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REIQ demands ‘urgent action’ to protect property market

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland has called for the Palaszczuk Government to protect Queensland’s property market “as a new wave of contagion threatens to undo the state’s recognised efforts of containing COVID-19 to date”.

The essential temporary measures being asked for include a 75 per cent reduction in stamp duty and extending the First Home Buyers Grant to established housing.

“Record low interest rates, significant policy support and loan repayment holidays for distressed borrowers coupled with an earlier reopening of the economy and our state’s borders have meant the various worst-case scenarios of 20-30 per cent price falls that some economists predicted are unlikely,” said Antonia Mercorella, CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

“However, with Queensland’s unemployment currently at 7.7 per cent, consumer sentiment down 5.8 points this month and the latest consumer price index figures plummeting to a record 72-year low, any significant drops in property prices will only adversely affect consumer confidence and further stymie economic growth.

“A stable property market is critical to Queensland’s economy during this unprecedented pandemic recession.

“What’s required is more than token stimulus measures such as land tax liability deferments, when most Queenslanders are not liable to pay land tax, or limited recovery initiatives such as the HomeBuilder grant which outprices many people from qualifying,” continued Ms Mercorella.

“A widespread second wave of COVID-19 infections coupled with the potential for renewed border closures and stricter lockdowns will derail Queensland’s economic recovery. Timing is everything. That’s why we need urgent action now that will have immediate effect.

Ms Mercorella urged the Queensland government to follow the example of NSW in temporarily axing stamp duty to help boost economic activity to protect its property sector.

“These measures will help to protect the jobs of over 50,000 people who directly rely on our state’s second largest employment sector for work while continuing to deliver housing across Queensland’s thousands of local communities.

“As the single biggest purchase in most people’s lives, we call on every Member of Parliament to help protect the property market in their electorates and implement these urgent measures to minimise the economic impacts of COVID-19 on Queensland’s real estate sector before it’s too late.”

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