Stamp Duty: Rates, Exemptions & Transfer Duty [2019 Guide]

Buying a home is an exciting time when making an investment, upgrading your lifestyle and looking to the future can all happen simultaneously. But it’s also a time when a lot of expenses demand your attention, fees seemingly come out of nowhere, and ensuring that all i’s are dotted and t’s crossed becomes a headache.

The best way to ensure that your home buying experience runs as smoothly as possible is to educate yourself while also dealing with experts who know exactly what they’re talking about. Top performing real estate agents are able to give advice and guidance on how to best deal with the legislation around stamp duty, use our free service to quickly compare top-selling agents in your area now.

Stamp Duty can be a hidden cost that home buyers forget about.

What is Stamp Duty?

There is no “one size fits all” approach to stamp duty.

One of the most important necessities to be fully aware of when house hunting is stamp duty and it is best to have the knowledge before you have arrived at your first open home. Very basically, stamp duty is a tax imposed by all Australian territories and states when dealing with the sale of a property.

It is different to capital gains tax, for example, as stamp duty is not about claiming income tax deductions but regarding the actual sale price, location and mortgage details. Stamp duty is often also referred to as “land transfer duty”, which is slightly more helping in explaining what it actually is.

Stamp duty is a big chunk of change to add on to what you have to pay for the house itself. The best way to take the anxiety out of the process is to look at what would be specifically expected of you in your home state.

Who Pays Stamp Duty?

Stamp duty is paid for by the buyer of a property and it is an amount that exists on top of the actual purchase price. But this doesn’t mean that the seller gets out of the transaction easily. The stamp duty amount can potentially scare off potential buyers, leaving vendors with the expense of having a house sitting on the market that must be continuously advertised.

However, understanding what you will be paying as the buyer will make the entire process far less daunting.

How Much Does Stamp Duty Cost By State?

Like we said before, there is no “one size fits all” approach to stamp duty. Beyond every state and territory having their own laws, the amount is derived from the price of the property or a percentage of the market value at the time that the transaction is occurring.

This potentially means that the stamp duty you pay in 2019 could be very different to what you would owe in 2020.

Stamp duty is typically the last transaction before a house sale reaches settlement. Normally, contracts are drawn up and a deposit paid. During the settlement period, which could be anywhere from 30 to 120 days, stamp duty will be paid one month from the date of the accepted offer.

Stamp duty is a big chunk of change to add on to what you have to pay for the house itself. The best way to take the anxiety out of the process is to look at what would be specifically expected of you in your home state.

Average Stamp Duty Rates

Understanding what you are responsible for and when is a daunting process when buying property. Even if you have done it many times, between building inspections and dealing with banks, it can be a nauseating process.

Australian Capital Territory Stamp Duty Cost

The ACT works on a scale to determine the price of stamp duty when purchasing a home. While a home costing $400,000 would typically have a stamp duty bill of $9,460, which is 2.37% of the sale price, it is worthwhile understanding how that is determined.

In the Australian Capital Territory, stamp duty exclusively comes from the value of the property. This can be broken down as follows:

$300,001 to $500,000 = $4,900 plus an additional charge per $100 until the purchase price is reached.

$1,000,001 to $1,454,999 = $38,750 plus the additional percentage per $100 until the purchase price is reached.

This table shows the rates of stamp duty payable for non-commercial properties in the ACT:

Value of  Property Duty Payable
up to $200,000 $20 or $1.30 per $100 or part thereof, whichever is greater
$200,001 to $300,000 $2,600 plus $2.30 per $100 or part thereof by which the value exceeds $200,000
$300,001 to $500,000 $4,900 plus $3.60 per $100 or part thereof by which the value exceeds $300,000
$500,001 to $750,000 $12,100 plus $4.56 per $100 or part thereof by which the value exceeds $500,000
$750,001 to $1,000,000 $23,500 plus $6.10 per $100 or part thereof by which the value exceeds $750,000
$1,000,001 to $1,455,000 $38,750 plus $6.60 per $100 or part thereof by which the value exceeds $1,000,000
More than $1,455,000 A flat rate of $4.73 per $100 applied to the total transaction value

Source: ACT Revenue Office

New South Wales Stamp Rates

New South Wales’ stamp duty also works on a sliding system that will take the value of the property to calculate a fee that must be paid in order for a sale to settle.

This can be simplified by understanding that you will be paying $1.25 for every $100 within the purchase price for the first $14,000. The amount then jumps to $175 plus $1.50 for every $100 that exceeds the first $14,000. Eventually, for properties over $1million, you are looking at $5.50 for every $100.

Once properties hit the $3 million mark, stamp duty turns in to a Premium Property Duty that will equal $150,490 plus $7 for every $100 that the value exceeds the $3 million.

