property taxes and rates etc

Queensland stamp duty increases: what on earth are they thinking?!

pic courtesy

The announcement is fresh so the details are still sketchy. But here’s the latest news for home buyers from the Queensland State Treasurer and today’s budget:

If you’re buying a home after July 31st you will now pay more stamp duty. For the median Brisbane house of $430,000 it will be $6,575 extra (for a new total of $12,875 going out of your pocket into the government coffers.) Concessions will remain for first home buyers spending less than $500,000, not that there’s many of them left any more. The duty on an investment purchase remains unchanged.

On our best estimates the number of real estate transactions in Brisbane were lower in 2010 than they had been for more than a decade. This year has so far been the slowest in many agents’ memories, well down on 2010, maybe by as much as a further 30%. So how does increasing the tax on each of these make any sense at all? It’s hard to keep an open mind when the mindlessness of it is breathtaking.

Why the change? Well the government seems to be struggling with balancing the books and had to fund some “headline” good news stories. Here’s the explanation from the budget papers: “The government has introduced a temporary $10,000 Queensland Building Boost grant towards the construction or purchase of a new home for six months commencing 1 August 2011. The Community Ambulance Cover levy is to be abolished from 1 July 2011. These changes are to be funded by the removal of the principal place of residence transfer duty concession.”

I must be missing something here. If the Treasurer thinks the new home market operates in isolation of the established housing market he’s badly misguided. Smacking home buyers around the teeth with an extra $6000 or $7000 of tax will further slow the whole real estate market – established and new. So they won’t be handing out too many of those $10,000 cheques for new homes……

Ahhh – I think I understand!

Please share your thoughts on these changes. And to calculate your new tax go to the stamp duty calculator.

## Thursday 16th June update: Some news today from the State Opposition in their budget reply speech:
“Today we also announced our commitment to reintroducing stamp duty concessions on family homes, a saving that was ditched by Labor in the 2011-12 Budget. We understand that this 125 per cent increase will cost Queenslanders dearly, which is why we oppose it. Our policy will save Queenslanders around $7,000 on the average home.”