Guidance for completing an application for First Home Grant
For further details on the First Home Grant and the first-home
withdrawal, see the brochure "Buying your first-home with
KiwiSaver", available from Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities.
Visit www.kaingaora.govt.nz/firsthomegrant or call 0508 935 266.
Note 1. First Home Grant
This replaced the KiwiSaver first-home deposit subsidy from 1
The First Home Grant is a payment of at least $1,000
for each year that you have contributed the minimum percentage
of your total annual income towards your KiwiSaver scheme,
complying fund or exempt employer scheme for at least three
years, up to a maximum of $5,000 after you have contributed
for five or more years. This level of grant would go towards the
purchase of an existing/older property. However, for the purchase
of a brand new home, the grant could be doubled to $6,000;
$8,000 or $10,000 depending on how long the member has
contributed towards their eligible savings scheme.
The First Home Grant is administered by Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities
on behalf of the Government and all applications should be sent
to Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities directly. If you are currently not in the
process of buying a home, you can apply for a pre-approval to
see if you are likely to be eligible. This should help you once you
actively start looking for a home to buy. Pre-approvals are valid
for 180 days and should you not have bought a house within this
time, you will need to make a new application on the expiry of
All First Home Grant applications are to be sent to Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities at least four weeks/20 working days prior to
any settlement date. We will normally process applications
within 10 working days, provided all the relevant and correct
supporting documents have been provided with the application.
Those applicants who are also applying for the grant approval to
meet finance conditions in their agreement for sale and purchase,
should do so at least 10 working days prior to the date required.
Those applications not submitted within the stipulated timeframes
may not be considered for assessment or approval.
Note 2. Previous home owners in New Zealand or overseas
Previous home owners in New Zealand or overseas may apply
for the First Home Grant. If you
are a previous home owner wanting the First Home Grant, you need to meet the standard
eligibility criteria as well as the following:
- You have not received the First Home Grant, Home Start Grant or KiwiSaver
deposit subsidy and/or first-home withdrawal before
- You do not have realisable assets totalling more than
20 percent of the house price cap for existing/older properties in the area you are
buying in. See note 3 for price caps. Realisable assets are
belongings that you can sell to help pay for your house.
For example if you were buying a house in the $400,000
cap area, your realisable assets cannot be worth more than
$80,000. Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities considers the following to
be realisable assets:
- Money in bank accounts (including fixed and term
- Shares, stocks and bonds
- Investments in banks or financial institutions
- Building society shares
- Boat or caravan (if the value is over $5,000)
- Other vehicles (such as classic motorbikes or cars –
not being used as your usual method of transport)
- Other individual assets valued over $5,000
- Money already paid to real estate agent or solicitor
Note 3. Maximum house price areas:
The house is within the maximum house price caps. All regions are
based on the Territorial Local Authority boundaries. The house
price caps are:
|REGION||HOUSE PRICE CAP FOR EXISTING/OLDER PROPERTIES*||HOUSE PRICE CAP FOR NEW PROPERTIES|
|AUCKLAND, QUEENSTOWN LAKES DISTRICT||$600,000||$650,000|
|HAMILTON CITY, TAURANGA CITY, WESTERN BAY OF PLENTY DISTRICT, KAPITI COAST DISTRICT, PORIRUA CITY, UPPER HUTT CITY, HUTT CITY, WELLINGTON CITY, NELSON CITY, TASMAN DISTRICT, WAIMAKARIRI DISTRICT, CHRISTCHURCH CITY, SELWYN DISTRICT||$500,000||$550,000|
|REST OF NEW ZEALAND||$400,000||$500,000|
- If purchasing a share in a property the equivalent total property
purchase price (sum of all shares) will be assessed against
the maximum purchase price caps outlined above, not the
individual share being purchased.
- Applicants can only purchase a share in a property
proportionate to the number of intended property owners.
Note 4. Income cap criteria
- Have earned an income of $85,000 (before tax) or less in
the last 12 months, for a single buyer
- Have earned a combined income of $130,000 (before tax)
or less in the last 12 months, for two or more buyers
See "Instructions on how to obtain supporting documents required
for assessment" on the previous page to provide evidence of
the income earned in the last 12 months.
Note 5. Deposit requirement:
To be eligible for the First Home Grant, buyers must
have a cash deposit that is equal to or in excess of 5% of the
property purchase price. This can be made up from your KiwiSaver
first-home withdrawal, your First Home Grant approval/
pre-approval amount, money in the bank or already paid to a real
estate agent or solicitor and an amount gifted by a close family
member*, as verified by a gifting declaration which can be
downloaded from www.kaingaora.govt.nz/firsthomegrant. Please note that deposits provided through personal loans
or guaranteed through other securities such as equity gifts, credits on settlement and family
guarantors are not permitted.
