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Calls to raise Queensland’s stamp duty threshold for first-home buyers


In the face of declining home ownership rates in Queensland, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has voiced strong recommendations for a critical update to the stamp duty concession thresholds for first-home purchasers. At present, Queensland residents are exempt from stamp duty on first homes under the $500,000 mark. However, REIQ asserts that this threshold, which has remained unchanged since 2008, is out of step with the realities of today’s property prices.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella highlighted the urgent need for revision. “The average cost of an entry level property has rapidly outpaced the current threshold of the first home buyer’s concession being $500,000 and has not been reviewed since 2008,” she stated. Mercorella underscored the inefficiency of the current concession, given the Greater Brisbane median house price of $760,500 and Brisbane LGA’s average of $1 million.

Intending to bridge this gap, REIQ is pushing for an increase in the concessional threshold to a minimum of $750,000. “While we are yet to see any appetite from the State Government to tackle the inefficient and regressive tax that is stamp duty, a sensible interim measure would be to lift the concessional threshold for first home buyers to a figure of at least $750,000,” Mercorella advocated.

Furthermore, the REIQ CEO pointed out the broader implications of stamp duty on housing affordability. “Stamp duty can add tens of thousands to the overall cost of buying a new home which stifles housing mobility,” she remarked, calling the tax “an inherently lazy tax” that benefits the state revenue at the expense of first-home buyers. She also noted that despite a tripling of stamp duty from property transfers over a decade, there has not been proportional investment in new housing infrastructure or social housing.

Pointing to a past statement where the Treasurer considered stamp duty affordable, Mercorella suggested it was time to revisit that view, especially with Queensland harboring the country’s lowest home ownership levels. Highlighting the government’s objective to enhance first home ownership, she said, “The Queensland Government recently announced its intent to help more Queenslanders buy their first home, and one of the biggest obstacles to home ownership is stamp duty, so reforming stamp duty would be a powerful move towards that goal.”

The REIQ’s sustained advocacy for revising the stamp duty scheme aims to alleviate the hurdles faced by first-home buyers and promote greater home ownership in Queensland. With the current concession threshold historically languishing behind the property price growth, there is a clarion call for policy shifts that could enable more Queenslanders to embark on the journey of home ownership.

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