KiwiSaver and First Home Buyers

May 2020

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What is KiwiSaver and How Can it Help With My First Home? 

KiwiSaver is a voluntary savings scheme which provides an easy way for New Zealanders to save and invest. As well as helping to set you up for your retirement, your KiwiSaver account can give you access to a government grant for first home buyers. You may also be eligible for early withdrawal of funds to help with your home buying journey. 

How to Apply for KiwiSaver 

KiwiSaver is available to all New Zealand citizens and permanent residents who live or usually live in New Zealand.  

You are automatically enrolled into KiwiSaver if you are: 

  • eligible to be enrolled 
  • starting work with a new employer 
  • between 18 and 65 in age. 

If you are eligible but not yet a KiwiSaver member you can enrol by: 

  • asking your employer for a KiwiSaver information pack and completing a deduction form 
  • choosing a KiwiSaver provider yourself and signing up directly.  

If you’re self-employed, or you are not working, you will need to sign up directly. 

What are the KiwiSaver Contribution Rates? 

 If you’re a salary or wage earner and choose to stay enrolled you'll contribute either 3%, 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% of your before tax pay.  If you do not choose a rate, your employer will deduct the default rate of 3%.  

Does My Employer Contribute to My KiwiSaver? 

Yes, on top of your own contributions, your employer has to match your contributions with a compulsory minimum KiwiSaver contribution of 3% towards your fund.  

Does the Government Contribute to My KiwiSaver? 

Yes, there’s also an annual government contribution to your KiwiSaver, even if you're not an employee. This contribution will be up to $521 each year depending on how much you have contributed to your fund.  

KiwiSaver members are still eligible for NZ Superannuation when they reach 65. 

Can I Withdraw My KiwiSaver to Help Buy My First Home? 

If you have been in KiwiSaver for three years you can take out some of your savings for your first home.  

You will be eligible to withdraw: 

  • your contributions 
  • your employer's contributions 
  • the government contribution 
  • interest you have earned 
  • any fee subsidies (if you received these). 

However, when accessing this money you must leave $1,000 in your KiwiSaver account. 

You may also be eligible to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver funds early if you are experiencing financial hardship. 

What is a First Home Grant? 

If you're a first-time home buyer, or you don’t currently own or have interests in any other property in New Zealand, you could be eligible for a First Home Grant worth up to $10,000. First Home Grants are available if you have been making regular KiwiSaver contributions for three to five years.  


Am I Eligible for a First Home Grant? 

To be eligible for a First Home Grant, you must:  

  • Be over 18 
  • have earned less than the income caps in the last 12 months: $95,000 or less before tax for a single buyer; $150,000 or less before tax for two or more buyers. 
  •  not currently own any property 
  • have been contributing at least the minimum amount to KiwiSaver for three years or more 
  • purchase a property that is within the regional house price caps 
  • agree to live in your new house for at least six months. 

For full details, see our article What Is the First Home Grant? 


Can I Use a First Home Grant to Buy a Rental Property? 

A property purchased using a First Home Grant cannot be used as a rental property unless you have lived in it as your principal place of residence for at least six months from settlement date for existing properties, or when code of compliance is issued for new builds.


Buying Your First Home 

Getting your finances in order is just one step on the path to buying your first home. Take a look at our helpful articles on Buying Old or New, Should I Use A Mortgage Broker? and Crockers' Guide To Buying An Apartment before you start your search.  


How Can Crockers Help? 

If you’re looking to buy a new investment property or are after some straightforward and practical advice on property management issues, contact the Crockers Property Management team at


property manager crockers

Get in touch with us today

Call 0800 CROCKERS or Call 0800 2762 5377

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