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Does NZ lead the way for first homebuyers?

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA), says the Government should look to New Zealand’s Kiwisaver scheme if it wants to see how to improve Australia’s declining home ownership.

The New Zealand Government is encouraging young Kiwis to contribute to voluntary superannuation via the Kiwisaver scheme, by allowing access to their resources to assist in buying a home.

REIA President Peter Bushby says, “With over 82% of all Australian households holding at least some savings in their superannuation account and the average value across all households at $142,429 (HILDA Survey), some access to these sources could reverse the current trend of declining home ownership.”

In New Zealand, KiwiSaver is a voluntary, work-based saving initiative to help New Zealanders with their long-term saving for retirement. The initiative has two features to help many New Zealanders to get their foot in the property market:

  • KiwiSaver home purchase withdrawal scheme, and
  • KiwiSaver home deposit subsidy scheme.

“Both of these features can also be used to help with the overall deposit when buying land to build a first home house on. Furthermore, if a person has previously owned a home but is currently in a similar financial position to a first home buyer, they may still be eligible for both features,” continued Mr Bushby.

According to New Zealander Housing Minister Nick Smith, KiwiSaver has enabled 10,733 New Zealanders to put down a deposit on their first home in the year to March. That is up from 5,737 in 2012 and 1,274 in 2011.

“Campaigning recently, Prime Minister Rudd was asked, ‘Why can’t first home buyers use some of their superannuation as a deposit to buy a home?’ Mr Rudd replied that it was a ‘’tough question and I wish I had an easy answer’.”

“Maybe the Labor Government is just not looking in the right place for answers,” concluded Mr Bushby.

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