Each week the NZ Herald's Cooking the Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's the ultimate guide to what first-home buyers need to know to improve their chances of getting onto the property ladder. Hosted by Frances Cook.

If you’re a first home buyer, you need all the help you can get, and the good news is that you’ve just got access to a little bit more of it.

The government has announced it’s making changes to the First Home Loan scheme, which means far more people could qualify to only put down a 5% deposit on a house. 

Considering that scraping together a deposit is often the hard part, that’s a pretty big deal. 

They’re also changing how you qualify for First Home Grants, meaning more people could qualify for a boost to their deposit of up to $10,000. 

This will be welcome news for many people. Sure, it’s always been hard to buy a house, but it’s particularly hard now. 

The latest figures from CoreLogic show that the share of houses being bought by first home buyers for the first three months of this year was 22.5 percent. That’s fallen from 26 percent in the second half of 2021. 

House prices are starting to cool down a bit, but it’s still very difficult to make the numbers work. 

Interest rates are going up, which means the amount you would pay each week on your mortgage becomes more expensive. 

Banks are also working under tougher new lending rules, which means it’s harder to get approved even if you can scrape the cash together. 

However, even if these new changes don’t help, and you still don’t qualify for a First Home Loan or First Home Grant, I don’t want you to give up.

There are still other tactics to try, including different ways to use your KiwiSaver, and mortgage tricks to test out. 

If you layer up and use more than one of these at once, you just might be able to get it over the line. 

For the latest podcast, I talked to Rupert Gough, CEO of Mortgage Lab.

For the interview, listen to the podcast here.

If you have a question about this podcast or a question you'd like answered in the next one, come and talk to me about it. I'm on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Listen to the full interview on the Cooking the Books podcast. You can subscribe on iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.