Some changes to KiwiBuild have been announced, but will this make any difference
to your average first-home buyers? Brendon takes a look … and tries not to get too
In early September, the government’s KiwiBuild was announced. In this
reset there were some announcements about changes to the government’s first-
home grant and the government-sponsored Welcome Home Loan. I suggest these
changes will impact very few of our clients, but let me go through them
here. (And, although I don’t particularly like being cynical, they are completely
underwhelming in my opinion.)
1. KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant will become First Home Grant
A new name ... nothing here.
2. The minimum deposit requirement for the First Home Grant will reduce
to five per cent for both new and existing homes (currently the minimum
deposit is ten per cent)
It really doesn’t matter if this is reduced to five per cent if the banks aren’t giving
loans without a ten per cent deposit—which they generally aren’t right now.
3. The First Home Grant can be paid to all buyers, who are eligible for the
grant, where there are three or more buyers, by removing the current cap
of $10,000 for existing houses or $20,000 for new properties.
If you are looking at buying a house with more than two people, great, but don’t
forget there is a maximum purchase price ($500k for existing and $550k for new
houses … and an income cap that still applies).
4. The definition for new properties for First Home Grants will be amended
to define new properties as properties where the Building Code
Compliance Certificate was issued less than twelve months before the date
of the first home buyer’s First Home Grant application (currently this is six
I haven’t had a situation in the last 5 years where this would have made a
5. Welcome Home Loan will be renamed First Home Loan
Name change only. Moving right along.
6. The minimum deposit requirement for First Home Loan will reduce to
five per cent for both new and existing properties.
Finally, something. A loan where you only need five per cent deposit! But, again,
don’t forget that the current maximum price the house can be to apply for the
First Home Loan (nee Welcome Home Loan) in Wellington is $500k ($550k for a
new house) and the income is limited to $80k for an individual and $130k for a
two or more. How many house in Wellington can you get for less
than $500k? Or new builds for less than $550k?
I would suggest if the house price limit is increased and the income threshold is
increased, this would make a difference for first home buyers in Wellington. I
would hope this is being looked at with some urgency, otherwise I am sorry but
it seems to me to be business as usual.
But don’t give up. If you are a first-home buyer we can clarify what your options
are. Do make contact and we can have a chat.
Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No
investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A
disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.