2017 is a year of change for housing and superannuation policy in Australia.

While these topics may seem like a complex, yawn-inducing web of jargon; it’s wise to wrap your head around the proposed reforms. Properly understood, they just might be your way into the housing market and towards a secure financial future.

Housing affordability has plummeted in the last 30 years in Australia and is predicted to get even worse. This year, policies are being adjusted in an attempt to navigate the issue, with a raft of changes kicking in from 1 July.

Turning housing into homes

The intent is to make housing easier to access for first homebuyers, shifting the market away from those purchasing as investments and towards those seeking homes. From 1 July, stamp duty (basically a housing purchase tax) will be waived for first homebuyers on properties up to $600,000 in Victoria and $650,000 in NSW, which means potential savings of tens of thousands of dollars.

Other initiatives include a tax on empty houses and a push to build new suburbs around Melbourne and Sydney, opening up space for hundreds of thousands of new homes.

Making super more super

1 July also brings some of the most significant changes to super since compulsory super was introduced.

First home buyers will be especially interested in the proposal to let you use your super to build a first home deposit. The idea is that individuals saving to buy will be able to put a total of $30,000 into their super, or $15,000 maximum per year taxed at the low rate of just 15c to the dollar. By using this technique, the government predicts first homebuyers should be able to grow their deposits an impressive 30% faster. Before you get too excited though, we need to point out it’s just a proposal at this stage, and still needs to get the official thumbs up from Parliament.

Other changes work to improve the equity, efficiency and sustainability of the super system – especially around tax concessions. You can check out the full suite of changes here.

First State Super supports any initiatives that grow our members financial security. We’ll be watching developments in these sectors closely and, as always, will keep you in the loop.