The First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme allows homebuyers to access their superannuation fund in order to buy their first home.
This is good news for first homebuyers across Australia, especially as one of the hardest parts of getting on the property ladder is saving up a big enough deposit. The FHSS scheme will help you fast-track this often slow and arduous process, which is especially positive news for younger buyers, who see buying a property as paving the way for a secure future.
It’s also an unprecedented move – up until now it’s not been possible to tap into your super prior to retirement.
In a nutshell
Introduced by the Australian Government in the Federal Budget 2017–18 to help tackle housing affordability, the scheme allows you to save faster by benefitting from the concessional tax treatment within your super fund.
You can now make voluntary concessional (before-tax) and non-concessional (after-tax) contributions into your super fund to save for your first home. This came into effect on 1 July 2017. From 1 July 2018 you can apply to release your contributions, along with associated earnings, to help buy your first home.
So, who is eligible?
Super contributions can be made from any age. You can contribute into any super fund and you can pay into more than one fund if you want to, but it’s not possible to access funds under the FHSS scheme until the age of 18.
Eligibility for the scheme is assessed on an individual basis, which means that couples, siblings or friends can each access their own eligible FHSS contributions to buy the same property. In this instance, anyone who’s previously owned a home will not stop anyone else who is eligible from applying.
To be eligible you must also:
1. Have never previously owned property in Australia (unless the Commissioner of Taxation has determined you have suffered a financial hardship). This includes an investment property, commercial property, a lease of land/ company title interest in land in Australia
2. Have not previously released FHSS funds
3. Have either lived or intend to live in the premises you are buying as soon as possible
4. Intend to live in the property for at least six months of the first 12 months you own it, after it is practical to move in
5. Not use FHSS amounts to purchase any premises not capable of being occupied as a residence including a houseboat, motor home or vacant land.
Releasing your funds
When you are ready, you can apply for the release of your eligible FHSS contributions up to the following amounts:
A maximum of $15,000 from any one financial year
A maximum of $30,000 in total across all years
Once your savings have been released, you have up to 12 months to sign a contract to buy or construct a home.
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