Australian PM defends housing in housing advocacy as election looms

Government plans will allow first-home buyers to tap into their retirement savings as savings.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday defended his campaign to allow first-home buyers to use some of their retirement savings to buy a home in a bid to attract younger voters as the campaign enters its final week.

Morrison, trailing in polls ahead of Saturday’s national election, has put housing at the forefront of his campaign, criticizing the decision as a decision that will push up prices further and force more people out of the market.

“It’s your money, you earn it, and you put it into your super,” Morrison told Channel Seven on Monday.

Mr Morrison said he had not seen his policies lead to higher house prices, announced at the Liberal Party’s election campaign on Sunday.

Spending more on a bond would lower mortgage payments, adding “a layer of comfort for our first home buyers”, he said.

Under Morrison’s plan, first-time buyers can tap into their retirement savings of up to A$50,000 ($34,725) to raise a down payment.

Cheap loans fueled last year’s property booma windfall of household wealth, also hitting affordability.

soaring prices

House prices surged 22.4 per cent last year, the biggest gain since June 1989, and the nominal value of Australia’s 10.8 million homes rose by A$2 trillion ($1.4 trillion) to A$9.9 ​​trillion.

In some opinion polls voters see the rising cost of living as the most critical issue, putting pressure on Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition, which has a majority in the lower house of parliament.

The centre-left Labour party, which is leading in the polls, described the policy as “the last act of desperation by a dying government”.

“It just drives up prices. It’s like throwing kerosene on a campfire,” Jason Clare, the shadow housing minister, told ABC television.

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