The Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) has heightened its campaign for the NSW government to introduce stamp-duty concessions for retirees. This initiative aims to increase the turnover of housing stock and improve housing affordability for families and first-home buyers.

“There are thousands of empty-nesters living in large houses with three, four and five bedrooms, as well as a big back yard. And there’s no incentive for them to move into more suitable accommodation – such as a smaller home, townhouse, apartment or retirement villa – because they’ll be hit with a huge stamp-duty bill,” REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said.

Empty-nesters are disincentivised because the stamp-duty cost to purchase a property that better suits their needs is deemed wasted money. Empty-nesters are not selling, and this has led to a scarcity of properties for sale.

In addition, stamp duty is creating a major hurdle for upgraders seeking a new home to accommodate their growing families.

The state election is in two days, and REINSW has been calling on both sides of politics to provide stamp-duty relief for people over the age of 65.

“Stamp duty eats into the retirement nest eggs of many older Australians, especially those who have very little in the way of superannuation savings,” McKibbin said.

Stamp-duty concessions for people over 65 would open the market and pave the way for people to relocate as their housing needs change over time, McKibbin said. It would allow empty nesters to move out and free up housing stock for younger families to upgrade, he added.

McKibbin pointed out that data from the NSW government show a decline in property transactions. As a result, stamp-duty revenues were cut. He also said that empirical evidence proves that reducing stamp-duty rates will lead to an increase in transactions. More transactions mean more revenue for the government.

“The government has unfairly and unconscionably profited from stamp duty for too long. The next government needs to ask itself if it wants to lead affordability and growth, or actively hinder people’s ability to own their own home,” he said.