Government to free up stock of larger houses for young families

The Federal Government wants to encourage retirees to downsize from their big family homes.

It is part of Treasurer Scott Morrison’s budget package to improve housing affordability with the draft legislation allowing Australians aged over 65 to make an exempt contribution to their superannuation from the sale proceeds.

The Government’s aim is to free up the stock of larger houses for young families.

The superannuation break will apply when the elderly move into a smaller home that that “better suits their needs,” or on entering the rental market, relocating to an aged-care facility or moving into their adult children’s homes.

The special voluntary superannuation contribution rules could see couples contributing up to $600,000 from the proceeds of selling their home if it has been home for the past decade.

The measure will not commence until 1 July 2018 and as the Age Pension means test will continue to apply, the measure are not expected to be taken up by too many.

The Government has released consultation draft legislation – and here are six important takeouts. 

1) What kind of homes would this apply to? 

The sale of any dwelling – other than a caravan, houseboat or mobile home – could qualify. 

2) Must the home be my main residence?

Yes, but only for some portion of your ownership period. 

3) Could I sell now and contribute after 1 July 2018? 

No. It is set to only apply where the contract of sale is entered into on or after 1 July 2018. 

4) Must my spouse have been on the title to make a contribution? 

No. The consultation draft provides that either you or your spouse must have owned the home. 

5) How much could I contribute?

The maximum downsizer contribution would be $300,000 per contributor. However, the downsizer contribution must come from the proceeds of the sale. So, if a couple sold their home for $500,000, their combined downsizer contributions would be limited to $500,000. 

6) What if I don’t have a super account? 

There is no restriction preventing you from opening a superannuation account to make a downsizer contribution.

I think there is no doubt that the reluctant downsizer demographic has created roadblocks for the orderly flow of home listings across more established areas of Sydney.

Tightly held homes means prices keep going up quicker than normal.

But their reluctance to move isn’t solely due to the desire to keep the happy family memories intact.

They really want housing options such as single level patio garden homes that are few and far between in most neighbourhoods.

Additionally they are not that keen on paying stamp duty on any downsized property purchase.

Treasurer Scott Morrison needs to have Premier Gladys Berejiklian introduce a reduced or postponed stamp duty initiative to really make any progress on downsizers.