How residential stamp duty works

By   |   Verified by Yvonne Taylor   |   Updated 9 Aug 2023

How home bridging loans work
  • What is property transfer stamp duty, and when is it payable?
  • Stamp duty rates for each state and territory.
  • Stamp duty exemptions and concessions.

Stamp duty, also known as transfer duty, can often catch home buyers off guard, but it’s an essential factor to consider when buying a house.

Stamp duty can get complicated, so this guide will explain what stamp duty is and how to calculate it.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a tax that a home buyer pays to an Australian state or territory government, usually at the time of property transfer and settlement. It varies based on the state you live in, the purchase price of the property, and the property type. Additionally, if you’re a first-time buyer, you may qualify for a discount.

Property stamp duty costs by state

Stamp duty is calculated using the following inputs:

  • purchase price of the property or the market value (highest value is used);
  • the state that the property is located in;
  • whether the property is a primary residence or investment property;
  • the property type (existing property, newly constructed, vacant land);
  • whether or not the applicant is a first-time homebuyer;
  • the household income and number of dependent children (sometimes).

The main determining factor is the property’s purchase price or market value. The percentage will be higher for more expensive properties. Some states will also have significantly higher fees.

Here are the rates state-by-state for residential properties.

NSW stamp duty rates

These rates will be changing slightly from 1st February 2022
Property priceTransfer fee
$85,001 - $319,000$1,372 plus $3.50 for every $100 over $85,001
$319,001 - $1,064,000$9,562 plus $4.50 for every $100 over $319,000
$1,064,001 - $3,194,000$43,087 plus $5.50 for every $100 over $1,064,000

VIC stamp duty rates

Property priceTransfer fee
$25,001 - $130,000$350 plus 2.4% of the value exceeding $25,000
$130,001 - $960,000$2,870 plus 6% of the value exceeding $130,000
$960,001 and over5.5% of the property value

QLD stamp duty rates

Property priceTransfer fee
$75,000 - $540,000$1,050 plus $3.50 for every $100 over $75,000
$540,000 to $1,000,000$17,325 plus $4.50 for each $100 over $540,000
$1,000,000 and over$38,025 plus $5.75 for each $100 exceeding $1,000,000

ACT stamp duty rates

Property PriceTransfer fee
$200,001 - $300,000$1,360 plus $2.20 per $100 over $200,000
$300,001 - $500,000$3,560 plus $3.40 per $100 over $300,000
$500,001 - $750,000$10,360 plus $4.32 per $100 over $500,000

SA stamp duty rates

Property priceTransfer fee
$100,001 - $200,000$2,830 plus $4.00 for every $100 over $100,000
$200,001- $250,000$6,830 plus $4.25 for every $100 over $200,000
$250,001- $300,000$8,955 plus $4.75 for every $100 over $250,000
$300,001 - $500,000$11,330 plus $5.00 for every $100 over $300,000
$500,000 and over$21,330 plus $5.50 for every $100 over $500,000

TAS stamp duty rates

Property priceTransfer fee
$200,000 - $375,000$5,935 plus $4.00 for every $100 over $200,000
$375,001 - $725,000$12,935 plus $4.25 for every $100 over $375,000
$725,001 and over$27,810 plus $4.50 for every $100 above $725,000

WA stamp duty rates

Property priceTransfer fee
Under and inclusive of $120,000Flat rate of 1.9%
$120,001 – $150,000$2,280 + $2.85 for every $100 over $120,000
$150,001 – $360,000$3,135 + $3.80 for every $100 over $150,000
$360,001 – $725,000$11,115 + $4.75 for every $100 over $360,000
$725,001 and over$28,453 + $5.15 for every $100 above $725,000

NT stamp duty rates

Property priceTransfer fee
Under and inclusive of $525,000The state uses the following formula to determine the fee: (0.06571441 x V2) + 15V, where ‘V’ is the property value divided by 1000.
$525,001 and $3,000,000Flat rate of 4.95%

Each of the states and territories has an online calculator to help you work out your potential stamp duty fees. This is far more convenient than trying to calculate it yourself.

Stamp duty exemptions and discounts

Some property buyers can be exempted from paying a transfer fee, while others may qualify for a discounted rate. The exemptions and discounts vary between the states, much as the rates do.

Many states will not require you to pay for stamp duty if you are a first-time homebuyer. However, there are some requirements around the gross annual household income and number of dependents. Additionally, in some cases the occupants must move into the house within 12 months of purchasing and live there continuously for six months.

Some other demographics eligible for a concession include the disabled and pensioners. Other cases for exemption include inheritance of a deceased estate and property transfer between spouses or de facto couples. Depending on the state, properties of a low enough value and off-plan purchases can also attract a concession.

How stamp duty is paid

The money is paid to the state revenue office. The mortgage provider or solicitor/conveyancer will often handle this process and the paperwork for you. Your chosen representative will also handle paperwork in the case of a concession/exemption.

Stamp duty can also be added to a home loan since it is a significant amount of money. If it is part of the loan, you’ll be paying back the amount with interest. Remember, with this option, the principal amount of the loan will change, and this has several consequences.,

If you’d like to learn more, speak to a mortgage broker about rolling your stamp duty into your loan.

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When does stamp duty get paid?

Some states will require you to pay stamp duty on the day of settlement. Other states’ deadlines vary from 28-60 days and even three months.

Does the property price affect stamp duty costs?

Yes, the more expensive a property, the higher the stamp duty. The rates differ per state and may change over time. See above for more details.

Does stamp duty differ by purpose: first home, primary residence, or investment?

The purpose of the property sometimes impacts the fee. First home buyers may be exempt from paying altogether, while some states charge more for investment properties. Some states set the same amount for owner-occupied and investment properties.

What stamp duty do first home buyers pay?

This depends on the state and the value of the home. It also depends on the annual household income and the number of dependents the family may have. Some states have exemptions for first home buyers (with conditions in place).

Does stamp duty vary by property type: newly built, established, vacant land?

Yes, the rate may change depending on the property type and the state in which it is located.

Are businesses required to pay stamp duty?

Yes, businesses purchasing properties are required to pay stamp duty.

Will stamp duty ever be abolished?

Some states are planning to overhaul their revenue system and abolish real estate property transfer stamp duty. However, it is likely to be replaced with a much lower annual tax on property. But nothing around this is guaranteed.

Do you pay stamp duty on vacant land?

Yes, stamp duty is paid for vacant land transfers. Any property or land transferred to a new owner requires stamp duty. However, there are still concessions and exemptions available for first-time buyers.

Does stamp duty change if you buy a house below its market value?

If you are lucky enough to get a property well below market value, you’ll need to get a stamp duty valuation. After this, you’ll need to pay stamp duty based on the value of the property rather than the purchase price.