• The issue 

    REIWA recognises that stamp duty remains the most significant hurdle for buyers in the WA property market. 

    In December 2020, REIWA surveyed over a 1,000 West Australians to better understand the public's attitude towards stamp duty and figure out whether there was a desire for the WA Government to undertake significant reforms in this area. 

    The response was emphatic, with 91 per cent of respondents saying they considered stamp duty to be a significant barrier to home ownership. 

    Despite its unpopularity, stamp duty is a big earner for the WA Government. In the 2019-20 financial year alone, revenue from stamp duty reached almost $1.2 billion. After payroll tax, stamp duty is the largest source of taxable revenue for the WA Government.  

    It means that, as much as we’d like to see stamp duty abolished, WA simply cannot afford it without some other revenue stream to take its place. Our community needs realistic change to happen as soon as possible. 

    What is REIWA doing about it? 

    REIWA has developed a two-stream revenue policy, having researched the experiences of other states, and other jurisdictions internationally. 

    REIWA's two stream revenue policy doesn’t abolish stamp duty, but instead, changes the way stamp duty is paid, by giving a buyer a choice as to how they pay duty: 

    • Option one: The status quo- a buyer pays stamp duty upfront as they would if they purchased a property today. 
    • Option two: The buyer pays an ongoing annual fee, calculated as a percentage of the sale price and paid every year as long as the buyer owns the property. 

    To give you an example, Bob from Bayswater buys a property purchased at $500,000. No stamp duty concessions or surcharges apply (ie he’s a ‘regular’ buyer).

    • Under option one: Bob pays $17,765.00 upfront. 
    • Under option two: Bob pays $1,000.00 (0.2 per cent of purchase price) on buying the property, and then $1,000 each year thereafter for as long as he owns the property. 

    Say Bob goes to sell in five years’ time - he may have only paid $5,000 in stamp duty. But he’ll be more likely to move- because he knows he can afford to do so. And in any event, the incoming buyer has to pay transfer duty anyway.

    By introducing a two-stream revenue collection method, buyers would be able to decide for themselves which option suits them best. It can reduce the upfront costs and doesn’t unfairly penalise people who choose to move more frequently. 

    In return, the Government has a more predictable and stable source of revenue, with anticipated productivity gains unlike any WA has seen before. 

    On the back of COVID-19, we need all the productivity wins we can get, and stamp duty is the low-hanging fruit of productivity wins. 

    REIWA has prepared a submission and is in talks with the WA Government to get their support for change. 

    More information

    For more information, view REIWA's submission to the WA Government.