Ritchie Wards is bucking the suggestion that first-home buyers have unrealistic expectations.

The 32-year-old bought his first home in Featherston last month and says he couldn't be happier.

Mr Wards, a public servant who works in Wellington, had been saving up while renting a house in Ngaio for six years.

He said he started thinking about buying a house a couple of years ago.


"I started looking around Wellington but everything was so damn expensive."

Someone suggested he look further afield and after visiting friends in Carterton, he stopped in at an open home.

He looked at more houses in Wairarapa, putting in offers until he landed his new place, a $165,000 three-bedroom house with plenty of space to indulge in his love for gardening.

Mr Wards said the houses for sale in Wellington were not any better than the houses he viewed in Wairarapa but cost hundreds of thousands more.

"The houses were much the same but they were around the $400,000 mark."

Now he is loving his new home in Featherston with friendly neighbours and new shops popping up.

"I'm glad I made the choice. Everyone says there are no houses but you have to look a bit further afield."

Mr Wards said the commute from Featherston was the same amount as from Miramar.


"Although it would be fantastic to to be closer to town, it's like you're on holiday when you get home."

Getting a loan took some work when new lending restrictions requiring 20 per cent deposits were introduced by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand last year.

"It was big deal, suddenly I had to have 20 per cent."

But using a Welcome Home Loan, supported by Housing New Zealand, he was able to put down a 10 per cent deposit and get a loan.

Mr Wards said it felt amazing to finally buy the house.

He said there's nothing to be embarrassed about using first-home buyer schemes like the loan and KiwiSaver First Home Deposit Subsidy, which he used.

"At the end of the day, it's like a refund on your tax."

Mr Wards encourages aspiring home owners to see if they are eligible and negotiate house prices.

He also encourages people to shop around for the right bank.

He said he found the Australian-owned banks tougher and banks such as TSB and Kiwibank better to deal with.