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Stamp duty explained: Who gets the best and worst deal?

What is stamp duty, and who gets the best deal on it? Source: Getty
What is stamp duty, and who gets the best deal on it? Source: Getty

Home buyers are slugged with stamp duty fees when they’re at the purchase point of their property, but it turns out some buyers are better off than others.

Who gets the best deal?

Domain’s new data analysis revealed that if you live in Canberra or Brisbane, you’ll be paying the lowest stamp duty of all capitals.

If you’re purchasing a home at Brisbane’s median house price of $563,559, you’ll be charged 2 per cent of that price for stamp duty, which is just $11,210.

Over in Canberra, the median house price is $727,096, which means home buyers would pay $21,210 at the 3 per cent stamp duty rate.

According to Domain’s research analyst, Eliza Owen, Canberra and Brisbane’s low stamp duty is due to significant concessions for owner-occupiers.

“Whether you’re looking at a typical price across Brisbane or all of Australia, the stamp duty equates between 1 to 3 per cent.”

In New South Wales, first home-buyers don’t pay a stamp duty at all for purchases up to $650,000.

If you’re not a first home-buyer, you won’t need need to pay stamp duty for purchases of a home up to $550,000.

Above that, it gets a little pricey.

At Sydney’s median house price of $1,027,042, you’d be paying a stamp duty of $41,789, which is 4.1 per cent.

Where is stamp duty highest?

Those in Adelaide and Melbourne actually suffer the most when it comes to stamp duty.

Stamp duty would cost Melbourne home buyers whopping $43,951 on the median house price of $814,677 - which equates to around 5.4 per cent.

Adelaide buyers pay the second-highest stamp duty fee at 4.4 per cent - which on the median house price of $541,060 will cost $23,806.

Wait, what is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a government tax on certain transactions, like buying a car, an insurance policy or, most commonly, a home.

The amount of stamp duty you need to pay depends on what state you live in, and what your purchase actually is.

When it comes to buying property, you generally need to pay stamp duty within 30 days of settlement, and it’s an upfront cost, which means it isn’t covered by your home loan.

But, if your stamp duty means you no longer have a 20 per cent deposit, you might have the option of paying for lenders mortgage insurance, which is a type of insurance that covers the lender if you can’t pay your home loan back.

There are also a few kinds of concessions against stamp duty, like if you’re a first home buyer, or you’re purchasing property up to a certain amount.

Stamp duty reform - what is it and will it help the market?

NSW’s reform on stamp duty took effect from the start of July this year, and it saw the price brackets that determine how much stamp duty is paid rise for the first time in 30 years.

In fact, the last time stamp duty changed was in 1986 - when the median Sydney house price was just $100,000.

Now, stamp duty brackets will be pegged to the consumer price index, which should reduce the tax burden on homebuyers, and allow them to put more cash towards deposits instead.

The ACT has plans to completely abolish stamp duty, and replace it with a broad-based land tax.

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