More people oppose the proposal to allow first home buyers to use superannuation balances for deposits being pushed by elements in the Coalition than support it, according to a new poll.
A Guardian Essential poll of 1,804 voters found 50 per cent of respondents thought super should be preserved for retirement, while only 38 per cent thought it should be used to help buy a house.
Surprisingly a 58 per cent majority of Coalition voters disapproved of the super for housing idea while only 34 per cent favoured the proposal.
The poll also found that support for the concept has actually weakened in recent times despite growing concerns about housing affordability.
Back in May 2015, 46 per cent of those surveyed said super should be reserved for retirement, while 41 per cent thought using super for a deposit was desirable.
The poll result came amid public debate between senior Turnbull government figures about the possible adoption of a super for housing policy in the May budget.
Treasurer Scott Morrison has floated the idea while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has publicly opposed it.
Mr Turnbull said last week: “The legislative objective of superannuation is to provide for retirement – that’s the whole purpose of it and that’s the way the whole system is set up in the first place.”
Research by the Grattan Institute has shown the measure would push up prices in the short term and reduce average retirement balances by $70,000 in the long run.
Such a measure would also be a negative for the budget. Superannuation consultancy Rice Warner has reviewed the option and found the policy would swallow as much as $92 in every $100 withdrawn from super in extra budget costs depending on the individual circumstances of those withdrawing.
“We have modelled the impact on a member aged 35 on average earnings taking $100,000 out of their super account to use as a housing deposit,” Rice Warner reported.
“Our young member now loses the power of compound interest and, assuming they only receive SG (superannuation guarantee) contributions and don’t top up their super later in life, they will draw an extra $92,000 (at present values) in Age Pension payments in their retirement years.
“So, the federal government allows someone to draw $100,000 and then pays them an extra welfare benefit of $92,000 later in life.”