KiwiSaver First Home FAQs

Have a few questions on withdrawing your KiwiSaver funds to use for a first home purchase? We’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions below.

Q. What is the process for withdrawing my KiwiSaver funds for a first home?
A. Buying a home and coordinating your finances can be tricky. To help, we’ve listed the steps you’ll need to take when withdrawing your Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme funds to buy a first home.

Q. How much can I withdraw from my KiwiSaver account?
A. If you’re eligible, 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.

Q. How do I find out if I qualify to withdraw my KiwiSaver funds for a first home?
A. 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); and
  • you’re buying property or land for the first time (limited exceptions apply); and
  • you’ve never made a withdrawal from a KiwiSaver scheme to purchase a home or land before; and
  • you intend to use the property as your main place of residence; and
  • the property or land is in New Zealand.

You may also be eligible for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant. The KiwiSaver HomeStart grant is administered by Housing New Zealand Corporation. For further details on eligibility criteria please visit Housing New Zealand’s website or contact them directly on 0508 935 266.

Q. I have owed a home before, do I still qualify for the first home purchase withdrawal?
A. You may still be eligible to withdraw most 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.

Q. When do I apply for the first home purchase withdrawal?
A. You’ll want to check whether you’re eligible at the start of your house hunt.

If you are eligible you could apply to use most of your KiwiSaver savings toward the purchase of your first home. If you have a conditional sale and purchase agreement, you can apply to use your KiwiSaver savings for deposit and/or settlement. If your agreement for sale and purchase is unconditional, you can only apply to use your KiwiSaver savings for settlement.

In either case, make sure you submit your application at least 10 working days before you need the money so there’s time for your application to be processed. We cannot pay out after settlement date, as by then you will own a property and no longer eligible for a first home purchase withdrawal.

Q. When will I be paid?
A. If your application for a first home purchase withdrawal is successful, the money will be transferred to your solicitor’s or conveyancing practitioner’s trust account.

If you have withdrawn your KiwiSaver savings for deposit, your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner will pay these funds as a deposit amount to a stakeholder (i.e. the vendor or a real estate agent). Any funds withdrawn that are not used for deposit can be used toward the balance of the purchase price at settlement. If settlement doesn’t proceed (and this isn’t due to any default on your part as purchaser), the stakeholder is obliged to repay any deposit funds paid to it to your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner. Your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner will then return the money that s/he receives back into your KiwiSaver account*.

If you have withdrawn your KiwiSaver savings for settlement, any amount withdrawn will be held by your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner pending settlement of the property. These funds will need to be returned if settlement does not proceed.

* Important: you should be aware that, if you choose to withdraw 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.

Q. Can I use the withdrawal money as part of my deposit?
A. Yes. You can withdraw KiwiSaver funds to put towards your first home deposit and/or use at settlement.

Q. Can I use the withdrawal money to buy an investment property or holiday home?
A. No. The home or land to be purchased must be intended to be your principal place of residence.

Q: What kind of home can I buy?
A. You can use the money to purchase a freehold, leasehold or stratum estate (often related to units or apartments).

Q. What happens if the purchase of the home falls through?

A: If settlement doesn’t proceed (and this isn’t due to any default on your part as purchaser), the stakeholder is obliged to repay any deposit money it receives to your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner. Your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner will then return any money that s/he receives back into your KiwiSaver account*.

If you have withdrawn your KiwiSaver savings for settlement, any amount withdrawn will be held by your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner pending settlement of the property. These funds will need to be returned if settlement does not proceed.

* Important: you should be aware that, if you choose to withdraw 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.

Q. What happens if I have already held property as a trustee?
A. In this instance, we recommend that you consult your legal adviser to determine your eligibility to make a first home purchase withdrawal. The general rule is that (unless you qualify as a previous home owner buyer) you must never previously have owned a house or land. However, limited exceptions do apply.

Q. What if I’ve transferred from a UK pension scheme?
A. If you have UK pension money in your KiwiSaver account, we strongly recommend that you seek independent tax advice before making any early permitted withdrawal (like a first home purchase), as early withdrawal could result in significant UK tax penalties. We are required to report to the UK tax authorities when UK pension transfer funds are withdrawn.

Q. What if I’ve transferred from an Australian scheme?
A. You can’t withdraw any funds transferred from an Australian complying superannuation scheme for a first home purchase withdrawal.

Q. How do I apply for the first home purchase withdrawal?
A. The application form for the first home purchase withdrawal can be downloaded from our website. You will need to complete the form and return it with the required documents (listed in the application form) to the address stated on the form.