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Australians Suffer Increasing Stamp Duty Burden

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

02 December 2008


Increasing stamp duties throughout Australia are crippling individual sales in all areas of the country's housing market, a recent report has revealed.

The Residential Stamp Duty Report, released by BankWest on Monday reveals that since 2003, stamp duty bills have soared by 127% in Australia's western states and 102% in the south; doubling the duties paid on property purchases over the past 5 years.

According to the report, runaway stamp duty bills on residential property are hindering Australian home owners’ ability to enter the housing market, as the rise in property tax is not proportional to wage increases.

Australian cities which have been hit hardest by the increase include Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.

Key highlights of BankWest's report revealed that:

  • Sydney and Melbourne home owners would need almost three months of their salaries to pay stamp duty for median priced properties, the highest stamp duty burden in the nation.
  • Brisbane has the lowest stamp duty bills, where home owners only had to work one month to pay stamp duty for median priced properties.
  • Stamp duty bills have more than doubled in six states and territories in the past five years – Tasmania (177%), Queensland (151%), Northern Territory (145%), Western Australia (127%), ACT (111%) and South Australia (102%).
  • Critically, stamp duty thresholds have been left unchanged for owner occupiers in NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT since 2003, despite a 63% national rise in house prices.

Chief Executive of Bankwest Retail, Ian Corfield, said the research indicated more could be done to ease the stamp duty burden being borne by Australia’s 4.9 million home owners:

“This is the downside of the house price boom that has pushed up stamp duty bills and burdened home buyers across the country with an additional tax expense", Corfield explained, adding:

“Home owners in half of Australia’s capital cities now need to set aside more than 20% of their annual incomes for stamp duty bills to buy a new house."

“In some states home buyers have to work for three months just to pay state government stamp duty", he concluded.

However, a government spokesman has hit back at Corfield's revelations, claiming that the actual base rate of stamp duty has remained the same over the past five years, but rising house prices have pushed up the charges.

According to the spokesman, home buyers are entitled to grant schemes at both state level (South Australia, for example), and from the federal government.


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