If you’re a first home buyer, you may be eligible for the First Home Loan facilitated by Kāinga Ora. This government-backed scheme aims to help more people get onto the property ladder by providing financial assistance to purchase their first home.

So, how does it work? The First Home Loan is a partnership between Kāinga Ora and participating banks or lenders. Under the scheme, Kāinga Ora provides a guarantor to the lender for a portion of the loan (up to 20%), which can help the borrower access the loan with a smaller deposit. In addition, the First Home Loan allows borrowers to access the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant, which can provide up to $10,000 for individuals or up to $20,000 for couples.

To be eligible for the First Home Loan facilitated by Kāinga Ora, there are a few criteria you need to meet:

  1. You must be a first-time homebuyer (or in some cases, a previous homeowner who no longer owns a property)
  2. You must have a deposit of at least 5% of the property’s value
  3. You must be purchasing a property within the price caps set by Kāinga Ora (currently $625,000 for Auckland, $600,000 for Wellington City and Queenstown Lakes District, and $500,000 for the rest of New Zealand)
  4. You must have a gross annual income of no more than $95,000 for individuals or $150,000 for couples

The First Home Loan facilitated by Kāinga Ora is only facilitated by a few banks

  • Kiwibank
  • Westpac Bank
  • SBS

Furthermore, there are a few more nuances that are important to understand:

  • You must have been in your employment for at least 12 months
  • Far more paperwork is required than a normal application as the deal is riskier to the bank
  • It’s a lot slower to process than a normal application as it needs to be signed off by both the bank and Kāinga Ora
  • Any assets over 5K has to be liquidated and used as a deposit. This is to limit the risk to the bank
  • It must be your first home in New Zealand
  • It can be used in conjunction with the first home start grant and withdrawing/using your KiwiSaver


Everything shared in this blog post is general financial advice. For financial advice tailored to you, please book a kōrero with us.