West Aussie seniors need stamp duty relief
In its 2022-23 pre-budget submission, REIWA has called on the Western Australian Government to introduce a one-off $10,000 stamp duty concession for seniors aged 65 and over.
While the financial impost of stamp duty affects all buyers, seniors over the age of 65 are especially affected because of their reduced income and limited borrowing capacity. They also have more specific housing needs that change as they age.
Older households often struggle to raise the upfront cost of stamp duty which prevents them from moving into housing that is more appropriate for their needs.
Many are also reluctant to dip into their hard-earned retirement savings to fund the move. The prospect of paying tens of thousands in upfront transaction costs is a clear deterrent when the alternative is simply remaining in the place they call home.
Concession would improve mobility across the WA market
Introducing a one-off, $10,000 stamp duty concessions for seniors would ease the burden of these upfront costs and help people aged over 65 right-size into more suitable accommodation. This would free up housing stock and assist with mobility across the entire market.
REIWA analysis shows that the increased mobility in the market as a result of this concession could easily be cost-neutral, or even net the WA Government higher revenue.
As our population ages, the demand for single-occupancy, low-maintenance dwellings will increase substantially. Yet it remains the case today that over 70 per cent of listings for sale in WA are for dwellings with three or more bedrooms.
REIWA for years has stressed the need for greater diversity of housing stock. While many first home buyers are turning to townhouse and apartment living on affordability grounds, more needs to be done to slow the sprawl and to encourage the population into higher density living.
We believe that targeted stamp duty relief would assist, particularly at the lower end of the market. While many will choose to remain in the family home, we expect introducing a one-off stamp duty concession for seniors will be the encouragement many need to right-size, providing our housing market with some much-needed mobility.
REIWA’s proposal is not a radical idea. Victoria, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory all offer stamp duty concessions to eligible seniors - it’s time that WA does too.