UniSaver has a facility in place that you can use to access your savings to purchase a first home in New Zealand. You may, with our consent, make a withdrawal from UniSaver to purchase a first home if:
- you have not made a withdrawal for the purchase of a first home before (whether or not from UniSaver, a KiwiSaver scheme or other complying superannuation fund)
- at least 3 years have passed since we received your first contribution (or contribution made on your behalf) or you have been a member of one or more KiwiSaver schemes or complying superannuation funds for at least 3 years
- you intend to live in the home you are buying as your principal place of residence
- you have not owned property before, including bare land or a dwelling house on Māori land.
You may apply for a withdrawal to buy a dwelling house on Māori land provided you include with your application evidence of your right to occupy the land, such as a licence to occupy or occupation order.
Limits on amount withdrawn
You can access funds from your standard and locked accounts, including both member and employer contributions. The amount that may be withdrawn must not exceed the balance (adjusted for interest) of your:
- standard accounts
- locked accounts less $1,000 as prescribed by the KiwiSaver Act 2006.
The amount withdrawn can only be used towards the purchase of a home in New Zealand and be used to pay all or part of the deposit and/or for final settlement.
Consistency with KiwiSaver
We may change the terms of this benefit in the future if we believe it is necessary to ensure the benefit is consistent with the first-home withdrawal benefit available under the KiwiSaver Act 2006 and that UniSaver continues to meet the complying fund rules.
If you’re a retained member, you may also be eligible for a first-home withdrawal. However, you need to maintain a minimum balance of $5,000 in order to remain a member. When deciding how much to withdraw, you need to take into account that the monthly fee deducted from your account could cause your balance to drop below that level.
If your withdrawal reduces your account balance to less than $5,000, the remaining balance will be paid to you and your membership of UniSaver will cease. If the remaining balance consists of locked funds, you will need to transfer the balance to a KiwiSaver scheme or complying superannuation fund unless you have reached the qualifying age for New Zealand Superannuation.
An administration fee will be charged if we consent to the application. This fee is subject to change. See tax and fees for the current fee.
Applying for a first-home withdrawal
When the sale and purchase agreement has been signed, you need to complete a first-home withdrawal form and send it and accompanying documentation to UniSaver’s administrator Mercer. The documentation required includes:
- a completed first-home withdrawal form
- a copy of the sale and purchase agreement
- a letter from your solicitor or licensed conveyancer confirming the conditional/unconditional status of the offer
- a deposit slip for the trust account of your solicitor or licensed conveyancer’s trust account
- confirmation from Kāinga Ora if you are a previous home owner - see below).
Mercer needs to receive the documents at least 10 working days before the settlement date in the sale and purchase agreement.
Mercer will process the application ensuring payment is made 5 working days before the settlement date. Payments will be made to the trust account of your solicitor or licensed conveyancer, not to your own bank account.
If the sale does not proceed, the payment made to your solicitor or licensed conveyancer must be returned to Mercer. Mercer will credit the funds back to your accounts.
You may make a withdrawal to purchase a subsequent home as a previous homeowner in certain circumstances. The application process is the same as above with the following additional steps.
You need to apply to Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) to determine whether you are eligible under this category. Kāinga Ora must be satisfied that your financial position in terms of assets and liabilities is what would be expected of a person who has never owned a home.
Kāinga Ora will provide written confirmation if your application is successful. You need to include a copy of this with your application to UniSaver.
Government First Home Grant
Check out the government's First Home Grant if you're looking to buy your first home. To qualify for a First Home Grant, you'll need to have been contributing to UniSaver (or a KiwiSaver scheme or complying superannuation fund) for 3 years or more. The grant is administered by Kāinga Ora and does not come out of your UniSaver funds. You do not have to pay back the grant in most circumstances. Grants are subject to price caps, which vary geographically, and income caps.