Victoria considers stamp duty cut

The Victorian Government is considering a Housing Industry Association proposal to cut stamp duty for first-home buyers. The plan proposes abolishing stamp duty on purchases of blocks of land on which new houses would be built. About 3,500 first-home buyers a year would save $2,000 on average blocks of land. HIA executive director John Gaffney said a survey had identified soaring land prices as a major reason for the property boom. In Victoria, land prices rose 32 per cent in the 12 months to September 2003 with the average price of a block increasing to $115,000. In the same timeframe, the cost of building a house rose 6 per cent to $155,000.