KiwiSaver, HomeStart assistance tops $500m

  • Nick Smith
Building and Housing

The number of New Zealanders accessing their KiwiSaver funds and the HomeStart grant scheme has more than doubled, with the funds for home deposits topping $500 million in the scheme’s first year, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“There has been phenomenal growth in the use of KiwiSaver and HomeStart by first home buyers since the changes made on 1 April 2015. Record low interest rates are making home ownership more affordable but the challenge with the increase in house prices is securing the funding for a deposit. These schemes have helped first home buyers by more than $500m.”

The number of people accessing KiwiSaver funds has increased to 31,400 in the year to March 2016, with $486m of savings put towards a home deposit – up from 14,600 and $214m in the previous year.

HomeStart grants were accessed by 13,054 people and totalled $60.4m in the year to March 2016, as compared to 6357 and $26.4m in the previous year.

The changes made to KiwiSaver from 1 April 2015 enabled more funds to be accessed, introduced a more generous HomeStart grant, increased income and house price caps and doubled the grant for a new home.

“The combination of KiwiSaver and HomeStart took first home buyer deposit assistance to $544 million in the revised scheme’s first year. This massive boost is helping make home ownership a reality for tens of thousands of families,” Dr Smith says.

“Home ownership brings all sorts of benefits to families, as well as society. A family on the average income, whose only savings are through KiwiSaver, can achieve home ownership in five years with the support of HomeStart and Welcome Home Loans. We need to highlight the benefits of the schemes so the growth in their use continues. People can find more information at”