house keys door
Stamp duty concessions totaled almost $560 million in 2020. Image: Maria Ziegler, Unsplash
  • 2020 saw 41,000 stamp duty exemptions or concessions - a 30% increase
  • First home buyers, as share of owner-occupier residential market, has doubled since 2016 from 15% to 30%
  • Exemption cap for new homes increased from $650 000 to $800 000

The New South Wales government has announced the total number of stamp duty exemptions and concessions increased from 31,500 in 2019 to 41,000 in 2020 – a 30% increase.

Subsequently, the total value of concessions and exemptions also grew from $485.9 million to $559.7 million – about a 15% increase.

NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, says the data shows the dream of homeownership remains strong despite current market conditions.

“We all know how challenging 2020 was and our suite of COVID-19 support and stimulus measures – the largest of any state or territory – has helped cushion the worst economic impacts of the pandemic,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Additional stamp duty relief has delivered the twin benefit of helping more people achieve their dream of homeownership while continuing to boost the economy.”

Temporary changes were introduced last year regarding the upper limit on the value of new homes eligible for exemptions from $650 000 to $800 000. Concessional duties will be applied on higher values before phasing out at $1 million – which is below the current median house price in Sydney.

Vacant land thresholds increased from $350,000 to $400,000 with concessional rates applying until $500,000

The relief – which will remain in place until 31 July 2021 – has especially benefited first home buyers, who now represent a much greater share of the owner-occupier residential market compared to just over five years ago.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet remarked there share of the market has increased from below 15% in 2016 to now around 30%.

“Stamp duty is a significant financial barrier to those buying a first home and this program has helped thousands of people go from renters to homeowners without saving for years to pay stamp duty,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Record low interest rates are putting upwards pressure on prices, but it’s clear if we can lower the financial burden the dream of home ownership burns as strong as ever.”

Stamp duty was introduced to NSW in 1865 – the same year US President Abraham Lincoln was shot – and has continued since. The NSW Government has committed to reform in this area by proposing a two-stream model. 

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