KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawal: Rules, Eligibility, and How to Apply

by | Jun 12, 2024 | 1st Home Buyer

Thinking about using your KiwiSaver funds towards your first home? It’s an exciting step and making a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal might mean home ownership is closer than you think.

If you’ve been a KiwiSaver member for at least three years, you can get a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal. This means you can withdraw (almost) all your savings, including your contributions, your employer’s contributions, and government contributions, to put towards your first home.

Naturally, nothing is ever as simple as it seems, so let’s break down the rules, eligibility and how to apply, so you can decide if using your KiwiSaver is right for you.

Criteria for KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawal

To use your KiwiSaver funds for a first home withdrawal, you need to meet certain criteria. Here is a run down:

You Must be a Member of a Participating Fund

Not all KiwiSaver funds offer withdrawals towards your first home. The first thing you should do is check with your fund that they participate. If they don’t, consider changing KiwiSaver providers before looking to buy your first home.

Participating funds include (but are not limited to):

  • ANZ
  • AMP
  • Booster
  • UniSaver
  • ASB
  • BNZ
  • Fisher Funds
  • Westpac
  • Kiwi Wealth
  • Simplicity
  • Generate
  • Mercer
  • NZ Funds
  • SuperLife
  • Aon
  • Milford
  • BNP Paribas

You Must Have Contributed for at Least Three Years

You must be a member of KiwiSaver for at least three years. Both your contributions and your employer’s contributions are eligible for withdrawal, along with any government contributions and interest earned.

There are some limits. You must leave at least $1,000 in your KiwiSaver account. This rule ensures that you remain a member of KiwiSaver, which can continue to benefit you in the future.

Investors Are Excluded

It’s also important to note that you must be buying your first home. If you’ve owned property before, you might still qualify under certain conditions, especially if Kainga Ora deems you are in the same financial position as a first home buyer.

You Can’t Have Too Many Assets

There’s a rather long list to comply with, including not having previously withdrawn KiwiSaver funds to buy a home. Naturally, you can only use a first home withdrawal once.

There are limits on assets you might have too. You must ensure you don’t have assets valued at more than 20% of certain price caps (depending on the area you’re buying in – see the table below) that could be liquidated.

This is things such as boats, caravans, shares, and good old fashioned money in the bank.

Here is a screenshot of the list, but you can also check the latest updates on the Kainga Ora first home withdrawal page here.

The following table lists the house price caps for different regions of New Zealand. If you were buying an existing home in Auckland, your assets would need to be less than $125,000 (20% of the capped price for Auckland).

REST OF NEW ZEALAND$400,000$500,000

Funds Transferred From Australian Superannuation Schemes are Excluded

According to Inland Revenue, funds transferred from Australian Superannuation Schemes cannot be withdrawn under the KiwiSaver first home withdrawal.

How to Apply For KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawal

Once you’ve determined your eligibility, the withdrawal process is fairly straightforward. You need to:

  • Get an estimate of how much you can withdraw from your KiwiSaver funds. Contact your KiwiSaver provider for this. You may need it for your home loan application.
  • Obtain a statutory declaration. This is a legal document where you state that you are buying your first home. Your solicitor or lawyer can help you with this.
  • Apply through your KiwiSaver provider. This usually involves filling out a form (most offer this online) and providing evidence of the property purchase, such as a sale and purchase agreement.
  • Your provider will review your application to ensure you meet all criteria. Apply well before your settlement date to avoid any delays.
  • When approved, your funds will not be released directly to you. Instead, they are transferred to your solicitor or conveyancer. This ensures the money is used only for the intended property purchase.

It takes approximately 10 business days to complete the transfer, so don’t leave all this until the last minute!

The Document’s You’ll Need

Gather all required documentation to support your application. This usually includes:

  • Proof of identity: A valid passport or driver’s licence.
  • Evidence of contributions: Statements from your KiwiSaver provider showing your contributions and current balance.
  • Sale and Purchase Agreement: A signed agreement confirming the purchase of the property.
  • Eligibility letter: A letter from your KiwiSaver scheme provider confirming you meet the withdrawal criteria.
  • Statutory declaration affirming that you have not previously owned property, which must be signed in front of a solicitor or other authorised person.

Things to Consider for the Long Term Health of Your KiwiSaver

While using your KiwiSaver can boost your deposit, it’s important to consider the long-term impact on your financial position. Withdrawing funds now means you have less saved for retirement.

Leaving the mandatory $1,000 in your KiwiSaver ensures the account remains open and can continue to grow moving forward.

With strategic planning and advice you can regrow your KiwiSaver balance. Talk to one of our expert KiwiSaver advisers about planning for your future. Retirement may seem quite a way off, but making smart investments now, can really benefit you in the future.

Here’s what to do now:

  • Our 5 minute KiwiSaver Quiz can help you determine your investment style
  • After taking our quiz, get a free report and specific KiwiSaver advice based on your quiz answers.
  • Start recontributing, saving and getting back on track for retirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is KiwiSaver?

KiwiSaver is a voluntary savings scheme designed to help set you up for retirement. It’s also a way to assist you with buying your first home. It is initiated by the New Zealand government. You contribute a portion of your income, and your employer and the government may add to your savings.

Benefits of Joining KiwiSaver

Joining KiwiSaver has several advantages. First, your contributions help build a substantial retirement fund. Your employer also contributes, boosting your savings.

Additionally, the government provides an annual member tax credit, further increasing your balance. With KiwiSaver, you also have the opportunity to withdraw funds early for your first home purchase, provided conditions are met.

Is the KiwiSaver first home withdrawal different to the First Home Grant?

Yes, the KiwiSaver first home withdrawal and the First Home Grant are two separate programs. The First Home Grant closed in May 2024.

How do I determine the maximum amount I can use from my KiwiSaver for a first home?

You can withdraw almost all your KiwiSaver funds except for the $1,000 government kick-start.

Is there a specific KiwiSaver first home withdrawal form I need to fill out?

Yes, you need to fill out the withdrawal form provided by your KiwiSaver provider. This form gathers all the information needed to process your request.

Who can I contact for assistance with KiwiSaver first home withdrawal?

The independent financial advisers at OneStop Financial Solutions can help with KiwiSaver withdrawals to buy a home. Talk to one of our experts today.

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