Perhaps you have heard about people using their KiwiSaver for their first home. Or maybe you are curious to know more about the Kāinga Ora First Home Loan. In this blog post, we’ll dive into these two government assistance programmes for first home buyers.

What is KiwiSaver and How Does it Work?

KiwiSaver is a voluntary, long-term savings initiative in New Zealand designed to help individuals save for their retirement. It operates as a savings scheme where you contribute a percentage of your income to a KiwiSaver account, and your employer may also make contributions. Additionally, the government provides certain contributions in the form of member tax credits.

For KiwiSaver, you typically contribute either 3 per cent, 4 per cent, 6 per cent, 8 per cent, or 10 per cent of your gross salary or wages, and these contributions are deducted directly from your pay. The funds are then invested in a range of assets, such as shares, bonds, and property, by your chosen KiwiSaver provider.

While the primary purpose of KiwiSaver is retirement savings, there are provisions that allow members to withdraw funds for specific purposes, such as buying a first home.

Benefits of Using KiwiSaver for a First Home Buyers

  • First Home Withdrawal: One of the significant benefits of KiwiSaver is the ability to make a one-time withdrawal from your KiwiSaver account to contribute towards the purchase of your first home. This withdrawal can include both your contributions and your employer’s contributions, as well as any investment returns earned on those contributions.
  • KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant: In addition to the withdrawal, eligible first home buyers may also qualify for the KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant. This grant is provided by the government and can significantly boost your home buying capacity by contributing additional funds towards your deposit. The amount granted depends on your individual circumstances, but it is a valuable incentive to help make homeownership more accessible.

When it comes to using KiwiSaver for a first home purchase, note that there’s a requirement to leave a minimum of $1,000 in the account after the withdrawal for the home deposit. This ensures that some funds remain in the KiwiSaver account to continue growing and serving its long-term purpose.

If you are applying for a KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal determination as a previous home owner, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria, which you can read here.

Step-by-step Guide on Accessing KiwiSaver Funds for a First Home Buyers

  1. Check Eligibility: Before proceeding, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for a first home withdrawal. See all the criteria above.
  2. Confirm KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant Eligibility: If applicable, check if you qualify for the KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant. Eligibility criteria may include income limits, the type of property you’re buying, and the region where the property is located.
  3. Contact Your KiwiSaver Provider: Reach out to your KiwiSaver provider to request the necessary forms for a first home withdrawal. They will guide you through the process and provide the required documentation.
  4. Complete Withdrawal Application: Fill out the withdrawal application form, providing details such as the property address, purchase price, and confirmation that you meet the eligibility criteria. Attach any supporting documents required by your KiwiSaver provider.
  5. Obtain a Solicitor’s Confirmation: You’ll need a solicitor or conveyancer to confirm certain details, such as the property’s title and whether it qualifies for withdrawal. This step ensures compliance with the KiwiSaver rules.
  6. Submit Application to KiwiSaver Provider: Submit the completed application, along with any supporting documents and the solicitor’s confirmation, to your KiwiSaver provider. They will review your application and, upon approval, process the withdrawal.
  7. Receive Funds: Once approved, the funds will be transferred to your solicitor’s trust account. These funds will be used for the property purchase, including the deposit.
  8. Complete Property Purchase: With the funds secured, proceed to complete the purchase of your first home. Your solicitor will handle the necessary legal aspects, and the funds from your KiwiSaver account will contribute to the overall property transaction.

Tips for Maximising KiwiSaver Contributions for a Larger Deposit

  • Contribute at the Maximum Rate: Consider contributing at the maximum rate allowed by KiwiSaver, which is 10 per cent of your gross salary. Higher contributions can accumulate more funds over time, providing a larger deposit when you decide to purchase a home.
  • Leverage Employer Contributions: Ensure that you take full advantage of your employer’s contributions. KiwiSaver requires employers to contribute at least 3 per cent, but some may contribute more. Maximising these employer contributions can significantly boost your overall savings.
  • Make Additional Voluntary Contributions: Explore the option of making additional voluntary contributions to your KiwiSaver account. This can be a lump sum or regular contributions, providing an extra avenue to increase your savings.
  • Monitor Government Contributions: Keep track of your eligibility for government contributions, such as the member tax credit. Ensure that you contribute enough annually to receive the maximum government contribution.

Kāinga Ora First Home Loan for First Home Buyers

As earlier mentioned, usually first home buyers need a 10 per cent deposit. However, you may also recall we mentioned that with Kāinga Ora First Home Loan some first home buyers may only need a 5 per cent deposit. Let’s dive into this some more!

The Kāinga Ora First Home Loan stands out for its commitment to supporting first home buyers. With this scheme first home buyers only need a 5 per cent deposit. This can be an absolute gamechanger to some people!

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Kāinga Ora First Home Loan, there are certain eligibility criteria that applicants must meet. These include:

  • Citizenship or residency: Applicants must be either New Zealand citizens or residents.
  • Income limits: There are specific income limits depending on the region, and applicants must fall within these limits to be eligible.
  • First-time buyers: As the name suggests, this loan is exclusively designed for those purchasing their first home, making it a valuable resource for those navigating the property market for the first time.

This brochure is a must-read if you are interested in the Kāinga Ora First Home Loan. Everything is thoroughly laid out in this brochure, including the application process. So please take a good, long look and read through this brochure.


Everything shared in this blog post is general financial advice. For financial advice tailored to you, please book a kōrero with us.