* Close family member means:
a. a parent, adult sibling or adult child, or
b. an aunt, uncle, nephew or niece, or
c. a grandparent, or
d. a person who has lived with, and been part of, the applicant’s
family for many years, but is not an estranged or divorced
spouse or partner.
Note 6. Types of property and land eligible for the First Home Grant
There are five types of property and land ownership arrangements
the First Home Grant can be used to buy. These are:
|TYPE OF LAND
(ESTATE IN LAND)
||Owners of the land are entitled to unrestricted use of
the land and may dispose of the land in any way they
wish (subject to the relevant laws).
||Common type of ownership for apartments. Common areas
(such as foyers, lifts and corridors) are owned
collectively, with each apartment or unit owned
||Ownership of the land is shared and each owner leases
their house from the other landowners. The cross-lease
agreement outlines the rights and obligations of each
||The owner of the land with a fee simple title enters
into a legal agreement (lease) to transfer the right to
use the land to another person for a certain amount of
time. The lease will detail the conditions including
payment of rent to the landowner and the lease should be
registered against the land title.
||Māori land subject to Te Ture Whenua Māori
Act 1993 where the property (house) purchaser
has a right to occupy the land.
Note 7. Differing property purchases
The First Home Grant can be applied for when buying one of the
- An existing/older property
- Vacant land, on which you will build your home
- A property off the plans
- A newly completed/built property that was issued with a code
compliance certificate less than six months before the
application is received
- An existing/older/relocatable house or a new house to be
built on Māori land where the client has a right to occupy.
The First Home Grant places a greater emphasis on clients
purchasing brand new properties by providing a larger grant for
such properties. Such properties could be eligible for the larger
First Home Grant of $2,000 per year of contribution, resulting
in a grant of between $6,000 and $10,000 being awarded.
Properties that could be eligible for the larger grants are properties
being purchased off the plans, buying vacant residential sections
that are ready to build on with a view of building a first home and
properties where the code compliance certificate has been issued
within 12 months of the application being received. Alternatively,
the standard grant amount of between $3,000 and $5,000 will
still be available to those buying existing/older properties.
When buying a property off the plans (house and land or apartment),
the property must be completed and a code compliance certificate
issued within the stipulated timeframes stated in the agreement
entered into. Therefore, it is essential that any such agreement has
an anticipated date for when the construction is expected to be
completed by. You will need to ensure that your solicitor tells us
when settlement occurs.
When buying vacant land, which is ready to build on and where
you plan to build your first home, please note that if eligible, the
First Home Grant must be used towards the purchase of the land
and cannot be paid towards the costs of building the property after
you have purchased the land. Therefore, you need to provide us
with a signed copy of the sale and purchase agreement for the land
purchase, as well as a signed copy of the fixed price building contract
that clearly shows the total build costs at least four weeks prior
to the settlement date for the land purchase. If you submit this
application and supporting documents after settlement on the land
has concluded, you will not be eligible to receive the First Home
Grant to assist with the building costs.
The combined costs of the land purchase and the fixed price build
contract must meet the regional house price cap in order to be
eligible for the First Home Grant.
The property must be completed and a code compliance certificate
issued within the timeframes stated in the build contract. Therefore,
it is essential that any building contract has an anticipated date for
when the construction is expected to be completed by. Your solicitor
will need to advise us immediately when the code compliance
certificate has been issued.
Please note, quotes are not acceptable for this purpose. You should
also provide evidence that you have sufficient funding to complete
the construction of the building. It is important to note that the
First Home Grant cannot be paid to assist with the construction
costs, if you already have an interest in land.
In all cases, the property you buy must be used as your primary
place of residence for at least six months from the date of
settlement, or in the case of land for building a house on from
the date that the code compliance certificate is issued.
Note 8. Agreements for sale and purchase etc
Please note that all conditional/unconditional sale and purchase
agreements must only be in the names of the intended buyer(s)
and that we do not accept those agreements where the "and/or
nominee" option is exercised without our approval. Additionally,
properties being bought in the name of a trust will not be accepted.
The KiwiSaver member must be one of those named buyers of the
property. You must provide a full copy of the sale and purchase
agreement, that has been signed by both the vendor(s) and the
purchaser(s). For those who are buying properties off the plans,
please provide a signed copy of the agreement/contract that states:
- That any payment (like the deposit or progress payment)
you make that is made up of the First Home Grant is held in
trust, in escrow, by an independent stakeholder or similar
arrangements for the payment to the vendor upon settlement
- Sunset provisions allowing you to terminate the contract
(with the return of at least that part of any amount made
up of the First Home Grant held in trust, in escrow, by an
independent stakeholder or similar arrangement) should
settlement not be able to be achieved on or before the
projected date for completion specified in the contract
- That settlement cannot occur before the issue of a title
for the property and a code compliance certificate for the
building work on that property.
