Cost of Living in Australia: Stamp Duty.

The cost of stamp duty in Australia and England compared.

We have already looked at the cost comparisons when buying a house in Australia compared with England, but what about the stamp duty? Which country is cheapest?

And the winner is…………

England!

There, that was straight to the point wasn’t it? No big build up, no mounting tension, no moments of doubt spent wondering “Will it be the UK or would it be Australia?”

That’s because this has been the easiest and most straightforward cost comparison yet. If only they were all this easy. Why so simple?

Well, in England you will pay zero stamp duty on houses costing less than £175,000. But for houses costing more than that you will pay 1% up to £250,000, 3% on houses costing more than £250,000 but less than £500,000 and 4% on houses over £500,000.

And Australia?

When I bought my house in Brisbane, Queensland, which would have fallen into the 3% category in the UK, our total stamp duty amounted to something like 2.4%. So I have lived my charmed life in Australia assuming stamp duty to be cheaper here than in England, albeit not by much.

But if we had bought a house costing around $425,000 here, and there are plenty around, then our stamp duty would have dropped to around 1.6%. But in England that would have fallen into the under £250,000 category and attracted just 1% stamp duty.

So stamp duty here in Queensland is not much different to stamp duty back in the UK, in a swings and roundabouts kind of way. So why does England win?

Because the state of Queensland here in Australia is easily the cheapest state for stamp duty in the country. For the other states you are looking at around 3% to 4% stamp duty on houses that would have fallen into the 1% bracket in England and anything from nearly 4% to over 5% for houses in the UK’s 3% range.

So as it turns out, pretty much the only way I was ever going to pay less stamp duty here in Australia than I would have in England, was to buy a house in Queensland AND in the price range that I bought in.

So how lucky was I? And I never knew it until today!

So if you are considering moving to Australia and buying a house here, the cost of stamp duty state-by-state is, in my opinion, a consideration. It does also appear that Victoria may well be the most expensive state here.

Victoria is home to Australia’s most expensive private school and recently I discovered that their ambulance fees are more expensive than elsewhere. Now it appears they top the charts for stamp duty as well.

Take a look at this chart…..

Stamp Duty Examples in Australia

Stamp Duty Examples in Australia

Now compare it to the UK…..

UK Stamp Duty

UK Stamp Duty

And you can see for yourself. The UK is cheaper in every single category except one.

Mine!

Not only are stamp duty fees more expensive in Australia, they are also far more complicated than the simple UK setup. Because of this there are many online stamp duty calculators available. As these rates are always subject to change, I strongly suggest you search for up to date information before you finalise your budget.  From time to time and from state to state the government do also offer concessions and grants, especially to first time home buyers, so look out for those too.

The good news is that the grant seems to be available to first-time buyers even if you have only just emigrated to Australia. The down side is it must be the first house you have ever bought, ever, in the whole wide world. That’s how I understand it.

Worth looking into.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • AB October 16, 2012, 6:07 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    Me the wife and lad are looking at emigrating. You mention the cost of Stamp duty, but cannot find anything about the comparison of other costs of buying.

    I am thinking about :-
    Estate agents selling fees [not in my case but for completness.]
    Solicitors charges for Conveyancing [both for buying and selling].

    Also when a house is advertised at say $400k is that the price paid, or negotiated down [i.e. a minimum]

    Thanks

    AB

    • BobinOz October 16, 2012, 7:53 pm | Link

      That’s the good idea, maybe I’ll look into it for another post. Cheers AB!

  • AA December 15, 2011, 8:17 am | Link

    I am thinking the stamp duty are now revised and any house costing less than $500,000 in Queensland attracts ‘zero’ stamp duty (?)
    -AA

    • BobinOz December 16, 2011, 10:21 pm | Link

      It may well have done, I haven’t looked at it lately. This post is a couple of years old. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • BobinOz January 27, 2010, 9:45 pm | Link

    I am surprised they did that in a dead market! But then again, I’m not surprised. But even with that change, for sure, the UK is still far cheaper for stamp duty than it is here in Australia.

    But not a word to Gordon, you’ll give him ideas.

  • mj January 27, 2010, 5:34 am | Link

    Hi, unfortunately the threshold for 1% UK stamp duty has gone back down to £125k from £175k as of new year, luckily I managed to sneak in my house move in mid december and didn’t have to pay, phew!

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