First Home Super Saver Scheme has a PR problem, Gateway Bank research shows

When the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) was first introduced, it was touted by Treasurer Scott Morrison as a plan that would help young home buyers “accelerate their savings by at least 30%.” But that won’t work if Aussies don’t know what it is or how to access it, Gateway Bank has suggested.

Recent research commissioned by Gateway Bank showed that less than half of Aussies can claim they’ve heard of the FHSSS. And when quizzed on the details of the scheme, and asked to identify true and false statements about the FHSSS, just 1% were able to correctly recall all the facts.

True or False: How much do you know about the FHSSS?

Gateway researchers asked every day Aussies to identify these statements as true or false to gauge how well they knew the ins-and-outs of the First Home Super Saver Scheme. How does your knowledge stack up? Find the answers at the bottom of the page.

  1. The scheme allows you to make voluntary concessional (before-tax) and non-concessional (after-tax) contributions into your super fund to save for your first home.
  2. You can apply to release your voluntary super contributions to help you purchase your first home.
  3. You can use your super to buy a first home as an investment, however, this property must be rented out and you cannot live in it yourself.
  4. You can apply for the release of voluntary contributions up to a maximum of $15,000 from any one financial year and $30,000 in total across all years.
  5. A parent can withdraw voluntary contributions they have made into their super fund to help a child 18 years or over purchase a property so long as that child is a first home buyer.
  6. If you sell your new home within 2 years of purchasing it you must repay the amount withdrawn from your super back into your nominated superannuation account.
  7. You can withdraw up to 10% of the value of the first home/property you are purchasing from your voluntary contributions to your super fund.

Gateway Bank CEO Paul Thomas said that while putting the scheme in place is commendable, it would benefit from better promotion and increased awareness and understanding.

“The scheme is a good idea in principle but in order to make a real impact, the government and industry needs to take action to ensure the public is not only aware of the scheme but are also educated on how they can take practical steps to take advantage of the initiative,” he said.

The government’s First Home Super Saver Scheme estimator shows that for an Aussie homebuyer on a $70,0000 salary who sacrifices $15,000 a year through the FHSSS, their take home pay would be reduced by $9,650 a year, or about $800 a month. After 2 years of saving, this person could have built up $25,355 in savings to put toward a home deposit.

RELATED: Mozo’s guide to the First Home Super Saver Scheme

According to Thomas, early education is the key to improving understanding of the initiative - introducing first home buyers to the scheme as they look into their first mortgage is too little too late.

“The government and industry need to be working together to reach younger generations at the start of their working lives, when they begin to build their super. We should be trying to reach out to them five or ten years before they want to buy their first home,” he said.

“Providing opportunities for young people to attend face-to-face educational workshops and seminars is the way to go, because when it comes to big purchasing decisions, people look for the human touch.”

True or false answers

  1. True. 3 in 10 Aussies correctly identified this as true.
  2. True. Only 24% of Aussies got this one right.
  3. False. Of the 11% of Aussies who incorrectly identified this as true millennials were more likely to be tripped up than either Gen X or Baby Boomers.
  4. True. Of the 29% of Aussies who answered correctly, men (33%) were more likely to know this fact than women (24%) and millennials (38%) were more likely to understand this than baby boomers (23%).
  5. False. 11% of Aussies mistakenly thought this one was true
  6. False. This one tripped up 16% of Aussies who thought it was true.
  7. False. Of the 14% of Aussies who wrongly marked this one as true, Gen X (21%) were more likely to be mistaken than baby boomers (9%)

If you’re a first home buyer well on your way to saving a deposit, the next step is to pick out an affordable home loan that suits you needs. Get started with our first home loan comparison table.