Australia’s younger generations are finding it more and more difficult to save enough money for a deposit to enter the property market. House prices continue to rise, while wages don’t; making saving extremely hard. In 2017, the Australian Government introduced the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme, with the aim of helping young Australians save for a deposit. Discover how it works, and if it could be the right option for you.
The FHSS scheme enables people to save money for their first home inside their super fund. With the concessional tax treatments of superannuation, the scheme will help first home buyers save for a deposit faster.
People can boost their superannuation contributions by up to $15,000 a year and $30,000 in total on top of the regular 9.5% super contribution, also known as Super Guarantee. Contributions to the scheme were enabled in 2017, and are still ongoing today.
The FHSS offers flexible terms compared to other first home owner grants currently available, with the main difference being that it is available on an individual basis. This means couples, family or friends have access to their own FHSS contributions even when purchasing the same property.
Eligibility criteria for individuals are relatively straightforward and are as follows:
Specific conditions also dictate which super contributions are eligible to be withdrawn under the FHSS scheme. These can be found via the ATO website.
You can apply for both an FHSS determination and release through your ATO account online. The process is highly streamlined and only involves a few clicks.
Once you have submitted the application for FHSS determination, you will be notified of your maximum release amount.
Once the determination step is completed, you should also have access to request an FHSS release from the same section of the ATO website. It's important to note that if the contract of sale for the property has been signed more than 14 days before your release request, you will be subject to FHSS tax.
Also, be sure to review your request thoroughly before submission. Once you have requested a release, you can't request another one, even if you have requested an amount below your FHSS maximum release amount.
Saving for a deposit is tough — especially for first home buyers. This scheme will provide a helping hand for entry-level buyers. For first home buyers in a couple, this scheme can be very beneficial – a couple could save up to $60,000 through the FHSS scheme.
While the scheme doesn’t address the major issues and other barriers of homeownership for younger generations, it is a step in the right direction.
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