First home buyers can use retirement under Coalition

Morrison said the policy will allow first-time homebuyers to invest “a responsible share” of their own super in their own homes.

“You can already use your supermarket to purchase an investment property. But not your own house. Other countries, such as New Zealand and Canada, also have policies that allow people to use their retirement savings to buy their homes. And under a Morrison administration, you’ll be able to do that,” he said.

The Super Home Buyer Scheme requires legislation, but the coalition wants it to start in July next year. It would allow first-time homebuyers to invest up to 40 percent of their retirement benefits, up to a maximum of $50,000, to help purchase their first home.

It can be used in addition to the Home Guarantee Scheme and the First Home Super Saver Scheme.

The idea has been pushed by Coalition backbenchers, including Tim Wilson, the member for Goldstein, and Liberal Senator for NSW Andrew Bragg, as well as a suggestion about the 2015 change of Joe Hockey as treasurer.

Morrison said the policy would apply to both new and existing homes and “the amount invested will be returned to your super when you sell the home, including the share of capital gains from the sale of that home”.

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Only first-time home buyers are eligible to access their retirement funds, and they must have separately saved 5 percent of the down payment to qualify and must have lived in the home for at least 12 months, but there is no age, ownership or income thresholds.

Couples can both access the scheme if they both qualify and one member of one couple who does not qualify will not prevent the other from accessing it.

The Prime Minister also announced the coalition’s policy of allowing Australians aged 55 and over to contribute up to $300,000 towards their pension when they sell the family home.

Housing Industry Association director Graham Wolfe welcomed the scheme on the grounds that access to a down payment was the biggest obstacle for Australians trying to buy their first home.

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“This scheme builds on the many positive homeownership schemes that now exist to support first-time homebuyers in realizing their ambition to own a home,” he said.

But the Financial Services Council, which represents retail superfunds, warned the move would undermine retirement savings.

“The FSC is concerned that the government’s proposal weakens the sole purpose of the pension, which is to provide a higher standard of living after retirement,” said chief executive Blake Briggs.

“Governments have a duty to do more to boost supply, otherwise unleashing retirement savings on the housing market would push prices even further.”

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