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What is Stamp Duty?

A woman and man together, holding their child as they look at their new house.

Stamp duty is a charge which is applied by state governments in Australia on transactions relating to the transfer of land or property. It is paid upfront and needs to be budgeted for in addition to your loan deposit. It can be one of the biggest upfront costs when purchasing property, costing thousands – making it important to account for.

The amount of stamp duty you are required to pay differs in each state, however there are three factors, along with the value of the property, that determine how much stamp duty you will pay. Contributing factors include:

  • Whether or not the property is a primary residence or investment property;
  • Whether or not you are a first home buyer; and
  • If you are purchasing an established home, a new home or vacant land.
We have a handy stamp duty calculator available online that takes the guesswork out of budgeting for a property. Factoring in this additional cost cannot be overlooked when you are considering your capacity to repay a loan.

In different states, there are a range of tax concessions available to reduce stamp duty, made in a bid by state governments to stimulate home ownership and growth. Exact amounts differ across each state, but those who benefit the most are first home buyers and those opting to buy a new home.

However, South Australia does not currently offer stamp duty concessions or exemptions for first home buyers. Additionally, since 1 July 2018, there is no concession or exemption for buyers who purchase property off-the-plan. However, there may be various grants or schemes that buyers are entitled to, such as the First Home Owner Grant.

Stamp duty is worked out by applying the stamp duty rate, (set by RevenueSA) to your property’s market value or sale price, whichever of the two is higher on the day of settlement.

In SA, Stamp duty must be paid in order for you to be registered as the owner of the property, and is payable at or before settlement. Failure to pay on time may result in penalties or interest.

Additionally, there are other related fees to consider, such as mortgage registration fee and a transfer registration fee, plus land taxes, solicitor or conveyancing costs, and building or pest inspections.

From January 2018, foreign purchasers (including individuals, trusts, and corporations) acquiring residential property also have to pay a Stamp Duty Surcharge.

According to RevenueSA, there are some circumstances that you may be exempt from paying any stamp duty, such as:

  • Transfers from an estate of a deceased person to a beneficiary under a will;
  • Domestic partnership transfers; and
  • Transfer of farming property between family members.

To find out how much stamp duty you need to pay, and whether or not you are eligible for any concessions, contact our friendly team at Acquired whose expert knowledge can help you secure the home of your dreams, with a loan that suits you and access to more lending options than banks. 


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