When I purchased my first block of land for $12,000 back in the seventies, stamp duty was not a major consideration in absolute dollars. As time went on however, the house my wife and I first built wasn’t quite right, especially with an expanding and growing family. At each stage that we considered a new extension we tossed up whether we should just relocate, but each time stamp duty weighed heavily against us moving.
Job mobility was always another problem. If you lose your job in Sydney, chances are you can get another one and not have to move. However, if you should move because your new job is 2 hours driving away (one of those unfortunate squinters that travel towards the sun in the morning and again in the evening), how much of a deterrent is stamp duty? I believe it is huge. Tuesday’s SMH reminded me of this and other considerations which make NSW stamp duty so onerous and why it stops people moving out west or interstate where the jobs are.
Apparently the new Federal Treasurer agrees. Even the Henry Tax Review stated that “really there is no place for stamp duty in a modern tax system”.
How much easier would it be to sell houses if buyers did not have to pay stamp duty? How much easier would it be to fill the new Greenhills Beach estate in our Shire if stamp duty was not a factor in the equation when weighing whether to stay put and suffer a house which is a compromise, or buy a block of land and put your dream house on it?
Let’s hope the State government sees the sense too, rather than allow 19 storey high rise apartments to be built next to 100 year old beautiful terraces in Erskineville, within a kilometre of where a company has a permit to drill for CSG (coal seam gas).