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How do I use Kiwisaver to buy a house?

Our advisor, Claire, gives the run down on Kiwisaver and Home Start

A lot of first home buyers ask us – can I use my Kiwisaver to purchase my first home.

The answer is generally yes, but there are a few hoops to jump through to make sure all your ducks are in a row, and we can help make this process nice and easy for you.

The great thing about Kiwisaver is that you can only request to withdraw the funds for two reasons; on your retirement, or to purchase your first home. In this way it functions very well as a strict savings account, and there are many benefits to increasing your contributions to Kiwisaver in order to save a larger deposit towards your first home.

In a nutshell, you can withdraw your Kiwisaver contributions (as well as your employer's contributions, apart from the $1,000 Government Kickstart) if you;

  1. Have been contributing to the scheme for 3 years or more and
  2. Have never owned a property

You may also be eligible for a helping hand from the Government.

The Home Start Grant used to be called the Kiwisaver First Home deposit subsidy, and is essentially an amount provided to first home buyers by the Government which doesn't need to be repaid. Similar to Kiwisaver, to apply for the Home Start Grant, you must have been contributing the minimum portion of your income to a Kiwisaver scheme for at least 3 years.

You can then apply to receive $1,000 for each year you've been contributing to the scheme; $3,000, $4,000 or $5,000 (the maximum). If you're looking to build a brand new house you can be eligible for more than this.

There are a few catches;
  1. You need to be 18 years or over 
  2. Have never owned a property or received the Home Start Grant before 
  3. Earn a before tax income of $80,000 individually or $120,000 as a couple 
  4. Wish to purchase a property under the price cap for your region – this ranges from $550,000 in Auckland to $450,000 in most other cities, and $350,000 in the regions (speak to us about the price cap for your town or area) 
  5. Will have a total of a 10% deposit towards the total purchase price of the property including your Kiwisaver and the Home Start Grant

How do I get started?

To withdraw your Kiwisaver, you'll need to contact the Kiwisaver provider you're currently with. This could be a bank or other financial provider, and each one has forms you can fill out to gain pre-approval to withdraw the funds. If you're not sure which provider you're with, often your employer will know, as they may have a provider specific to their business.

We also hold many of the Kiwisaver withdrawal forms on file, so feel free to get in touch with us for a copy applicable to your provider.

The Home Start Grant is similar, and this application can now be submitted online here (you'll need proof of income, Kiwisaver contribution statements, some ID, and your most recent pay slips)

How could it work for me?

Kiwisaver and the Home Start Grant has already helped a huge proportion of our first home buyers reach their goal of purchasing their first home faster.

For example, a couple who has $20,000 in their savings, earn a yearly income of $45,000 each, and have both been in Kiwisaver for 5 years contributing 3% could add a total of $24,000 to their first home deposit with Kiwisaver and HomeStart. That's going to go a long way towards helping them purchase their first property.

So if you or someone you know is looking at buying their first home, and might benefit from a helping hand from Kiwisaver or the Home Start Grant, please get in touch with us. We have plenty of helpful resources, both on our website and available via email. We've also included an easy to understand guide below this post.

You could be walking through the door of your first home sooner than you think.


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