Property, Superannuation

Early access won’t overcome deposit hurdle

Property Home ownership Superannuation Deposit

Early access to superannuation for housing would not meet deposit requirements for an average dwelling with most young home buyers having super balances below those levels.

Superannuation members looking to buy a house are unlikely to have sufficient retirement savings to cover a deposit and early access to those funds would do little to overcome the barriers to entering the housing market, according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).

The superannuation industry peak body said new research it conducted of prospective first-home buyers aged 25 to 34 across Australia’s major capital cities found no one in this age group in Sydney or Melbourne, either single or in a couple, could raise a deposit for an average house or unit by using their super alone.

ASFA said the research examined an ATO sample of 300,000 taxpayers in conjunction with Australian Bureau of Statistics data to assess the distribution of superannuation balances for the demographic above and charted that against the housing deposits required for median-priced houses and units.

“In the Victorian capital only a couple in the top 20 per cent of superannuation balance holders could gather a deposit for a unit by using all their retirement savings,” it stated.

“By way of contrast, a young Sydney couple with the median amount of superannuation would be more than $150,000 short for the deposit on a median-priced house if they withdrew and used only their super.”

It noted while superannuation would not be the only source of a home deposit, its research showed the large gap between the average super balance of most young people and the cost of a deposit and early access to retirement savings would only benefit those with high balances who were already likely to achieve home ownership.

ASFA chief executive Mary Delahunty said: “Accessing superannuation is not the silver bullet to solving Australia’s housing crisis.

“Worsening housing affordability presents a significant challenge. ASFA supports the aspirations of young people to buy a home and agrees everyone deserves a secure place to live, particularly in retirement.

“While superannuation may seem like a tempting pot to raid, our analysis shows it will only benefit those young people who are already more likely to be able to afford a home and not solve the crippling supply-side deficit that is fuelling our housing crisis.”

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