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  • Superannuation the key to addressing housing affordability for first home buyers


    First home buyers should be given access to their superannuation fund to help purchase their first property, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).

    REIA President Malcolm Gunning said the concept was not a radical idea, given its proven success in Canada, New Zealand and Singapore.

    “It is nonsense to suggest that early access to superannuation for a home deposit would undermine retirement savings and create new risks. Superannuation and home ownership are both components of a retiree’s ‘nest egg’ and not competing products.

    “Access to superannuation for the purchase of a first home could help reverse the trend of falling home ownership and address the looming social problem of large numbers of long-term renters aged 45 years and over remaining in the rental sector and possibly requiring rental support in later years,” Mr Gunning said.

    REIWA President Hayden Groves supported the call from the Institute’s national body for first home buyer’s to be given access to their superannuation earlier in life.

    “Superannuation is an important financial asset for Australians, one that could make a substantial difference to first home buyers struggling to enter the property market. Declining housing affordability is not a problem that is going to fix itself, and we are very pleased the Turnbull Government have committed to helping address affordability issues by establishing the Affordable Housing Implementation Taskforce,” Mr Groves said.

    Mr Gunning said saving for a deposit and the transactional costs associated with buying property were considered the biggest hurdles for Australians trying to purchase their first home.

    “Many young people already have a partial deposit, access to their super would make the difference, but they aren’t allowed to make the decision to access what is after all their own money until they retire,” Mr Gunning said.

    As part of its recent State Election campaign, REIWA surveyed the West Australian public about the housing issues affecting them, and 62 per cent of respondents cited affordability as their biggest concern. Additionally, 90 per cent said transactional costs, like property taxes, negatively impacted their decision to own or invest in property.

    “Given current market conditions in WA, which undoubtedly favour home buyers, not to mention the record low interest rates, it’s concerning housing affordability remains such a pertinent worry for so many West Aussies. This is a vital issue for aspiring home buyers and it is important it is addressed at a federal and state level,” Mr Groves said.