REIQ calls for stamp duty abolition, first homebuyer grant

REIQ believes first home buyers should be allowed to use their superannuation as a deposit on a home loan, provided it be paid back within a reasonable amount of time Source: Supplied

Queensland’s peak real estate body has challenged politicians to take on a trio of reforms that could supercharge the industry which currently provides 50,000 jobs across the state.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella said more needed to be done to strengthen the local real estate industry which contributed more than $8 billion to gross state product.

“We’re challenging the state’s lawmakers to ensure real estate reform is at the top of the political agenda throughout 2015,” she said. “The real estate industry is vital to the state’s prosperity.”

Queenslanders head to the polls at the end of January to choose 89 members of the state’s unicameral parliament who will serve a three-year term.

Ms Mercorella said the industry needed further reforms in Queensland, including abolishing stamp duty (now known as transfer duty) on property transactions, reinstating the first homeowner grants for existing housing (not just new housing) and letting first homebuyers use their superannuation to buy a property.

“Stamp duty on property transactions should be abolished and replaced by a more efficient source of revenue,” Ms Mercorella said.

“It’s a regressive tax which imposes additional costs on property transactions, thereby discouraging turnover of housing and distorting choices between renting and buying.

“It also distorts choices between moving house and renovating and can deter labour mobility for those changing jobs, resulting in reduced investment in the property market.”

Queensland transfer duty rates vary depending on the dutiable value of the property, with $1.50 for every $100 above $5000 at the lowest level, rising to $38,025 plus $5.75 for each $100 at the highest level.

Ms Mercorella also hit out at the first home buyers grant being applied only to new housing, saying “there’s no sound basis for the preferential treatment which currently exists for buyers who purchase newly built properties”.

REIQ supported the use of superannuation by first home buyers as a deposit on the home loan “provided the money is paid back within a specific period”.

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