Budget 2017: First Home Super Saver Scheme falls flat in Port Stephens

ON THE HUNT: Emily and Julian Connett say they are "underwhelmed" by the Australian Government's budget, which has brought them no closer to buying their first home around the Bay. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts
ON THE HUNT: Emily and Julian Connett say they are "underwhelmed" by the Australian Government's budget, which has brought them no closer to buying their first home around the Bay. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Budget measures aimed at helping young people crack into the housing market appear to have fallen flat in Port Stephens.

Anna Bay couple Emily and Julian Connett said they were “underwhelmed” with the federal government’s budget, announced last Tuesday, which has not brought them any closer to buying their first home.

“We’ve been seriously looking for the last 12 months,” Mr Connett said.

“We came close a couple of times. Literally just in the last couple of months we noticed it [housing market] has just jumped 20 to 40 grand in the range we’re looking at, which has just priced us out.”

The pair, who had been married for five years, held off from buying a home after hearing pre-budget rumours that stamp duty may be scrapped.

Instead, the government delivered the First Home Super Saver Scheme which will allow first home buyers to withdraw a total of $30,000 from contributions made to their superannuation fund for a future deposit.

With the median house price in Raymond Terrace $345,000 and $520,000 in Nelson Bay, the figure does not represent a 10 per cent deposit required to buy in the area, especially when adding stamp duty and other costs like inspections on top.

For the Connett’s who have a deposit and are looking to buy now, the scheme does not help them at all.

The budget has also fallen flat with Meryl Swanson. The federal member for Paterson said it was “lacking in innovation” and that the superannuation saver scheme made her “nervous”.

“The government should be supporting policies that reform things like negative gearing, or making really solid legislative reform that will give young people a real opportunity to get into the housing market,” Ms Swanson said.

“I’m really nervous about it [scheme]. I have real concerns about people accessing their super for a house deposit. I’d hate to see people raid their super for a house deposit then get into financial trouble. It’s vital it’s handled properly.” 

Real estate agent Steve Bates, who has been selling homes around Raymond Terrace for 25 years, feels differently about the scheme, saying it was a better idea than giving first home buyers a lump sum of cash and flooding the market.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” he said. “My first reaction was, I have two daughters yet to buy a house, to encourage them to look into the scheme.

“I don’t imagine it [scheme] will have a significant impact on the market now. It will take a while for people to accumulate their deposit. It’s more of a long term thing.”

Super contributions for a house deposit can be made from July 1.