The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) has called on the government to abolish all stamp duty on residential and commercial property.
Speaking at the national Tax Forum, REIA chief executive Amanda Lynch said stamp duty has a “crippling effect” on housing affordability.
“Not only is it inefficient, it is too high and with rates ranging from four per cent to six per cent of the price of an average home (depending on which state or territory you live in), it is unfair and disharmonised,” she said.
According to Ms Lynch, incentives for first home buyers lack uniformity, ranging from no concessions in Tasmania to concessions only available for new homes up to the value of $600,000 in New South Wales. South Australia also places a $250,000 limit on stamp duty concessions.
“Stamp duty is an impediment to labour mobility. It discriminates against those who move to where jobs are and those who need to downsize, predominantly the elderly,” Ms Lynch said.
Evidence that measures need to be put in place to assist first home buyers is highlighted in the REIA’s latest Deposit Power Housing Affordability Report. The report shows a considerable decline in housing affordability over the past 12 months and a decline in the number of first home buyers in the market to 15 per cent; down from 30 per cent in 2009.
“The REIA advocates the replacement of inefficient property taxes with more efficient revenue sources and supports a wide-ranging review of the alternatives,” Ms Lynch said.