Lately, more and more clients have been approaching us hoping to use their Kiwisaver money as part or all of their deposit for a first home purchase. Which is really great to see. But often, they are confused as to what they can access.

If you want to use Kiwisaver money as your deposit, there are actually two parts to think about.

Part one is the first home withdrawal.

This is where you can take out all of the money you’ve put in, all the money your employer has put in and the interest earned on everything. You cannot withdraw any money put in by the government (ie the $1000 kick-start must stay put). To find out how much you can get out just make contact with your Kiwisaver scheme.

Part two is the first home buyer’s subsidy.

You can get up to $5000 in addition to the first home withdrawal, above. The way it works is that you can get $1000 for every year you’ve been contributing to Kiwisaver, must have been in 3 years, can’t get more than $5000. Your income has to be below certain thresholds (eg combined income for couples must be less than $100,000) and your proposed purchase price is subject to location based caps (eg in Auckland the house has to be under $400,000). To find out whether you’re eligible you need to contact Housing NZ.

The good news – is that you may be eligible for both parts.

The really good news – is that if you’re buying with someone else (partner, brother, friend etc) and both of you are eligible then you can double up and combine the subsidy and withdrawal to make a really decent deposit.

Hope that sorts out any confusion!

About Campbell Hastie

Cam is one half of Auckland based mortgage brokers, The Go 2 Guys.

He makes a living by sharing what he knows about mortgages with people, arranging mortgages for people and then insuring people.

He doesn't claim to know everything about mortgages himself which is why he teamed up with David Mercer — hence the ‘2’ in Go 2 Guys.

He writes posts regularly on his blog and has been told he has an ability to share his knowledge in a simple and sometimes memorable way.

Feel free to comment and ask any questions. Contact Campbell Hastie m: 027 697 7789.

Join me on Google Plus


  1. Hi there. My everyday bank who I approched for a home loan seem to think you can’t use the Kiwisaver withdrawl money as part or all of the depost. I think she had it wrong, but she did say that when you place an offer on a property you must include a deposit and you can only acces the kiwisaver money when the offer has been excepted. Does that make seense, I am confuesed, as I have been told two different things.

    Regards Grady

  2. Hi Grady,

    Thanks for your question on using Kiwisaver as a deposit on your first home. The lady at the bank has definitely confused you although not intentionally! The confusion is because the word ‘deposit’ is used in a couple of ways.
    1. Most people borrow money from a bank to buy a house but the bank always requires you to put in some of your own cash. That cash is called your ‘deposit’ and is the portion of the purchase price you stump up.
    2. When you make an offer to buy a property the normal convention is that you pay a ‘deposit’ to show your offer is serious and genuine. This is usually paid to the real estate agent handling the sale and is credited toward the total purchase price as well.

    Now the two don’t have to be the same amount. For example you may want to put down $10,000 when you make the offer but you’ll actually put $50,000 toward the purchase in total. Both are called your deposit. I know, confusing eh?

    Now, the Kiwisaver bit:
    If you’ve been in Kiwisaver for at least 3 years you can take out all the money you’ve put in, all the money your employer has put in and all the interest earned and put it toward the purchase of a first home. What happens is that money is transferred direct from your Kiwisaver scheme to the person you’re buying the property from – ie you never get your hands on it! This money makes up your contribution to the purchase price. It doesn’t form the amount you pay when you make an offer to buy. This is called the First Home Withdrawal.

    There is also another part to Kwisaver for first home buyers called the First Home Subsidy. It is available if you’ve been contributing to Kiwisaver for at least 3 years and is $1000 for every year you’ve been contributing to a max of $5000. There are purchase price and income caps on the subsidy specific to the area you want to buy in, so check this out on the Housing NZ website to see if you’re eligible.

    Yes, you can combine the First Home Withdrawal and the First Home Subsidy. And if you’re buying with someone who is also eligible then you might just have a whopping ‘deposit’.


  1. […] One of the beauties of Kiwisaver is that the saving part just happens because not only does your employer do the bulk of that work for you, they’ll even put some of their own money into your account alongside your own regular contributions. These two elements make up most of what you can take out for your first home (you can take out all the interest you earn as well). Oh and there’s the government subsidy too. The first home subsidy and first home withdrawal are related but distinct as explained briefly in this post. […]