Buying your first home

KiwiSaver can help you start your new life in your new home sooner. You may be able to access most of your savings now, to buy your first home. Your step by step guide is below. Also, find out how to apply for a HomeStart grant of up to $10,000. And, what to do if your circumstances have changed.

Withdraw KiwiSaver funds to help buy your first home

Step 1. Find the first home of your dreams.

From 1 June 2015, a change to KiwiSaver first home purchase withdrawal rules means you can withdraw KiwiSaver funds to put towards your first home deposit or use at settlement.

Find your dream home, sign a conditional sale and purchase agreement, and you could use some of your KiwiSaver savings for the deposit. As soon as your sale and purchase agreement is unconditional, you can also apply to withdraw funds to put towards the purchase price at settlement.

Step 2. Check that you qualify to make a withdrawal.

You may qualify as a first home buyer and be entitled to withdraw funds if:

  • You’ve been a KiwiSaver member, or a member of a complying Superannuation fund, for a combined period of three years or more (if you're a Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme member, we can confirm your start date).

  • You’ve never made a withdrawal from a KiwiSaver scheme to purchase a home or land before.

  • You intend to use the property as your main place of residence.

Answer yes to all of the above, and it’s time to move on to step 3.

Owned a property in the past? You may still be eligible to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver savings to buy a new home and receive a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant. You’ll need to be in a similar financial position to a first home buyer. Also, you can only make a first home purchase withdrawal once. Before applying to make a withdrawal, contact Housing New Zealand to see if you qualify despite being a previous home buyer.

Step 3. Work out how much you can take out of KiwiSaver.

You can withdraw any contributions you and your employer have made, along with the Government Member Tax Credit contributions (and any investment returns on these amounts).

You can’t withdraw any amounts transferred from an Australian complying superannuation scheme. And, you must maintain a balance of at least $1,000 in your KiwiSaver account.

Call us on 0508 972 254 to get an idea of how much you may be able to withdraw if your application is approved.

Step 4. Apply to make a first home purchase withdrawal.

As soon as you have a conditional sale and purchase agreement for your first home or land, you can apply to withdraw funds for the deposit. (Note: at this stage, you can’t make a withdrawal for a deposit on a property selling at auction.)

You can use these funds to purchase a freehold, leasehold or stratum estate (often related to units or apartments). This could be an existing house, a vacant residential section on which a new dwelling will be built, an apartment off the plans, or even a house and land package. This includes the purchase of land you plan to build your first home on. It's important to understand that your first home purchase withdrawal can be put towards the land purchase only, and not used for other things such as building materials or contractors.

If you’re applying to use your KiwiSaver funds at settlement, you’ll require an unconditional sale and purchase agreement.

This is what you’ll need:

Please ensure you apply and provide all required documentation at least 10 days before the withdrawal is needed. This timeframe is crucial if you’re using funds for settlement, as you can’t make a first home buyer’s withdrawal after the property purchase has settled. If you were not resident in New Zealand at any time while in KiwiSaver, you need to allow an additional five days.

Step 5. Put the money towards your first home purchase.

Using your KiwiSaver funds as part of your deposit:

If the withdrawal is approved, the money will be paid directly to your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner.

They may pay some or all of the withdrawal amount to a stakeholder (i.e. the vendor or a real estate agent) – this will be to put towards the deposit under your sale and purchase agreement. If settlement doesn’t proceed (and this isn’t due to any default on your part as purchaser), the stakeholder is obliged to repay the money to your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner. They will then return that money to put back into your KiwiSaver account*.

The balance of any amount withdrawn that’s not used for a deposit will be held by your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner for settlement. There is an undertaking that these residual funds will be returned if settlement does not proceed.

* Important: you should be aware that, if you choose to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver funds for the purposes of making a deposit, you could suffer the loss of some or all of that amount. You may still be liable for real estate fees and other expenses incurred. Your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner can give you more details on the types of circumstances under which a loss of deposit can arise.

Using your KiwiSaver funds as part of your settlement:

If the withdrawal is approved, the money will be deposited directly into your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner’s trust account. It will then be paid to the vendor on settlement.

If the settlement isn’t completed by the due date (or by any agreed extended date), the money must be repaid to the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme.

KiwiSaver HomeStart grant

  • A KiwiSaver HomeStart grant makes it a little easier to buy your first home. If you’ve regularly contributed to a KiwiSaver scheme for at least three years, you can apply for the KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant (administered through Housing New Zealand).

  • For an existing home, you could be eligible for a $1,000 grant for each year you’ve contributed to a KiwiSaver scheme at the minimum contribution rate, up to a maximum of $5,000. And for the purchase of a newly built home, or building a new home, the grant doubles to $6,000 (after three years of contributing) up to a maximum of $10,000 (after 5 years of contributing).

  • If you’re buying a property with other people, each of you could qualify for the grant. Note: a maximum grant amount of $20,000 for a single dwelling applies.

  • You can only receive the grant once.

  • Eligibility for this grant is determined by Housing New Zealand.

  • The grant is paid by the government and administered by Housing New Zealand. Further details are available from hnzc.co.nz or phone 0508 935 266.