Superannuation in Australia has been undergoing some radical changes in the past few years. The laws for self managed super funds (SMSF) were changed in 2008 to allow SMSF to buy assets including property through a specifically set up trust structure using a non-recourse loan.

A non-recourse loan is structured in such a way as to prevent the lender from getting to any other assets in the SMSF in the event that the property is foreclosed on and sold for less than the loan is worth.  Up to 4 people can combine their superannuation to purchase a property which allows family groups to pool their super to purchase assets.

There are plenty of restrictions on what sort of property you can get and what you can do with it for example, you can do minor renovations to a residential property but can’t buy a block of land and develop it into a unit block.

If it is a residential property, it must be an arms-length transaction i.e. you can’t buy it from a family member of transfer a property that you already own into your super fund and you can’t live in it either – even if you’re paying rent to your super fund.

Commercial properties are a different story though, you can operate your own business out of a property owned by your SMSF.

There are also a number of considerations to be aware of from a lending perspective as not very many lenders do loans for SMSF and some have some minimum requirements (such as a minimum balance in the super fund). However there are lenders out there who have no restriction on the amount in the fund and will lend 80% against residential property and 70% against commercial property. They are fussy about where you can buy though so if you intend to buy outside a major city or town, please ring us on 1300 139 883 to check the postcode restrictions.

The Superfund setup can also be a stumbling block as most lenders prefer or even insist that the SMSF be set up with a corporate trustee rather then individuals and will lend less if that is not the case.

We are currently writing an Ebook on how to purchase a property through a SMSF which explains in great detail what you can and can’t do, if you would like a copy when completed, please enter your details into our newsletter section and you will automatically be sent a copy on completion.

Haven’t found a property? We can help you there as well with our alliance with Fountain Property Group who source new properties which comply to the SMSF requirements including NRAS properties (with a substantial government benefit for 10 years) in high growth, high yield areas.

It all seems a bit daunting at the start but with someone to guide you through the traps it can be a relatively painless process. But it does pay to get it right the first time so call and talk to an expert now on 1300 139 883