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Is stamp duty too expensive for the average Aussie?

By Alana Su-Navratil
12 February 2024 | 10 minute read
angus moore nick garvin reb oi4zuh

With Australians paying up to six times more in stamp duty than they were a generation ago, new data has revealed it could be having a huge impact on the housing market.

Joint research from e61 Institute and PropTrack reveals stamp duty costs home buyers up to six times more than they were in the early to mid-1980s, and it is acting as a significant upfront cost and a barrier to entering the housing market.

PropTrack senior economist, Angus Moore, stated the average cost of stamp duty in the 1980s was $1,500. Today, it can cost the average person almost $45,000, equating to six months of an average person’s full-time income.

Mr Moore stated that while “the rise has largely been incidental, rather than an intentional increase in tax rates”, it does stress stamp duty reform is critical “to allow the property market to operate more efficiently”.

Sydneysiders are paying the most stamp duty, paying $44,500 for a median priced home.

Melbourne’s stamp duty cost is around $42,500 for a median property purchase a 6.1-fold increase from four decades ago, which the report noted is the largest increase of any city.

In smaller capital cities such as Brisbane, costs are still 5.5 times higher than they had been in the 1980s.

That’s despite owner-occupiers paying the equivalent to $18,700 in stamp duty, or 2.7 months’ worth of income.

Looking at Brisbane’s investors, stamp duty represents around $25,900 or 3.7 months of income.

In other cities, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart have seen substantial increases for the cost of stamp duty. A median-priced home is 4.4 times higher, relative to income, in Adelaide. It is 4.5 times higher in Perth, and six times higher in Hobart.

Mr Moore also highlighted how stamp duty’s large upfront cost is affecting housing supply as it is discouraging people from moving to homes that suit them.

Research manager at the e61 Institute, Dr Nick Garvin, also said the research conducted shows the indirect impacts of stamp duty on other parts of people’s lives, revealing stamp duty is deterring close to a quarter of potential downsizers as well as stopping people from changing jobs and having children.

Is stamp duty too expensive for the average Aussie?
angus moore nick garvin reb oi4zuh
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