State and local governments collected a whopping $30.293 billion worth of property tax revenue over the 2017-18 financial year. If you were to compare these statistics to what was published last year, the figures would be vastly different. Previously, the ABS included stamp duties on conveyances as taxes on property however, in this year’s release this has been moved to a different section of taxation – taxes on the provision of goods and services.
Nevertheless, the $30.293 billion in property tax revenue was 5.6% higher over the past year with the annual increase lower than the 7.9% increase over the previous year. Within total property taxes, land taxes ($9.153b) increased 9.0% over the year, municipal rates ($18.451b) increased 4.3% and other taxes ($2.689b) increased 3.4% over the year.
CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher undertook his own analysis of the results, confirming that revenues from property taxes are now the highest in the most populous states. Across the states, total property tax revenue in 2017-18 was recorded at: $8.382 billion in NSW, $8.778 billion in Vic, $5.658 billion in Qld, $2.433 billion in SA, $3.654 billion in WA, $549 million in Tas, $133 million in NT and $705 million in ACT.
“Taking a look at stamp duties, which although they are no longer defined as part of ‘taxes on property’, they are a tax paid when a property when is transacted.
“When the housing market is seeing increased transactions and rises in values, stamp duty generally rises and vice versa. The national housing market started to see values fall late in 2017 and as a result, stamp duty revenue is largely unchanged in 2017-18 from the previous year,” Cameron Kusher said.
Stamp duty revenue over time across each state and territory shows the most populous states derive the most revenue from stamp duty, however, the chart also shows how volatile revenue from stamp duty can be based on the performance of the housing market. Over the most recent year, stamp duty revenue fell in NSW, Qld, SA, WA, NT and ACT while it rose elsewhere. With the national housing market now seeing values and transaction volumes continuing to decline, it is to be expected that the 2018-19 financial year will see a much lower value of stamp duty revenue.
While non-transactional based property taxes provide state and local governments with consistent revenue streams year after year, transactional-based stamp duty is much less guaranteed and harder to forecast for budgeting purposes. Over recent years as the housing markets in Sydney and Melbourne have boomed, the NSW and Vic state governments have benefitted greatly from a significant increase in stamp duty revenue. Stamp duty revenue in NSW is 89.7% higher over the past five years and in Vic it is up 116.0%. By comparison, in WA where the housing market has largely been falling over the same period, stamp duty revenue is down -18.9%.
Cameron Kusher said, “With the NSW and Vic Governments seemingly going to be hit by a loss of stamp duty revenue over the coming years it would seem that now is as good a time as ever to look to move away from this transactional tax.
“Although no one likes additional taxes, a tax on all residential properties is more equitable than a tax on the 4%-6% of properties that transact in any given year. Furthermore, it provides a more guaranteed revenue stream to state government so they can better plan their expenditure into the future.”
In closing, Cameron Kusher said, “It should be noted that the ACT Government announced in 2012 that it was going to remove stamp duty over a 20 year period.”