Ready to buy your first home? Purchasing property always requires a fair share of planning, especially when it comes to saving for your first deposit.
But if you’re a KiwiSaver member, taking this step may be easier than you think – thanks to the HomeStart Grant.
What is it? Are you eligible? And how much can you get out of it?
To answer these and other questions, read on…
What is the HomeStart Grant?
The HomeStart Grant is a special payment available to first-home buyers who are also KiwiSaver members. It’s designed to help buyers boost their funds, making it easier to take that first step onto the property ladder.
Who can apply?
To be eligible for the HomeStart Grant, you need to:
- Be aged 18 years or over
- Be purchasing a new or existing home, or land to build on
- Have made the minimum contribution to your KiwiSaver account for at least 3 years (these don’t need to be consecutive years)
- Be a first-home buyer, or in the same financial position as a first home buyer
- Have not received a HomeStart Grant before or made a withdrawal from your KiwiSaver fund before
- Have a household income of less than $85,000 (single person) or less than $130,000 (2 or more people) before tax
- Have a deposit which is 10% or more of the purchase price when the HomeStart Grant is included
- Be planning on living in the house for at least 6 months after settlement or the code of compliance has been issued.
Also, limits to the property value can apply to different areas, so it’s worth talking to a Mortgage Adviser to check first.
How much can you receive?
The amount of HomeStart Grant you can receive is linked to the number of years you’ve been making the minimum contribution to KiwiSaver. The Grant is calculated based on two different yearly rates:
- For existing homes you can be awarded a minimum of $3,000 based on $1,000 per year of membership. The maximum you can be awarded is $5,000.
- For new homes or land to build on, you can be awarded a minimum of $6,000 based on $2,000 per year of membership. The maximum you can be awarded is $10,000.
Can more than one person apply?
If you’re buying a home with other people, they may also be eligible for the HomeStart Grant.
There is a maximum grant value for each single dwelling. The value is $10,000 for an older or existing property, and $20,000 for a new property or land to build on.
How long does it take to receive the payment?
It’s important you are approved for the HomeStart Grant before you settle on a property (ideally apply for the grant well before the settlement date). It takes at least four weeks (20 working days) for an application to be processed.
If you want to know if you’re eligible for a HomeStart Grant before you choose your property: why not ask your Mortgage Adviser to help you apply for a pre-approval? Pre-approvals are valid for six months and will give you a better idea of what you can afford when you go shopping for your first home. They also make it quicker and easier to access your Grant when you’re ready to buy.
How do I apply?
You can apply for a First Home Grant by filling in an online application form here, and returning it to your Mortgage Adviser.
If you have any questions about First Home Grants, our team will be happy to help. If you’re not yet a member of KiwiSaver, or would like to know more about the benefits of KiwiSaver, you can contact us.
It’s a service that comes at no cost to you*, and puts your interests first – learn more here.