Tax and legal advice

Stamp duty on investment properties

By Jack Needham
Stamp duty on investment properties

Stamp duty is a necessary evil of purchasing property in Australia, but there are several important things you need to know about it before building up your investment portfolio.

What is stamp duty?
Historically, stamp duty simply referred to the cost of the physical stamp that was attached on documents regarding land transactions and other legal matters.

Today, stamp duty is a tax imposed by state and territory governments on acquisitions such as property, cars and mortgages/home loans. It is paid at the time of purchase, typically within 30 days of settlement.

Stamp duty forms a component of state revenue, and is used for the provision of government services and infrastructure.

When do I have to pay stamp duty?
All property transactions, including gifts of property and land, attract stamp duty. However, there are different concessions available, depending on who you are and where you purchased.

Stamp duty rates vary by state and territory, and can differ significantly.

How is stamp duty calculated?
Stamp duty uses a sliding scale of taxation, which moves according to the value of the property. Therefore, it can generally be assumed that the more expensive a property, the higher the stamp duty rate that must be paid.

In property transactions stamp duty is always paid by the purchaser, and must be paid within 30 days of the property settlement.

As stamp duty is decided by state and territory governments, rather than the federal government, rates vary from state to state. Working out the amount you have to pay can become confusing due to the different approaches by each state – although the tables below give a basic outline of the different rates of stamp duty.

For this reason, stamp duty calculators (a free resource offered by most of the relevant state/territory departments) are useful and accurate tools to work out the amount of duty required in each buying scenario.

These rates do not take into consideration any stamp duty concession policies.

NSW

Purchase/value amount Duty payable
 $0 - $14,000  $1.25 for every $100 or part of the value
 $14,001 - $30,000  $175 + $1.50 for every $100 after $14,001
 $30,001 - $80,000  $415 + $1.75 for every $100 after $30,001
 $80,001 - $300,000  $1,290 + $3.50 for every $100 after $80,001
 $300,001 - $1 million  $8,990 + $4.50 for every $100 after $300,001
 Over $1 million  $40,490 + $5.50 for every $100 after $1,000,001
 Premium Property Duty: over $3 million  $150,490 + $7 for every $100 after $3,000,001

 

Victoria

Purchase/value amount Duty payable
$0 - $25,000 1.4% of dutiable value (PPR concession not available)
$25,001 - $130,000 $350 + 2.4% of dutiable value over $25,000 (PPR concession not available)
$130,001 - $440,000 $2,870 + 5% of dutiable value over $130,000
$440,001 - $550,000 $18,370 + 6% of dutiable value over $440,000
$550,001 - $960,000 $2,870 + 6% of dutiable value over $130,000 (PPR concession not available)
Over $960,000 5.5% of dutiable value (PPR concession not available)

 

Queensland

Purchase/value amount Duty payable
$0 - $5,000 No stamp duty payable
$5,001 - $105,000 1.5% of dutiable value over $5,000
$105,001 - $480,000 $1,500 + 3.5% of dutiable value over $105,000
$480,001 - $980,000 $14,625 + 4.5% of dutiable value over $480,000
Over $980,000 $37,125 + 5.25% of dutiable value over $980,000

 

South Australia

Purchase/value amount Duty payable
$0 - $12,000 1% of dutiable value
$12,001 - $30,000 $120 + 2% of dutiable value over $12,000
$30,001 - $50,000 $480 + 3% of dutiable value over $30,000
$50,001 - $100,000 $1,080 + 3.5% of dutiable value over $50,000
$100,001 - $200,000 $2,830 + 4% of dutiable value over $100,000
$200,001 - $250,000 $6,830 + 4.25% of dutiable value over $200,000
$250,001 - $300,000 $8,955 + 4.75% of dutiable value over $250,000
$300,001 - $500,000 $11,330 + 5% of dutiable value over $300,000
Over $500,000 $21,330 + 5.5% of dutiable value over $500,000

 

Western Australia

Purchase/value amount Duty payable
$0 - $120,000 1.9% of dutiable value
$120,001 - $150,000 $2,280 + 2.85% of dutiable value over $120,000
$150,001 - $360,000 $3,135 + 3.8% of dutiable value over $150,000
$360,001 - $725,000 $11,115 + 4.75% of dutiable value over $360,000
Over $725,000 $28,435 + 5.15% of dutiable value over $725,000

 

Tasmania

Purchase/value amount Duty payable
$0 - $1,300 $20
$1,301 - $10,000 1.5% of dutiable value
$10,001 - $30,000 $150 + 2% of dutiable value over $10,000
$30,001 - $75,000 $550 + 2.5% of dutiable value over $30,000
$75,001 - $150,000 $1,675 + 3% of dutiable value over $75,000
$150,001 - $225,000 $3,925 + 3.5% of dutiable value over $150,000
Over $225,000 $6,550 + 4% of dutiable value over $225,000

 

ACT

Purchase/value amount Duty payable
$0 - $100,000 2% of dutiable value or $20, whichever is greater
$100,001 - $200,000 $2,000 + 3.5% of dutiable value over $100,000
$200,001 - $300,000 $5,500 + 4% of dutiable value over $200,000
$300,001 - $500,000 $9,500 + 5.5% of dutiable value over $300,000
$500,001 - $1,000,000 $20,500 + 5.75% of dutiable value over $500,000
Over $1 million $49,250 + 6.75% of dutiable value over $1 million

 

Northern Territory

Purchase/value amount Duty payable
$0 - $525,000 See above formula
$525,001 - $3,000,000 4.95% of dutiable value
Over $3 million 5.45% of dutiable value

 

What are the stamp duty concessions/exemptions?
Stamp duty exemptions, like stamp duty rates, vary by jurisdiction.

