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KiwiSaver for first homes gets boost: ANZ

ANZ is reporting a surge in the number of customers wanting to use KiwiSaver to help buy their first home following the April 1 introduction of new regulations for KiwiSaver first-home withdrawals.

Wednesday, April 22nd 2015, 2:44PM


ANZ Wealth managing director John Body said ANZ’s customer contact centre received more inquiries about KiwiSaver first-home withdrawals in the first week of April than it did in the whole month last year.

“Also, the number of inquiries to our contact centre in March was double the number we received in the same period last year,” he said.

“It is clear that more people are really keen to understand how KiwiSaver can help them into home ownership.”

Government changes to KiwiSaver that took effect from April 1 included:
• Allowing KiwiSaver members to withdraw all their KiwiSaver funds (except the Government’s $1000 Kickstart) to help fund their first home.
• A new KiwiSaver HomeStart grant of up to $10,000 ($20,000 for couples) to help fund new builds of first homes. This complements the existing KiwiSaver HomeStart grant of up to $5000 ($10,000 for couples) to help purchase a first home.

“The number of ANZ KiwiSaver members making a first-home withdrawal has already trebled over the past two years but it is clear the Government’s latest changes have sparked even more interest,” he said.

“KiwiSaver is now a significant part of the first-home buying equation but there are conditions and people need to know how it works so they can take full advantage of the scheme. For instance you need to be a member of KiwiSaver for at least three years before you can make a first home withdrawal. And, people wanting to apply for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant would need to regularly contribute at least 3% of their income to KiwiSaver for a minimum three years. But you really make the most of this benefit when you have been contributing for five years because the Government will potentially give you $1000 for each year you have been contributing, up to a maximum of $5000 per person. You can double that if you are looking to build your first home."

He said KiwiSaver offered good opportunities but many people were not aware they needed to be actively contributing to qualify for the HomeStart grant.

Body also encouraged people to resume contributions to KiwiSaver after making a first-home withdrawal: “The primary purpose of KiwiSaver is to save for your retirement, although there are also some great benefits to help people buy their first home. KiwiSaver is a long-term savings vehicle and the benefits accumulate as you contribute over time so it’s important to start contributing to KiwiSaver again once you’ve made a first-home withdrawal.”

Tags: John Body Kiwibank

« Bankrupt KiwiSaver accounts off-limitsSmall Kiwi market a problem for KiwiSaver »

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