Call for stamp duty change

With home ownership levels steadily on the decline in Queensland, the REIQ is calling for an overdue revision and uplift to the stamp duty concession threshold rates for first home buyers.

As it currently stands, Queenslanders can buy their first home and pay no stamp duty provided the property is under $500,000.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the peak body is advocating for the concessional threshold for first home buyers be increased to at least $750,000 to reflect current day property prices.

“The average cost of an entry level property has rapidly outpaced the current threshold of the first home buyer’s concession being $500,000 and has not been reviewed since 2008,” Mercorella said.

“Comparing the threshold to the annual median house price for Greater Brisbane of $760,500, and for Brisbane LGA of $1 million* it raises the question of the effectiveness of a first home buyer stamp duty concession when the ability to utilise it is severely limited.

“While we are yet to see any appetite from the state government to tackle the inefficient and regressive tax that is stamp duty, a sensible interim measure would be to lift the concessional threshold for first home buyers to a figure of at least $750,000.

“With decade low numbers of first home buyers accessing the concession, it would be a sensible starting point for the suite of stamp duty reforms that the REIQ have been strenuously advocating for over many years.”

Mercorella said stamp duty is a key part of the housing affordability and accessibility issue.

“Stamp duty can add tens of thousands to the overall cost of buying a new home which stifles housing mobility,” she said.

“It is an inherently lazy tax that rewards the state government coffers while punishing those starting their home ownership journey.

“Over the past 10 years we have seen stamp duty on property transfers nearly triple – however there has been no commensurate investment in the provision of infrastructure for new housing or social housing.

“At an Estimates hearing in July 2021, the Treasurer previously ruled out reforming stamp duty in Queensland arguing that it was affordable, but we think it’s time to review that decision as Queensland has the lowest levels of home ownership in the country.

“The Queensland government recently announced its intent to help more Queenslanders buy their first home, and one of the biggest obstacles to home ownership is stamp duty, so reforming stamp duty would be a powerful move towards that goal.”

*Source CoreLogic – House Median Sales – September 2023 Quarter

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