Investors ‘targeted’ by government, Qld

By Phillip Tarrant

Investors are being used as cash cows to raise Queensland Government revenue, and this technique may see investors sell out of the market, warned the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

The Queensland Government audit on finances found that investors were highlighted as one group to be penalized in order to raise revenue across the state.

Potential measures to raise this revenue include a $100 levy on all property owners, a reduction or complete removal of any land tax concessions, the application of a premium transfer duty rate and an increase in landholder acquisition duty rate.

Property owners are sick and tired of the government’s attempts to use them as an opportunity to bail them out from fiscal woes, acting CEO for the REIQ, Antonia Mercorella, said.

‘‘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,’’ Ms Mercorella said.

‘‘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,” she said.

Over the last five years, the number of investors in Queensland has dropped by half, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, and this could decline further if additional costs are seen.

“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.”

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