Raising apartment killer taxes an irresponsible blow to renters

The Property Council’s Queensland division has hit back at today’s announcement from government that next week’s budget will raise the ‘apartment killer’ taxes.

Next week’s Queensland State Budget will see the Foreign Land Tax Surcharge increased to 3 per cent while the Additional Foreign Acquirer Duty will jump to 8 per cent – placing an unmitigated strain on apartment projects across the state.

The Property Council’s Queensland Executive Director Jess Caire labelled the irresponsible move ‘a race to the bottom’.

“Today’s announcement to lift the first home buyers ceiling and funding it through increasing the foreign land tax surcharge is nothing short of a race to the bottom,” Ms Caire said.

“It’s giving with one hand and taking away with the other – this will see first home buyers and renters alike facing a more competitive and more expensive market.

“What’s the point of raising the concession if there’s no one to build it?

“Given the Queensland Government reaped in a whopping $3.5 billion windfall in transfer duty alone in last three years, this ceiling could be raised without imposing any further taxes.

“Queensland unlike New South Wales taxes companies that have a portion of foreign ownership – the very companies that build the new homes and apartments that the first homes owners who received this concession today will buy.

“We are well and truly losing the State of Origin .

“This is just another example of double dealing.

“Increasing a tax on these companies will only drive up the cost of housing further squeezing first home buyers out of the market,” she said.

The Property Council has further criticised the move, not just for the impact of this increase on first home buyers and renters – but for the impact on investor confidence.

“No matter how this is packaged up – it’s a tax on housing. This increase coupled with our already high additional foreign acquirer duty makes us completely uncompetitive to the capital we should be proactively trying to attract to Queensland,” Ms Caire said.

“It’s a long bow draw to say we are now in line with New South Wales – they don’t tax companies, just individuals.

“This just sends a message that Queensland is not open for business.

“Taxing the industry that delivers housing in a housing crisis is nonsensical- it’s like taxing water in a drought.

“To increase this tax with no industry consultation to understand the true impact is irresponsible.

“This shows a lack of understanding about the development pipeline as more often than not it’s companies with a portion of foreign ownership or overseas institutional investment that are delivering the homes our state desperately needs.

“So this increase will just see it become harder to deliver homes and costs to buyers and renters increased.

“If this was really about getting people into homes faster than excluding companies that deliver the homes we need – as is done in New South Wales – would be the first step.

“Until that happens all it is, is a money grab that will drive up house prices – costing renters and first home buyers.

“We can’t tax our way out of a crisis – this budget should be the platform that instils confidence to industry rather than increasing costs,” she said.

/Public Release. View in full here.