Kiwisaver Homestart Changes: Hope For Auckland's First Home Buyers?
Recently the government announced an expansion to the eligibility for applicants in relation to KiwiSaver HomeStart grants.
From 1 August 2016 the income limits, for applicants to be eligible, increased from $80,000 to $85,000 for a single person and from $120,000 to $130,000 for a couple.
The house price limit for applicants has also increased from $600,000 to $650,000 in Auckland. Other regions of the country have also received a $50,000 increase to their relative house price caps.
The amount of the grants remains unchanged, being up to $5,000 for individuals and up to $10,000 for couples purchasing an existing property. First home buyers intending to build a new house may be eligible for a grant of up to $10,000 for individuals and up to $20,000 for couples. It should be noted that these grants are the maximum that can be applied for and eligibility will depend on how long a first home buyer has been contributing towards their KiwiSaver fund.
The rules applicable to withdrawing KiwiSaver funds remain unchanged – i.e. all KiwiSaver funds (provided members leave a minimum of $1,000 in their fund) can be withdrawn to purchase a first home if they have been contributing for a minimum of three years and intend to live in the property. Any funds transferred from an Australian Superannuation fund must also remain in the account.
There has been a lot of speculation in the media recently over whether, in fact, this expansion to eligibility is the best thing for first home buyers and easing the Auckland housing crisis. It has been noted that $650,000 is still around 6.5 times the average Auckland couple's income and, if the housing bubble were to burst and house prices fall, there may be cause for concern that a lot of people would be headed towards "financial ruin".
With the Unitary Plan broadly accepted, there is a keen interest to see whether this will alleviate the housing issues facing Aucklanders. However, whether the Unitary Plan will assist first home buyers is yet to be seen.
For more information about accessing your KiwiSaver funds or applying for the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant please contact Dan Maguire or one of our friendly team at Turner Hopkins.
“To Michael Robinson – I wanted to thank you and your colleagues for many years of excellent service to the Bank. You have an outstanding business that has proved to be one of the most reliable and ethical businesses that Collections have dealt with in the almost 9 years I was with the Bank.”
“Joy, we cannot thank you enough for your help with our purchase! You have been wonderful to deal with and so proactive (and patient with my numerous emails). We will be visiting NZ in April so will make sure we drop in to thank you in person.”
“John is very easy to talk to, he never makes you feel dumb, and never makes you feel like you are wasting his time for asking questions. He explains everything very clearly, every time. John's support staff are also very efficient and so easy to deal with. No detail is missed when dealing with them. My husband and I are fans of them all :)”
“I have struggled with different legal firms over the years, but over the past few years I have engaged with Turner Hopkins with various requirements from personal relating to wills, family trust, property settlements and contracts through to commercial engagements including employment advice, commercial lease agreements and general legal advice. I have engaged with a number of the people in the firm and always found them professional, punctual in their responses and very sound in the advice provided.”
“I can't speak highly enough of Jenny. She got everything done in a timely manner and when my ex-husband threw a spanner in the works at the eleventh hour she got the required documentation to his lawyers and settlement back on track.”