PHOTO: John McGrath

An influential property figure has pointed the finger at state governments of being “addicted to the revenue” they receive from stamp duty and fees, resulting in record low listings across the country.

John McGrath this week released the McGrath Report 2020, in which he claimed upgraders in big cities were paying close to $100,000 in fees and “absurdly high stamp duty”.

“If we went back just 20 years for direct comparison, we are now paying an additional $40,000 (inflation-adjusted) or 400 per cent more in real terms,” Mr McGrath said.

“This is ridiculous and penalises almost every single Australian moving around the property ladder as their life circumstances change.”

He said it was the issue no one on either side of politics wanted to talk about.

“They seem addicted to the revenue it brings them. As a result, it’s possible that these lower levels of activity will remain for some time.”“With the exception of the ACT Government, which has a plan to phase out stamp duty by 2032, there seems very little appetite by State Governments to find a better way,” he said.

Despite this expected continuation of low listings, Mr McGrath did have some positive predictions for the future of real estate.

He said he expected investors and overseas buys to return and regional markets to continue to grow in popularity.

While listings would remain tight in the short term, Mr McGrath predicted a return to more normal levels beyond 12 months, with prices remaining stable on the East Coast and Darwin and Perth to see a positive bounce by 2021.

McGrath Report 2020