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First-home withdrawal and HomeStart

If you’re a KiwiSaver member, buying your first home could be easier than you think. The two ways you could do this are:

  • first-home withdrawal
  • KiwiSaver HomeStart.

Depending on your situation, you might be able to take advantage of both ways. Bear in mind that you must meet different conditions for each way of withdrawing for your first home.

First-home withdrawal

You may be eligible for a first-home withdrawal, which will let you put your KiwiSaver savings towards the cost of buying either:

  • your first home
  • land to build your first home.

Can you get a first-home withdrawal?

To make a first-home withdrawal, you must meet all the following conditions. You need to:

  • have been a member of one or more KiwiSaver schemes for at least 3 years – or it must be at least 3 years after Inland Revenue received your first contribution
  • have never owned a home or land before, either in New Zealand or overseas, except in certain cases
  • plan to live in the home
  • be in New Zealand.

If you have an interest in Māori land, you can make a first-home withdrawal to build a home on that land. But you must meet all of the other conditions and provide evidence that you have the right to live on the land.

You may be able to use your KiwiSaver savings to help pay your initial deposit on your first home. Your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner can advise you if you’re eligible to do this.

How much can you withdraw?

If you’re eligible for first-home withdrawal, you can take out your:

  • employee contributions
  • employer contributions
  • voluntary contributions
  • investment earnings
  • member tax credits (MTC) if you have any.

You won’t be able to withdraw:

  • all your KiwiSaver money – you must leave at least $1,000 in your account
  • any money transferred from an Australian complying superannuation scheme – although you can withdraw any investment returns made on these funds after they've been transferred to New Zealand.

We can give you a statement of your current entitlement, which you may need if you’re applying for home loan pre-approval. To get this, please contact us.

How do you apply?

You'll need to send us or your financial adviser:

  • a completed Booster first-home withdrawal application form (PDF 81kB)
  • a copy of the agreement for sale and purchase
  • an undertaking that the agreement is either:
    • 'unconditional' – the funds will be paid when you buy your house or the land on which to build your house
    • 'conditional' – the funds will be used in the deposit towards buying the house.

You can get the agreement and undertaking from your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner.

You should make sure that you return your completed forms, along with all supporting documents, at least 10 working days before you need the money.

If your application is approved, the funds will be paid to your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner’s trust account. They must:

  • only pay the money to the vendor or stakeholder as part of the purchase price
  • repay the Booster KiwiSaver Scheme if the agreement is not completed by the due date or any agreed extended date.

KiwiSaver HomeStart grant

You may also qualify for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant.

The KiwiSaver HomeStart grant is a government contribution towards the purchase price of your first home. It is run by Housing New Zealand.

Can you get a HomeStart grant?

To qualify for the HomeStart grant, you must meet certain conditions. The main conditions are that you must have:

  • been contributing a minimum percentage of your income to KiwiSaver for at least 3 years
  • an income of $85,000 or less before tax for the last 12 months.

And if you're buying with someone else, or more than one person, your combined income will need to be $130,000 or less before tax.

You’ll also need to meet the rest of Housing New Zealand’s eligibility conditions.

The purchase price of the home you’re buying must be within the house price caps for your region. These caps apply whether you're buying an existing home or new home.

How much can you get?

The size of the HomeStart grant depends on:

  • how long you've been contributing to your KiwiSaver
  • the age of the home you're buying.

If you’re buying an existing home, the HomeStart grant is $1,000 for each year you’ve been contributing, up to a maximum of 5 years. This means that the most you can get is $5,000.

If you’re building or buying a brand-new home, the HomeStart doubles to $2,000 for each year you’ve been contributing, up to a maximum of 5 years. This means the most you can get is $10,000.

If two or more qualifying buyers are involved, you can each apply for the grant. You will need to submit your applications together, and the maximum grant you can get between you will be either:

  • $10,000 if you're buying an existing home
  • $20,000 if you're buying a brand-new home.

How do you apply?

To apply for the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant, or for more information, contact Housing New Zealand.

Housing New Zealand needs at least 4 weeks to process an application for the HomeStart grant. If you apply with less than 4 weeks' notice, your application may not be accepted.

Applying as a previous home-owner

In some cases, even if you’ve owned a home before, either in New Zealand or overseas, you may still qualify for both the:

Housing New Zealand will need to decide that you're in the same financial position as a first-home buyer.

To find out if you qualify, contact Housing New Zealand.