First Home Super Saver Scheme

The First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme was introduced by the Australian Government in the Federal Budget 2017–18 and became law on the 13 December 2017.

The FHSS Scheme allows a first time home buyer to save money inside their superannuation fund with the benefit of concessional tax treatment. Buyers will be able to access the scheme in a few months from 1 July 2018.

Eligible buyers from 1 July 2017 can make voluntary concessional (before tax) and non-concessional (after tax) contributions into their super funds. This includes amount that are salary sacrificed into super savings.

From 1 July 2018, qualified buyers will be able to apply to release contributions, while a range of conditions will apply it will be possible to 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. And joint buyers can combine this amount to a maximum of $60,000.

Retirees Set to Impact Housing Market

New research from Roy Morgan shows that in December 2017, the average age of Australians intending to retire in the next 12 months is 61.9 years, up from 58.2 years over the last three years (2014). Despite this increase in average age of intending retirees, their number continues to increase and is currently 415,000, up from 392,000 in 2014 and 326,000 in 2008.

As greater numbers of people retire there will be a potential impact on the housing market as we head towards 500,000 people making a major change to their lifestyle. One impact is expected to drive demand for inner-city apartments, and that will include buyers looking for larger apartments.

Older Australians downsizing from large family homes will benefit from new rules from 1 July 2018 allowing sale proceeds to go to voluntary superannuation contributions. People aged 65 and older will be able to make non-concessional contributions of up to $300,000 from the sale of their home, owned for 10 years or more. Couples can participate to a combined of $600,000. Contributions are exempt from the existing $1.6 million transfer balance cap on retirement contributions. According to Roy Morgan increasing retirement age generally will also reduce pressure on funding pensions, helping the Federal budget and allow superannuation funds a longer accumulation phase.

Are We Ready for Google Cities?

This week Facebook is facing a storm of very bad publicity over privacy concerns and so the idea of a Google conceived city might not be opportune. However, the impact of technology on urban development is unavoidable. The question is, would you live in Google’s ‘city of the future’?

A high tech Toronto neighbourhood is already being planned that will monitor resident’s daily lives. Sensors will be used to monitor everything from garbage bins to traffic lights, where and how people move around the neighbourhood. This will raise privacy concerns still Google expects their first ‘Google Smart City’ will house 5,000 people within four years. By gathering lots of data and monitoring changing conditions the bonus will be better managed and more environmentally sensitive communities. If successful, this first project could one day see entire cities where almost every function is technology driven.

New Rooftops

Roof space areas for apartment projects are now the amenity du jour. However, the extent of possibly rooftop usefulness across an entire city is amazing. We are very used to seeing solar panels, and that’s an explosive trend. Sydney Markets’ is a great example with its new solar systems which consists of nearly 8600 solar panels. This impressive array generates more than three megawatts, providing about 11% of the market’s annual power needs, which is enough power for some 730 homes each year. Other great options include green roofs which help manage heat and run-off, edible large scale city farms, playgrounds, apiaries which have become very popular, and rooftops are an obvious way to collect rain water for recycling. Rooftops have become very valuable and versatile urban spaces.

She Sheds

The man cave and men’s shed have been around now for a while, the Men’s Shed Association has almost 1000 Men’s Sheds members across Australia. Now women have taken the concept a step further with the creation of She Sheds; described as a Zen space for both work and play. Some early examples look very stylish, featuring light filled open and modern design with none of the industrial feel of the male equivalent. Stay tuned!

Ranking Sydney

Sydney is in the midst of a big infrastructure and building boom producing lots of headaches and hopefully a brighter future however, as the city reshapes do we deserve to be ranked alongside Hong Kong, New York, Tokyo, Paris or San Francisco? Are we Australia’s only true international city? There are lots of reports that suggest we do deserve such comparisons. Along with Melbourne, Sydney ranks as the 7th safest city in the world, Melbourne does better at 5th. This week Sydney entered the ranks as the 10th most expensive city in the world (That’s according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit) and overall Australia is the 10th Happiest Country in the world. All positive stuff but, still with all our growing pains we do complain a lot and perhaps before the current boom ends we do need to sort out just what we want Sydney to be?