Less than half (45%) of Australians are aware of the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS), according to a first home buyer survey commissioned by Gateway Bank.
The Australian government introduced the FHSSS in last year’s federal budget to reduce pressure on housing affordability. The FHSSS scheme provides buyers with the opportunity to save money for their first home inside his or her superannuation fund. It aims to help first home buyers save faster with the concessional tax treatment within super.
Conducted by YouGov Galaxy on behalf of the bank, the poll was conducted late last month and surveyed 1,015 Australians aged 18 and older.
“While there is no one silver bullet to the home affordability issue, we commend the government for doing the FHSSS,” Gateway Bank CEO Paul Thomas told MPA. “The government would benefit from promoting it more.”
As more people take advantage of the FHSSS, Thomas believes that a greater number of first homebuyers will be able to save the extra money to contribute to a larger deposit.
Reaching to millennials
One of the study’s key findings is that millennials are more likely than baby boomers to be aware of how the scheme works. “Millennials have greater awareness of the scheme, because they’re the target market,” Thomas said.
Younger people may not account for a major share of the property-buying demographic, but that doesn’t mean they’ve given up on their home-ownership dreams. Thomas suspects that if more millennials understand the benefits of the scheme, more of them will actually participate.
Early education and personal service
“The mortgage industry and mutual banks need to somehow get to millennials and young people when they’re starting in work and superannuation,” Thomas said. “We should be charging five or ten years before they want to buy a home.”
Since taking out a mortgage in Australia is usually the single biggest financial decision one will make, Thomas hopes to see the government broaden their awareness campaigns, such as offering seminars or workshops.
Thomas recognises the advantage technology brings to the loan business, but for him, nothing beats sitting down in front of someone. “Brokers add value,” he said. “Fifty-five percent of Australians buy a mortgage through a broker, and one can argue that they don’t have to. They can go online or visit comparison websites.”
“But to talk to someone behind the desk who’s an expert working for you, you can’t put a value on that,” he added.