Property investor numbers in Queensland, which have already halved in the past five years, will plunge further if the state government continues to slug home owners with a bevy of revenue-raising taxes and fees, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has claimed.
"Property owners - and investors specifically - seem to forever be targeted by all levels of government when they are short of cash, whether it is through higher council rates, one-off levies or higher rates of stamp duty," acting REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said.
The REIQ was commenting on the state’s latest audit of the state government’s finances. The audit estimated the state's debt would rise to $100 billion by 2018/19, and that "urgent fiscal repair" was required.
According to the REIQ, the audit has outlined potential revenue-raising measures including: imposing a $100 levy on all property owners; reducing or removing the concession on land tax; applying a premium transfer duty rate; and increasing the landholder acquisition duty rate.
Ms Mercorella said property owners were sick and tired of having to bail out the government.
‘‘The additional legislative and compliance obligations on property investors over recent years, coupled with weaker returns on investment, has resulted in many opting to sell their rental properties.’’
The REIQ pointed to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data which shows the number of investors active in the Queensland property market has halved in the last five years.
Ms Mercorella said this number was likely to decline even further if investors were slugged with additional costs.
“We are currently starting to see the impact of this reduced investor activity with vacancy rates tightening and rents increasing across the state. If more investors left the rental market, then this situation would undoubtedly worsen,” she said.
“If land tax thresholds are reduced or removed, the added costs would put an end to the glimmers of renewed investor activity we have seen in recent months and would also likely be passed onto tenants via increased rents.
“Also the unit and townhouse market in particular is yet to see investors return significantly with the additional costs associated with this type of housing deterring investors.”