Can super help make the great Aussie dream come true for you?

The media is full of stories about housing affordability. It seems the more you save for a deposit, the more prices rise, keeping a home of your own out of reach. So is the great Australian dream now just pie in the sky? Maybe not. Here’s how your super could be the key that helps unlock the door to your first home. 

Australian housing affordability third worst in the world 

If you think buying a house or flat in Australia is difficult – you’re right. 

  • International housing surveys consistently rank Australia as one of the most unaffordable housing markets in the world*
  • In 2017, Australia was the third most unaffordable country surveyed*
  • In the year to April 2017, median dwelling prices in Sydney jumped $120,000 – that’s an increase of about $2,300 a week!**
With such high prices, just saving for a deposit can be a major hurdle for first home-buyers. However, the proposed First Home Super Saver Scheme might give your deposit the extra boost it needs to help you into a place of your own.  

What is the First Home Super Saver Scheme?

The Scheme was put forward as part of the 2017 Federal Budget. In a nutshell, it’s designed to help you boost savings towards a first home by allowing you to build a deposit via your super account. In the right circumstances, it could increase the savings you put towards a deposit by around 30%, compared to saving through a standard bank account.***

So how does it work?

The Scheme can help you save more because of the way super is taxed. If you’re a first home-buyer, you can make before-tax (salary sacrifice) contributions to your super account to save for a house deposit. These contributions are in addition to your employer’s 9.5% super guarantee contributions. You can put in up to $15,000 a year. As long as you stay under the annual concessional contributions cap of $25,000 a year (which includes employer contributions), these contributions are taxed at just 15%. While the money sits in your super account it’s invested by the fund. So it continues to grow, with all the earnings returned to your account. 

Over several years you can save up to $30,000 as part of the Scheme. When you’ve found the place you want to buy, you withdraw the savings and put it into your deposit. You’ll pay tax on the amount you withdraw at your marginal rate - but it will be discounted by 30%. In other words, if you’re on the 37% tax rate, you’ll pay just 7 cents tax on every dollar you’ve saved.**** And that all goes straight towards your deposit. 

The Scheme accepts pre-tax (or salary sacrifice) contributions, or if your employer doesn’t offer salary sacrifice, you can make personal contributions from your take home pay and claim a tax deduction later. If you claim a deduction, the contribution becomes a concessional contribution and is subject to the $25,000 cap. You can also make non-concessional contributions (these are also made from your take home pay). Although you won’t get a tax concession up front, when these contributions are withdrawn they won’t be taxed – and you may receive a Government Co Contribution if you earn under $51,813. 

How can you make contributions? 

To make additional salary sacrifice contributions to your super download a ‘Voluntary contributions by payroll deduction’ form. Simply complete the form and give it to your employer. If your employer does not offer salary sacrifice you can make personal contributions by BPAY. 

We’ll keep you up-to-date 

Before you make a decision on the First Home Super Saver Scheme give the Member Services Team a call on 1300 361 477 (8am–7pm AEST, Monday to Friday). We will keep you up-to-date on any developments about the Scheme and put you in touch with a Superannuation Specialist who can help you work out whether to use salary sacrifice or personal contributions. 

*Source: Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, Yellow Brick Road,
**Source: Sydney Morning Herald,
***Australian Tax Office Fact Sheet 1.4, Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability 
****Source: Sydney Morning Herald,

This article contains general advice only and doesn't take into account what you currently have, want and need for your personal circumstances. It is important for you to consider these matters and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before you make a decision about a superannuation product. You can get a copy of the GuildSuper PDS by calling 1300 361 477. You may also wish to consult a licensed or appropriately authorised financial planner. Guild Trustee Services Pty Limited ABN 84 068 826 728 AFS Licence No. 233815 RSE Licence No. L0000611 as Trustee of the Guild Retirement Fund ABN 22 599 554 834 (which includes GuildSuper).