Australian households are shelling out more than $90 per month just to cover costs associated with what is an excessive and unfair burden associated with stamp duty on the cost of housing purchases, a leading industry group says.
In its latest report, the Housing Industry Association said that during 2016, the average burden associated with stamp duty upon residential property purchases for a non-first-home buyer owner-occupier amounted to $17,811 – equivalent to 3.6 per cent of the cost of purchasing a home and almost four months’ worth of average income after tax.
Assuming loan terms of 30 years, the average the additional cost associated with stamp duty on the purchase of a home for a non-first-home buyer adds around $91 to the monthly mortgage repayment bill, the HIA says.
In terms of states, households in Victoria, New South Wales and the Northern Territory are the worst hit, with average additional monthly mortgage repayments of $117, $116 and $112 as a result of stamp duty respectively.
Households in the ACT, Western Australia and South Australia also bear a considerable burden, whilst Queensland and Tasmania residents bear a lesser burden – though the burden in Tasmania still equates to 3.5 per cent of the cost of a non-first-home buyer median range purchase.
In terms of the overall addition to the purchase price, meanwhile, Victorian non-first-home buyers forked out $22,900 more on their average household purchase price, whilst NSW buyers forked out $22,700 and NT buyers $22,000.
These figures relate entirely to non-first-home buyers; first-home buyers can receive stamp duty concessions in most states, though conditions vary across states.
The report comes amid an ongoing and concerted effort on the part of property and construction industry lobby groups to lobby for an easing of the burden associated with taxation levied upon housing purchases.
Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale said stamp duty was imposing an unfair burden upon ordinary Australians trying to enter the housing market or upgrade their housing in order to suit their lifestyle requirements.
“I think it has a massive impact because it basically adds cost to people trying to get into a home for the first time or move home should they have for example brought into a modest town house type villa and then want to move on to a larger home as they are trying to have a family,” Dale said.
“The tax element of housing is incredibly high. Frankly, it is too high and it doesn’t make sense in terms of trying to let people get a leg up into the housing industry and put a roof over their heads.”
Dale said the stamp duty also had broader effects in terms of inhibiting labour mobility in the economy by discouraging people from moving house in order to take advantage of new business or employment opportunities across different locations. It also makes it more difficult for any older Australians who wish to downsize their housing to indeed do so.
Whilst he acknowledges that there is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to replace the revenue which would be lost to states if stamp duty was abolished or reduced, he said the federal government needed to show leadership and sit down with the states to talk about how this could happen.
In this regard, he says it is disappointing that the federal government has not moved to appoint a Minister for housing.
“It’s quite a stark omission from the Turnbull government cabinet that there is no Minister for housing,” Dale said. “There’s a Minister in charge of defence, a Minister in charge of education and a Minister in charge of health, but there is no Minister in charge of ensuring that Australians have an affordable roof over their head.”
“I think that’s quite a big miss in terms of allocation of the importance of various aspects of the Australian economy”.