KiwiSaver guide

How much to save for my first home loan deposit

Figure out the first home deposit you’ll need, and how to reach that goal with the help of your KiwiSaver savings.

A place to call your own

While surviving on a shoestring budget in your renting years is a rite of passage for many Kiwis, the natural progression is to eventually step onto the property ladder through home buying. Home ownership is a big step to take, particularly given how much house prices have risen in recent years.

The first step on the road to becoming a homeowner is saving your deposit. In most cases you’ll need to save at least 20% of the value of the real estate you plan to purchase, so the higher the price, the larger the deposit.

How much of a deposit do I need?

Since 2016, banks have been restricted on how much money they are allowed to lend to prospective home buyers. These restrictions – called LVRs (loan-to-value ratios) – make it difficult to gain pre-approval for a home loan if you have an insufficient deposit. In most cases you’ll need to have saved a house deposit that is at least 20% of the property’s purchase price in order to buy a house.

This can feel like a tough task in this day and age, but with the help of KiwiSaver, there may be a glimmer of hope for first home buyers who are struggling to reach their deposit goals.

Getting to 20% with the power of KiwiSaver

While KiwiSaver is usually associated with retirement savings, it can also help you get into your first home quicker, as you can withdraw most of your savings for the purchase of your first home. If you’re buying a first home with a partner, you can both withdraw funds from your KiwiSaver accounts.

Between employer contributions, voluntary contributions and government contributions – for every $1 you put into your KiwiSaver account; the Government puts in $0.50 (up to $521.43 a year) – you may be able to grow your first home deposit quicker in KiwiSaver than in a traditional savings account.

Eligibility criteria apply – amongst other things, you can only make a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal if you haven’t owned property before, if you have been a KiwiSaver member for at least three years, and if you will live in the home or on the land that you are buying (KiwiSaver first home withdrawal cannot be used to purchase an investment property).

When a smaller deposit might be enough

Saving a 20% deposit for your first home can be a struggle. However, in some circumstances the deposit required may be less than 20%.

A number of home loan products requiring lower deposits do exist, such as a 'First Home Loan', which can require a minimum deposit that is lower than most traditional home loans. This may make getting into your first home a little easier.

You can apply for a low deposit First Home Loan from participating lenders, though not all banks and lenders offer this option. Kāinga Ora underwrites the loan, which means you won’t face higher interest rates or extra upfront fees. Before you can get a First Home Loan you need to meet criteria set by the government, including an income cap and a regional house price cap. See the Kāinga Ora website for details.

As part of the mortgage application, you'll need to meet the specific lending criteria of the participating lender you choose, which can take in everything from your credit history to the credit cards you hold, to the number of dependents you have.

As with all major monetary decisions, it’s wise to seek advice from a professional adviser. Your mortgage broker or Adviser can help you apply.

Not yet a KiwiSaver member?

Joining or switching your KiwiSaver provider to AMP is also a cinch – just fill in our application form with basic personal details like your name and IRD number and we’ll do the rest, including transferring your retirement savings over.

What about the First Home Grant?

You may also be eligible for the First Home Grant (previously called the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant). This gives first-home buyers a grant of up to $5,000 for individuals and up to $10,000 for couples to put towards the purchase of an existing or older home. It’s even more generous for a new home, with up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for couples contributing to a new build.

What other costs do I need to budget for?

While the deposit and home loan repayments may be your biggest and most obvious property purchase expenses, there are a number of other costs to be aware of and plan for. These include:

  • Interest rates (you can face higher interest rates at any time in response to reserve bank cash rate increases)
  • Legal/conveyancing fees
  • Loan application fees 
  • Insurances relating to home and contents, lenders mortgage insurance (LMI)
  • Builder’s reports
  • Moving costs
  • Furnishing costs for a new house 
  • Ongoing costs (council rates, strata fees, utility bills, general maintenance and upkeep)

Useful tools, documents and forms

Already have an AMP KiwiSaver account? The following tools and resources offer easy ways for our members to better understand and grow their retirement savings.

KiwiSaver first home withdrawal application

If you’re ready to make your first home withdrawal, download and complete the form below. Send it to and we’ll do the rest!

Review your income and expenses

It’s wise to regularly review not just your KiwiSaver situation, but your general financial health. Our easy-to-use budget worksheet can give you a clear idea of how much money is going out, and how much is going in.

Check your financial fitness

Another, even simpler tool to check your financial health, our free Financial Fitness Check takes just five minutes, and can make the tricky task of managing your money far simpler.

KiwiSaver fund quiz tool

As an AMP KiwiSaver Scheme member, you have total control over how your retirement savings are invested. You can mix and match up to seven different funds, and our Fund Quiz tool can help you to identify which funds are right for you.

Learn more about KiwiSaver and first homes

At the beginning of your KiwiSaver journey? Your first home deposit is just one way in which KiwiSaver can help you to build a brighter future for yourself. 

Use KiwiSaver for your first home

Are you eligible to use your KiwiSaver savings to buy your first home? How exactly do you withdraw the funds from your KiwiSaver account? This guide walks you through all you need to know.

More about KiwiSaver

The AMP KiwiSaver Scheme gives you more control over your retirement savings than you might realise. From choosing your own mix of funds to enjoying a wealth of member benefits, here’s how you can make the most of your KiwiSaver account.

First home and retirement calculator

How much money do you need to save for your first home, or for retirement? What level of contributions, and over how much time, do you need to reach that goal? Our calculator gives you clarity on your savings targets and how to achieve them.

Not an AMP KiwiSaver member yet?

Looking to transfer your funds to the AMP KiwiSaver Scheme, but not yet a member? Joining online couldn’t be easier – the process can be completed in a few minutes.

This article doesn't provide financial advice on your investment choices. Any information we provide is general only and current at the time. You should consider seeking advice when considering whether an investment is appropriate for your objectives, financial situation or needs.