Fresh calls to scrap stamp duty amid bullish property outlook

With NSW expected to once again lead the national property charge with high expectations for growth and investment, one industry spokesman has called for stamp duty to be scrapped.

As housing prices in the state look unlikely to fall in the short term, Property Council NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald says stamp duty must be dumped to counter rising unaffordability.

“We must cut stamp duty for families trying to get a foot in the property market, scrap the foreign investment tax and continue steps towards streamlining the planning system so that we can continue to build the NSW of the future,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“The budget is in surplus and there is a record spend in infrastructure. Now is the time to ease the tax burden on home buyers and strengthen housing supply. We must not rest on our laurels. There is much more that can be done.”

The call comes as the property sector, buoyed by stronger expectations of economic growth and capital values, revealed its bullish outlook for 2017.

According to the ANZ-Property Council survey for the March quarter, firms are “considerably” more optimistic about the outlook for the property sector this year, a view shared by the national bank.

“Our solid outlook for the Australian economy in 2017 is broadly consistent with the strong tone to this quarter’s survey,” ANZ chief economist Richard Yetsenga said.

“Sentiment in NSW’s, Victoria’s and the ACT’s property markets sits around record levels, in line with the transition away from mining-led growth.”

According to the survey, confidence reached a two-year high, with 31 per cent of respondents expecting conditions in the property market to improve over the next 12 months.

“Stronger price growth expectations are largely in line with recent results in the housing market. House prices have returned to double-digit annual growth rates across Sydney and Melbourne … coupled with the returning presence of investors, it appears that demand for housing is reasonably steady at an elevated level,” ANZ said.

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