KiwiSaver isn’t just a retirement savings scheme, it could also help you into your first home – either through the ability to withdraw some of your savings or through a First Home Grant.

KiwiSaver first home withdrawal

If you’ve been in KiwiSaver for at least three years and you meet the eligibility requirements, you may be able to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver savings to go towards buying your first home.

You can withdraw everything in your account except:

  • $1,000; and
  • Money that has been transferred into your KiwiSaver account from a complying Australian superannuation scheme.

Eligibility

To be eligible to make a withdrawal:

  • You need to have been in KiwiSaver or a complying superannuation fund for at least three years.
  • You can’t have made a withdrawal from KiwiSaver to buy a home or land before.
  • You have to be a first-time buyer, intending to live in the home or land you buy.
  • The home or land needs to be in New Zealand.
  • If you’ve previously owned a house, there are some circumstances where you might be able to make a KiwiSaver withdrawal to go towards a house purchase. You’ll need to contact Kāinga Ora, who will determine if you’re in the same financial position as a first-time buyer
  • If you're planning on buying a house with a partner, if eligible you can both apply for a first home withdrawal.

Making a withdrawal

The first step in the withdrawal process is getting an estimate of how much you’ll be able to withdraw. You’ll need this if you want to get conditional approval for a home loan. You’ll also need a letter from your KiwiSaver scheme provider confirming your eligibility to make a first home withdrawal.

If you're with Kiwi Wealth, you can get an estimate and start the ball rolling on the withdrawal process by:

  • emailing questions@kiwiwealth.co.nz with your IRD number and Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme membership number, or
  • phoning 0800 427 384 between 8am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. Have your IRD number and Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme membership number handy.

If you're with Kiwi Wealth and bank with us, you can also keep track of your KiwiSaver balance in internet banking.

Once you've got an estimate and are ready to apply for a first home withdrawal, you'll need to fill out an application form. This needs to be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or a solicitor. Find out more at kiwiwealth.co.nz.

If your KiwiSaver account is with another provider, you'll need to contact them to find out their process.

What you can use the money for

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, an apartment off the plans, or even a house and land package. It's important to know that if you already own land you are not able to withdraw your KiwiSaver funds to help build your first home.

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:

  • A copy of the sale and purchase agreement listing you as the purchaser
  • A completed First Home Withdrawal Form
  • A completed solicitor’s or conveyancing practitioner’s letter, which can be submitted to us by either you or your solicitor.

Please ensure you apply and provide all required documentation at least 15 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. 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.)

Time is of the essence

Kiwi Wealth recommends getting your application in at least 15 business days before the date you'll need the money for a deposit or settlement, as the process can take a while.

If you’re slow off the mark and your application isn’t processed before your settlement date you'll either have to push out your settlement, or miss out, as you can’t make a first home buyer’s withdrawal after a property purchase has gone through.

Things to be aware of

  • Once your application has been processed and approved, the money is then paid to your lawyer’s trust account. Your lawyer will forward the money to the vendor on settlement day (which is the day you’ll take ownership of your new home)
  • If your purchase falls through (and this isn't due to any default on your part as a purchaser), in most cases your lawyer needs to return your money to your KiwiSaver account
  • You can’t apply for a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal after your settlement date – so get onto it.

First Home Grant

If you’ve been making regular KiwiSaver contributions for at least three years, you may also be eligible for a First Home Grant – previously known as the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant. This is paid by the government and administered by Kāinga Ora.

What you could get

  • If you’re buying an existing home, you could get $1,000 for each year you’ve been contributing to KiwiSaver, up to a maximum of $5,000
  • If you’re buying a new home, a proposed home off plans, or land to build a new home, you could get $2,000 for each year you’ve been contributing, up to a maximum of $10,000
  • You can also purchase your first home with your partner, family or friends. If each of you qualify, this means you could get up to $10,000 each

Eligibility

To be eligible for a First Home Grant you have to:

  • Be aged over 18
  • Have earnt less than the income caps in the previous 12 months. This means you can’t have earnt more than $85,000 before tax (if you’re applying on your own) or more than a combined $130,000 before tax (if two or more buyers are applying)
  • Not currently own any property
  • Have contributed at least 3% of your total income to your KiwiSaver account for at least three years
  • Purchase a property that falls within the regional price caps (see below)
  • Agree to live in the house for at least six months
  • Have a deposit that is at least 10% of the purchase price of the house or land you want to buy or build
  • Be buying an equal share, if you’re buying with other people.

Eligibility for the grant is determined by Kāinga Ora.

How much you can spend

There are house price caps in place, depending on where you live and whether you’re buying an existing property or building a new home

Locations

House price cap for existing/older properties

House price cap for new properties

Auckland, Queenstown Lakes District

$600,000

$650,000

Hamilton City, Tauranga City, Western Bay of Plenty District, Kapiti Coast District, Porirua City, Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City, Tasman District, Nelson City, Waimakariri District, Christchurch City, Selwyn District

$500,000

$550,000

Rest of New Zealand (anywhere not listed above)

$400,000

$500,000

The process

You can either wait until you’ve got a signed sale and purchase agreement for a property to apply for grant approval, or you can apply for pre-approval before your start looking for a property.

Kāinga Ora handles the applications and they recommend going down the pre-approval route, as it helps speed up the process. Pre-approval is valid for 180 days.

Either way, you need to get onto it well before settlement date, ideally at least four weeks out. Like the KiwiSaver first home withdrawal, the First Home Grant can’t be paid out after the settlement date, so if you’re slow applying and it’s not processed before the sale is settled, you’ll miss out.

For more information visit the Kāinga Ora website.

Home loan calculators

Use our home loan calculators to get a quick idea of how much you could afford, what you'll need to save for the deposit, and what your repayments could look like.

Talk to a home loan expert - we're here to help

If you want to get into your first home, you can talk to one of our home loan experts. They can give you obligation-free advice and guide you through the home-buying process.

Standard terms and conditions

The calculators should be treated as a guide only. They don't take into account all of your individual circumstances and are not financial advice.

Displayed interest rates subject to change. Kiwibank’s lending criteria, terms and conditions and fees apply.

Download the Product Disclosure Statement for the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme or pick up a copy from your local Kiwibank.

Kiwi Wealth Limited is the Issuer and Manager of the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme (the Scheme) and is a related company of Kiwibank Limited. Kiwibank is a distributor but is not an issuer of the Scheme. Investments made in the Scheme do not represent bank deposits or other liabilities of Kiwibank and neither they nor any other person guarantees the repayment of members’ interests in the Scheme or the payment of any earnings or returns on investment in the Scheme. Investments in the Scheme are subject to investment and other risks, including possible delays in payment of withdrawal amounts in some circumstances and loss of investment value.