The Barnett government recently announced it would cut stamp duty for downsizing seniors by $15,000 if re-elected on 11 March.

The discount will apply to new and established homes, and will affect more than 4,000 eligible seniors aged over 65 years, according to a statement issued by the Liberals Western Australia.

Eligible seniors will pay no stamp duty on property worth up to $440,000, and the tax will be roughly divided on property worth $750,000. The policy (which will also give a duty concession of up to $10,000 for vacant lots) will be introduced in 2018 and will have an initial run of two years.

“It is important to support seniors in choosing housing that better suits their needs,” said Premier Colin Barnett.  

“Our actions will not only bring major benefits to seniors and their families, they will directly support jobs – whether it be the tradies building new houses, or the professions involved in the sale of established homes,” said Seniors Minister Paul Miles.

Other policies enacted by the Barnett government to stimulate the ailing Western Australian property market include the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) scheme and Keystart.

The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) and the Council on the Ageing (COTA) have welcomed the Barnett government’s new campaign policy.

Hayden Groves, president of REIWA, said he was thrilled the Barnett government was committed to easing the burden of transfer duty for seniors if re-elected.

“Transfer duty creates a significant barrier for seniors over 65 on fixed incomes who are looking to change their lifestyle or down size," he said. "The cost of transfer duty on a median house price of $520,000 is $18,715, which is almost equivalent to the entire annual standard aged pension of $20,745.40."

“The $15,000 concession the government have committed to will make a substantial difference to those seniors looking to 'right size' into more suitable accommodation."