Scott Morrison’s unlocking home equity move was policy priority for Retirement Living Council “for some time”

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New financial incentives for older people to sell their homes had been “a policy priority for some time” for the Property Council’s Retirement Living Choice.

“This announcement is in direct response to engagement we have had with the government, especially over recent weeks, on unlocking home equity,” said Retirement Living Council Executive Director Ben Myers.

“Incentivising older Australians to unlock their home equity and right-size into more suitable housing options, especially purpose-built age-friendly communities, is a wise move by government.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced at the Liberal Party’s campaign launch in Brisbane (pictured with former PMs John Howard (with wife Jeanette) and Tony Abbott on Sunday that he will extend an existing tax break allowing up to $300,000 from the sale of a family home to be placed into superannuation without a penalty. He will also lower the age limit for the tax break to 55 years of age.

In addition, to encourage pensioners to sell their homes, a LNP Government will exempt the proceeds of the sale from the assets test for two years instead of one.

With the retirement sector, in the words of Ingenia Chairman Jim Hazel entering a golden decade, Mr Morrison’s move will only see more older people move into the retirement sector.

However, the issues of land supply are still a thorn in the side of retirement sector operators and would-be investors.

“State and local governments are making it very hard to finance and develop new retirement communities in suburbs and regions across Australia,” said Ben.

“Unless Australia is able to better provide the housing supply and choice that our ageing population needs, affordability and accessibility will be an increasingly dire social and economic issue.”

He added industry research showed that retirement village residents, on average, entered residential aged care up to five years later than people moving from suburban homes. They also reported lower than average GP visits and hospital stays.

“We know that Australians living in retirement communities are living independently for longer, and they are saving governments over $2 billion annually in reduced health and aged care costs,” he said.

“That’s another reason why encouraging right-sizing is a win for all Australians.”

Labor said it supported the policy, despite leader Anthony Albanese, calling it “modest”.