This table shows the rates of stamp duty payable in NSW:

Value of Property Duty Payable
$0 – $14,000 $1.25 for every $100 or part of the value
$14,001 – $30,000 $175 plus $1.50 for every $100, that the value exceeds $14,000
$30,001 – $80,000 $415 plus $1.75 for every $100, that the value exceeds $30,000
$80,001 – $300,000 $1,290 plus $3.50 for every $100, that the value exceeds $80,000
$300,001 – $1m $8,990 plus $4.50 for every $100, that the value exceeds $300,000
over $1m $40,490 plus $5.50 for every $100, that the value exceeds $1,000,000
Premium Property Duty: over $3m $150,490 plus $7.00 for every $100, that the value exceeds $3,000,000.

Source: Revenue NSW

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Northern Territory Stamp Duty Cost

The Northern Territory general rates for stamp duty are actually higher than that of the ACT and New South Wales. For example, if purchasing a $400,000 property, the stamp duty would be $16,514.31. This equals to 4.13% and will increase to 4.95% of property over $525,000 but less than $3 million. For homes in the $3 million and beyond category, the stamp duty becomes 5.45% of the value.

This table shows the rates of stamp duty payable in the Northern Territory:

Your Purchase Price Duty Payable
$0 – $525,000 D = (0.06571441 x V² ) + 15V*
$525,000 – $2,999,999 Purchase Price x 4.95%
$3,000,000 – $4,999,999 Purchase Price x 5.75%
$5,000,000 and above Purchase Price x 5.95%

*D= the Stamp Duty payable

 V= Purchase Price or Value divided by 1000

Source: Northern Territory Government

Queensland Stamp Duty Rates

In Queensland, there is an extra condition to consider when calculating the stamp duty. While like the other states and territories the bulk of the stamp duty is based on the value of the property, the price will be different based on whether it is going to be your private residence or if it is an investment property.

For a property costing $400,000, the stamp duty would be $12,425. This is 3.1%, which means that properties between $540,000 to $1 million will start at $17,325 before adding an additional $4.50 for every $100 until the purchase price is met.

In Queensland, an additional duty of 3% applies to sales of residential land when purchased by an international vendor.

This table shows the rates of stamp duty payable in Queensland:

Value of Property

Duty Payable

Not more than $5,000 Nil
More than $5,000 up to $75,000 $1.50 for each $100, or part of $100, over $5,000
$75,000 to $540,000 $1,050 plus $3.50 for each $100, or part of $100, over $75,000
$540,000 to $1,000,000 $17,325 plus $4.50 for each $100, or part of $100, over $540,000
More than $1,000,000 $38,025 plus $5.75 for each $100, or part of $100, over $1,000,000

Source: Queensland Government

South Australia Stamp Duty Cost

South Australia has specific rules for stamp duty when buying a property and they are contingent on the use of the land and property. For example, there are different laws regarding farming land as there are to strictly residential property located in a more suburban or city area. Like Queensland, South Australia charges a surcharge when property is purchased by a foreign vendor: 7% of the value of the property.

For residential properties, a property ranging between $100,000 and $200,000 will pay $2,830 plus $4 for every $100. When exceeding $500,000, stamp duty is $21,330 plus $5.50 for every $100.

This table shows the rates of stamp duty payable in South Australia:

Value of Property Duty Payable
Does not exceed $12,000 $1.00 for every $100 or part of $100
Exceeds $12,000 but not $30,000 $120 plus $2.00 for every $100 or part of $100 over $12,000
Exceeds $30,000 but not $50,000 $480 plus $3.00 for every $100 or part of $100 over $30,000
Exceeds $50,000 but not $100,000 $1,080 plus $3.50 for every $100 or part of $100 over $50,000
Exceeds $100,000 but not $200,000 $2,830 plus $4.00 for every $100 or part of $100 over $100,000
Exceeds $200,000 but not $250,000 $6,830 plus $4.25 for every $100 or part of $100 over $200,000
Exceeds $250,000 but not $300,000 $8,955 plus $4.75 for every $100 or part of $100 over $250,000
Exceeds $300,000 but not $500,000 $11,330 plus $5.00 for every $100 or part of $100 over $300,000
Exceeds $500,000 $21,330 plus $5.50 for every $100 or part of $100 over $500,000

Source: RevenueSA

Tasmania Stamp Duty Rates

Tasmania’s stamp duty, or property transfer duty, works on a tiered system, based on either the unencumbered value (market value) or the purchase price paid, whichever is higher. You pay a flat fee plus a percentage, depending on the value of the property.

If you buy a property for $400,000, you’ll pay $13997.50. This breaks down as $12,935 plus $4.25 for every $100 over $375,000.

