KiwiSaver is a great way to save to help you buy your first home. Currently, KiwiSaver offers two ways to help you do this:

 

First home withdrawal

The basics

If you have never owned land or a house before, either by yourself or with someone else, you may qualify to take money out of KiwiSaver to help buy your first home in New Zealand.

To be eligible to make a first home withdrawal from your KiwiSaver Account:

  • You need to have been a member of a KiwiSaver scheme or a complying superannuation fund for at least 3 years' (note: the 3 years is the membership period and not the savings period), and
  • The house you are purchasing must be intended to be your principal place of residence.

You must also have not made a withdrawal from KiwiSaver for this purpose before.

The first home withdrawal lets you take out more than just the money you have personally saved. If you are eligible to make a withdrawal, you can withdraw everything in your KiwiSaver Account except $1,000. This means you can withdraw all of your savings, the contributions by your employer, all the Member Tax Credits and all of the investment earnings in your KiwiSaver Account, except $1,000. 

The 3-year membership requirement

Three years’ membership is a specific requirement. Where a person was auto enrolled in KiwiSaver and did not make a specific decision to join a KiwiSaver scheme until they started saving, the start of the 3 year period applies from the 15th day of the month their contributions were first deducted from their pay. In other cases, it is when they first joined a KiwiSaver scheme.

Special provisions

If you have owned a house before, you may still qualify, if the Minister of Housing considers that your financial situation, in terms of your income, assets and liabilities, is the same as what would be expected for a person who has never owned a home. In this case, you need to get a certificate from Housing New Zealand verifying this.

More information

For more information about first home withdrawals under KiwiSaver, read our article 'First home withdrawal'.

 

KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant 

The basics

If you are eligible for the first home withdrawal under KiwiSaver, you may also be eligible for the HomeStart Grant. The HomeStart Grant is separate from the first home withdrawal payment. It is managed by Housing New Zealand and not the KiwiSaver provider.

The HomeStart Grant is $1,000 for each year you have saved in KiwiSaver, with a maximum of $5,000 for an existing house and $2,000 for each year you have saved in KiwiSaver with a maximum of $10,000 for a newly built house. The maximum applies after 5 or more years’ savings. The 5 years do not need to be consecutive. Where two people apply together, both can qualify individually for the maximum. 

Eligibility

To qualify, you must have been saving in KiwiSaver, or a complying superannuation fund, or an exempt employer scheme for at least 3 years and your savings must have been at least the minimum KiwiSaver contribution (currently 3% of your taxable pay). For non-working people, the savings have to have been at least 3% of the minimum wage (about $510 savings a year). Couples can both qualify individually. In fact, up to three people can apply for a HomeStart Grant to purchase a house jointly.

The rules

  • Your household income must be below $85,000 (before tax) if you are buying it as an individual, and below $130,000 (before tax) if there are two or more buyers.
  • The value of the house must be below:
    • $600,000 for Auckland City;
    • $500,000 for Christchurch City, Hamilton City, Hutt City, Upper Hutt, Kapiti Coast, Porirua City, Queenstown Lakes District, Selwyn District, Tasman/Nelson, Tauranga City, Thames/Coromandel, Waimakariri, Western Bay of Plenty, Wellington City; and 
    • $400,000 for the rest of New Zealand.
  • If you are buying land to build a house, or buying an apartment not yet built, the house/apartment must be built within the timeframes stated in the building contract. You also need to be able to show the availability of the necessary funding required to build the house/apartment.

More information

For more information about the KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant, read our article 'KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant'.

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