Stamp Duty Relief Drives Sydney Downsizers

Sydney seniors have shown they are more than willing to downsize to a more affordable home option if they can avoid costly stamp duty fees to do so.

Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek at Marsden Park has fast-tracked stage two of the over 55s lifestyle community after the first stage achieved a 95 percent sold out status within 12 months.

Since the community’s open day in May – attended by more than 300 people –  a record breaking amount of sales have been made with the unique purchasing model proving increasingly popular amongst buyers.

According to Ingenia Communities Chief Operating Officer Nikki Fisher, the sales surge was a clear reflection of the impact rising house prices and stamp duty costs were having on New South Wales’ senior population.

“The Active Lifestyle Estates model is unique in that buyers purchase a new, architecturally-designed manufactured home and lease, rather than own, the land which eliminates the need to pay stamp duty,” Ms Fisher said.

“For seniors looking to capitalise on recent house price increases, the ability to downsize without having to pay stamp duty costs is a welcome relief.”

“It is well-documented that this is a particular issue affecting asset-rich, cash-poor seniors, who are subsequently staying in a large family home to avoid paying tens of thousands of dollars in stamp duty in order to downsize.

Stamp duty has played a prominent role in the current tax reform debate as it can be a major inhibitor of mobility for people seeking to move homes. New South Wales seniors looking to downsize to a modest home of about $500,000 could expect to pay an estimated $17,990 in stamp duty.

The Actuaries Institute recently released a green paper Unlocking Housing Wealth which made a number of policy-based recommendations to help Australians improve their retirement standards, including stamp duty relief for retirees, to address the financial disincentive of this tax and encourage more to downsize.

“With Active Lifestyle Estates’ homes starting from well below median house prices, it’s no surprise they have proven so popular with downsizers looking to avoid stamp duty. For example, at Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek, brand new homes start from just $285,000.

“This ensures a much more affordable entry price point and means new residents are often able to free up a substantial amount of equity raised in the sale of their previous home.”

Active Lifestyle Estates works with Australia’s leading manufactured home builders to construct the homes offsite – generally in less than 12 weeks – before being transferred to the community and finished with decking, landscaping and a carport. Within some communities, there are also a variety of established homes available for purchase