REIQ urges first-home stamp duty update, as 2008's $500K limit fails to reflect a today's soaring median house price
Industry is calling for the first-home stamp duty concession to be updated to meet today’s standards. Image: Canva.
  • Homeownership is declining in Queensland, with only 35.2% of adults born between 1992 and 1996 being homeowners.
  • REIQ is urging an increase to the first-home stamp duty concession.
  • The stamp duty is criticised for being a 'lazy tax'.

Homeownership is on a downward trajectory in Queensland, and the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) is urging an uplift to the stamp duty concession threshold rates for first home buyers across the Sunshine State.

Currently, Queenslanders are able to secure their first home sans the stamp duty if the property’s price does not exceed $500,000.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), 79.8% of people born in Queensland between 1947 and 1951 were homeowners. For the cohort born between 1992 to 1996, that figure has plummeted to a paltry 35.2%.

Home ownership rate by birth cohort and age group – Queensland

plummeting homeownership in Queensland.
Source: AIHW.

What should be the stamp duty concession cap?

REIQ CEO, Antonia Mercorella, said the concessional threshold for first home buyers should be increased to at least $750,000 in order to reflect current day market conditions.

“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.”

Antonia Mercorella, REIQ

“Comparing the threshold to the annual median house price for Greater Brisbane of $760,500 and for Brisbane LGA of $1 million, it raises the question of the effectiveness of a first home buyer stamp duty concession when the ability to utilise it is severely limited.”

In 2023 alone, Brisbane’s dwelling values saw a hefty 13.1% lift.

Indeed, only a few of Queensland’s current most affordable suburbs in the metro area are within striking distance of $500,000.

Queensland’s Top 10 most affordable suburbs – Metro

Rank Suburb Statistical Area Level 4 Current automated valuation model
1 Toogoolawah Ipswich       $402,000
2 Macleay Island Brisbane – East       $418,000
3 Laidley Ipswich       $425,000
4 Dinmore Ipswich       $434,000
5 Lowood Ipswich       $444,000
6 Laidley North Ipswich       $448,000
7 Esk Ipswich       $457,000
8 Brendale Moreton Bay – South       $457,000
9 Gailes Ipswich       $461,000
10 One Mile Ipswich       $462,000

Source: PropTrack.

Moreover, listings in Brisbane are limited and declining, much like the rest of the country, with SQM Research data showing 7,764 in November 2023 to just 5,236 the next month.

Total property listings – Brisbane

“With decade low numbers of first home buyers accessing the concession, it would be a sensible starting point for the suite of stamp duty reforms that the REIQ have been strenuously advocating for over many years,” said Mercorella.

Criticism of the stamp duty

Mercorella did not hold back in her criticisms of the stamp duty, opining that it was an inherently lazy tax that fills the State Governments coffers while punishing those beginning their home ownership journey.

“Over the past 10 years we have seen stamp duty on property transfers nearly triple – however, there has been no commensurate investment in the provision of infrastructure for new housing or social housing,” she said.

antonia mercorella ceo reiq real estate institute of queensland
Antonia Mercorella,. CEO of REIQ. Image: Supplied.

“At an Estimates hearing in July 2021, the Treasurer previously ruled out reforming stamp duty in Queensland arguing that it was affordable, but we think it’s time to review that decision as Queensland has the lowest levels of home ownership in the country.

“The Queensland Government has 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.”

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