A real estate industry body has called for the federal government to expand tax incentives for first home buyers in its upcoming budget.
In a pre-budget submission released at the end of December, the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) advised the federal government to expand its First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) that it passed through the legislative process on 7 December.
As part of the Turnbull government’s housing affordability plan, the FHSS will, from 1 July 2018, enable first home buyers (FHBs) to access their tax-exempt voluntary superannuation contributions, as well as the rate of deemed earnings, made from 1 July 2017.
However, the REIA has called for the government to allow FHBs to access their super contributions made prior to 1 July 2017.
“Allowing access to a pre–1 July 2017 voluntary contributions to superannuation funds would help prospective buyers to save for a deposit faster,” the REIA noted.
“The use of retirement savings for a first home purchase has already proven to be successful in Canada, New Zealand and Singapore.”
Further, in its submission, the REIA urged the government to “take a leadership role” and encourage all states to adopt a uniform provision of assistance program for first home buyers, irrespective of whether a purchased dwelling is new or established.
The industry body also suggested the appointment of a minister for property services to help facilitate nationwide policy reforms.
The REIA joined the Property Council of Australia in its support for current arrangements surrounding negative gearing and capital gains taxes “until a coordinated and holistic approach in objectively addressing all property taxes is undertaken”.
Moreover, the real estate body called for the establishment of a mechanism that will “ensure the availability of reliable data on housing demand and supply” to help inform and monitor future policy changes.
[Related: Fresh calls for low-deposit home loans]