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How to Get Financial Help for Your First Home

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It sometimes feels overwhelming buying a house for the first time, but it doesn’t have to be. People who have never owned a home before, or even those re-entering the property market are often concerned they don’t have enough for a deposit. Or, perhaps they feel they can’t get a mortgage in their current situation.

Buying a house is a big investment, so it pays to do your research before buying to ensure you get the absolute best deal possible. A big part of buying your home is finding out what kind of support is available as you save money and work towards your goals. Luckily, there is plenty of government support available, and we’ve got all the information you need right here.

Kainga Ora Support

Kainga Ora – Homes and Communities do some great work for the public, particularly in the housing sector. From affordable community housing to helping first home buyers, the department is committed to helping Kiwis achieve their goals. Below, we’ve listed some of the great programs you may be able to access through Kainga Ora.

We should mention that all programs mentioned below come with eligibility requirements, but we’ll add some links so that you can read all about them for yourself and check if you meet the criteria.

First Home Loan

One of the biggest barriers to homeownership is the 20% deposit that banks and other lenders usually require. With house and land prices always on the rise, when you think about 20%, it’s a lot of money. To put it into perspective, for a $400,000 home, a 20% deposit is $80,000. That’s a huge amount of money to save up while also trying to live your life.

Thanks to the First Home Loans scheme, you can start the homeownership journey with just a 5% deposit. From our example before, that means saving up $20,000 instead of $80,000. Sounds like a great deal to us!

The program is underwritten by Kainga Ora, and operates through select banks and lenders. To check your eligibility, check out all the information here.

First Home Grant

If you need a good boost to your savings, or towards the price of your first home, Kainga Ora offers the First Home Grant. Whether you’re a first home buyer or a previous homeowner, you can access this scheme if you’ve been making regular KiwiSaver contributions for 3 years or more.

When buying an existing home, you can get $1000 for each year you’ve been making KiwiSaver contributions. The total amount is capped at $5000 for 5 years of contributions.

For new homes or land, the amount is doubled, so you get $2000 per year of contributions, to a maximum of $10,000. Find out if you’re eligible here.

Kainga Whenua

The Kainga Whenua Loan Scheme helps Maori achieve homeownership on their multiple-owned land. Acquiring loans to build on Maori land is often difficult because of the multiple ownership of the land. This means banks and lenders can’t take security over the house and land as they normally do.

With Kainga Whenua, your loan is secured only against the home, and not the land it’s built on. So, it makes it easier to get the finance you need for building your home. There are a few stipulations with this scheme, such as limits on the type of housing you can build. Find out everything you need to know right here.

KiwiBuild

KiwiBuild is a development program building more affordable homes for New Zealanders. With developments popping up all over the country, there are homes available for all needs and budgets. You’ll need to satisfy quite a few eligibility requirements, such as earning under $120,000 per year for singles or $180,000 per year for couples.

The program is a great way for New Zealanders to own their first home faster, so check out the details here.

Tenant Home Ownership

If you’re currently living in Kainga Ora state housing and you’d like to purchase the property, this scheme makes it possible. While not available for all Kainga Ora properties, it’s a good way to buy the home you already live in.

The Tenant Home Ownership Grant is a gift of up 10% of the purchase price, up to a maximum of $20,000. Not a bad start towards owning your own home! Check out the details here.

KiwiSaver Options

Even with all the other schemes available, it can still be difficult for some people to save the deposit they need, or find their way into a home that’s suitable for their needs. That’s why one of the most popular ways to get your finances together is through KiwiSaver.

Under this scheme, first home buyers can contact KiwiSaver and withdraw funds to put towards their home. There is, however, a stipulation that at least $1000 must remain in your KiwiSaver account. Best of all, the scheme may be available to non-first home buyers, but you’ll need to contact Kainga Ora to determine if you’re eligible.

Find out more about KiwiSaver Withdrawal right here.

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