How to save for a first home deposit in NZ
It’s the dream of so many New Zealanders – buying your first home. One thing is for sure though, it’s not getting any easier, with the national median house price creeping up towards $500,000 in September 2015, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
Thankfully, there are government incentives and schemes in place to assist you when you’re ready to buy your first home, alongside near-record lows in the nation’s Official Cash Rate. Before you speak to your real estate agent, take a look at some of your options.
Saving for your deposit
The first barrier you’re likely to face when trying to buy your first home is saving enough for a deposit. If you’re planning to take out a mortgage, most major lenders will require a deposit of 20 per cent or more. If you’re buying at the national median price, that could mean you need around $100,000 just to get your foot in the door – not an amount that most of us have ready access to.
The good news is you don’t necessarily have to do it alone. If you are able to save a 10 per cent deposit and fall under certain income thresholds, you may be eligible for the Housing New Zealand’s Welcome Home Loan scheme. It’s still hard work to save that amount of money, but if you qualify for a Welcome Home Loan, that first financial hurdle could be cut in half.
The good news is you don’t necessarily have to do it alone.
Still struggling? Use your KiwiSaver
Since its inception in 2007, the national KiwiSaver scheme has drawn in over 2.5million people. While its chief purpose is a retirement savings program, some people are able to access the money they have saved to help with their first home deposit. It’s definitely something worth looking into if you’re finding it difficult to reach that deposit.
There are rules in place, but really the process is quite simple. If you have been enrolled in KiwiSaver for more than three years you are allowed to withdraw most of your accrued savings (leaving a minimum balance of $1000) for a first home deposit only, not an investment property. That means all of your own contributions, as well as everything added by the government and your employer.
Joining the property ownership game is never easy, but hopefully these tips will see you on your way towards saving a first home deposit and heading to your real estate agent in no time.