By Emily Barns | 26 May 2022

Changes made to First Home Grant 2022

Photo of a young couple holding up a house shaped key ring with a key on it
Emily Barns

As of 19 May 2022, the Government introduced changes to the First Home Grant (administered by Kāinga Ora) as part of the 2022 Budget, in the hope of enabling more New Zealanders to purchase their first home.

Kāinga Ora’s First Home Grant programme assists eligible first-home buyers from their deposit through a government contribution. Eligible first-home buyers purchasing an existing home can receive up to $5,000.00 per person, while first-home buyers purchasing a brand new home can receive up to $10,000.00.

The prerequisites to obtaining the First Home Grant have now changed to make it more accessible to a wider range of people. In particular, house price caps and eligibility criteria have been updated as detailed below.

What do House Price Caps have to do with Property Ownership?

As a first-home buyer, you must purchase a property within the house price cap in order to be eligible for the First Home Grant. To align with the current housing market, this year’s Budget has raised house price caps in accordance with lower quartile estimated values of new and existing properties in each region. This adjustment recognises the dramatic increase in house prices over the past year, which has made it increasingly difficult for first-home buyers to purchase a house under the previous regional house price caps.

As a result of this increase, first-home buyers will be able to access the First Home Grant on a wider range of properties. Please see the table below for the changes made to the house price caps for existing and new properties. These house price caps are correct as of 19 May 2022 and are subject to change.

RegionHouse price caps for existing properties ($)House price cap for new properties ($)
 Previous cap ($)New cap ($)Previous cap ($)New cap ($)
Central Otago400,000.00525,000.00500,000.00800,000.00
Queenstown-Lakes District600,000.00875,000.00650,000.00925,000.00

Eligibility Criteria

There have been changes made to the eligibility criteria for the KiwiSaver contribution requirement, as needed for access to the First Home Grant. The changes made are as follows:

  1. New Income Cap Category – A first-home buyer must earn under certain income caps to be eligible for the First Home Grant. An individual first-home buyer must earn less than $95,000.00 per annum, while the joint income cap remains at $150,000.00 for two or more buyers. A new income cap category has been introduced, providing individual first-home buyers with dependants an increased income cap of $150,000.00.
  2. Relocatable Homes Qualifying as New Properties – Relocatable homes that have received a Code Compliance Certificate in the last 12 months now qualify as new properties. This will reduce the amount of regular savings required for first-home buyers to access the First Home Grant.
  3. Progressive Home Ownership Access – Members of eligible Progressive Home Ownership rent-to-buy schemes can access the First Home Grant if their home was a new build when they moved in.

Please note Kāinga Ora is not a lender, meaning applicants must still meet the lending requirements of a bank/lender to receive access to the First Home Grant. These changes take effect immediately and will now be reviewed every six months to ensure they keep up to date.

For eligibility queries, refer to the First Home Decision Tool on Kāinga Ora’s website:

All other information can be accessed here:

Should you require any First Home Grant application assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at AWS Legal.

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