New Zealand citizens who have held a KiwiSaver account for at least three years can withdraw contributions (including personal, government, and employer payments) to buy their first home. But what about using your KiwiSaver to buy Australian property?
Since 2015, using your KiwiSaver to buy property outside of New Zealand is no longer possible. However, NZ citizens who move to Australia could transfer their KiwiSaver into an Australian account and potentially access funds this way.
Even if you cannot use your KiwiSaver to buy Australian property, it is worth remembering NZ citizens are effectively treated as Australian citizens when buying Aussie property.
You may even be eligible for concessions like stamp duty exemptions and first home owner grants.
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Before 2015, those who held a KiwiSaver for at least three years could withdraw contributions for a house deposit, provided $1,000 remained in their accounts.
However, since the 2015 HomeStart amendment to KiwiSaver - which introduced the caveat that properties need to be within New Zealand - New Zealand residents cannot use their KiwiSaver funds to buy Australian property.
There is some good news for NZ citizens buying property within Australia, though. New Zealanders can transfer their KiwiSaver balances to an Australian Superannuation fund (the Aussie equivalent) and access any voluntary contributions towards a house deposit.
If you’re buying a first home in Australia, you may be able to use non-compulsory payments (funds not paid by your employer) to buy Australian property.
The Australian Government’s First Home Super Saver (FHSS) allows access to voluntary superannuation funds towards a house deposit. These need to be genuine (non-employer) contributions to a maximum of $15,000 per financial year, up to a total of $50,000 across all years.
So, any non-compulsory funds from your KiwiSaver can be accessed once transferred to an Australian superannuation account.
Whether buying an Australian home within the country or across the ditch, both are possible. With the right lender, you could even use the equity in your NZ home to buy Australian property.
The process varies on whether you’re investing or buying as a citizen, but it generally looks like this:
You may also consider the help of professionals like conveyancers, property inspectors, and buyers agents.
Finding an Australian lender to work with foreign citizens can be challenging. At UNO, we work with lenders who specialise in foreign loans. They can even help you release the equity in your New Zealand home.
Unlike most foreign citizens, New Zealand citizens don’t need approval from the Foreign Investor Review Board (FIRB) to purchase Australian property from New Zealand.
Kiwis with permanent resident status (i.e., Subclass 461 visa) buying their first home in Australia are also eligible for First Home Owners (FHOG) grants between $10,000 to $30,000 in most states.
It is also possible to qualify for stamp duty exemptions in some states, saving you around 3% in property tax if you are eligible. Read our state-by-state breakdown here.
Finally, if you buy a house in the Northern Territory, there is no Foreign Transfer Duty of 7-8% unlike in other Australian states and territories.
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