Before signing any contract, you should talk to your solicitor
to make sure that these requirements (and any others that your
solicitor may advise you about) are satisfied.
Note 9. Code compliance certificate
A code compliance certificate is a certificate under the
Building Act that shows that building work has been completed
in accordance with an application for a building consent –
you have built what you have said you would build.
Note 10. "Schemes"
We recommend that before you apply for a First Home Grant or a
first-home withdrawal, you re-familiarise yourself with KiwiSaver.
It would be helpful to check what type of scheme you belong to,
who your scheme provider is, how long you have been contributing
to a scheme and how much you have been contributing. You can
talk to your employer, check any statements you may have received
from your provider, or talk to KiwiSaver direct on 0800 549 472.
Retirement savings scheme providing members with annual
member tax credits from Government. Members choose to pay
3 percent, 4 percent or 8 percent of salary or wages and the
employer is required to pay 3 percent. The scheme name will
include the word KiwiSaver.
A registered employer sponsored superannuation scheme which
allows members to choose to lock in a percent of their salary into
an account which may be accessed on the same terms as for a
KiwiSaver Scheme. Members should contact their fund providers
to find out if first-home withdrawal is permitted. The member may
also continue to contribute to an unlocked account.
EXEMPT EMPLOYER SCHEME
An employer sponsored superannuation scheme which does not
require a member to lock in any member contributions as required
by KiwiSaver Schemes but does provide members with access to
the First Home Grant. New employees will be offered this scheme
instead of KiwiSaver when they join the employer. They do not get
the Government annual members tax credits.
Note 11. Regular minimum contributions:
To be eligible for the First Home Grant you must have contributed
at least the minimum percentage of your total income to a KiwiSaver
scheme, complying fund or exempt employer scheme for a period
of at least three years. (From 1 July 2007 to 31 March 2009 the
minimum contribution was 4 percent of your income, 4 percent of
minimum wage for non-earners or 4 percent of your yearly benefit
for beneficiaries. From 1 April 2009, the minimum contribution was
reduced to 2 percent of your income, 2 percent of minimum wage
for non-earners or 2 percent of your yearly benefit for beneficiaries.
From 1 April 2013, the minimum contribution was increased to
3 percent of your income, 3 percent of the minimum wage for
non-earners or 3 percent of your yearly benefit for beneficiaries).
The contribution periods may change. For example you may have
been a paid employee for a period and then self employed for a
period. This is acceptable as long as you were contributing the
minimum contribution during both those periods, and they both
add up to at least three years. This three year period can be longer
than a calendar period, but must add up to three years.
Members are required to contribute regularly in each of the years
that they are making payments, however contributions do not need
to be consecutive in order to qualify for the First Home Grant. For
those earning no income, contributions for those periods will need
to be made of at least the minimum percentage (currently 3%) of
the minimum adult wage, based on a 40 hour week. If no voluntary
contributions are made during periods of non income, then that
period will not count towards eligibility for the First Home Grant.
It is important to note that in order to qualify for the First Home Grant,
contributions must be made to the KiwiSaver member’s scheme
from all sources of income, not just their main source of income.TABLE 1: REGULAR CONTRIBUTIONS TEST BY EMPLOYMENT CATEGORY
TABLE 2: MINIMUM CONTRIBUTIONS TEST BY EMPLOYMENT CATEGORY
|SALARY & WAGE
SALARY & WAGES||The total number of months in which
contributions are received divided by 12 equals
or exceeds the relevant period for which
the grant is being sought (3, 4 or 5 years)|
|SELF EMPLOYED OR
CONTRIBUTIONS||Voluntary contributions are made at least
annually and prior to 30th June for each
preceeding tax year and the number of
years in which contributions are made
equals or exceeds the relevant period for
which the grant is sought (3, 4 or 5 years)|
SELF EMPLOYED –
CONTRIBUTIONS||The total number of months in which
regular contributions are received divided
by 12 – salary/wage portion|
Plus the number of contributions per number
of years of self employment/beneficiary
income equals or exceeds the relevant
period for which the grant is sought (3, 4
or 5 years) – self employed/benefit portion
|SALARY & WAGE
SALARY & WAGES||A minimum contributions test is not required
if the regular contribution requirement for
salaried/waged income as shown in Table 1
is met, unless the member has multiple
|SELF EMPLOYED OR
CONTRIBUTIONS||Total contributions over the relevant period
is equal to the minimum percentage of the
gross taxable income or the minimum
percentage of the adult minimum wage
based on a 40 hour week|
SELF EMPLOYED –
CONTRIBUTIONS||The total number of months in which
contributions are received divided by 12
(rounded down to the nearest whole year)|
Plus the period of self employment equals
or exceeds the relevant period for which the
grant is being sought (3, 4 or 5 years)
And total contributions over period of self
employment equals at least the minimum
percentage of the gross taxable income
You must include a statement that shows all of the contributions
that you have made to KiwiSaver. Employed workers should supply
a print out statement from "My KiwiSaver" from www.kiwisaver.govt.nz (See Instructions on the previous web page). Self-employed
applicants and those who make voluntary KiwiSaver contributions
should contact their KiwiSaver providers to obtain a
EVIDENCE OF A REGULAR SAVINGS HABIT
KiwiSaver members who do not contribute regularly because they
are not earning are eligible for the First Home Grant if they meet
the following minimum regular contribution requirements:
If you are a non-earner you must contribute at least the minimum
percentage of the minimum wage to a KiwiSaver scheme, complying
fund or exempt employer scheme for a period of at least three years.
