WA lifts stamp duty exemption caps in latest state budget

Western Australia’s new budget includes a number of funding measures aimed at lifting housing supply and helping residents buy.

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Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) chief executive Cath Hart said the body welcomed “the fact the government has opted for incentives to boost housing supply rather than punitive measures such as new taxes as we’ve seen in other states”.

Acknowledging that there was “no silver bullet to addressing the challenges WA’s housing market faces”, Hart commented that there were a number of financial line items that would assist buyers in the state.

“We’re particularly pleased to see changes to the property price thresholds for first home buyer stamp duty exemptions to better reflect the current market conditions, which was a proposal in REIWA’s budget submission,” Hart said.

This is the first time the thresholds have been amended since July 2014 and the median house price in Perth has seen significant increases, now sitting at approximately $630,000.

Under the changes, first home buyers will now pay no transfer duty on homes valued up to $450,000, up from $430,000. They will pay a concessional rate on purchases between $450,000 and $600,000, an increase from the previous cap of $530,000.

The changes will apply to agreements entered into from 9 May 2024 and are expected to apply to roughly 5,000 first home buyers each year.

Moreover, funding to help the state transition to its new dispute resolution process for tenancies has been celebrated by the real estate body.

“We highlighted the importance of ensuring adequate funding to support the change, and so welcome the allocation of $3.3 million in 2024–25 and ongoing funding in following years,” Hart said.

The previously announced measures to boost housing supply that received funding in this year’s housing statement were also widely welcomed. This included the new Vacant Property Rental Incentive Scheme and extension of the Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) Incentive Scheme, which offer one-off $5,000 and $10,000 payments, respectively, to put properties on the long-term rental market.

“Both initiatives will help put a roof over more families’ heads by incentivising property owners to participate in the long-term rental market rather than introducing punitive measures such as vacancy taxes or levies on properties offered on the short-stay market as we’ve seen elsewhere,” Hart said.

The budget allocated $85 million for training initiatives to skill the construction and housing sector and $34.8 million to unlock regional development-ready land for new housing in Broome, Karratha and Kalgoorlie.

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