KiwiSaver for First Home Buyers
Oct. 13, 2021
Buying your first home can be prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, there is some assistance available through the KiwiSaver scheme which may enable first home buyers to get a foot in the door.
First Home KiwiSaver Withdrawal
Eligible KiwiSaver members can apply directly to their scheme provider to make a first home withdrawal.
KiwiSaver members will be eligible if they: (1) have been contributing to KiwiSaver for 3+ years; (2) intend to live in the home; and (3) have never owned property before.
Purchasers intending to build, purchase a turnkey property, or buy off the plans should get legal advice before signing any contract to ensure it will meet the requirements for withdrawal. It is particularly important in those instances as the timing of your withdrawal in the purchase process is important – KiwiSaver funds cannot be used to pay a building contract, but instead must be used to purchase the estate in land.
Please note specific rules apply where you intend to use KiwiSaver funds for the initial deposit due under your Agreement for Sale and Purchase, and it is highly likely your offer will need to be amended to allow for this.
In some circumstances KiwiSaver members who have previously owned property may be eligible to make a first home withdrawal, provided the member: (1) no longer holds an interest in any property; (2) has not previously made a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal; (3) has been a KiwiSaver member for 3+ years; and (4) meets the relevant asset caps for the area in which they wish to purchase.
Prospective purchasers in this position should contact Kainga Ora in the first instance to confirm their eligibility to withdraw KiwiSaver funds.
First Home Grant
The First Home Grant is available to eligible first home purchasers purchasing eligible properties as part of the overall KiwiSaver scheme.
First home buyers who have been contributing to KiwiSaver for 3 or more years may be entitled to a grant of $1,000 per year of contribution for a pre-existing home or $2,000 per year of contribution for a new property (including properties purchased off the plans or land purchased to build on).
The grant increases proportionate to the number of years the first home buyer has been a member of the scheme up to 5 years, so that the maximum grant available to an individual for an older property is $5,000 and for a new property is $10,000.
Couples may combine their grants to assist with a property purchase.
Purchasers must also meet the income requirements and home eligibility requirements. As of 1 April 2021, the maximum income to be eligible for a First Home Grant is $95,000 for a single person and $150,000 for two or more people. The home eligibility requirements are determined by regional house price caps set by the Government. These were increased in most regions as part of the housing reforms announced on 23 March 2021. Specific information can be found here.
If you intend to use a First Home Grant, you will need to be careful of the timeframes involved. It would be prudent to get pre-approved for the grant by Kainga Ora before you start your property search.
Please note that the First Home Grant operates as an interest free loan which is forgiven after 6 months. If you move out of the property within 6 months of purchase or provide Kainga Ora with incorrect or misleading information, they may require you to repay any sum received – with interest!
For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 04 473 8484.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and not tailored to your personal circumstances. It is only current as at the date posted and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require legal advice, please contact us for further assistance.