Buying your first home in New Zealand might seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be for you. Experts recommend saving a 20 per cent deposit, but with average house prices in the country tipping nearly $650,000, that’s a lot of money to put away. In the major cities; Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, first home buyers will need to save, on average, nearly $100,000 for their deposit. So, here are some tips to help you save for your first home.

Set a budget

All good saving plans start with a budget. To set a realistic budget, analyse your current spending. Don’t forget to highlight the areas where you’re spending money but don’t need to. Once you know how much you’ll be spending each week, decide how much you can start saving. That doesn’t mean setting aside only $10 spending money to cover the essentials each week. Your budget needs to be achievable. A good rule of thumb is to save the same amount your home loan repayments are estimated to be so you can start getting into the habit.

Compromise is key

Saving for a house means you’ll need to make a few compromises. Love seeing movies at the cinema as soon as they’re released? Think again. These sorts of luxuries don’t need to be avoided entirely, but cutting back on them will allow you to save some extra dollars each week. Here are some of the easiest compromises you can make:

What you’re currently doing Compromise 
Eating out/ ordering takeaway Enjoy a homemade meal
Purchasing a coffee from a cafe on your way to work Make a coffee at home before you leave for
Driving to work/ pay for parking Catch public transport and walk where you
Driving a big thirsty car Downsize your vehicle
Storing a goldmine of clothes and other stuff Sell your unwanted goods online
Working one job Create a second income by picking up
freelance or tutoring work
Paying expensive rent Get a roommate, rent out the spare room
or move to a cheaper home
Saving on your own Encourage your spouse to save with you


Be realistic

Often, people assume that the first home they buy will be perfect, but that is rarely the case. Purchasing a first home means moving further from the city centre, or securing a smaller property than the one your parents own. Don’t expect to score a large and lavish mansion on a graduate’s salary. If you’re after a larger house and more land, you’ll have to settle for an older building. However, if you’re after a new or turnkey property, you’ll have to sacrifice on land and property size.

Call in the parents

When all else fails, call in the big guns (a.k.a Mum and Dad) to help. Parents come in handy when saving and securing a property. If you can, move in and live with your parents while you’re saving for your deposit. Doing this will allow you to save on money that would otherwise be spent on rent. Parents and some family members can also act as guarantor or co-buyers when you’re ready to purchase a property. Before formalising that arrangement, seek legal advice to clarify how you’ll be paying them back and what would happen should you sell the house.