The state's peak real estate body has renewed calls to abolish stamp duty to help reduce the Sunshine Coast's rental crisis.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella said the Sunshine Coast's rental vacancy rates were at 0.3 per cent.

The median asking rent price for a Coast home has also increased to $530 and $430 for a unit.

Ms Mercorella said stamp duty was a significant barrier to solving the rental availability shortage plaguing the Coast.

"What we're seeing is an unprecedented level of diminishing rental availability which is placing significant pressure on the housing sector," Ms Mercorella said.

"So much so, that it's unsustainable and why urgent action is required to better support both increased and ongoing property investment."

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Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella.

McGill Group Real Estate founder Mark McGill said stamp duty discouraged people from selling their homes.

"The biggest problem with stamp duty is that it essentially stops people from selling, because the cost of paying stamp duty outweighs the benefits of moving," Mr McGill said.

"So as a result, especially with older people who have lived in a big home for a long time, they're less likely to sell."

Mr McGill said a proposal in NSW to replace stamp duty with a percentage-based land tax had merit.

According to the NSW Treasury, the proposed changes would give people the "freedom to choose between paying stamp duty upfront or paying a much smaller annual property tax".

"The proposed changes could put money back into the pockets of residents when taking the significant financial steps of buying a home," a NSW Treasury release said.

"It could provide a critical economic boost and inject billions into the economy."

Mr McGill said the Coast's rental crisis had reached a point where urgent action was required.

"It was unsustainable three years ago, so if they don't look at something it won't be fixed," he said.

"We need to be encouraging more private investors to buy properties for tenants to increase rental supply.

"Currently the stamp duty policy encourages owner occupiers to absorb rentals and place more strain on the rental market."

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A Queensland Treasury spokesman said replacing stamp duty with land tax was not something that was being considered.

"Queensland already has much lower stamp duty than NSW and recent evidence suggests that Queensland's policy settings in this area are working well," the spokesman said.

"The value of new loan commitments to households was 49 per cent higher in November 2020 than it was in November 2019 - the second fastest growth rate in Australia.

"The number of housing approvals in Queensland increased by 16.7 per cent in November 2020 compared to the national average of 5.9 per cent."

Ms Mercorella said every Queenslander deserved the right to have access to a safe and affordable home.

"That's why stamp duty should be abolished," Ms Mercorella said.

"It's the most significant barrier to home ownership, discouraging housing turnover, restricting mobility and property investment - all which we desperately require."


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