There are numerous legal fees and government costs you need to pay for when buying a property. One of the biggest expenses is stamp duty. Stamp duty is a tax imposed by all state and territory governments in Australia. This includes title transfers in real estate, vehicles, insurance policies and home loans.
Stamp duty can have a significant impact on the overall cost of purchasing a property. That’s why it’s important to take into account how much you need to pay before you buy a new home. Here are some things you should know:
How much is stamp duty?
A lot of factors will have an impact on your rate of stamp duty. These will include the state or territory you’re buying in, the value of the property, and the property type including whether it’s an established home, a newly-constructed home or vacant land.
The general rule is: the pricier the property, the higher the stamp duty. You can use our stamp duty calculator to get a rough idea of how much you need to pay.
Stamp duty by state
As mentioned, stamp duty differs between states, along with the various concessions for first-time buyers and pensioners. Let’s use the sale of a $500,000 established home as an example to illustrate how much stamp duty can amount to, and how much you can save if you qualify for a concessional rate:
- New South Wales – Buying a home worth $500,000 will attract $17,990 in stamp duty if you don't qualify for any concessions. However, if you’re a first-time homebuyer and you’re buying a property worth less than $650,000, you are exempt from paying stamp duty tax. Additionally, buying a vacant lot worth $350,000-$450,000 will also receive a concession. If you are classified as a foreign purchaser, you will have to pay an additional 8% surcharge duty, which is $40,000 for this example.
Check out this website for more information: www.revenue.nsw.gov.au
- Victoria – VIC is the most costly state. You will need to pay $21,970.00 in stamp duty for a $500,000 home. Foreign purchasers will be charged an extra 7%, or $35,000, of duty. Fortunately, first-time buyers are entitled to a stamp duty exemption if the home is worth less than $600,000. Pensioners are also exempted if the property is worth up to $330,000, while they get a part concession for properties valued between $330,010 and $750,000.
Check out this website for more information: www.sro.vic.gov.au
- Queensland – QLD has a relatively low rate of stamp duty, even with the extra 3% of duty you'd pay if you are a foreign purchaser. Without a concession, you will need to pay $8,750.00 in stamp duty. For first-time homebuyers, you will get a concession if you’re buying a home worth less than $550,000.
Check out this website for more information: www.treasury.qld.gov.au
- Western Australia – A home worth $500,000 attracts $17,765.00 worth of stamp duty. There’s no stamp duty for first-time home owners buying a home worth up to $430,000. Also, WA offers a concession on homes worth $430,001 - $530,000.
Check out this website for more information: www.dtf.wa.gov.au
- South Australia – In SA, the stamp duty rate for a $500,000 home is $21,330.00. First home owners can receive a $15,000 grant for purchasing a newly constructed home up to $575,000 in value. Commencing 1 Jan 2018, foreign purchasers will have to pay a surcharge of 4%, which is equal to $20,000, for the example.
Check out their website for more information: www.revenuesa.sa.gov.au
- Northern Territory – NT levies $23,928.60 in stamp duty for a $500,000 home. First-time home owners can receive exemptions and discounts. Homes worth up to $500,000 are exempted, while homes worth $650,000 receive a discount.
Check out this website for more information: www.nt.gov
- Australian Capital Territory – Stamp duty of $12,800.00 is levied on a $500,000 home. The ACT offers the Home Buyer Concession Scheme (HBCS) for home buyers acquiring a new home or a vacant block of land by charging stamp duty at a concessional rate. However, there are number of conditions involved such as the owner needing to live in the property for at least a year after buying.
Check out this website for more information: www.revenue.act.gov.au
- Tasmania – In Tasmania, the stamp duty rate is $18,247.50 for a $500,000 home. The stamp duty rate in Tasmania is the third highest in Australia. However, they offer a grant for first-time buyers buying a newly constructed home.
Check out this website for more information: www.treasury.tas.gov.au
First home owner grant eligibility
Eligibility for discounts and concessions depends on the state but the criteria is somewhat similar:
- Applicant must not have owned property
- Applicant must be a person, not a company or trust
- Applicant must be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident
- Applicant must be at least 18 years of age
- Applicant or their spouse cannot have claimed the grant previously
- Must be a principal place of residence for a continuous period of six months, starting within the first 12 months immediately after purchase
It's recommended to contact your state revenue office website to get a more complete details about the criteria and requirements.