In a struggling economy, many are finding it hard to enter or move within the property market.
REIWA together with other property associations, has asked the Western Australian Government to provide a concession on stamp duty for people over 65 who wish to right size into a property more suitable to their needs.
In a recent report released by the Department of Communities and Housing, it stated that “the number of people in our state aged over 65 is projected to grow by 40 per cent to more than 500,000 by 2026”, and if the current tax scheme stays in place, “home ownership for people aged 65 or over is expected to decline significantly”.
While housing affordability impacts everyone, seniors over the age of 65 are especially affected because of their specific housing needs that change over the years, reduced income and limited borrowing capacity. As a direct impact, often older households struggle to raise the upfront cost of stamp duty in order to allow them to right-size into a house that is more appropriate for their needs.
With over 70 per cent of dwellings in the state being three and four bedrooms, yet there being only 24 per cent of families living in these dwellings, it suggests that many are finding it hard to downsize, which would make large properties available for growing families, or alternatively, free up properties with bigger blocks for development and allow more housing diversity in established areas.
In order to ensure that WA has the right mix of housing options and diversity needed to meet the changing needs of the community, the State Government should be looking at ways in which to reduce the impact of stamp duty on the mobility of housing stock.
Currently Victoria does not tax pensioners for stamp duty if they’re purchasing a downsized house up to $330,000, and then there are concessional rates above that. Northern Territory have concession arrangements for seniors over 60 and Australian Capital Territory for seniors over 50. If they are able to put these in place there’s no reason why WA can’t do the same.
With the 2021 State Election fast approaching, the WA Government needs to take a leadership role in the matter and look at reducing stamp duty for seniors.
Author: REIWA President Damian Collins
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