Saving for your first home through super

It’s the great Australian dream: to own your home, your little piece of paradise. However, these days house prices have made it just that – a dream – for many of us.

Housing affordability has dropped to some of its lowest levels. In fact, it has dropped to the point where many young Australians find themselves locked out of the property market, believing that they will never be able to afford their own home.

A recent poll conducted by the Australian National University (ANU) found that 36% of young Australians were ‘very concerned’ about not being able to afford to buy a house during their lifetime.

Despite this, homeownership continues to be a mindset cherished by Australians, with 74.7% of Australians polled in the ANU survey saying that homeownership is ‘part of the Australian way of life’.

Enter the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme

The FHSS scheme was introduced by the Australian Government to address the issue of affordability for first homebuyers and is designed to help them get onto the property ladder and into their first home.

The scheme allows you to save money for your first home inside super. You can make voluntary contributions up to $15,000 per year, up to a total of $30,000. For a couple, that means you could release up to $60,000 in super contributions to put towards your first home.

How it works

  1. Make voluntary contributions into your super (these can be before- or after-tax)
  2. When you’re ready to buy, you apply to have these voluntary contributions released to purchase your first home. You can also withdraw the earnings that relate to those contributions.

Why bother saving through super (as opposed to having the savings in a bank account)?

The biggest benefit of saving through your super is that:

  • if you make pre-tax (salary sacrifice) contributions, you’re paying lower tax on the money (at just 15%) as well as lowering your pre-tax income
  • your money invested in super most likely earns a higher rate of return compared to money held in a savings account

Who’s eligible for the FHSS?

You can take advantage of the FHSS scheme if you are a first homebuyer and:

  • you either live in the home you are buying or plan to live in it as soon as possible; or
  • you intend to live in your new home for at least six months within the first year of owning it.

You can’t use the money to buy a houseboat or a caravan. The scheme can be used to purchase land as long as you intend to start building a home on that land within 12 months of the release request.

 

PROs CONs
  • You can save on tax which, which in turn can help you save up for a deposit more quickly – that’s because concessional super contributions are taxed at 15% as opposed to your marginal tax rate, which could be up to 45%
  • You can save up to $30,000 under the scheme, or $60,000 if purchasing with another person, with added investment returns
  • You can apply for release of this money under the FHSS even if you are buying a property with someone who is not a first home owner 
  • You can’t withdraw any of your employer’s super contributions – only the voluntary contributions you make
  • You can’t contribute more than $15,000 per year under the scheme (to a total of  $30,000 per person)
  • You must not have previously owned a home
  • You’ll still have to pay tax upon withdrawal, but there is a 30% tax offset

 

If you have any questions about the FHSS, just give Member Services a call on 1800 757 607 during business hours.

Disclaimer:
The information on this page has been issued by Maritime Financial Services Pty Limited (MFS). It contains general information that doesn’t take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. It’s important to consider how appropriate this general information is in relation to your situation before making an investment decision. We recommend that you seek financial advice before making any decisions regarding your super or investments. The information on this page is current at the time of publishing.

 
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