Major changes have been made to the Kiwisaver Homestart Grant and Welcome Home loans, to assist first home buyers, as part of the “Kiwibuild reset” from 1 October 2019. 

Kiwisaver Homestart Grant – now called First Home Grant

The changes to this are:

  • You now only need a 5% deposit to qualify for this scheme, rather than a 10% deposit.
  • The total grant amount for three or more buyers is being removed altogether.  This was previously a maximum of $10,000.
  • The criteria to define a ‘new build’ property has also changed, so that any properties that have had their Code Compliance Certificate issued less than 12 months before the date of the application for the grant are defined as a ‘new build’.  This is an increase from the previous timeframe of 6 months.

Welcome Home Loan – now called First Home Loan

Housing New Zealand also underwrites selected banks’ lending by way of a First Home Loan.

This scheme allows first home buyers who meet the relevant criteria to purchase a property with a lesser deposit to what is required under the bank’s usual requirements.   The changes to the First Home Loan scheme mean you will now only need a 5% deposit under this scheme.  This has been reduced from a 10% deposit.

Check with your bank to see if they provide lending under this scheme.

We also recommend that you check Housing New Zealand’s website to assess whether you meet all the eligibility requirements:  

https://www.govt.nz/browse/housing-and-property/buying-or-selling-a-home/buying-your-first-home/.




Thérèse Greenlees
Registered Legal Executive
Wellington