Seniors need stamp duty relief – peak body

REIWA president says stamp duty concession for older home buyers would boost mobility across the entire housing market

Seniors need stamp duty relief – peak body

The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia is calling on the state government to provide stamp duty relief for seniors.

In its 2022-23 pre-budget submission, REIWA has called on the WA government to enact a one-off $10,000 stamp duty concession for those 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,” Collins wrote in a blog post. “They also have more specific housing needs that change as they age.”

Collins said that many senior households struggle to raise the upfront cost of stamp duty, which can prevent 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,” Collins wrote. “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.”

Collins said that introducing a one-off concession for seniors would ease the burden of those upfront costs and help older people “right-size into more suitable accommodation.” That, in turn, would free up housing stock and boost mobility across the entire market. An analysis by REIWA found that the increased mobility in the market could easily make a one-off concession cost-neutral, or possibly even net the WA government higher revenue.

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“As the population ages, the demand for single-occupancy, low-maintenance dwellings will increase substantially. Yet it remains the case today that over 70% of listings for sale in WA are for dwellings with three or more bedrooms,” Collins wrote. “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.”

Collins said that targeted stamp duty could help achieve that goal, particularly at the lower end of the market. He said that while many seniors would choose to remain in their homes, a one-off stamp duty concession would encourage many to right-size, providing the market with mobility.

“REIWA’s proposal is not a radical idea,” Collins said. “Victoria, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory all offer stamp duty concessions to eligible seniors – it’s time that WA does too.”