Checking your eligibility
To qualify for a first home withdrawal you must meet the following criteria:
- You need to have been in KiwiSaver or a complying superannuation fund for a minimum of three years.
- You can only make a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal once.
- If you’ve owned property before, you may qualify for a second chance home buyer withdrawal. You may also qualify for a HomeStart grant. To check eligibility contact Housing New Zealand Corporation.
- KiwiSaver first home withdrawal is only available to applicants who want to buy homes or land in New Zealand and/or have the right to occupy Maori land.
- You need to live in the home or land you intend to buy. Investment properties do not qualify.
Finding out what you can withdraw
Check your KiwiSaver balance and work out how much you want to take out. If you’re with Kiwi Wealth you can login at the top of the page.
- When estimating how much you can withdraw, factor-in that you will need to leave a minimum of $1,000 in your KiwiSaver account.
- Be aware you cannot withdraw any amount transferred from a complying Australian superannuation scheme. Members with UK funds should contact us for further details.
- Check your KiwiSaver HomeStart grant eligibility. You could get up to $5,000 for an existing home or $10,000 for a new build. Contact Housing New Zealand Corporation for criteria.
- Any amount approved for your withdrawal is subject to market performance until it is ready to pay, which will happen in the next weekly rebalancing cycle. This will mean the amount you're paid could differ from your current balance.
How much you can borrow?
Understanding how much you can borrow is the first step of hunting for houses you can afford.
Our sister company Kiwibank has Mobile Mortgage Managers who can come and visit you to chat through your house-buying journey and help you work through how to get prepared. To get a sense of how much you might be able to borrow, you can try their handy mortgage calculators.
Preparing for house-hunting
Now you have an idea about what you can afford, the house-hunting can begin. It’s worthwhile understanding what the steps are should you find a home that you want to put an offer in on.
Leave plenty of time to withdraw your KiwiSaver investment
Your KiwiSaver account is a locked-in investment which means releasing funds may take longer than you might expect.
Have everything you need for your withdrawal application
KiwiSaver can be used for your deposit and/or at settlement. Before applying to withdraw funds for your house, here’s what you’ll need to have done:
- Confirmed your eligibility
- Found out how much you can withdraw from your KiwiSaver account
- Confirmed relevant Housing New Zealand Corporation approval (if you qualify for second chance withdrawal).
- Confirmed you have the right to occupy Maori land (if applicable).
- Appointed a property lawyer
Familiarise yourself with what your property lawyer will need to do
Your property lawyer will play an important role in buying your home and getting access to your funds. When you are making an offer on a house, they need to post your KiwiSaver scheme provider:
- A letter allowing funds to be transferred to them.
- Confirmation about using KiwiSaver at deposit or settlement stage.
- A copy of the sale and purchase agreement naming you as a purchaser.
- Confirmation from Housing New Zealand regarding qualification for a second chance withdrawal (if applicable).
- Proof that you have the right to occupy Maori land (if applicable).
Making an offer
While your property lawyer will manage the paperwork, it’s important you understand the ins and outs of the process and the lead time your KiwiSaver scheme provider needs. This may take up to 15 working days.
Ways to buy a house
There are three main ways to buy a house in New Zealand:
After your offer is accepted
When an offer has been accepted, in addition to the first or second chance home withdrawal form, your property lawyer will need to send your KiwiSaver Scheme provider:
- A copy of the sale and purchase agreement
- Confirmation of their Trust account number
- A completed application form. This must include a statutory declaration, and certified copies of a) proof of identity and b) proof of residential address.
- Any Housing New Zealand Corporation confirmation if you qualify for second chance withdrawal and/or proof you have the right to occupy Maori land (if applicable).
Once we have the required paper work it’s just a matter of waiting for your settlement day. The following will happen behind the scenes:
- Your KiwiSaver first home withdrawal, and if applicable, your HomeStart grant from Housing NZ, will be paid directly to your property lawyer on or before the settlement day.
- Your property lawyer will check everything is in order (like checking the rates and utilities have been paid by the seller and are up to date).
- A statement will be sent to your bank showing the amount required to settle the sale. Your property lawyer will then arrange for your loan to be drawn down and the money transferred to the seller.
Once that has been completed, all you need to do is get the keys and move into your new home.
Getting back on financial track
Get your free money
Now that you’ve moved in, and your KiwiSaver account has significantly reduced, it’s important to consider rebuilding your investment to help prepare for the retirement you want. Although paying off your new large debt ASAP may seem the best way forward, experts say KiwiSaver has a secret sauce that can really help investment balances quickly build up again and significantly increase your retirement savings: “free” money. If you’re eligible you may receive:
- Employer contributions at a minimum of 3%.
- Government contributions up to $521 if you put in $1042 each KiwiSaver year (the KiwiSaver year runs from 1 July through to 30 June).
Combined, this approach can outperform repayment interest, which is why experts recommend getting back in the saddle with KiwiSaver ASAP.