Priced out Canberrans lured by NSW's stamp duty exemptions

By Gerv Tacadena

Canberrans are now looking to get a slice of New South Wales market due to stamp duty benefits

The skyrocketing median house price across the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is pushing first-home buyers out of the market, with many, particularly Canberrans, considering moving across the border.

According to Domain Group, the stamp duty exemption in New South Wales is one major factor luring first-home buyers across the border.

Last year, the New South Wales government established a legislation which exempted first-home buyers from stamp duty on properties worth up to $650,000. This led to an influx of first-home buyers in the state, particularly in the city of Queanbeyan where the median house price of $526,000 is significantly lower than Canberra’s $753,516.

NSW deputy premier John Barilaro said that for the first seven months since the introduction of stamp duty changes, 238 first-home buyers in the Queanbeyan area have availed of the exemptions.

“This is an impressive increase from the 148 local first-home buyers who bought a home and used the exemptions in the entire 2016-2017 financial year," Barilaro said.

LJ Hooker Queanbeyan director Jason Maxwell noted that the majority of these buyers were from the ACT.

“Approximately 70 to 75% of our buyers on a weekly basis are coming from a fixed Canberra address. About 60% are first-home buyers and the balance is made up of investors and second or third-home buyers," Maxwell said, adding that it was not a surprise that Canberrans chose the city as the location for their first property.

Besides the potential savings of up to $24,740 in stamp duty exemptions, Maxwell said property buyers choosing to move into the city would benefit from its lifestyle benefits in terms of raising a family.

“As Canberra has grown and expanded width wise, Queanbeyan has become more central to business hubs in Civic, Manuka and the airport. There’s easy access to infrastructure in Queanbeyan such as hospitals, daycare centres, primary schools and kindergartens," he said.

He added: “When you add the fact that prices are somewhere between 10 to 20% cheaper than what they’ll pay for a similar property in Canberra, Queanbeyan is very appealing.”

There are efforts to have similar benefits in the ACT. In fact, ACT chief minister Andrew Barr called on state and territory governments to abolish stamp duty entirely for first-home buyers.

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