(From 1 July 2007 to 31 March 2009 the minimum contribution
was 4 percent of the minimum wage. From 1 April 2009, the
minimum contribution was reduced to 2 percent of the minimum
wage. From 1 April 2013 the minimum contribution was increased
to 3 percent of the minimum wage).
If you are a beneficiary, you must contribute at least the minimum
percent of your yearly benefit (before tax). (From 1 July 2007 to
31 March 2009 the minimum contribution was 4 percent of your
yearly benefit. From 1 April 2009, the minimum contribution was
reduced to 2 percent of your yearly benefit. From 1 April 2013
the minimum contribution was increased to 3 percent of your
Note 12. Savings suspension
KiwiSaver members, who have contributed to their scheme for
12 months or more, can take a "savings suspension". This is a
break in contributions that can last between three months and
five years. Inland Revenue can approve savings suspensions of
less than three months in special circumstances. You can take
as many savings suspensions as you like. Payments can still be
made during a savings suspension.
Note that savings suspensions will extend the time to qualify
for a First Home Grant by the length of the break(s) in payments.
For example, if a KiwiSaver member takes a 12 month savings suspension then the qualification period for the First Home Grant will
extend by 12 months.
If your circumstances change and you no longer make automatic
deductions from salary/wages it is your responsibility to ensure
that you contact your scheme provider to discuss how you can
make voluntary contributions to your savings scheme. Please note,
that should you not do so, it may impact on your eligibility for the
First Home Grant.
Note 13. Payment of First Home Grant
When buying an older/existing property, land on which you are to build a home or a newly completed/
built home, the First Home Grant will be paid to your solicitor on
the morning of the property/land settlement. These funds will then
be paid to the vendor as part of the overall funds required to buy
the property. The grant cannot be paid out after settlement has
occurred, so please ensure that your application is submitted for
consideration at least four weeks prior to settlement.
If you are buying a property off the
plans, the grant can be paid out to support the first payment
that you make under that specific agreement, for example
the deposit payable to secure the property or any progress
payments. Along with your completed application, you will
need to provide a signed copy of the agreement/contract
and show clearly when the deposit or progress payments are
payable. Any such payments before settlement will need to be held in trust, in escrow, by an independent stakeholder or
similar arrangement for payment to the vendor upon settlement.
If you are buying a property off the plans, but started this process
some time ago and where you have already paid a deposit to secure
the specific property, the grant will either be paid out to your solicitor
on the morning of settlement after the code compliance certificate
has been issued or it can be paid towards a specific progress
payment stated in the agreement/contract. Your solicitor will
need to confirm settlement date 10 working days from receiving
the code compliance certificate and certificate of title.
Note 14. Processing timeframes
Pre-approval/approval applications will normally be assessed
within 10 working days of Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities receiving them
(provided they are complete). The payment of the First Home Grant will take up to four weeks (20 working days) from Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities receiving the application and has to be made on
settlement date unless you are purchasing vacant land to be
built on or a property off the plans, where the First Home Grant
can be paid to assist you with the first payment required under
the agreement you have entered into. Applications that are not
submitted four weeks before settlement may not be approved.
Note 15. My KiwiSaver
For proof of contributions, we require print out statements from
"My KiwiSaver." This is an online tool on the
www.kiwisaver.govt.nz website that allows you to view your balances and transactions
for your KiwiSaver account. You can register for free and access
your information anytime. For details on how to produce these
statements, see the instructions on the previous web page. If you are self employed you will need
to speak to your KiwiSaver provider. (See instructions on the previous web page).