Big issue with first-time buyer boost

Real Estate
New data has revealed that less than 50 per cent of property listings in NSW are under $800,000. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

A plan to extend the stamp duty exemption threshold for first-time buyers in NSW has sparked a major issue - you’ll have to move out of the city.

Sydney’s northern beaches, eastern suburbs, Baulkham Hills and the Hawkesbury are the most difficult areas for first-home buyers to purchase in, with the lowest proportion of homes under $800,000 and $1m.

Data from PropTrack of listings in NSW from April 2023 reveal only 10 per cent of listings on the northern beaches were under $800,000 and 12 per cent were under $1m.

In comparison 88 per cent of listings in the state’s far west and Orana listings were under $800,000, with that figure growing to 91 per cent for listings under $1m.

PropTrack director of economic research Cameron Kusher said the supply of cheaper housing had gradually reduced in recent years, with Sydney’s western suburb of Parramatta the only region where more than 50 per cent of listings were under $800,000.

“That speaks to how much property prices have risen right across the board, and that has led to this dwindling supply,” Mr Kusher said.

Across the state, listings under $800,000 have dropped by 0.9 per cent, with homes under $1m falling by 3.18 per cent year-on-year.

When accounting for all the listings in NSW, 48.1 per cent were below $800,000, while 63.5 per cent were under $1m.

The availability of apartments also affected the areas with a greater proportion of homes under $800,000 and $1m.

“Units definitely bring down those proportions,” Mr Kusher said.

“In places like the eastern suburbs, and northern beaches, you’re probably not going to find any houses under a million dollars. It’s going to be exclusively units.”

“(At that price point, buyers) will likely be buying a unit or they’ll be buying a house on the outskirts of the city,” he said, pointing to listings in Parramatta, Sydney’s outer southwest, Blacktown and south west, where 60 to 71 per cent of properties were listed for $1m or under.

Supply is another key issue. Mr Kusher said it was a “pretty tight market” across Sydney, with only four areas – the Central Coast, the outer western Blue Mountains, the outer south west, and Baulkham Hills and the Hawkesbury – reporting a year-on-year increase in listings.

Real Estate
According to recent data, 48.1 per cent of property listings are below $800,000, while 63.5 per cent are under $1m. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Gaye Gerard

The data comes as the NSW government introduced a Bill to extend the stamp duty exemption threshold from $650,000 to $800,000, plus exemptions for home under $1m.

Compared with stamp duty rates, an $850,000 home would incur stamp duty fees of $33,340, but this would be reduced to $10,023 under the proposed legislation.

However, the savings are reduced the more expensive a property is. For example, a home worth $990,000 would still result in $38,086 in stamp duty, just $1555 less than the current rates.

The new policy will also replace the First Home Buyer Choice scheme that allows first-home buyers to choose between stamp duty or a heavily reduced annual land tax.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the extension of the stamp duty exemptions were fairer and targeted to buyers who required help. Figures from the government indicate Labor’s policy will give about 84 per cent, or five in six, first-home buyers some form of exemption or concession.

“We now know that 52 per cent of the (Coalition’s) tax concessions are going to just 13 per cent of first-time buyers, those purchasing a property above a million dollars,” he said.

“If the subsidy is in place, it should be going to those that would ordinarily not have been able to enter the housing market.

“So we’ve made a deliberate decision to ensure that this benefit is applied to a greater number of people than the existing scheme.”

However, Opposition Leader Mark Speakman has flagged the Coalition will move to amend Labor’s first-home buyer’s Bill.

“We have to accept that Sydney house prices are astronomical,” he said.

“So we will be seeking to amend the Bill to remove the repeal of our scheme.”