Kiwibank has won Canstar's Bank of the Year - First Home Buyers award for the sixth year in a row.
Each year Canstar researches and rates the financial products and services on offer for New Zealand's first home buyer market and assessed 39 loans from nine institutions in order to identify the bank of the year for first home buyers.
The First Home Buyer Award is awarded to the financial institution that provides the strongest combination of products and services across the first home market in New Zealand. The award aims to give recognition to institutions offering outstanding value home loans as well as additional services that benefit first home buyers in making an informed decision when purchasing a home for a first time.
"Buying a property is a perfect storm of emotion, frustration, legal complexity and long term commitment," said Canstar general manager – New Zealand, Jose George
"Add to that the amount of debt that many first home buyers are facing in order to get a foot on the property ladder and the prospect is quite overwhelming. We believe that financial institutions have a significant role to play in educating and assisting first home buyers with the many decisions that buying a property entails, and that Canstar has a significant role to play in helping buyers make cost-effective loan decisions.
"Buying property for the first time can be a confusing and complex process. It is vital that borrowers find a banking partner who can provide support not just in terms of a competitive product but also in terms of education, information and ongoing customer service," said George.
"It has been a big 12 months for home buyers in general," observes Kiwibank head of lending, Kerry Boielle.
"It is still a tough market but various recent changes are opening the door for some first time buyers to get on the ladder who would otherwise not have been able to do so. I can’t speak for all the banks but Kiwibank certainly feels a responsibility to help First Home Buyers."
According to Canstar's assessment, Kiwibank offers one of the lowest interest rates in the market and is also one of the few institutions that charges the customer a one-off fee (LMI Fee) if they borrow above 80% LVR, rather than adding a risk margin to the interest rate.
The products on offer include first home buyer-specific features such as enabling family to act as a guarantor, home loan pre-approval for 90 days and a personalised home loan pack for first home buyers.
Kiwibank also provides the below services to first home buyers:
• Guide to buying at auction
• Property buying checklists
• Step-by-step Guide to buying a property
• Specific property research tools
• Explanation of additional home purchasing costs and home loan features
• Online troubleshooting capability
It also offers several calculators available on its website for customers to use to work out their borrowing position. Calculators include Borrowing Power Calculator, Investment Budget Calculator, Loan Offset Calculator, and Savings Calculator.
"Conditions are still tough for first home buyers and there are so many moving pieces for buyers to consider; Kiwibank's comprehensive educational resources help first home buyers navigate the often complex maze of buying a home," said George.
"In addition to online resources, Kiwibank offer plenty of face-to face support, via both mobile lenders and branches. We congratulate Kiwibank on its six-years-in-a-row achievement."