Excessive stamp duty is crippling the Australian property market

The Real Estate Institute of Australia has today called on the government to abolish stamp duty on all Australian property transactions.

Speaking at the national Tax Forum, REIA chief executive Amanda Lynch said the current level of stamp duty have had the effect of making housing unaffordable to most first home buyers as well as property investors.

Stamp duty rates across the country are very high, ranging from 4 per cent to 6 per cent of the price of an average home, given the high property prices in existence as well as the high cost of home loans, this is taking property outside of the affordability levels of average Australians.

According to Ms Lynch, incentives for first home buyers lack uniformity, ranging from no concessions in Tasmania to concessions only available for new homes up to the value of $600,000 in New South Wales. South Australia also places a $250,000 limit on stamp duty concessions.

“Stamp duty is an impediment to labour mobility. It discriminates against those who move to where jobs are and those who need to downsize, predominantly the elderly,” Ms Lynch said.

Evidence that measures need to be put in place to assist first home buyers is highlighted in the REIA’s latest Deposit Power Housing Affordability Report. The report shows a considerable decline in housing affordability over the past 12 months and a decline in the number of first home buyers in the market to 15 per cent; down from 30 per cent in 2009.

“The REIA advocates the replacement of inefficient property taxes with more efficient revenue sources and supports a wide-ranging review of the alternatives,” Ms Lynch said.

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