First Home Saver Accounts get better

The under-used First Home Saver Accounts scheme, which gives savers a government co-contribution of up to $850 per year, will be overhauled a second time to make it more flexible, the government announced yesterday.

Current rules mean aspiring first home buyers are forced to keep their savings in designated accounts for four financial years before being able to access the money to buy a house. If the account holder buys a house before the end of that four-year period, the balance of their account is transferred to their superannuation fund.

Now, the government will allow cash in FHSAs to be paid into mortgages after the end of the minimum qualifying period if a house is bought in the interim. The Treasurer, Wayne Swan said the idea was to give aspiring first home buyers more flexibility but still allow them to benefit from the concessional tax rates and government contributions.

The Age