This table shows the rates of stamp duty payable in Tasmania:

Value of Property Duty payable
Not more than $3,000 $50
More than $3,000 but not more than $25,000 $50 plus $1.75 for every $100, or part, by which the dutiable value exceeds $3,000
More than $25,000 but not more than $75,000 $435 plus $2.25 for every $100, or part, by which the dutiable value exceeds $25,000
More than $75,000 but not more than $200,000 $1,560 plus $3.50 for every $100, or part, by which the dutiable value exceeds $75,000
More than $200,000 but not more than $375,000 $5,935 plus $4.00 for every $100, or part, by which the dutiable value exceeds $200,000
More than $375,000 but not more than $725,000 $12,935 plus $4.25 for every $100, or part, by which the dutiable value exceeds $375,000
More than $725,000 $27,810 plus $4.50 for every $100, or part, by which the dutiable value exceeds $725,000

Source: State Revenue Office of Tasmania

Victoria Stamp Duty Cost

Victoria’s stamp duty also has differences depending on whether you are going to be permanently residing in the property or using it as an investment. When buying a $400,000 property, the stamp duty is $16,370. It will then be broken down as follows:

This table shows the rates of stamp duty payable in Victoria:

Value of Property Duty Payable
$0-$25,000 1.4 per cent of the dutiable value of the property
$25,001 – $130,000 $350 plus 2.4 per cent of the dutiable value in excess of $25,000
$130,001 – $960,000 $2870 plus 6 per cent of the dutiable value in excess of $130,000
More than $960,000 5.5 per cent of the dutiable value

Source: State Revenue Office Victoria

Western Australia Stamp Duty Rates

Western Australia calculates stamp duty based on a sliding scale regarding the value of the property. For a $400,000 residential home, the stamp duty equals $13,015. Like the other states, the higher the value the more stamp duty will need to be paid.

This begins at $2,280 plus $2.85 per $100 for up to $150,000 and ends with $725,001 and upwards demanding a stamp duty fee of $28,453 plus $5.15 per $100.

Value of Property Duty Payable
$0 – $120,000 $1.90 per $100 or part thereof
$120,001-$150,000 $2,280 plus $2.85 per $100 or part thereof above $120,000
$150,001 – $360,000 $3,135 plus $3.80 per $100 or part thereof above $150,000
$360,001 – $725,000 $11,115 plus $4.75 per $100 or part thereof above $360,000
$725,001 and upwards $28,453 plus $5.15 per $100 or part thereof above $725,000

Source: Department of Finance, Western Australia

Stamp Duty Exemptions and Concessions

While it can be clearly stated that stamp duty is mandatory across the board, there are a few concessions and exemptions that free a buyer from having to pay it. Like the stamp duty price calculation, the rules are different in every state or territory. However, for the most part, first home buyers are relieved from stamp duty fees.

In some states, like South Australia and Queensland, this measure replaces the first home owner grants that existed through much of the 2000s and acts as a pathway into the property market. That the stamp duty is waived in these instances actually makes for a better financial situation for first home owners.

Similarly, pensioners are also eligible to a one-time only stamp duty concession. This occurs when purchasing a property between the price of $330,000 and $750,000. It is important to note that if a pensioner happens to also be a first home buyer, they don’t get to double up on the stamp duty savings.

Finding the right real estate agent can be as precious as finding the property to buy. They’re the person who you are going to trust in aiding you in investing in your biggest asset. It is perfectly acceptable and common to begin the house hunting process by first looking for an agent. If you are looking to sell as well, use our service to compare top-performing agents in your area.

Find your best real estate agent now.

Why Use A Real Estate Agent?

Understanding what you are responsible for and when is a daunting process when buying property. Even if you have done it many times, between building inspections and dealing with banks, it can be a nauseating process.

This is why real estate agents are your greatest asset to getting the most out of the experience. An agent is someone who will liaise with both you and the home owners, negotiate a sale price that you are both happy with, cover the contracts and give you all of the information and deadlines that will turn the house you have purchased into a home you can live in.

Real estate agents also have the benefit of thoroughly understanding the market in the area you are looking to buy in to. It is specifically their job to be experts on the history and future of the housing market and their reputation depends on ensuring that you are making a sound investment.

Find The Right Agent

Now that you are aware of what stamp duty is and roughly how much you’re going to pay, it is your job to think about what property you are interested in and seek out agents who sell in that area. Like how a house design may not be for everyone, a real estate agent doesn’t work with every kind of house. From small apartments to sprawling estates, the right agent will know everything you need to know about the home you want to buy.

Finding the right real estate agent can be as precious as finding the property to buy. They’re the person who you are going to trust in aiding you in investing in your biggest asset. It is perfectly acceptable and common to begin the house hunting process by first looking for an agent.

With the right agent and knowledge of what is expected of you, searching for and buying a home can be a life changing experience. So long as you understand your budget and all of the fees that will need to be covered, finding the perfect house will be an enjoyable process full of possibility.

If you are looking to sell at the same time, you can use our free service to quickly compare the top-performing agents in your area with suburb trends and agent sales histories.

While stamp duty might be a nuisance, know that you’re aware of it you can prepare for it. You have put yourself in a position to minimise surprises and unexpected expenses, therefore ensuring that your hard earned money can go into your investment and on your way to upgrading your lifestyle.