Downsizers get a boost – Miriam Sandkuhler

Miriam Sandkuhler explains the possible outcome of a Federal Government initiative announced recently, that comes into effect on July 1, that offers incentives for retirees wanting to downsize from their principal place of residence.
Kevin:  There was a federal government initiative announced recently to help downsizers, a special contribution for retirees wanting to downsize. The 2017 superannuation changes now allow individuals over 65 who sell their principal place of residence to contribute up to $300,000 each from the sale proceeds into superannuation.
So, what’s this going to do to the market? Obviously, the intention there is twofold. Miriam Sandkuhler from Property Mavens joins me.
Miriam, thank you for your time once again.
Miriam:  You’re welcome, Kevin.
Kevin:  What’s the likely outcome of this? And is it such a good idea?
Miriam:  What it will do is enable older people who are asset-rich and cashflow-poor to sell their home, put some of that money into super to provide them with an income, and then give them leftover funds to then buy something smaller that they’re comfortable living in.
Kevin:  Okay, so releasing larger homes onto the market. It’s not going to do a lot for affordability, or is it?
Miriam:  No, I don’t think it will, because while the government might argue that it’s freeing up bigger properties for families to move into, you still have retirees who have sold their whole who need somewhere to live.
So, the net effect will be you’re going to have a whole lot of older people who are cashed up and don’t have to worry about borrowed money who will be buying smaller properties – and maybe smaller houses or little villa units or townhouses, things like that – and they’re going to be directly competing with people who are trying to upgrade or buy into those properties in the first place. And the net effect of that will be prices will probably go up.
Kevin:  And this is restricted to principal place of residence. This can’t be someone with a portfolio of properties, can it?
Miriam:  That’s correct. No, my understanding is it’s their principal place of residence only to ensure that downsizing takes place to free up those bigger properties for families to move into or upgrade into.
Kevin:  Of course, there’s nothing to say that when they do sell their principal place of residence, they don’t pour that straight back into another residence anyway. You can’t tell people what they’ve got to buy, can you?
Miriam:  No, but logic prevails and they need somewhere to live. The whole idea of downsizing was to find something smaller and more manageable. They’re often the same properties that first-home buyers are buying, and they’re often the second-tier property that someone might be upgrading into from where they are because they need more space or a bigger accommodation.
But the people upgrading into it are using borrowed money, and they can’t compete with buyers who are cashed up. We’ve had that problem in recent years with foreign investors, let alone now having foreign investors and a mass of retirees all coming in with plenty of cash to splash.
Kevin:  Interesting. We’ll have to watch what happens. When does that become effective?
Miriam:  1st of July 2018.
Kevin:  I guess anyone who wants to know a little bit more about it should really talk to their financial advisor, get some advice on their individual situation, even talk to their accountant as well, I would think, Miriam.
Miriam:  Absolutely. For the over 65s who are in a position to take advantage of it – and my understanding is they have to own their principal residence for at least 10 years – they definitely want to get advice around that.
Kevin:  Yes, absolutely. Good on you. Miriam Sandkuhler from Property Mavens. Thanks again for your time.
Miriam:  You’re welcome, Kevin.

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