The head of a major real estate agency believes state governments should make life easier for older Australians looking to downsize by extending stamp duty concessions to homeowners looking to move from their family home.

Angus Raine, executive chairman of Raine & Horne, believes the current cost of stamp duty is prohibitive to “empty-nesters” downsizing, and that is having a flow-on effect to the entire property market.

“The national debate seems to be all about first home buyers, and with good reason given climbing real estate values coupled with ongoing housing shortages,” Raine said.

“The trouble is that upgrading to a bigger home is not a simple or straightforward transaction either, especially with more empty-nesters in Sydney's northern and eastern suburbs and Melbourne's southern and eastern suburbs sitting on larger family homes,” he said.

“Empty-nesters are hindering the second home buyer markets in our major capital cities because the costs for them to downsize either to a smaller property or a different location are too prohibitive thanks to excessive stamp duty charges imposed by state governments.”

Raine says stamp duty is unfairly eating into the retirement nest-eggs of many older Australians, especially those who have very little in the way of superannuation savings, because the majority of their working careers were completed prior to the introduction of compulsory superannuation in the early 1990s.

To solve this, Raine says the government should adopt stamp duty tax breaks for older Australians.

“In turn, stamp duty-free real estate transactions for older Australians will help address some of the current supply constraints that are cramping the real estate plans of second time property buyers in our capital cities,” he said.