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Stamp duty explained

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

If you’ve never bought property before, you may not understand what stamp duty is.

In a nutshell, stamp duty is a tax. It’s not very exciting, but it’s one of those things that goes hand in hand with purchasing a property.

Navigating stamp duty can be tricky.

In this article, we explain what stamp duty is, how much it costs, recent changes and why you may have to pay it.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a charge applied by state governments on transactions relating to the transfer of land or property.

When you buy a property, it’s usually paid upfront as a one-off fee, so you need to budget for it in addition to your loan deposit.

How much is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is calculated as a percentage of your property’s purchase price. However, the amount also depends on a few factors – which state or territory your property is in, the property type and the type of buyer you are.

If you’re a first home buyer and meet certain requirements, you may be entitled to stamp duty concessions or exemptions on homes up to a certain value (more on this shortly).

Examples of stamp duty by state/territory

There are a few stamp duty calculators online that can help take the guesswork out of budgeting for a property.

Using this calculator as an example, if you bought a $700,000 established home as a primary residence and you were not a first home buyer, you may expect to pay the following in stamp duty:

State/Territory Estimated stamp duty
VIC $38,911
SA $38,626
NT $34,954
WA $27,757
TAS $27,105
NSW $27,002
QLD $19,668
ACT $19,571

What are the concessions/exemptions in my state?

Depending on the state or territory, there may be different concessions or exemptions available to certain types of buyers (particularly first home buyers).

As an example, if you’re a first home buyer purchasing a home in Victoria for $600,000 or less, you may be entitled to a full stamp duty exemption. If the property is between $600,001 and $750,000, the stamp duty is tapered.

In NSW, the First Home Buyer Assistance scheme (FHBAS) allows first home buyers to receive a concessional rate on stamp duty if they buy a new home valued at between $800,000 and $1 million or an existing home valued at between $650,000 and $800,000.

First home buyers may be exempt from paying stamp duty altogether if they buy a new home valued at less than $800,000 or an existing home valued at less than $650,000.

Meanwhile, the NSW government looks set to move ahead with reforms that would give eligible first-home buyers the option to either pay stamp duty upfront or opt into an annual property tax. The scheme would be applicable to homes up to the value of $1.5 million and be available from January 16, 2023.

To find out more about the stamp duty concessions or exemptions in your state or territory, speak to us.

Budgeting for stamp duty

When creating your purchasing budget, it’s important to factor in how much stamp duty you’ll need to pay. Stamp duty can be costly, so it can really affect the type of property you may be able to afford.

Keep in mind that lenders may also want to see proof of savings to cover the stamp duty costs in addition to your deposit when applying for a loan.

It’s a good idea to get advice from your accountant about how stamp duty may affect you.

What does stamp duty go towards?

The stamp duty you pay is disbursed back into the economy by state and territory governments. It may go towards health, transport and roads, police, justice and emergency services sectors, for example.

Do you have to pay stamp duty on additional properties?

Yes, stamp duty is applicable to all property title transfers (unless you’re eligible for an exemption).

What if a home is gifted to you?

Even if a property is given to you, you will need to pay stamp duty, as ownership of the property is being transferred from one party to another.

There may be exemptions on stamp duty for properties that are inherited, but in this instance, inheritance tax may apply. Speak to your accountant or conveyancer for clarification.

Still have questions?

If you need further help navigating stamp duty, please get in touch.

As your broker, we can help you create a purchasing budget and find a loan that works for you.