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 AIDAN WONDRACZ 15 May 2022

First home buyers will be able to dip into their superannuation and use up to 40 per cent of their savings to buy a new house.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison used the Liberal Party’s election campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday to unveil his ‘super home buyer scheme’.

‘I’m going for a second term because I’m just warming up,’ he said. 

Homebuyers will be able to use up to $50,000, or a ‘responsible portion’, of their superannuation to invest in their first home.

‘We want to further help Australians get past what is the biggest hurdle on their path to home ownership [and] that is the difficulty of saving for a deposit. And being able to use their own money to do it,’ Mr Morrison said.

‘The maximum amount able to be invested under this plan is the lower of $50,000 or 40 per cent of your total superannuation balance.

‘Superannuation is there to help Australians in their retirement. The evidence shows that the best thing we can do to help Australians achieve financial security in their retirement is to help them own their own home.’

The money can be withdrawn from the superannuation account and used to buy an existing or new home.

If the house is sold, the money taken out to invest in the home will be returned into the superannuation account, including a share of any capital gain. 

Mr Morrison claimed the scheme would slash the average time it took to save for a home by three years. 

He said the plan would make it easier for homebuyers to own their first house and reduce the number of renters.

‘Our plan makes it easier for first home buyers to save for a deposit, reducing the time people need to pay rent, and also means a smaller mortgage with less debt and smaller repayments,’ he said.

‘It’s a plan that gets the balance right – it utilises money that’s currently locked away to transform a family’s life, with the money then responsibly returned to the super fund at the time of home’s sale.’

Under the coalition’s expanded housing policy, up to 1.3 million empty nesters and pensioners will also be able to access incentives to downsize their house, in a plan to help more families get a home.

Australians over the age of 55 will be able to downsize their property and invest up to $300,000, per person, in their superannuation fund outside of the existing contribution caps, from the proceeds of a sale.

Pensioners who downsize their home will also have greater flexibility as the proceeds of the sale of the property will be exempt from the assets test for longer.

They will have two years to structure their assets after the sale of their home without hurting their pension.

Labor senator Murray Watt said his party would always back a good idea.

‘We will support this one. We think this is a good idea worth taking on,’ he told Sky News.

‘But the realty is that just one announcement from this government after nearly a decade in office is not going to fix the housing crisis we see in Australia.’

Mr Morrison also used the election campaign launch to claim his government ‘saved the country’ during the Covid pandemic.

‘We gave our fellow Australians that assurance in those very difficult times that tomorrow would be OK,’ he said at the Brisbane Convention Centre on Sunday.

‘So they could say the same thing to their children, to their employees, and I’m quite sure indeed to themselves.

‘As a leader, this was a time for strength, it was a time for pushing through. I had one focus, as your prime minister, save the country. And we did.’

Mr Morrison defended his record as leader and admitted his Coalition government faced a challenging couple of years.

‘It’s been one of the most challenging times we have ever known,’ he said.

‘But I’m here to tell you today that despite what we have faced, we have remained true to the promise of Australia. And Australia has prevailed.

‘We want to further help Australians get past what is the biggest hurdle on their path to home ownership [and] that is the difficulty of saving for a deposit. And being able to use their own money to do it.’ 

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