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KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant: Buying Your First Home

Buyers  |  8 April 2019  | By the settled.govt.nz team

Thinking of buying

Is the dream of home ownership within your grasp? It could be more possible than you think! You may be eligible for government support to buy your first home… including a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant.

What is KiwiSaver HomeStart?

Have you been contributing to KiwiSaver? After just three years of contributions, you may be entitled to a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant, administered by Housing New Zealand. Grant values vary according to whether you’re purchasing an existing home (maximum $10,000) or building or purchasing a new home (capped at $20,000).  

Am I eligible for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant?

You may be able to apply for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant if you, or anyone you may be buying a home with:

  • have been contributing the required minimum amount to KiwiSaver for at least three years
  • are aged 18 years or over
  • have not already received the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant or its predecessor, the KiwiSaver deposit subsidy
  • have a household income (before tax) of less than $85,000 per year (for one person), or less than $130,000 per year (for two or more people)
  • have a deposit that is 10% or more of the purchase price, including the addition of the grant (if the deposit isn’t borrowed or secured against other property, equity gifts, credits on settlement or family guarantees)
  • are planning to live in the house for at least 6 months from the settlement or completion of the property.

Note: Regardless of the number of eligible KiwiSaver members purchasing a home together, no more than $10,000 worth of grants will be paid for the purchase of an existing/older property and no more than $20,000 for a new home or for the purchase of land on which a home will be built.

See the Housing New Zealand website for the full criteria.

What’s involved in applying for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant?

Worked out that you meet the criteria? Great! The application process for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant requires:

  • proof of income
  • KiwiSaver contribution statement
  • identification
  • copies of pay slips for the last two months
  • a signed copy of an agreement for sale and purchase, a fixed price building contract or a contract with a builder/developer for a yet to be built property, if applicable*
  • evidence that you have a deposit of at least 10% of the purchase price, if applicable*
  • a proposed settlement date/grant payment date at least four weeks away, if applicable*.

* Not required if you are only applying for a pre-approval.

 You can apply online via the Housing New Zealand website.

What other assistance is available in New Zealand for first time home buyers?

We have plenty of suggestions on our website on how first home buyers can fund their first home. For instance:

  • If you have contributed to KiwiSaver for at least three years you may be able to withdraw some of your savings from your KiwiSaver account
  • The Welcome Home Loan is also designed to help first home buyers. If you’re eligible you might be able to get a home loan with a 10% finance deposit rather than the 20% required by most lenders. How much you can borrow depends on your lender, where you live in New Zealand and what you can afford. 
  • If you’re Māori and wanting to buy your first home you may be eligible for a Kāinga Whenua loan to build, buy or relocate a home onto your ancestral land.

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