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Stamp duty remains the biggest
financial hurdle for Western Australians looking to buy property, which is why
the WA Government should commit to reforming stamp duty in its 2021-22 State
REIWA President Damian Collins said while
stamp duty was an important revenue earner for the WA Government, the
inefficient and inequitable tax was ultimately a handbrake on the economy.
“Stamp duty actively
discourages home ownership and makes it significantly more difficult for people
to move frequently. Our state’s finances are enviable. We have navigated the
challenges of COVID-19 relatively unscathed and are one of the only economies
in the world thriving right now.
“If there was ever a
time for the WA Government to implement bold reform to help alleviate housing
affordability pressures on West Aussies, now is it,” Mr Collins said.
In its 2021-22
Pre-Budget Submission, REIWA is calling for the WA Government to introduce four
key areas of stamp duty reform that will improve the efficiency and equity of
the WA property market.
recommends the WA Government introduce a two-stream revenue collection model
for stamp duty, which gives purchasers the option to pay the hefty tax upfront
(as is currently the case) or opt for an ongoing annual fee, calculated at the
purchase price of the property.
“Stamp duty adds a
considerable amount of money to the savings required to purchase a home, as
well as adding to the debt buyers take on, which adds thousands of extra
dollars over the life of the loan. This additional cost is too big of a burden
for many buyers, pushing their dream of home ownership out of reach.
“It also penalises
those who move house more frequently. Often these people are simply moving for
work and are unfairly burdened with a tax that has no relationship to any
economic output,” Mr Collins said.
In a 2020 survey
conducted by REIWA of more than 1,000 people, 90 per cent of respondents said
they considered stamp duty to be a significant barrier to home ownership, while
60 per cent said they would opt for an ongoing annual fee if given the choice.
“Stamp duty in its
current form is a huge pain point for WA buyers. Reforming stamp duty by implementing
a two-stream revenue collection method would remove one of the biggest
financial hurdles buyers face and result in a significant productivity boost
for our economy,” Mr Collins said.
REIWA is calling for
the WA Government to immediately provide a $10,000 stamp duty concession for
all people aged over 65.
“Stamp duty prevents
many seniors from right-sizing into more suitable accommodation. Many either
struggle to raise the upfront costs or are deterred from spending a large sum to
move home,” Mr Collins said.
“Targeted stamp duty
relief for seniors would assist with these upfront costs and help them to
right-size into more suitable accommodation, which would free up housing stock and
assist with mobility across the whole market.”
With one-third of all
unit purchases in 2020 estimated to be off-the-plan, REIWA is calling for the
WA Government to lock in the stamp duty rebate for off-the-plan purchases,
which is due to expire in October 2021.
"It is vital that the off-the-plan stamp duty rebate becomes a
permanent feature of WA’s property tax system. Incentivising the purchase of
multi-unit dwellings will ensure ongoing construction work while reducing urban
sprawl and encouraging infill development," Mr Collins said.
“The current 75 per cent stamp duty rebate for off-the-plan construction
apartments has been essential in ensuring an ongoing pipeline of projects. We believe
that without this ongoing incentive, the demand for apartments will soften,
impacting the steady supply of diverse housing and the creation of jobs for
REIWA is recommending
WA join the likes of Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia and
the Australian Capital Territory in removing stamp duty on the purchase of
“Whilst overall WA
has been incredibly lucky throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, those who have been
hit hardest by lockdowns and restrictions have been small businesses. They need
our support more than ever, so it’s essential the WA Government does not stand
in the way and that they implement policies that boost productivity,” Mr
“As one of the only
places in the country that still collects stamp duty on business assets, we are
creating a business environment that is less competitive than the eastern
states and placing a cost burden on small businesses which discourages
productivity and the entrepreneurial spirit. With more people making career
changes than ever before, we need to pave the way for those who want to have a
For more information
about REIWA’s position on stamp duty reform, read our 2021-22 Pre-Budget
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