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Melbourne: Vacancy Tax to Hit Foreign Property Buyers

Foreign buyers who don’t have a tenant in their property (or live in it themselves) for more than 6 months in a year, will be hit with a vacancy tax, effective 1 January 2018. Image credit: sourceable.net

Government measures for affordable housing at expense of foreign investors:

(i) Vacant Residential Property Tax (VRPT)
(ii) New residential developments restricted to only 50% foreign buyers

 

Last month we published an article announcing the latest raft of changes by the government to scrap off-the-plan stamp duty concessions in order to waive stamp duties for first-time buyers of houses worth up to $600,000 in Melbourne. (Click HERE to access the article).

More restrictions are in store for foreign investors. The Victoria government has also now effected a vacancy tax (Vacant Residential Property Tax or VRPT) which will will cost foreign buyers who don’t have a tenant in their property (or live in it themselves) for more than 6 months in a year, an annual penalty of 1% of the property’s capital-improved value. This means investors with a home worth $500,000 will pay $5,000 in tax if they don’t rent the place out.

The tax takes effect on 1 January 2018 and will target homes around inner and middle suburbs of Melbourne. This would include the following local council areas: Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Darebin, Glen Eira, Hobsons Bay, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse and Yarra.

At press time, it is still unknown how the new tax will be applied or policed, but a on the State Revenue Office (SRO) of Victoria website states that the tax will be self-reporting, i.e, owners of vacant residential property will be required to notify the SRO of any vacant properties they own.

Meanwhile, moving forward, developers can only sell 50% of properties in new developments to foreign buyers. This means that at least 50% of new homes will be sold locally.

The suite of changes introduced by the government has drawn mixed reactions from the public and industry players. Some agree that it is a great move towards housing affordability, but there are parties — including from within the party — that have criticised this move.

What’s clear is that while this is a populist move that brings in the votes, it is a temporary measure that could cause the property market to remain on the boil.

CSI Prop proudly promotes international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and purpose-built student property in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc); Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane) and Thailand (Bangkok). Our projects are concentrated in high-growth areas with great educational, infrastructural and job growth potentials. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of our clients by helping them achieve their investment goals through strong market research backed by third party experts and due diligence. 

Disclaimer: CSI Prop does not provide tax & legal advice and accepts no liability. Readers are encouraged to consult a qualified tax or legal advisor for a thorough review.

Need advice or clarification? Call us for more information and/or to find out about our projects! Hotline: 03-2162 2260

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