Using your KiwiSaver membership to help buy your first home

If you are currently working (part-time or full-time), it’s likely that you are a member of the KiwiSaver scheme. This means that a portion of your income is automatically transferred to your KiwiSaver savings account, including contributions from your employer and the government. For most people, this money can only be withdrawn once they qualify for NZ Super (65 years) – but for first home buyers, there are several ways to use your KiwiSaver contributions to help with your purchase.

HomeStart grant

If you have been an active contributor to KiwiSaver for at least three years, you may be eligible for a HomeStart grant. Eligible members can get up to $5,000 for the purchase of an existing/older home (up to $10,000 for eligible couples), or $10,000 for the purchase or building of a brand new house (up to $20,000 for eligible couples).

Eligibility criteria (Find out full criteria on the HomeStart website):

  1. The grant is for your first home
  2. You have been an active KiwiSaver contributor for at least three years
  3. Your income is below the income caps:
    • $85,000 for individuals (increased from $80,000), or
    • $130,000 (increased from $120,000) for a couple
  4. House price falls below the price caps:
    • Auckland: $600,000 for existing house, $650,000 for new house.
    • Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga, Queenstown and Nelson-Tasman: $500,000 for existing house, $550,000 for new house.
    • Rest of NZ: $400,000 for existing house, $450,000 for new house.

As long as you live in that house for a minimum of 6 months from settlement date, the grant does not need to paid back = FREE MONEY! Don’t let your contributions go to waste – If you are a first home buyer, have been a KiwiSaver contributor for at least three years, and need a little boost for your house deposit, enquire about the HomeStart grant from Housing New Zealand! Note that the application can take up to four weeks before the grant can be paid out to you, so apply early, or even get pre-approved.


First-home withdrawal

If you have been contributing to KiwiSaver for a few years (minimum three years), you may have built up a handy balance which can be withdrawn to help with your first home deposit.

“You may be able to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver savings (provided you leave a minimum balance of $1,000 in your account) to put towards purchasing your first home.”

This means, if you have a KiwiSaver balance of $10,000, you may be eligible to withdraw up to $9000 (leave a minimum $1000 balance in the account) to help with your home purchase.

With increased lending restrictions by the banks, it is getting harder for first home buyers to fork up the cash to meet the required deposits. If you have been an active KiwiSaver contributor, contact Housing New Zealand or KiwiSaver to find out more about the HomeStart grant or KiwiSaver withdrawals. If you’d like to learn more about this, as well as get the best mortgage deal for your first home purchase, submit a loan enquiry with a PocketWise partnered broker – absolutely free.

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