Stamp Duty vs Property Tax: Which is Better for You?

Navigating the maze of property ownership in Australia can be a complex task, especially when it comes to understanding the financial implications. Two key components of this financial puzzle are stamp duty and property tax – both significant but distinctive in their nature and impact on your finances. The question then arises, “Stamp Duty vs Property Tax: Which is better for you?”

This comparison is not as straightforward as it might seem, as it depends on several variables including your financial circumstances, your property-related ambitions, and the state you reside in. This article will dive deep into the intricacies of both Stamp Duty and Property Tax, analysing the nuances of each and offering insights to help you make an informed decision.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer, a seasoned investor, or someone looking to understand more about the real estate landscape, this guide will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of these two vital fiscal elements. Let’s unveil the fiscal veil and explore which of these – Stamp Duty or Property Tax – could potentially be better for you in the Australian property market. Buckle up and let’s begin this enlightening journey.

What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp duty is a one-off tax that is paid when you purchase a property in Australia. It is calculated as a percentage of the property’s purchase price. The amount of stamp duty you pay will vary depending on the state or territory in which you live, the value of the property, and your eligibility for any exemptions or concessions.

For example, in New South Wales, the stamp duty rate for a property valued at $700,000 is 3.75%. This means that you would pay $26,250 in stamp duty. However, if you are a first home buyer, you may be eligible for a stamp duty concession. In this case, you would only pay $13,125 in stamp duty.

Stamp duty is a significant cost when buying a property in Australia. It can be a major financial burden, especially for first home buyers. However, it is important to remember that stamp duty is a tax that is used to fund essential government services.

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How is Stamp Duty Calculated in NSW?

Stamp duty in New South Wales (NSW) is calculated on a sliding scale, similar to income tax. The more expensive the property, the more stamp duty you will pay. 

There are also some exemptions and concessions available for certain types of properties and buyers. For example, first home buyers are eligible for a stamp duty concession on the first $650,000 of the property’s value.

You can use the Revenue NSW stamp duty calculator to calculate how much stamp duty you will need to pay. The calculator can be found on the Revenue NSW website.

Here are some examples of how stamp duty is calculated in NSW:

  • A property valued at $500,000 would incur stamp duty of $12,000.
  • A property valued at $1,000,000 would incur stamp duty of $47,295.
  • A property valued at $2,000,000 would incur stamp duty of $102,795.

What is the First Home Buyer Choice Property Tax?

The First Home Buyer Choice property tax is a scheme that was introduced in New South Wales in 2022. It allows first home buyers who purchase a property for up to $1.5 million to choose to pay an annual property tax instead of transfer duty.

The property tax is calculated using the land value of the property. The land value is the value of the land only, not the value of the property itself. The property tax rates for 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 are:

  • Owner-occupiers: $400 + 0.3% of land value
  • Residential investors: $1,500 + 1.1% of land value

The property tax is payable for as long as the first home buyer owns the property. If the property is sold, the remaining property tax liability is transferred to the new owner.

The First Home Buyer Choice property tax is a voluntary scheme. First home buyers can still choose to pay transfer duty if they prefer. However, the property tax can be a good option for first home buyers who are looking to save money on the upfront costs of buying a property.

Pros of First Home Buyer Choice Property Tax

  • Can save money on upfront costs
  • More predictable than transfer duty
  • Can be a good option for people who are on a tight budget

Cons of First Home Buyer Choice Property Tax

  • Can be more expensive in the long run
  • Can be difficult to calculate
  • Not available for all properties

Ultimately, the decision of whether to choose the First Home Buyer Choice property tax is a personal one. There are pros and cons to both options, and the best option for you will depend on your individual circumstances.

Is the Annual Property Tax just for First Home Buyers?

No, the annual property tax is not just for first home buyers. It is also available to existing homeowners who purchase a new property. However, there are some eligibility criteria that you need to meet in order to be eligible for the annual property tax.

The eligibility criteria for the annual property tax are as follows:

  • You must be a resident of New South Wales.
  • You must purchase a property for up to $1.5 million.
  • You must not have owned any other property in New South Wales in the past five years.

If you meet all of the eligibility criteria, you can choose to pay the annual property tax instead of transfer duty. The annual property tax is calculated using the land value of the property. The land value is the value of the land only, not the value of the property itself. The property tax rates for 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 are:

  • Owner-occupiers: $400 + 0.3% of land value
  • Residential investors: $1,500 + 1.1% of land value

The property tax is payable for as long as you own the property. If the property is sold, the remaining property tax liability is transferred to the new owner.

The annual property tax is a voluntary scheme. You can still choose to pay transfer duty if you prefer. However, the property tax can be a good option for homeowners who are looking to save money on the upfront costs of buying a property.

Should You Choose To Pay Stamp Duty or the Annual Property Tax?

Whether you should choose to pay stamp duty or the annual property tax depends on your individual circumstances. There are pros and cons to both options, and the best option for you will depend on how long you plan to own the property, your budget, and your risk tolerance.

Stamp duty is a one-off tax that is paid when you purchase a property. It is calculated as a percentage of the property’s purchase price. The amount of stamp duty you pay will vary depending on the state or territory in which you live, the value of the property, and your eligibility for any exemptions or concessions.

Annual property tax is a tax that is paid on the value of the land that you own. The rate of annual property tax varies depending on the value of your land and the state or territory in which you live.

Here are some of the factors to consider when making your decision:

  • Upfront costs: Stamp duty is a one-off payment, while annual property tax is paid annually. If you are on a tight budget, you may prefer to pay the annual property tax, as it will spread the cost out over a longer period of time.
  • Long-term costs: In the long run, stamp duty may be cheaper than annual property tax. This is because the value of land tends to increase over time, so the annual property tax will also increase. However, if you sell the property before the value of the land has increased significantly, you may end up paying more in annual property tax than you would have paid in stamp duty.
  • Risk tolerance: If you are risk-averse, you may prefer to pay stamp duty. This is because you will know exactly how much you will have to pay upfront. With annual property tax, there is a risk that the value of the land will increase significantly, and you will end up paying more in annual property tax than you would have paid in stamp duty.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to pay stamp duty or the annual property tax is a personal one. There are pros and cons to both options, and the best option for you will depend on your individual circumstances.

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If you are an expat or foreign national looking to secure a home loan in Australia, contact us today to secure your first home loan.

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Frequently asked questions

Stamp duty and property tax serve different purposes and are charged at different points in the property ownership cycle.

Stamp duty is a one-off tax paid by the buyer at the time of purchasing a property, and its amount depends on the property value. On the other hand, property tax (commonly referred to as land tax or council rates) is an ongoing annual tax paid by property owners, based on the land’s value, and used to fund local municipal services.



Yes, foreigners are required to pay stamp duty in Australia. In fact, foreign buyers may be subject to additional stamp duty charges known as Foreign Purchaser Additional Duty (FPAD). The exact rates and rules can vary from state to state.

Stamp duty is a significant source of revenue for state and territory governments in Australia. These funds are used for various public services and infrastructure projects such as healthcare, education, transport, and emergency services.



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