Premier Peter Malinauskas’ announcement ahead of Thursday’s budget has sent ripples through the housing market. The new policy, one of the most significant shakeups in the history of building and land costs in the state, abolishes stamp duty for first home buyers building or purchasing new homes, regardless of the property value. This move builds on last year’s budget, which abolished stamp duty for new builds up to $650,000. The removal of this cap is projected to assist an additional 1200 buyers over the next four years. Additionally, the SA government announced an extension to the $15,000 first homeowner grant for another four years. The combined impact of both announcements is anticipated to cost the government $30 million over four years. This article explores the multifaceted impacts of this announcement on the housing market, first home buyers, and the broader economic landscape.

Boosting Housing Supply

Malinauskas emphasised that the abolition of the stamp duty value cap is aimed specifically at new builds to address the housing crisis by increasing supply. “The only serious way that you address a housing crisis is by increasing housing supply,” he stated. This policy is a strategic move to stimulate the construction sector by encouraging more new builds. By removing a significant tax barrier, the government aims to make it financially easier for first home buyers to enter the market, thereby boosting demand for new homes and driving up housing supply.

Economic Stimulus

The construction industry is a critical driver of economic activity. Increased demand for new builds will likely stimulate job creation in construction and related industries, from architects and engineers to suppliers and tradespeople. The ripple effect of this economic activity could contribute significantly to the state’s GDP. Additionally, the extension of the $15,000 first homeowner grant provides further financial support to first home buyers, enhancing their purchasing power and contributing to economic growth.

Accessibility for First Home Buyers

Last year’s policy aimed to help 3,000 first home buyers, but only 1,800 benefited due to rising house prices and interest rates. By removing the price cap, the new policy addresses the issue of housing affordability more effectively. This change ensures that more first home buyers can take advantage of the stamp duty abolition without the need for constant policy adjustments to keep pace with market changes as prices head upwards.

Alleviating Financial Pressure

Stamp duty is a significant upfront cost for home buyers, often requiring substantial savings in addition to deposit requirements. By abolishing this tax, the government reduces significantly the financial barrier to home ownership, making it more accessible for young families and individuals. This move could lead to an increase in home ownership rates among the younger demographic, promoting social stability and economic security.

Criticisms and Political Reactions

The policy has not been without its critics. Opposition leader David Speirs acknowledged the government’s decision to lift the stamp duty threshold but criticised the existing scheme as too restrictive. The Liberal Party had called for a $10,000 reduction in stamp duty for first home buyers purchasing established homes, a measure the Malinauskas government chose not to adopt.

Opposition Concerns

Speirs argued that not all first home buyers have the means or desire to build new homes. “Not all first home buyers can or want to build a new home,” he stated. The Liberal Party’s stance is that providing stamp duty relief for established homes would offer more comprehensive support to first home buyers. They pledged that a future Liberal government would extend stamp duty relief to buyers of existing homes.

Government’s Rationale

Treasurer Stephen Mullighan countered that extending stamp duty relief to existing homes would not benefit first home buyers as intended. “The first home buyer doesn’t benefit – it’s the vendor of the house, the seller of the house who ends up trousering the extra benefit,” he argued. The government’s focus is on increasing housing supply rather than inflating prices for existing homes, which could exacerbate affordability issues.

Long-term Economic Implications

The abolition of stamp duty on new builds is expected to have several long-term economic implications. By stimulating housing construction, the policy can help balance supply and demand in the housing market, potentially stabilising house prices over time. This stability is crucial for ensuring that home ownership remains within reach for future generations.

Budgetary Impact

The policy is projected to cost the state budget $30 million over four years. While this is a significant expenditure, the government argues that the long-term benefits of increased housing supply and economic activity will outweigh the immediate costs. By creating a more robust housing market, the state can generate additional revenue through other means, such as increased property taxes from a larger base of homeowners.

Social and Economic Equity

By targeting first home buyers, the policy aims to promote social and economic equity. Home ownership is a key factor in building wealth and financial security. By making it easier for first-time buyers to enter the market, the government is helping to level the playing field, providing more people with the opportunity to build equity and secure their financial futures.


Premier Peter Malinauskas’s announcement represents a bold step towards addressing the housing crisis. The abolition of stamp duty on new builds and the extension of the first homeowner grant are significant measures that will have wide-ranging impacts on the housing market and the broader economy. While the policy will face criticism, its focus on new builds is a strategic move to stimulate construction and boost housing supply, ultimately benefiting first home buyers and the state’s economic health. As the policy unfolds, its success will depend on the balance between stimulating demand and ensuring sustainable housing development, paving the way for a more accessible and equitable housing market.