KiwiSaver may be answer to home deposit

The trust dedicated to delivering affordable housing in the Wakatipu says its encourages more aspiring homeowners to tap into their KiwiSaver funds to pay for deposits.

About 70% of the 15 householders helped with buying their first home by the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust in 2013 accessed their voluntary, work-based savings in 2013, and more people were taking the initiative over the previous years, trust executive officer Julie Scott said.

''Sometimes it's sourced from both partners, sometimes it's not. If they are a young family, the mum might not have been working for the last year or two. You have to be in the scheme for three years.''

Housing trust applicants deal with their KiwiSaver provider, the trust does not, Ms Scott said.

''If you're eligible, the Government contributes a subsidy of $1000 for every year up to a maximum of $5000, so if it is a couple who have both been in it for five years, which is possible, they get $5000 each from the Government.

''There's $10,000, plus the actual savings, which might be an extra $20,000 if they've been in it for five years, so it can be quite significant.

''In some cases we're seeing people and that's their only deposit. They don't have any personal savings.''

There is a waiting list of about 250 households waiting for trust assistance, Ms Scott said.

People can apply for the first-home deposit subsidy if they have belonged and have regularly contributed to a KiwiSaver scheme, complying fund or exempt employer scheme for at least three years.

Individuals may then be able to withdraw the savings, employer contributions and all returns such as interest.

After housing development finished at Nerin Sq, Lake Hayes Estate, the trust is going through the build tender process for the development of a first stage set of four dwellings on Suffolk St, Arrowtown.

The first stage will be followed by stage two of six more dwellings after the Arrowtown Rugby Club moves. Several architectural firms have been shortlisted by the trust to design at least 44 affordable houses within the planned Shotover Country estate.