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One of the biggest road blocks to becoming a home owner is saving a deposit to put towards your first home. Being able to put aside funds each week or month in a savings account to go towards the purchase of a new home is great, but these savings take time to build up – often years. In the meantime they can get depleted when we dip into them to pay for other things, moving that first home goal post further and further away. One great initiative that’s been launched by the Australian Taxation Office is the First Home Super Save Scheme. Aimed at first home buyers, this initiative was created to help Australians buy their first homes. We’ve summarised some of the key points below for you as per the ATO website’s information.
From July 1, 2017 first home buyers have been able to make voluntary concessional (before-tax) and non-concessional (after-tax) contributions to their superannuation funds. Then from July 1, 2018 you can apply to have these funds released, along with any associated earnings that have accrued and use these funds towards the purchase of your first home. One of the great things about this scheme is that you can use the funds as a first home buyer for either a property you plan to live in straight away as a family home, or for a property you plan to live in for at least six of the first twelve months you own it.
You can apply to have up to $15,000 of your contributions from any one financial year included in your eligible contributions released as part of the scheme, up to a total of $30,000 across all years. On top of that, you will also receive any earnings from those contributions which will add to the amount you have for a deposit.
You can only apply for a release of your funds once, and you should never sign a contract of sale or contract to build a new home until the funds have been released to you. If you don’t wait for the funds, you may have additional tax to pay. It can also take approximately 25 business days for funds to be released to you, so take this into consideration when you’re ready to sign a contract of sale. If you don’t have money for the deposit at the time of the contract signing, you may be in breach of the sale contract.
While you can start making contributions to your superannuation fund at any age, you can’t apply to have funds released until you are 18 years old. You also cannot have owned any kind of property in Australia (including investment properties, vacant land, commercial property, a lease of land, or a company title interest in Australia), or have previously requested a release of funds in relation to the scheme. If you wish to purchase a property with other people, you can each access your own funds individually, however if one of the purchasers has previously owned a home they will not be eligible for a funds release, however this will not prevent the other purchasers from applying for their funds.
Saving for your first home can seem like a daunting thing, especially when you need a sizeable amount of money saved up to do so. With this First Home Super Saver Scheme, you’re able to contribute savings to an account that’s not easily accessible, which means the funds will continuously increase and earn interest and your deposit will accumulate at a faster rate than a regular savings account.
For full terms and conditions and to learn more about this scheme, head over to the Australia Taxation Office Website. Hotondo Homes is not an authorised financial institution and we recommend home buyers always seek the advice of a registered financial professional before purchasing a home.