KiwiSaver: How can it help me get into my first home?

With property values rising significantly across New Zealand in the last few years, saving a deposit for a home has never been harder, but there is assistance available in some scenarios that can help.

As a first home buyer you may be able to access your KiwiSaver to help beef up your deposit. Even better, after 3 years of contributing to KiwiSaver, you may be entitled to a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant. The grants are administered by Housing New Zealand and will be paid to your solicitor. There are criteria you need to meet to qualify. Check out our article on the HomeStart grant here.

What is KiwiSaver?

KiwiSaver is a voluntary savings scheme to help Kiwis save for retirement. The initiative is designed to encourage you to create and maintain a consistent pattern of savings.

The savings are a combination of; contributions that are made to your account, investment returns (both plus and minus), minus withdrawals and fees and taxes.

For people who are employed, the contributions made to KiwiSaver will be done through their employer and come out of their wages. However, for those who are self-employed or unemployed, how much is contributed can be negotiated with their KiwiSaver provider.

The government also makes a contribution each year, to help Kiwi’s towards their savings targets.

When can I access the funds?

For most people, the funds in your KiwiSaver will be accessible once you are eligible for superannuation or if you’ve been a member for at least five years, if you joined over the age of 60.

However, if you’re buying your first home and have been a member for three or more years, you may be able to access the funds earlier provided you meet a specific criteria.

You may also apply to use your KiwiSaver towards the purchase of a home even if you have owned a home previously, providing your existing realisable assets are not greater than 20% to the value of the new home you intend to purchase and do not currently own property or land.

Your Loan Market mortgage adviser will be able to tell you what the criteria are and assist you through the process of accessing your KiwiSaver funds.

If you’d like to find out more, please register for one of our first home buyers seminars or download our first home buyers guide here.