First home buyers and the super dream

Real Estate

Treasurer calls for a super re-think
As Sydney property prices and auction clearance rates continue to hit record highs the Treasurer Joe Hockey is calling for a rethink of how Australians can use their super. Mr Hockey is suggesting that super be made available to employees to retrain for new jobs or add to the deposit savings of first home buyers. The Sydney median house price now stands at $895,000, making it next to impossible for young first home buyers to save the 20 per cent deposit required to negate mortgage insurance. 
First home buyers struggle in NSW
Taking a look at real estate economic news, The Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index showed home building declined for a fourth consecutive month in February, a worrying sign for what has been a major driver of the economy. The index slowed slightly less than January, moving down 2 points to 43.9. Readings under 50 indicate contracting activity. However the index showed a lift in apartment building up by 10.8 points to 53.1.
Elsewhere, new research from Mortgage Choice is showing a high disparity in first home buyers across the country. According to new home approval data, Queensland and WA first home buyers account for nearly 1 in 5 new home loans written in February whilst in NSW the number is 1 first home buyer in 20 new loans written. Average out across the country, February first home buyers accounted for 12 per cent of all loans written, that’s down from 16 per cent in February last year. 
HIA welcomes superannuation discussion
Turning to commentary and FNN spoke to Graham Wolfe from the Housing Industry Association about comments from Treasurer Joe Hockey regarding the possibility of people being able to dip into their superannuation saving to buy their first home.  Mr Wolfe says that the HIA welcomes the move. 
“So having conversations about other ways in which first home buyers can given a leg up if you like, or some assistance in getting into the housing market is always worthy of conversation and in this instance, accessing a person’s superannuation fund to help bridge the deposit gap makes a lot of sense. There would need to be some discussion around what conditions and criteria might be met but certainly if a young family or an individual has a couple of thousand dollars in deposit, they may have $25,000 as a deposit and another $30,000 to $40,000 dollars locked up in superannuation. Giving them access to that superannuation helps bridge the deposit gap and helps them get through and LVR that the bank is able to assist with the housing loan makes a lot of sense.”
Australian auction results
Looking at this week’s auction results across Australian capital cities - Sydney recorded an 83 per cent clearance rate from 681 properties for auction, Melbourne cleared 75 per cent from 285 properties, Brisbane had a 33 per cent clearance rate from 111 properties listed and Adelaide cleared 86 per cent from 50 listed auctions. 
Commercial property sector
GPT Group (ASX:GPT) says it will consider re-zoning some of its properties at Sydney Olympic Park and nearby Rosehill for mixed-use opportunities to take advantage of rising demand in the Sydney suburban office market.
Multiplex European Property Fund (ASX:MUE) will sell the remaining 61 properties held by its German partnerships for $230 million dollars.  
Finbar Group Limited (ASX:FRI) says its Aurelia Project in South Perth achieved $66 million in sales during its opening weekend. 
And Lend Lease (ASX:LLC) has announced it preceded to the final stages of its concept plan for its proposed Crown resort at Barangaroo South in Sydney.