Independent Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon will introduce legislative changes in the spring session of parliament that would allow first home buyers to access their superannuation for a house deposit.
In a statement released earlier this week, Mr Xenophon noted a similar scheme operates successfully in Canada, where up to $25,000 can be accessed for a first home purchase.
Mr Xenophon will be moving for changes to the Superannuation Act 1976 to allow the release of superannuation funds for a first home, with similar safeguards to the Canadian scheme known as the Home Buyers’ Plan.
“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,” Mr Xenophon said.
“There’s something strange about being able to access your super fund if you are about to default on your housing loan, but you can’t access it to put a deposit on a home in the first place.”
Mr Xenophon noted that housing affordability has decreased in Australia, with an annual affordability survey by Demographia conducted this year finding Australia has the second-worst housing affordability in the world, sitting behind Hong Kong.
Speaking to SMSF Adviser, The SMSF Academy’s Aaron Dunn said this notion, which would breach the sole purpose test, needs to be “actively” discussed with the industry.
Mr Dunn said the long-term benefits need to be considered, noting the proposal “doesn’t fix” the adequacy gap that exists in the retirement savings of Australians.
He also said the impact this notion would have on housing prices should be considered, given it would potentially allow a significant number of new entrants to the property market.
However, Mr Dunn added that it was worth raising the issue for public debate.