The Stamp Duty Amendment (First Home Owner Discount) Act 2016 (Act No. 174 of 2016) was recently enacted in the Northern Territory. The Act amends the NT Stamp Duty Act as well as the First Home Owner Grant Act to provide first home buyers with a discount on stamp duty when purchasing established homes. The discount, known as the first home owner discount, will be part of the 2016-17 budget.
The amendment will introduce a stamp duty discount of up to 50 per cent, capped at a maximum saving of $10,000, of the stamp duty payable by first home buyers of established homes. The Act also amends the First Home Owner Grant Act to ensure that first home buyers do not take advantage of both the first home owner grant as well as the first home owner discount.
The Act is a result of the Government’s recognition of the movements of the property cycle and the need to respond to a slowing residential market. As Deputy Chief Minister David Tollner explained in his second reading speech for the Bill to the Act:
“The discount is a temporary measure aimed at providing a short-term stimulus to the residential property market, while also assisting first home buyers to buy their first home by reducing their upfront transaction costs.”
The discount will operate until July 2017 as a temporary measure to improve the currently sluggish housing market in the NT. Mr Tollner assures that:
“During the period of its operation the government will continue to closely monitor the property market to ensure that our housing policies continue to best serve the needs of Territorians. This scheme may be extended depending on market conditions.”
The Act would mean that first home buyers would now have an incentive to enter both the new and existing housing markets. Chief Minister Adam Giles is confident that the discount “will make housing more affordable for first-home buyers and increase economic activity in the property sector.”
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Stamp Duty Amendment (First Home Owner Discount) Act 2016, Bill, Second Reading Speech, and Explanatory Memorandum as published on LawOne
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