16 January 2019
First home finance and government grants – where do I start?
If you feel your first home savings goal still seems far out of reach, don’t despair. Keep up the good work – you will get there! How about taking the time now to look into finance available from the Government for first home buyers just like you? Here are some of the finance options available.
If you belong to KiwiSaver, you can use contributions from you and your employer plus any investment returns, towards the deposit for your first home. You’ll need to leave the $1,000 kick-start from the Government in your KiwiSaver, but using your available savings could provide a real boost to your deposit.
KiwiSaver Homestart grant
If you’ve been contributing to KiwiSaver for three years or more, you may be entitled to a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant. The grants vary depending on the length of your KiwiSaver membership, how much you earn, and whether you’d like to buy an existing home, or build or purchase a new home. Grants pay up to a maximum of $10,000 for the purchase of an older property or $20,000 for the purchase of a new property.
Māori Kāinga Whenua loans
Housing New Zealand and Kiwibank are working together to help Māori build, buy or relocate a home on ancestral land. Find out more on the Housing New Zealand website.
A Welcome Home Loan from Housing New Zealand requires you to have only a 10 per cent deposit which could make it easier to get into your first home. The eligibility criteria include an income cap (maximum annual income of up to $85,000 for one person, or a combined maximum annual income of $130,000 for two or more people); house price cap (differs per New Zealand region); and, of course, having a 10 per cent deposit and being a first home buyer. Find out more at www.welcomehomeloan.co.nz.
The bank of Mum and Dad
We’ve included this in the list because family-backed finance might be worth exploring as an option, so you could tee up a conversation with your parents about their lending or gifting money for your first home. It’s really important that they are financially secure for their future and retirement so don’t assume that it will be OK just because they’ve paid off their mortgage, or frequently go on big holidays overseas, or have just sold a holiday home. If you feel comfortable having the chat, perhaps suggest a low-interest loan and see where the conversation goes.
Speak to your mortgage broker or bank about all these options and to find out if there are any others available to you. They’ll guide and assist you to understand what could work well for you and your budget. In the meantime, making your regular savings payments is good practice for the schedule of mortgage payments you’ll be committed to once you buy your first home.
To learn more insightful tips about buying your first home, download our helpful Financing your first home guide.