Kiwi Mortgages


Low Deposit? – Kainga Ora First Home Loan Scheme


Anyone who is eligible as per the eligibility criteria can apply but it clearly helps younger people who just started their career, have good income but not enough deposit yet.

Kainga Ora First Home Loan Scheme helps people with the first stumbling block – not having enough deposit, provided they are eligible and qualify on other parameters.

The normal standard requirement for deposit with most banks is 20%. Banks may consider your application at less than 20% deposit but the assessment criteria get more and more difficult. Besides, currently, banks require a minimum of 10% deposit. This is where Kainga Ora First Home Loan Scheme helps the borrowers as the minimum requirement for deposit is only 5%. Please note that not all but only a few banks are participating lenders under Kainga Ora First Home Loan Scheme. The way it works is that the lender underwrites the lending up to 80% of the purchase price and then rest is underwritten by Kāinga Ora, for which Kainga Ora will charge a 0.50% premium, known as Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

But please note that the bank standard lending criteria will still apply, which broadly is but not limited to:

  • Clean credit history
  • Minimal if at all any existing debts.
  • Acceptable account conduct
  • Income enough to pass the lender’s servicing test
  • Property proposed to be purchased is acceptable to the bank including the value determined by a Registered Valuation.

Normally, the lenders will ask for the below documents:

  • Your complete application, including your personal and financial details (Income/Expenses; Assets/Liabilities)
  • Your identification document
  • Proof of address
  • Documents to confirm your current income and your income in the last 12 months
  • Documents to evidence your deposit contribution
  • Your bank statements to confirm an acceptable account conduct and verify your income and expenses.

Broad eligibility criteria:

  1. Be a first home buyer – in some cases, Kainga Ora may allow a second chance – check with Kainga Ora first and get their approval before starting the bank loan application process.
  2. Be a New Zealand citizen, permanent resident, or resident visa holder who is ordinarily resident in New Zealand
  3. Minimum deposit of 5% of the purchase price of your proposed home purchase. This could come from one or all of the below sources:
    • Your own savings
    • Your Kiwi Saver withdrawal– If you have been a member of Kiwi Saver for at least 3 years, you may be able to withdraw all or part of your savings to put towards buying your first home. You can learn more by contacting your Kiwi Saver provider or at
    • Kainga Ora First Home Grant– A First Home Grant is available for home buyers to put towards their deposit when buying a first home. If you have been a contributing member of Kiwi Saver for at least 3 years, you may be eligible for a grant of up to $5,000 for an existing home or up to $10,000 for a newly built home. You can check your eligibility at
    • Gift by a relative- You can use a gift from your parents or other relative as part of your deposit. You will need to get them to sign a gifting certificate, that details who is gifting you the money and how much is being gifted and confirms that there is no requirement for it to be repaid.
  4. The lending criteria of the participating lender
  5. You purchase the home for your own occupancy as your place of residence and NOT for renting out.
  6. You do not own a property.
  7. Income criteria:
    • One sole applicant without dependents – income must be $95,000 or less (before tax) from the last 12 months
    • One sole applicant with dependents – income must be $150,000 or less (before tax) from the last 12 months
    • Two or more joint buyers – combined income must be $150,000 or less (before tax) from the last 12 months.

You can wait until you find a suitable property or you can apply for a pre-approval, which appears to be a better option as this way, you know beforehand as to whether or not and how much you can borrow.

The approval is normally valid for a period of three months.