Budget delivers a blow to renters

The increased property taxes announced by the State Government as part of today’s Budget has dealt a blow to Queensland renters according to the State’s peak property advocate.

Property Council of Australia Queensland Executive Director Jess Caire, said the Treasurer’s decision to increase taxes for investors with a portion of international funding would be the final nail in the coffin for Queensland’s apartment stocks.

“Queensland needs more homes built faster and the state government’s decision to hit the companies we need to build those homes is beyond comprehension,” Ms Caire said.

“We recently released research showing there are no apartments planned for Brisbane beyond next year and today’s Budget will see that gulf in stock extend indefinitely.

“These companies are the cure to our sick housing system, but this new tax will make the illness terminal.

“The people who will feel it the most are the Queensland families looking to rent, with these investors critical to building the large-scale apartment blocks needed to house renters.

“Taxing these companies more will simply result in them investing elsewhere, taking their money and housing stock with them; if you think it is hard to find a home in Queensland, this decision just made it a whole lot harder,” she said.

Ms Caire said while the increase in concessions for first homeowners was welcome, introducing them while slugging the companies needed to build the new homes was like giving with one hand and taking with the other.

“First home buyers need help to get into the housing market, which is why the Property Council have been calling for the ceiling of the stamp duty concession to be lifted on new homes only to help drive supply,” she said.

“But having more money in your pocket to buy a home doesn’t help anyone if there are no homes to buy and we need as many investors as possible to build those homes.”

Ms Caire said modelling by the Property Council indicated the Treasurer’s decision would result in the state government failing in their bid to deliver a home for every Queenslander.

“Today’s new tax increase cannot be viewed in isolation; it is the tenth new or increased tax on property introduced by the Queensland Government since 2016,” she said.

“While the government offers some concessions on these taxes, the criteria is convoluted and the process is cumbersome – often taking more than 18 months to get a decision.

“If negotiation to amend the criteria to carve out the Australian-based developers with more than 50% international ownership who deliver homes and student accommodation is on the table then we encourage the treasurer to engage meaningfully with industry.

“What Queenslanders should be asking themselves today is, what does this cost us when it comes to housing?

“Our early modelling suggests that since the introduction of these taxes on housing, we have already lost tens of thousands of homes, worth billions of dollars in value.

“This latest increase is short sighted policy at best and will see us slide further backwards – remember the 1 million new homes by 2046 is a government target but to be delivered by the same industry they have today slapped an increase on.

“In the last three years, as owning a home or accessing a rental has slipped beyond reach for many Queenslanders, the Queensland Government collected over $3.5 billion windfall in transfer duty receipts alone.

“This is how the government should be funding the increase in first homeowner concessions; it should come out of the government’s pockets rather than homeowners and renters who are ultimately the ones who pay the taxes.”

“As it stands – Brisbane residents are already paying one third of their purchase price on a new house and land package in Government taxes, fees and charges.

“If we are to get serious about delivering more homes in Queensland, we should look to other jurisdictions and carve out Australian-based developers with international co investment or ownership on the proviso they are constructing and selling new homes or apartments or develop and own land that is for commercial or industrial purposes.

“This change would level the playing field and would say Queensland is not just open for business but boosting much needed residential housing is the top priority,” she said.

/Public Release. View in full here.