Stamp duty standing in the way of economic growth

Ray EllisDecember 8, 2020

It is a rare thing for me to say I agree with the Prime Minister, but I believe she has it entirely right when she says state government-based property taxes are standing in the way of economic growth in this country.

As Australia’s largest independent real estate network, we do everything we can to help people with workforce- and lifestyle-driven mobility, but the state governments are not doing anything to help – a fact we have been on the record as raising on numerous occasions over the last 12 to 18 months.

Research has shown that a lot of city dwellers would like to make a move to the country, but they find the costs of selling and buying a home, including stamp duty, prohibitive.

Last month, we were proud to sponsor the inaugural Regional Victoria Living Expo, which promotes the attractions of regional centres and smaller townships throughout rural Victoria.

At that event, Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan released research that indicates 11% of Melbourne’s metropolitan residents, around 450,000 people, are contemplating moving to regional Victoria in the next three years.

The main thing standing in their way is the cost of buying and selling a home, and stamp duty is a large part of that cost. So, on the one hand state governments want people to move within their state and the federal government needs them to be able to move between states, but the state governments’ stamp duty is one of the major costs that are stopping that happening.

Last year, stamp duty accounted for 37% of total property related taxes in Australia, and I believe the reliance of governments on property taxes is standing in the way of Australia’s economic growth.

We need to stop penalising people who have saved enough money to buy a house or who are prepared to follow job opportunities interstate.  Stamp duty is an anti-growth tax and is a lazy way for governments to keep their budgets in check.

Ray Ellis is CEO of First National Real Estate.

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