The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) is urging the federal and state governments to provide stamp duty relief to Australians to counter the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on sales activity.

Recent market analysis from CoreLogic said that sales activity will likely get affected by the policies imposing social distancing and banning public gatherings like auctions.

REIWA President Damian Collins said while the relief package of the state government — which allows households to apply for an interest-free payment and waiver of late payment penalties — is a welcome move, it would not make enough impact to boost the real estate industry amid the outbreak.

"Simply deferring a payment doesn't make it more affordable and will only spread the cost over a longer period, whereas a short-term stamp duty concession or rebate of 75% will make buying property much more attractive, safeguarding thousands of jobs including mortgage brokers, removalists, settlement agents and tradespeople," he said.

Also read: Economic Boost To Support Housing Market

Collins said a weak outlook for home sales could put thousands of people out of work.

"In addition, for those people who will need to sell their homes, they will need a buyer at the other end. Without this short-term incentive, there may not be many buyers in the market, which could be a double blow to those who need to sell," he said.

Further support is needed in Western Australia's housing market, which was heading towards recovery right up until the last week of March. In fact, while house prices in the state grew by 0.5% in the month and 0.9% over the quarter, sales listings went down.

"There were 12,294 properties listed for sale on; however, this number will continue to fall as we navigate through this uncertain time," Collins said.

Furthermore, the state has already recorded a decline in activity over the month, down 23% to 2,205 sales.

"We are hopeful that the government packages announced will keep the economy going and property prices will hold, but we will watch and continue urging the government to offer stamp duty relief if transaction volumes continue to fall further," Collins said.