With the NZ Super weekly rate for individuals rising to $411, a question comes to mind: how can anyone pay rent with that amount and still have anything left over for living expenses?

NZ Super seems to do a good job of keeping people out of hardship – if you don’t have high housing costs. And KiwiSaver can help you get on the property ladder sooner and pay off a mortgage well before retirement.

As of this week, the amount of your KiwiSaver savings you can withdraw to buy a first home is increasing.

Now even what we call “the big five hundy” – the $521 you can get from the government each year – can be used. So you can take out all but the $1,000 kick-start that you get when you join.

There's also the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant, which means that, depending how long you’ve contributed to KiwiSaver, the government will give you:

  • Up to $5,000 towards an older, existing house
  • Up to $10,000 towards a new house or towards buying land on which a new house will be built

Taking into account housing prices these days, you can use the HomeStart first home buyer's grant for houses that cost up to the following amounts in these areas:

  • $600,000: Auckland
  • $500,000: Hamilton City, Tauranga City, Western Bay of Plenty District, Kapiti Coast District, Porirua City, Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City, Nelson City, Tasman District, Waimakariri District, Christchurch City, Selwyn District, Queenstown Lakes District
  • $400,000: the rest of the country

As always, there are conditions for this first home buyer's grant, so for the details try kaingaora.govt.nz/home-ownership/first-home-grant/, email kiwisaver.enquiries@hnzc.co.nz or call 0508 935 266.

The new KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal amounts and HomeStart grants can give you a boost if you’re buying a first home – it’s worth looking into to use them to your advantage.

Comments (2)

Gravatar for Tom


8:09am | 21 Aug 2018

Thanks for your comment. The cap does not apply to a KiwiSaver withdrawal of your savings. When buying your first home you may be able to make a one-off withdrawal of most of your KiwiSaver savings – as long as you’ve been a contributing KiwiSaver member for at least three years. You also may even qualify if you have owned property previously.

Gravatar for

1:05pm | 17 Aug 2018

is the cap on house prices only for the homestart grant? or does it apply to withdrawal of saving as well? If you were to only use withdrawal could you get a house for more than your regions cap?