18A Leslie Hills Drive, Riccarton, Christchurch
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jody@zebramortgages.co.nz

Home Start Grant

Zebra Mortgages can help home buyers with the Kiwisaver Home Start / firsthome Grant. But what is the Kiwisaver Home Start Grant?

Buying your first home

You may be able to get government help to buy your first home if you’re a KiwiSaver member or if want to buy a house that Housing New Zealand owns.

Remember, buying a home is a major financial commitment that includes paying for:

  • your mortgage
  • legal fees
  • insurance
  • building checks and reports

KiwiSaver HomeStart grant

If you’re a first-time buyer and you’ve been making regular KiwiSaver contributions for at least 3 years, you could be able to apply for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant through Housing New Zealand.

How it works

If you buy an existing home, you can get $1000 for each year you’ve paid into the scheme. The most you can get is $5000 for 5 years.

The rules differ slightly if the house you are buying is a new build. If you buy a new home or land, you can get $2,000 for each year you’ve paid into the scheme. The most you can get is $10,000 for 5 years.

Building your own home or have land to build

Also talk to us if you are considering buying a house with other people. If you buy a house with other people who qualify for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant, you can all apply but the most you can get for one property is:

$10,000 if you are purchasing an existing property

$20,000 if you buy a new home or land for a new home.

Who can apply

In order to be eligible, you must:

  • be 18 or older
  • have been contributing to KiwiSaver for 3 years
  • have had an income in the previous 12 months (before tax) of less than $85,000 for 1 person or $130,000 for 2 or more people
  • have a deposit of at least 10% of the purchase price
  • agree to live in your property for at least 6 months from the date you buy your home (the settlement date), or if the house is new, when the code compliance certificate is issued.

Earning Limits Explained

Every New Zealander is different, and the earning limits could arguably be fair to some but not others. Even a $2 salary difference can make a huge difference when you tally it up over a year. For example, if you’re a couple earning a total of $130,001 you’re entitled to $0 whereas the same couple earning $129,999 could be eligible for up to $20,000. This is what the law is – there is no way around it. Whilst this may seem unfair if you’re earning above the threshold but other New Zealanders could argue you’re earning far more than a lot of other people. It doesn’t matter how much you earn if you qualify or are eligible for a HomeStart grant, or Kiwisaver first home withdrawal then it’s in your interest to apply for it and use it.

Do you exceed the $85,000 or $130,000 earning limit?

Housing New Zealand will assess if you earned $85,000 or $130,000 in total over the 12 months before you apply.

If you’ve had a pay rise in the last 12 months to over the earning limit, you may still qualify as Housing New Zealand looks at the total salary you were actually paid. For example, if your salary jumped from $80,000 to $90,000 in March and you apply in April, the total salary for the last 12 months would be somewhere around $81,000.

If your company offers a share-based incentive plan, i.e. sacrificing salary for shares in the company you work for, this also lowers your total salary as it is assessed on a cash basis. Therefore if your workplace offers such an incentive scheme, you are as well to use it.

It is worth noting that you should not approach your employer asking for a temporary pay reduction to meet the earning limits. HNZ takes this very serious as this is fraud and no employer with any sense would oblige. You also risk your job by asking – so don’t.

Where to from here?

If you think you may qualify for the Home Start grant, have been in your Kiwisaver Scheme and committed to the minimum three year contribution period, or would like us to check them please get in touch here as we may be able to get you a pre approval.