchase agreement, and
- evidence that you have 5% of the deposit.
If you applied for full approval
If your application is successful, the grant will be paid into your lawyer's trust account on the morning of settlement.
If your application is not successful
If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, we will email you to let you know. You may be able to reapply later if your circumstances change and you meet the criteria.
If your circumstances change
If something changes after you have applied for the First Home Grant, contact our team. You will need your customer reference number.
- 0508 935 266
Changes that could impact your grant eligibility include:
- the house sale falls through
- you are no longer able to live in the house for at least 6 months after the settlement date (you may have to pay back the grant with interest)
- changes to the date of construction of your new home.
Page updated: 13 July 2023