HomeStart grant eligibility checklist

Published: 1 August 2016

KiwiSaver HomeStart grantCheck that you are eligible for the HomeStart grant.

 

  • I am 18 years or over.

  • I currently do not own a home or land.

  • I have not received the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant or its predecessor the KiwiSaver deposit subsidy before.

  • I am a member of a KiwiSaver scheme, complying fund or exempt employer scheme (contact your scheme provider to check your scheme is eligible).

  • I have contributed at least the minimum allowable percentage of my total income to a KiwiSaver scheme, complying fund or exempt employer scheme for at least three years. (From 1 April 2013 the minimum contribution was increased to 3 percent of your income, 3 percent of the minimum wage for non-earners or 3 percent of your yearly benefit for beneficiaries. From 1 July 2007 to 31 March 2009 the minimum contribution was 4 percent, and from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2013 it was reduced to 2 percent.)

  • I am the sole buyer and I have earned $85,000 or less (before tax) in the last 12 months.

  • We are two or more buyers who have earned a combined income of $130,000 or less (before tax) in the last 12 months.

  • I have a deposit that is 10 percent or more of the purchase price. (The 10 percent deposit includes the money you can withdraw through the KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal feature, the HomeStart grant amount you or the other purchasers may be eligible for and any other funds, such as savings, fixed and term deposits or funds already paid to a real estate agent or solicitor. The deposit can also be gifted by a relative with a gifting declaration.) Note that the deposit cannot be borrowed or secured against other property, equity gifts, credits on settlement or family guarantees in order to qualify.

  • I am buying one of the following types of property and land arrangements:

    • fee simple

    • stratum estate (freehold and leasehold)

    • cross-lease (freehold and leasehold)

    • leasehold

    • Maori land

  • I am purchasing an equal share in a property proportionate to the number of intended property owners.

  • The purchase price of the property is within the regional house price caps as shown in the below table:

Region

House price cap for existing/older properties

House price cap for new properties

Auckland $600,000 $650,000
Hamilton City, Tauranga City, Western Bay of Plenty District, Kapiti Coast District, Porirua City, Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City, Tasman District, Nelson City, Waimakariri District, Christchurch City, Selwyn District, Queenstown Lakes District $500,000 $550,000
Rest of New Zealand $400,000 $450,000

 

Minimum contribution to KiwiSaver by year

Year

If you are a wage or salary earner or are self employed

If you are a non-earner

If you are a beneficiary

1 July 2007 to 31 March 2009

4% of your income

4% of adult minimum wage (based on 40 hour week)

4% of your yearly benefit

1 April 2009 to 31 March 2013

2% of your income

2% of adult minimum wage (based on 40 hour week)

2% of your yearly benefit

From 1 April 2013

3% of your income

3% of adult minimum wage (based on 40 hour week)

3% of your yearly benefit

Regular and minimum contributions

To be eligible for the HomeStart grant, KiwiSaver members need to contribute the minimum percentage of their total income (currently 3%) for at least three years to their KiwiSaver scheme, complying fund or exempt employers fund. Members are required to contribute regularly in each of the years that they are making payments, however contributions do not need to be consecutive in order to qualify for the HomeStart grant. For those earning no income, contributions for those periods will need to be made of at least the minimum percentage (currently 3%) of the minimum adult wage, based on a 40 hour week. If no voluntary contributions are made during periods of non income, then that period will not count towards eligibility for the HomeStart grant.

It is important to note that in order to qualify for the HomeStart grant, contributions must be made to the KiwiSaver member’s scheme from all sources of income, not just their main source of income.

 

Table 1: Regular contributions test by employment category

Salary & wage earners – automatic deductions from salary & wages The total number of months in which contributions are received divided by 12 equals or exceeds the relevant period for the grant being sought (3, 4 or 5 years)
Self employed or beneficiary – voluntary contributions Voluntary contributions are made at least annually and the number of years in which contributions are made equals or exceeds the relevant period for which the grant is sought (3, 4 or 5 years)
Mixed salary/waged/benefit & self employed – combination of automatic & voluntary contributions

The total number of month in which regular contributions are received divided by 12 – salary/wage portion

Plus the number of contributions per number of years of self employment/beneficiary income equals or exceeds the relevant period for which the grant is sought (3, 4 or 5 years) – self employed/benefit portion

 

Table 2: Minimum contributions test by employment category

Salary & wage earners – automatic deductions from salary & wages A minimum contributions test is not required if the regular contribution requirement for salaried/waged income as shown in Table 1 is met
Self employed or beneficiary – voluntary contributions Total contributions over the relevant period is equal to the minimum percentage of the gross taxable income or the minimum percentage of the adult minimum wage based on a 40 hour week
Mixed salary/waged/benefit & self employed – combination of automatic & voluntary contributions

The total number of months in which contributions are received divided by 12 (rounded down to the nearest whole year)

Plus the period of self employment equals or exceeds the relevant period for the grant sought (3, 4 or 5 years)

and total contributions over period of self employment equals at least the minimum percentage of the gross taxable income

 

If you are a previous property owner, you should not have realisable assets totalling more than 20 percent of the house price cap for existing/older properties for the area you are buying in. Realisable assets are belongings that you can sell to help buy a house. For example, if you were buying a house in a $400,000 cap area, your realisable assets cannot be worth more than $80,000. Housing New Zealand considers the following to be realisable assets.

  • Money in bank accounts (including fixed and term deposits)

  • Shares, stocks and bonds

  • Investments in banks or financial institutions

  • Building society shares

  • Boat or caravan (if the value is over $5,000)

  • Other vehicles (such as classic motorbikes or cars — not being used as your usual method of transport)

  • Other individual assets valued over $5,000

  • Deposit funds paid to real estate agent

 

For more information

 

What are my options for buying a house? 

Are you planning on buying an existing house?

Are you planning on buying land to build a house on it?

Are you planning on buying a property off the plans directly from a builder/developer?

 

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