‘Super’ affordable housing

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First home buyers may be able to borrow money from their superannuation accounts to secure a deposit, under legislation proposed by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon.

Xenophon has praised a scheme currently operating in Canada called the Home Buyer’s Plan. He said that the scheme, which allows up to $25,000 to be accessed for a deposit as long as it is paid back to the fund within 15 years, has led to better housing affordability.

“With more and more Australians finding it difficult to break into home ownership, adopting the Canadian scheme would make a difference to many thousands of Australians each year,” he said.

Paul Rickard, director at the Switzer Super Report is also a fan of the scheme, and sent a submission to the David Murray Financial System Inquiry that suggested a “portion of superannuation savings be eligible to be used as a deposit for a primary residence.”

Rickard said he backs the scheme because it will make superannuation more relevant for young people, largely because buying a home is something that they really care about.

“The reason why I have been pushing for [the scheme] is because I think that for people in their 20’s and 30’s, super is largely irrelevant, and I’d much rather people had a reason to put their money into super, thought about it, and put the pressure on for whether they want insurance and what fees they’re paying.’’

“The way I would work it is that people would be able to access 30-40% of their existing super balance which would serve as a deposit for 10-20% of the property,’’ said Rickard.

However Rickard thinks that the suggestion made by Senator Nick Xenophon is still a while away from becoming a reality.

Xenophon has said he will introduce legislative changes in the Spring session of parliament.