NSW imposes new taxes on foreign property buyers


Australia is imposing new taxes on foreign property buyers.

The New South Wales government has announced that foreign investors will pay a four percent stamp duty when buying houses or apartments.

It says from next year overseas investors will also pay an extra 0.75 percent surcharge on residential land.

The announcement follows similar moves in Queensland and Victoria.

Queensland is introducing a three percent stamp duty for overseas buyers, while from next month Victoria will increase its existing stamp duty for foreign buyers from three percent to seven percent.

New Zealanders living in Australia appear to be exempt. But New Zealanders who are not resident in Australia may need to seek tax advice.

The changes by the state governments come as the big Australian banks have stopped lending to foreign investors.

The move to bring in the extra stamp duty will earn the New South Wales government around AUD$1 billion over four years.

The Victorian government expects to earn more than AUD$400 million, while Queensland's government will take in an additional $100 million.

All three say the stamp duty will help pay for the infrastructure that is needed when new apartment blocks and housing developments are built.

Property investor lobby groups says it is a "cash grab" that could drive offshore investors from the market.

The moves come as signs appear that the Sydney's apartment market is under stress.

The vacancy rate increased by 0.2 percent to 2.2 percent in May.

That might not sound like a large amount, but real estate agents say it is a reflection of the large number of newly built apartments coming onto the market in Sydney.

JLL research shows that 61,000 new apartments were built in Sydney between 2015 and 2017. That compares to 44,500 in 2012 and 2014.

Nobody is sure.

Investors need to put their money somewhere.

Investments like shares are looking highly valued and volatile.

There is always the safety of German government bonds. Investors are so keen to buy them that the interest rate has dropped to zero.

Investors are effectively paying the German government to look after their money.