Almost 10,000 people who have their KiwiSaver scheme with the ANZ made a withdrawal to help buy their first home during the bank's financial year — which ended on September 30.

Commenting on figures released by the bank this week, its wealth managing director Craig Mulholland says there has been a big increase in the number of people making a first home withdrawal, with the average amount taken out being $20,000. In 2012, just over 7700 people withdrew cash from their ANZ KiwiSaver plan.

More than 40 per cent of New Zealand's first home buyers used their KiwiSaver cash to help with a property purchase last year. The median cost of a home in New Zealand is $550,000; Auckland $855,000.

KiwiSaver is a voluntary retirement investment plan, but the rules were changed under the last National Government so savers could use it as a deposit on a first home.

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The Government says KiwiSaver statements will soon show projected balances at retirement and income figures to help savers understand what they can expect to receive when they reach retirement at age 65. KiwiSaver is paid in addition to the state pension.

Wellington cools
The capital's dream real estate run may have ended, according to Quotable Value.

Its head of research Nick Goodall says residential values in Wellington dropped 1.3 per cent in May and the average residential property value now sits at $633,759.

He says the firm's statistics tell a very different story to the anecdotal reports of strong market performance, which just goes to show: "When it comes to real estate, there's no arguing with the data, however much you don't want to believe it."

Upper Hutt is enjoying a mini boom with 2.9 per cent value growth over the past three months. Goodall says: "While we're always cautious to read too much into a one-month 'trend' the turnaround in Wellington City is quite sharp and given there's supporting evidence of prolonged weakness at the upper tier of the market, the softness is more likely to continue through winter."

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