Stamp duty relief plea for seniors, apartment buyers at next State Budget

Source: Perth Now

Stamp duty reductions for off-the-plan apartment buyers and downsizing seniors should be introduced at the next State Budget, according to one of Perth’s most influential property lobbyists.

Property Council WA executive director Joe Lenzo has called on the Barnett Government to introduce a policy change so off-the-plan apartment buyers would only have to pay stamp duty on the land component of their purchases.

The policy would bring WA in line with Victoria’s current policy and save buyers about 80 per cent on their stamp duty spend.

The council also wants stamp duty exemption for downsizing seniors, to encourage elderly West Australians living in big family homes to move into smaller properties.

WA Treasure Mike Nahan confirmed on Friday he met Mr Lenzo this week.

“I have an ongoing dialogue with the Property Council on tax issues affecting the property sector,” Mr Nahan said.

“They have put forward proposals to me for consideration in the 2016-17 Budget on stamp duty exemptions for off-the plan apartments and downsizing seniors. We discussed these proposals.

“Any relief of this nature would need to be considered in the context of the challenging economic and fiscal conditions currently faced by the state and other budget priorities.

“In this regard, I note that the Government is committed to keeping transfer duty rates as low as possible”.

Mr Nahan said the Federal Government’s white paper on national tax reform would also provide an opportunity.

Psaros sales director Sven Robertson said if the policy was to go ahead it could cut off-the-plan stamp duty by “about 80 per cent”.

“It’s quite typical that the land component of an apartment is only 20 per cent of its price,” Mr Robertson said.

“The property sector shoulders a lot of tax burden, if some of that burden was lifted it would increase levels of activity, would increase levels of employment and be good for the overall economy.”

Blackburne Property director Paul Blackburne agreed it would help Perth’s apartment market grow.

“It’s something Victoria has done and that’s why they’ve got such a vibrant apartment lifestyle,” Mr Blackburne said.