What are the deposit requirements for a mortgage?

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Gather up your acorns

Basically, banks won't lend the full amount for a house - you need to be able to put down a deposit, and the more the better. You may be familiar with 20% as the magic number, but the reality is if you're in a strong financial position we can work with as little as 5% deposit. Most people will need around 10% deposit, and if you can fork out a whopping 20%, you'll access the banks' most competitive rates and avoid low equity fees

If you've got high income but low deposit, you could be eligible for Launchpad, Squirrel's own home loan product for first home buyers that allows buyers to get into home ownership with as little as 5% deposit. Find out if you're eligible.

Still got more saving to do? Grow your savings faster using our high-interest On-Call Account.


If you're a first home buyer you can withdraw KiwiSaver contributions made by you and your employer to use as a deposit towards your new home if you meet these conditions:

  • have been a KiwiSaver scheme member for at least three years;
  • be planning to live in the house for at least six months, and
  • be buying your first home.

You can find out more about other options with Kāinga Ora in our First Home Buyers Guide . Some of these options come with income restrictions, though — so what if you earn above the price caps? Glad you asked.

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Launchpad logo


With Launchpad, a home loan product created by Squirrel, if you've got high income you could buy your first home with as little as 5% deposit and shoot into home ownership faster. We’ve tailored this towards those of you who don’t quite fit in the banks’ box or the Kainga Ora scheme, haven’t got access to the ‘bank of parents’ but are able to afford the mortgage. 

  • Buy with as little as 5% deposit* 

  • No property valuations required for most properties (this allows you to go to auction without draining your savings) 

  • Competitive interest rates 

  • Best of all, it’s a leg up onto the property ladder

Find out more about Launchpad and see if you're eligible.

*Lending criteria and t's and c's apply.

The Bank of mum and dad

The easiest and cheapest way to buy is using your parents to guarantee that part of your 20% deposit you don’t have.

Their guaranteed portion will be secured over their property or it can be secured over a term deposit, so you're not asking them to fork out cash, it's more like putting a 'hold' on their existing equity until you've paid that portion back.

In the event they use a term deposit as security, the term deposit stays in your parent’s name and they continue to earn interest on it. Guaranteed home loans are treated the same as loans under 80% so you get great interest rates, there are no fees, and you’ll even get a cash contribution from the bank. On an average loan size of $400,000 you will save around $10,000 using this option. Using a guarantor makes strong financial sense, even if you can go it alone. Just keep in mind that you'll still need to be able to prove that you can afford the entire loan, including the portion that your parents are guaranteeing.

Eligibility for acting as a guarantor

Your parents need to be in a stable financial situation and still working (so ideally not retired on a sailboat, spending your inheritance). 

If they want to know more about what they're signing up to and any potential risks, we're happy to chat! Just call us on 0800 21 22 30.

Still got more saving to do?

Saving a deposit is tough. But every bit helps! We've got saving and investing options to grow your money faster. You can earn interest rates over 7%p.a. by investing with Squirrel's p2p platform, or if you've got less appetite for risk you can simply deposit into our high-interest On-Call Account that will earn you some great returns whilst it simply sits there, no strings attached. 

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