Previously, we’ve looked at the difference between First Home Grants and KiwiSaver.  Another, often confused, pairing is the First Home Loan (previously known as the Welcome Home Loan) facility and the First Home Grant (previously known as the HomeStart Grant).  They are both run by Housing NZ but are actually very different.

First Home Loan

Most banks have a very low dollar amount that they can lend to home buyers (of existing homes) with less than 20% deposit.  The First Home Loan allows first home buyers to be able to easily buy with less than 20% deposit.  They must, however, meet certain criteria.

There are 3 criteria that you generally have to meet:

  • your income can’t exceed a certain amount in the past 12 months
    • $85,000 for 1 applicant, $130,000 for 2 or more applicants
  • you must have at least 10% deposit
  • the house you are buying must be below a certain amount
    • $600,000 for Auckland, $500,000 for most major cities, $400,000 for the rest of the country

Generally, if you meet this criteria, you can apply for a mortgage through the First Home Loan.  The criteria is slightly stricter than a normal bank but you will get a pre-approval when the main banks are unable to lend.

First Home Grant

The First Home Grant has exactly the same eligibility which is why it is so often confused with the First Home Loan.  The grant is money that is given by Housing NZ to first home buyers to help boost their deposit.

The amount that you receive as a grant depends on how long you have been in KiwiSaver; you can see how this gets confusing.  You will receive $1,000 per year that you have been in KiwiSaver (a minimum of $3,000 and a maximum of $5,000).  This amount doubles if you are buying a new home and is per person. In other words, you could receive up to $20,000 if 2 people have both been in KiwiSaver for at least 5 years and are purchasing a new home.

Our book “The Successful First Home Buyer” walks you through each step to present yourself to the bank as the perfect first-home buyer. Available in paperback at The Book Depositary or on Amazon Kindle.


The First Home Loan is a facility that allows you to apply for a mortgage if you have less than 20% deposit.

The First Home Grant is a grant that helps boost the deposit of first home buyers.

Both have the same purchasing and income criteria.  The First Home Grant has a few additional criteria to do with KiwiSaver.

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