Can my SMSF invest in property development?

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Can my SMSF invest in property development?  


An SMSF can invest in property development if trustees ensure the investment complies with the rules. And, there are a lot of rules. A key is the sole purpose test. Trustees need to ensure the fund is maintained to provide benefits for retirement, ill health or death​. Breaches of this fundamental tenet are serious and include the loss of the fund’s concessional tax treatment and civil and criminal penalties.


By its nature property development is high risk and fund trustees need to ensure that the SMSF is not simply a handy cash-cow for a pipe dream, particularly when the developers are related parties.  

There are multiple ways an SMSF can invest in property development if the investment strategy of the fund allows:

  • Directly developing property
  • An ungeared unit trust or company (the parties can be related)
  • Investment in an unrelated entity
  • A joint venture


An SMSF can purchase land from an unrelated party and develop the property in its own right. Common issues that often arise include:




If your SMSF is not undertaking a property development project in its own right, there are a few ways for an SMSF to invest in property development projects:


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