KiwiSaver Withdrawal and First Home Buyers Deposit Subsidy – What’s the difference?

Since the introduction of KiwiSaver and its options for first home buyers, there has been and continues to be confusion regarding the withdrawal option and the deposit subsidy – we hope this will help clarify both of these great options!

Firstly there are 2 distinctly different options for First Home Buyers who have Kiwisaver;

1. Kiwisaver Withdrawal – If you are a first home buyer and have been a member of Kiwisaver for a minimum of three years contributing at least the minimum contribution, you may withdraw all your contributions as well as all your employer contributions and earnings – the only thing you can’t withdraw is the government contributions. There are no caps on income or property for the Kiwisaver withdrawal feature. So if you are a First Home Buyer and have been for at least 3 years contributing the minimum amount – you are entitled to withdraw funds to be used as a deposit for your first home.

2. Kiwisaver First Home Buyers Subsidy – Over and above the withdrawal feature is a subsidy available to members who meet both the income and property cap requirements which are;

  • Earn no more than $80,000 for an individual or $120,000 for a couple or 2 or more purchasers
  • Purchase a property for no more than the regional caps below;

$485,000 in Auckland
$425,000 in Wellington City and Queenstown Lakes
$400,000 in Christchurch City and Selwyn district
$350,000 in Thames/Coromandel, Waimakariri, Hamilton City, Western Bay of Plenty, Hutt City (Lower Hutt),
Upper Hutt, Kapiti Coast, Tasman/Nelson, Tauranga City and Porirua
$300,000  in other regions

The subsidy offered is $1000 per year in KiwiSaver up to a maximum of 5 years and $5000 per member – so if you’re a couple both in KiwiSaver you could be eligible for a total of $10,000 – which is great news as every bit helps!


Other things to be aware of;

  • You must live in the property you purchase for at least 6 months (ie you cant use to purchase an investment property)
  • If you are in the same financial circumstances as a First Home Buyer you may quality for both of the above First Home Buyer options under the Second Chance Home Buyer scheme
  • You cannot use the any of these funds to make the down payment on the property. These funds are only paid on day of settlement to your solicitor.


If you have any questions or would like to discuss your personal situation, please do give us a call on 0800-449049 – we’d love to help!