What kinds of homes qualify under the new First Home Loan and First Home Grant spending caps?

The Government on Tuesday announced new caps on how much a buyer can spend on their first home and still qualify for a First Home Loan and First Home Grant. 

According to Housing Minister Megan Woods, the new caps are based on the median figure in the lower-quartile of recent sales - suggesting the bottom eighth of properties would qualify. 

So what exactly can you get in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch and Queenstown? Let's take a look.


A quick search on Trade Me's property site (excluding sections and bare land) brings up about 1300 places under the spending cap on existing properties - $625,000. But many of them aren't below that at all - the top hit, for example, asks for "enquiries over $1.4 million", the second actually costs $1.13 million, and so on. 

Most are also listed as "price by negotiation" or "to be auctioned". Auctions create "irrational behaviour" Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr told The AM Show in February, leading to inflated prices, so let's ignore those. 

The first place that comes up at $625,000 - on page 14 of the search results - is a two-bedroom apartment in Mangere that hasn't been built yet. Since most banks require much larger deposits for apartments than they do on other types of housing - up to 50 percent in some cases - it's unlikely this place will be looked at by anyone looking to take advantage of the First Home Loan or First Home Grant.  

The next place up with a qualifying price tag is a three-bedroom townhouse in Clarks Beach, Franklin. While the sales pitch says it's "exclusive to first-home buyers" and "just 20 minutes from the motorway", it's also a two-hour drive at rush hour to the Auckland CBD. If you work in Papakura, it's still a 45-minute drive on weekdays. 

It is close to the beach, mind you.  

A place in Kelston that could be yours for just $625,000.
A place in Kelston that could be yours for just $625,000. Photo credit: Trade Me/Barfoot & Thompson

Ignoring apartments, the next place up is a three-bedroom townhouse in Gulf Harbour, Rodney - a 100-minute weekday morning drive to the CBD or 80 minutes to Takapuna.  

Other places right on the cap can be found in Kelston, Papakura (if you're down for some "light reno"), Mt Wellington and Pukekohe.

If you've got a family and need something three-bedrooms or larger, and were hoping for something on the isthmus, sorry - there's nothing presently available without ground rent that'll set you back hundreds of dollars a week.


In Hamilton, the spending cap for an existing property is $525,000 - Trade Me property has about 90-odd results, again many of them totally useless (the top hit being a $3 million block of units in Hillcrest). 

The first result under the cap is a two-bedroom brick unit in Dinsdale going for $505,000, well above its rateable value of $420,000. 

If it's a family home you're after, there's a three-bedroom place in a Rototuna gated community going for $499,000.  While that includes a shared pool, you'll also have to fork out $4000 a year in body corp fees. It also doesn't appear to meet the Government's new Healthy Homes Standards, which might be a problem. 

There's a three-bedroom place for the same price in Nawton selling for $149,000 above its rateable value too. 


The cap in Wellington for an existing home is $550,000. That brings up 177 hits on Trade Me, but as above, most don't count. 

The first place under the cap is an apartment/townhouse in Mt Cook going for $549,000 - but there are body corp fees of about $240 a week to be paid. 

Other places around the same price range have body corp fees ranging up to $15,000. 

There's a two-bedroom place in Lower Hutt for $535,000 which "features two custom-built fit-for-purpose catios, allowing your furry friends to stay safe while enjoying the fresh air". 

If you're willing to move out as far as Carterton, for $530,000 there's a 110-year-old cottage up for grabs

But if it's a three-bedroom home or townhouse in Wellington itself you're after, there's nothing. 

A 110-year-old cottage in Carterton that costs "over $530,000".
A 110-year-old cottage in Carterton that costs "over $530,000". Photo credit: Trade Me/Professionals


Christchurch's price cap of $500,000 hasn't changed, reflecting the slower growth in house prices the city's experienced in the wake of the rebuild following the quakes 10 years ago. 

Though it's hard to get an exact figure on how many places there are that qualify due to Trade Me's limited search function, the first place that qualifies puts those in other cities to shame - it's a massive three-bedroom place in Papanui going for $499,000. 

There are plenty of townhouses are also on offer for under $500,000, as well as spacious standalone places in Halswell, Belfast and Somerfield.

There's even a three-bedroom place with a four-car garage going in New Brighton for just $479,000. 


Excluding apartments, there are only two places in the Queenstown-Lakes District that currently qualify - both in Kingston.

If you're lucky enough to get lending for an apartment and don't need space, there are one-bedroom places going for as little as $399,000 or a leaky two-bedroom place for $485,000