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Govt’s BTR tax changes not enough say super funds

Mike Taylor1 July 2024
Finger nudging dominoes

Superannuation funds have sent a clear message to the Government that they are supportive of Build to Rent legislation but more attractive tax settings are needed to attract investment from funds.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia has told the Senate Economics Legislation Committee that while the Government’s new legislation around Build to Rent (BTR) it will prove more attractive to foreign investors than local institutional investors.

“The draft Bills represent an improvement to the current tax treatment settings of BTR which can be a deterrent for investment. These proposed settings will have their primary impact on overseas based investors, with a very small impact on local investors given that the main tax change relates to a reduction in the withholding tax rate that applies to eligible investments,” ASFA said.

“That withholding tax is not relevant to Australian domiciled investors, including superannuation funds,” it said.

“It also should be noted that as currently drafted the tax concessions proposed will have only a very modest impact on the Budget, $10 million in 2025-26 and $20 million in 2026-27. Given the scope of unmet demand for affordable rental housing an expansion of the tax concessions would be appropriate,” ASFA told the committee.

The organisation’s submission reminded the committee that superannuation investors have a responsibility to pursue appropriate risk-adjusted returns to members.

“Any encouragement to investment activity needs to be mindful that opportunities must meet this threshold,” it said.

“Policy frameworks are critical in drawing institutional investment into the BTR market,” it said.

“Effective government funding and supportive policy and tax measures are essential to stabilise and grow housing solutions focused on low-to-moderate income groups, ensuring that the BTR sector can contribute effectively to addressing Australia’s housing affordability crisis.”

“There also is a case for tax and policy settings to be supportive more generally for BTR developments rather than requiring every supported BTR development to have an affordable housing component. Institutional ownership of rental accommodation can provide greater security of tenure for renters and this should be made available for renters generally.”

“ASFA supports measures that help to provide institutional investors with settings that contribute to appropriate risk adjusted returns in their portfolios,” ASFA said.

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

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