First Home Buyers get a boost

First Home

May 2022

The Government announced this month that at last some changes would be made to the Kāinga Ora First Home products, particularly, the First Home Grants, First Home Loans and the Kāinga Whenua Loan Scheme.

First home buyers have been battling a heated housing market and these overdue changes hopefully provide some relief to those buyers hoping to get their foot in the property ‘door’.

What are the changes?

First Home Grants

House price caps for regions around New Zealand have increased for both new and existing properties and take effect from 19 May 2022 as follows. They are set to be reviewed bi-annually.


Existing Properties

New Properties

Christchurch Urban Area (Waimakariri District, Christchurch City, Selwyn District)



Ashburton District



Timaru District



Hurunui District



Marlborough District



Nelson-Tasman (Nelson City, Tasman District)



Mackenzie District



Central Otago District



Dunedin City



(Note: the aforementioned regions are not the full extent of the regions effected by the price cap increase, for more information on other regions, please visit

Applicants will also need to meet the remaining criteria including (but not limited to):

  • Contributing to Kiwisaver for three years at least 3% of your total annual income, or $1,000 annually (whichever is lesser);
  • Hold a cash equivalent of at least 5% of the purchase price for the property; and
  • Agree to live in the property for at least 6 months.

First Home Loans

The house purchase price caps have been removed altogether for First Home Loans, providing more freedom to qualifying first home buyers.

Eligibility for First Home Loans is now determined by the applicant meeting the following criteria:

  • Having contributed to Kiwisaver for a minimum of three years;
  • Holding a cash equivalent of 5% of the purchase price;
  • Earning less (before tax) per annum than the income caps:
  • $95,000 for individuals (without dependents);
  • $150,000 for individuals (with dependents); or
  • a combined income of $150,000 for two or more buyers.

Kāinga Whenua Loan Scheme

The loan cap for the Kāinga Whenua Loan Scheme has also increased from $200,000 to $500,000. The Kāinga Whenua Loan Scheme is aimed at assisting applicants to purchase, build, or relocate dwellings onto Māori Land (in shared ownership), and has its own specific scheme criteria. Notably, where the loan amount exceeds $200,000, successful applicants will also need to hold a cash equivalent of 15% of the borrowed funds.

Unlike the First Home Grants, changes to the First Home Loans and Kāinga Whenua Loan Scheme take effect from 1 June 2022.

Want to find out more?

If you are looking at buying your first home or have questions about the Kāinga Ora First Home products get in touch today. Our experienced team strives to make this exciting time as seamless as possible for you.

Isabella Davidson
027 841 6086

Maddison Berquist
027 764 8196

Claire Brownlie
027 371 4376