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KĀINGA ORA – HOMES and COMMUNITIES FIRST HOME GRANT

This article was written by Sue McDonnell-Golds  

Buying your first home with KiwiSaver

After three years of regularly contributing to KiwiSaver (of at least the minimum allowable percentage of your total income) you may be entitled to the First Home Grant.  The default rate is currently 3% and this is the minimum that you can contribute to KiwiSaver.    

The minimum deposit requirement is 5% for both new* and existing homes and evidence of the deposit must be produced.    The Grant can be paid to all buyers who are eligible.    

You can apply for the First Home Grant or pre-approval for the Grant, if you have belonged and contributed to a KiwiSaver scheme, complying fund or exempt employer scheme for at least three years. 

If you are purchasing an existing or older home, the Grant is $1,000.00 for each year of your contribution to the scheme: 

  • 3 years of contributing = $3,000.00 (the minimum you can get)
  • 4 years of contributing = $4,000.00
  • 5 years of contributing = $5,000.00 (the maximum you can get) 

If you are purchasing a new home*, a property bought off the plans, or land to build a new home** on, the First Home Grant is $2,000.00 for each year of contribution to the scheme: 

  • 3 years of contributing = $6,000.00 (the minimum you can get)
  • 4 years of contributing = $8,000.00
  • 5 years of contributing = $10,000.00 (the maximum you can get) 

*The definition of new home is a property where the Building Code Compliance Certificate was issued less than 12 months before the date of the First Home Grant application
**If you are purchasing land to build a new home on, there is a maximum amount the combined land and new home can cost and other eligibility criteria to meet.
Please refer to www.kaingaora.govt.nz for further information to check your eligibility.

Housing Caps

Existing older properties

$600,000.00 in Auckland, Queenstown Lakes District.
$500,000.00 in Christchurch City, Selwyn District, Waimakariri District, Western Bay of Plenty District, Tauranga City, Hamilton City, Kapiti Coast District, Porirua City, Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City,  Nelson City, Tasman District.
$400,000.00 for the remainder of the country. 

New properties

$550,000.00 in Christchurch City,  Selwyn District,  Waimakariri District, Western Bay of Plenty District,  Tauranga City, Hamilton City, Kapiti Coast District, Porirua City, Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City,  Nelson City, Tasman District.
$650,000.00 in Auckland, Queenstown Lakes District.
$500,000.00 for the remainder of the country.

Income Caps

$85,000.00 or less before tax for a single buyer.
$130,000.00 or less before tax for two or more buyers.  

Applications

A minimum of four weeks (20 working days) is required between receipt of the application and the date of payment of funds required for settlement of the purchase.  If you apply for the Grant to meet the financial conditions of an agreement for sale and purchase, there must allow at  least 10 working days prior to the date the agreement is due to be confirmed as unconditional.   

Applications that do not provide the required four weeks’ notice, may not be accepted and the Grant may not be paid out.  The Grant cannot be paid out after settlement has taken place. 

If you are looking for your first home, but have not yet found the right house, we would recommend that you apply for pre-approval of your First Home Grant application. 

You can buy a property with other people who may or may not be a KiwiSaver member.  If they are members, they may all qualify for First Home Grants.  

A second chance home buyer may access the Grants but, like first home buyers, you will have to meet the income cap.   You will need to have realisable assets worth less than 20% of that area’s housing cap and must not have previously received a KiwiSaver subsidy or Grant.  Check out the Kāinga Ora website for more information. 

It is important that the application forms are completed correctly and that all additional information provided with the application is correct and up to date. 

In particular, to avoid delays in processing the application, you should ensure that: 

  • The income certificates are for the last 12 months, not the last financial year
  • That income certificates are provided for all named or intended purchasers
  • You provide a detailed KiwiSaver contribution statement that covers the period you have contributed to KiwiSaver
  • You provide evidence of a deposit of at least 5% of the purchase price if you have already entered into a sale and purchase agreement
  • The correct application has been completed 

The KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawal is administered by participating KiwiSaver providers and you need to contact your KiwiSaver provider for information regarding withdrawal of funds.

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