While exemptions for stamp duty are available under extreme circumstances, including the death of a property owner or joint tenant, there are other situations that do not require a stamp duty payment. The transfer of ownership to a spouse or the change of tenure don’t require duty payment.

In addition, many governments offer concessions or exemptions on stamp duty for first home buyers, or buyers of specific property types.

For a brief outline of first home buyer policies, see below.

NSW
“The First Home – New Home scheme commenced from 1 January 2012 and provides eligible purchasers with exemptions from transfer duty on new homes valued up to $550,000 and concessions for new homes valued between $550,000 and $650,000.

Eligible purchaser buying a vacant block of residential land to build their home will pay no duty on vacant land valued up to $350,000, and will receive concessions for vacant land valued between $350,000 and $450,000.

These rates apply from 1 July 2012.”

Source: Office of State Revenue

Victoria
• Principal place of residence (PPR) concession: a duty concession for when a property you buy, valued up to $550,000, is intended as your primary home
• First-home buyer duty reduction: a one-off duty reduction for a PPR valued up to $600,000
• Off-the-plan concession: a duty concession for an off-the-plan property, either as a land and building package, or as a refurbished lot
• Pensioner concession: a one-off duty exemption or concession for a new or established home valued up to $750,000
• First-home owner with family exemption/concession: a one-off duty exemption or concession for properties valued at $200,000 or less
• Young farmer’s exemption/concession: a one-off duty exemption/concession for young farmers buying their first farmland property

Source: State Revenue Office

South Australia
“The concession provides a full stamp duty concession on a transfer of a new apartment or substantially refurbished apartment for a contract entered into from 31 May 2012 to 30 June 2014 (capped at stamp duty payable on a $500,000 apartment) and a partial concession from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2016.

For contracts entered into between 31 May 2012 and 27 October 2013 (inclusive), the concession only applies to purchases of off-the-plan apartments located:
• within the area of the Corporation of the City of Adelaide;
• on any land within the area where the Bowden Redevelopment project (Bowden Village); or
• on any land located within the area known as 45 Park, Gilberton.

For contracts entered into between 28 October 2013 and 30 June 2016 (inclusive), the concession applies to purchases of off-the-plan apartments located within the defined area (shown in the map below) and to sites that are contiguous to that area.”

Source: Revenue SA

Western Australia
“When a home buyer is eligible for the First Home Owner Grant, a concessional rate of transfer duty will apply if the value of the dutiable property is below certain thresholds.

As at 3 July 2014 the First Home Owner Rate of Duty applies to a dutiable transaction with a dutiable value of up to $530,000 for a house and land, or $400,000 for vacant land.”

Source: Department of Housing

Queensland
“You can claim a first home concession if you:
• have never held an interest in residential land anywhere in the world
• have never claimed the first home vacant land concession
• are buying a home valued less than $550,000 – though you can still buy a home valued more than $550,000 and claim the first home concession, the benefit of it is reduced to zero. However, the home concession rate is still used to calculate the duty
• will live in the home as your principal place of residence
• are at least 18 years of age (though we may waive this requirement in special circumstances).

The first home concession is calculated at the home concession rate minus the first home concession amount.”

Soruce: Queensland Government

Can I avoid paying stamp duty, or at least minimise it?
The short answer is ‘no’ – unless you specifically target the developments outlined above or you are a first home buyer who intends to live in the property before turning it into an investment.

The only other way to avoid stamp duty is to avoid continually selling and buying properties, and instead focus on holding your existing properties for the long term.

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A property investment plan years in the making
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  ["title"]=>
  string(75) "Regional Victoria showing up Melbourne in price performance, new data finds"
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Median house prices in regional Victoria outperformed that of Melbourne in the June quarter, the latest REIV figures reveal. 

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Median house prices in the regions rose 4.0 per cent to $419,500 but in Melbourne they dipped by 0.6 of a percentage point to $840,000.

The result in Melbourne was due to a 0.8 of a percentage point fall in prices achieved at auction; this was despite a lift of 2.3 per cent in private sales.

Inner Melbourne suffered due to auction prices, where median prices fell by 4.9 per cent to $1,459,000 but it was middle Melbourne that was hardest hit, with a 5.4 per cent drop to $974,500.

Outer Melbourne had a good quarter with the median rising by 0.5 of a percentage point to $681,000.

Apartment prices in regional Victoria grew by 3.7 per cent to $304,500 while the metro media was up by 0.5 of a percentage point to $604,000.

REIV President Richard Simpson said that despite fewer sales, many sectors of the market were performing well.

“2017 was a bumper year and while the trendline has flattened, despite the fall in median house prices in the June quarter, median prices are still up this calendar year for both houses and units, in Melbourne and in the regions,” Mr Simpson said. 

In particular there was been strong growth in regional centres which is probably due to the first-home buyers’ concessions said Mr Simpsons.

“The first-home buyers’ concession has been a boon for regional areas. A new entrant to the property market buying a house at the regional median will pay no stamp duty, while a first home buyer of an apartment in Melbourne at the median price would pay stamp duty of nearly $25,000,” he said.

Mr Simpson said that more prospective buyers are looking towards regional Victoria which is also having an effect in Melbourne.

“Melbourne’s outer perimeter continues to grow. Small increases in the June quarter mean that the median prices for both houses and units have risen over 10.5 per cent from a year ago.

Mr Simpson said moving forward that vendors need more realistic expectations as the highs of 2017 are now over.

“Negative chatter about the future of the sector coupled with stronger lending controls by financial institutions has created some uncertainty and vendors need to be realistic with their price expectations,” Mr Simpson said.

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Regional Victoria showing up Melbourne in price performance, new data finds

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