The Bulletin

Adelaide one of the most affordable cities to buy a house despite hefty stamp duty


South Australians could be coughing up the most for stamp duty when it comes to buying a house if the controversial tax is scrapped in the eastern states, new data reveals.

But even with the hefty upfront cost, a house in Adelaide would still be more affordable than one in Melbourne or Sydney.

In fact, it would still be cheaper to buy a house in Adelaide than Brisbane, Hobart and Canberra – all of which have higher median house prices but lower stamp duties in dollar terms.

Latest figures show South Australians are forking out around $20,430 for stamp duty based on Greater Adelaide’s $482,000 median house price.

The only capital cities with a higher stamp duty dollar figure on houses were Sydney ($38,182 on a $950,000 median house price) and Melbourne ($39,290 on a $737,000 median house price).

The NSW and Victorian governments have floated the idea of abolishing stamp duty and replacing it with a form of land tax to help prop up the economy post-coronavirus.

The Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) submitted a document to both sides of state politics last month suggesting a range of measures to stimulate the economy, including reducing stamp duty for a period.

However, SA treasurer Rob Lucas has knocked the idea back.

“The Government has committed $1 billion in economic stimulus to try and save jobs and local businesses, but abolishing stamp duty for 12 months is not part of our package,” he said.

REISA president Brett Roenfeldt said it was a good time for the tax to be reassessed.

“This is definitely a disincentive for many people in either purchasing property for the first time of changing properties,” he said

“(The government) needs to look very, very seriously at stamp duty on residential property to allow more people the opportunity to purchase and turn the real estate market wheels.

“But we’re going to have to have some form of tax there whether we like it or not.”

REA Group economic research director Cameron Kusher described stamp duty as an “inefficient and inequitable way of taxing”.

“The significant cost of moving homes imposed by stamp duty has far reaching, and in certain cases, long-term impacts,” he said.

“It impedes the mobility of our labour force, is passed on to tenants from landlords through higher asking rent prices, and presents a particular burden for families, retirees, low-income earners and the unemployed who need to upgrade or downgrade housing as their life circumstances change.”


Houses (region, median price, stamp duty on median)

Greater Melbourne: $737,000 – $39,290

Greater Sydney: $950,000 – $38,182

Greater Adelaide: $482,000 – $20,430

Greater Canberra: $696,850 – $19,906

Greater Darwin: $445,000 – $18,959

Greater Hobart: $505,000 – $18,460

Greater Perth: $480,000 – $16,815

Greater Brisbane: $543,000 – $10,285

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