8 Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Property In Your Super Fund

It seems that more and more property investors are buying property using their Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF) seeing it as a way of controlling their financial destiny.

While this may end up being a rewarding strategy it can also be confusing and that’s why it is critical to get the right advice from an appropriately licensed professional.

By the way…estate agents, buyers advocates and property markets are not licensed to advise you on financial products.

However if you’re considering going down this route ESuperFund has put together a list of answers to some of the common questions new investors ask.

1. Can I use negative gearing through a SMSF?

gearing negativeYes you can.

A SMSF can claim interest and borrowing expenses on an investment property in exactly the same way as an individual investor.

So you can use negative gearing to help offset any tax on the fund’s other income now, then benefit from any capital gains on the property in the future.

But remember, when you buy a property through your SMSF, you can only claim deductions for the fund, not for yourself.

2. How much can I borrow?

Banks will generally lend a little less to SMSFs than they might to an individual buyer, due to the extra risk that these loans carry given that they are non-recourse in nature.

This means in the event that the SMSF defaults on the Loan the Lender can repossess or sell the Property only, but cannot repossess or sell any other SMSF asset to recoup any loan shortfall (if any).

While different banks have different limits, a typical lender might let you borrow up to 80% of the property’s value if your SMSF trustee is a company, or up to 72% if the trustee is an individual.

3. Is it more expensive to buy property through super?

Generally speaking, it costs about the same amount to buy inside and outside super. If you don’t already have a SMSF, you will need to set one up, but that doesn’t have to be expensive.

4. Is investing in property through a SMSF tax effective?

Depending on your situation, buying property through a SMSF could offer significant tax benefits.

Any rental income earned by your fund’s investment property is usually taxed at only 15%.

And if you commence a Pension in the Fund after age 55, tax on rental income is tax free.

More importantly if you commence a Pension in the Fund after age 55, tax on any capital gain is also tax free on the sale of the property!

Of course, tax laws are complex, so you may wish to talk to a tax adviser before you invest as in some cases it may be more beneficial to purchase the Property in your personal name.

5. Can I use my SMSF to buy a holiday house?

No, you can’t.

All of your SMSF investments must be for the sole purpose of saving for retirement, so you can’t buy a property then use it for personal purposes.

6. Can I use my SMSF to buy my business premises?

Yes you can.

This is a special exception, and has proved a great strategy for many business owners.

By buying a business property through your SMSF, then renting it back to your business at market rates, you can use your business rental costs to build your super.

7. Can my SMSF buy an investment property from me or my spouse?

No you can’t.

Your SMSF is not allowed to buy a residential property from a fund member or any person associated to a fund member such as a relative.

So if you or another fund member already own a residential property, you can’t transfer it into your SMSF.

8. Can I rent my SMSF residential property to a family member?

SMSFNo, you can’t. Again, this would contravene current Super Laws.

That is you cannot rent residential property the SMSF owns to a fund member or any person associated to a fund member such as a relative.

NOTE: As I mentioned at the start, if you’re considering going down the route of buying property through your SMSF, first seek professional advice from your accountant or financial planner, not someone who has a vested interest in selling you property.

You may also want to read these blogs:

6 common mistakes made when buying an investment property in an SMSF- Ken Raiss

The 10 SMSF rules that need urgent reform

9 Reasons You Should Consider Setting Up A Self Managed Super Fund

Will your Super see you through retirement?

Also published on Medium.

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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit Metropole.com.au

'8 Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Property In Your Super Fund' have 3 comments

  1. February 17, 2015 @ 7:02 am Hamish

    In relation to point #1 above, can the SMSF borrow inits own name – I had heard it needed to establish a separate trust which is used to borrow the funds and purchase the property. The SMSF would invest the necessary deposit in the trust.

    Not necessary?


    • February 17, 2015 @ 9:17 am Michael Yardney

      Hamish – remember you need to seek accountants advice on this – but to buy property your smsf has to set up a separate Bare Trust with its own trustee company.


      • February 17, 2015 @ 9:46 am Hamish

        Thanks Michael – suspected this was the case. As an accountant myself I know we all have our own areas of specialisation so finding an accountant who knows this area (or possibly even a lawyer) is crucial.


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