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31% of early super funded mortgages, rent: ABS

The most common use of withdrawn superannuation savings under the government’s COVID response measure was for mortgage or rent, according to new ABS data.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released its household financial resources data for December, where it showed total average property assets had risen from $653,700 in December 2019 to $731,100 in December 2020.

The scheme, which allowed candidates in financial distress to withdraw up to $20,000 from their superannuation account, ended on 31 December.

Candidates were able to withdraw up to $10,000 in the first tranche between April and June last year, before they could apply for access for another amount up to $10,000 between July and December.

The average amount withdrawn by people who had accessed the early release twice was $16,377.


According to a survey by the ABS, people had primarily used their retirement savings to make mortgage or rent payments (for 31 per cent of respondents) as well as household bills (29 per cent).

The trend had carried on from September, when mortgage and rent had also been cited as the primary destination for withdrawn funds. In that quarter, 29 per cent of recipients used their early super to make mortgage or rent payments, while 27 per cent used the funds for household bills.

Total average weekly housing costs, which includes mortgage, rent and rates payments, remained steady in the December quarter at $305, compared with $314 a week in December 2019.

Meanwhile, around 14.2 per cent said they had used their early super withdrawals for paying off credit cards or other loans, while 6.7 per cent said they bought or paid off a vehicle with the money.

Less than a 10th (8 per cent) added it to their savings, while 11.2 per cent said they used the funds for other purposes (including buying food, medical services supplies or other household services and supplies, as well as assisting family members).

Owner-occupier home values up 9%

Average value for owner-occupied dwellings increased 9 per cent year-on-year to $533,200 in December 2020.

Over the same period, the principal outstanding on loans for owner-occupied dwellings increased by 16 per cent to $117,500 for all households.

Total household income had remained stable from the December 2019 quarter, to $2,349 per week in December 2020.

Average household wealth of $1 million had stayed steady in the December quarter, while the median household wealth ($632,200) also remained largely at the same level.

Total property assets increased from $653,700 in December 2019 to $731,100.

Fewer households struggled with paying their gas, electricity, telephone or internet bill on time in the December quarter, at 7 per cent, compared with 10 per cent the year before.

Slightly more households saved regularly (49 per cent) in December 2020 compared with December 2019 (46 per cent).

A higher proportion of households in the lowest income quintile also made more than the minimum repayments on their home loans (up from 3 per cent).

[Related: Owner-occupied loans march ahead of investors]

31% of early super funded mortgages, rent: ABS
Nearly a third of early super funded mortgages, rent: ABS

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