Allowing access to superannuation to assist first home buyers into the property market would only drive up house prices and would be a poor public policy solution to the issue of housing affordability, according to a super and retirement expert.
Challenger retirement income chair Jeremy Cooper said recent calls to allow early access to superannuation for a housing deposit did not address the problems related to housing affordability.
“There is an old saying that there is no public policy problem for which the superannuation system has not been singled out as the solution,” Cooper said as part of a recent Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia webinar examining the final report of the Retirement Income Review, which noted home ownership was a key factor influencing retirement outcomes.
“I am dead against conflating various public policy issues, and the superannuation system can’t cure the gender gap because that’s employment related and it can’t fix the housing affordability problem either.
“I am totally with those people who say that if we give the housing market more access to finance, we drive up prices. It is as simple as that.”
Cbus Super brand, advocacy, marketing and product group executive Robbie Campo agreed with Cooper that housing affordability would not be eased by any use of superannuation funds.
“Housing affordability is not about money. It’s a lack of supply and taking money out of superannuation and into a system with insufficient supply will just push up the cost further. There are other things that will better address the lack of availability of housing,” Campo said.
On this latter point, Cooper said removing stamp duty would have a greater impact on creating access to the property market for first-time buyers and would not load up the pension system with tasks it was not designed to do.
During the same webinar, he also said the low number of annuity products available reflected a lack of alignment between the needs of retirees and the efforts of superannuation funds to meet those needs.