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Keywords:

  • Personal income and other nonbusiness;
  • Taxes and subsidies;
  • State and local taxation;
  • Subsidies and revenue;
  • Housing demand;
  • Housing supply and markets

The transition into homeownership is becoming increasingly difficult for first-home buyers. In this paper we measure the deposit requirements and the transaction costs associated with purchasing a home for the first time, and whether a reduction in stamp duty obligations will help potential first-home owners' bridge the gap between their savings and the up-front cash requirements that must be met on purchase. We conclude that those with low-to-moderate permanent earnings have particularly large gaps between savings and up-front cash requirements. A key finding is that stamp duties typically account for 23 per cent of total up-front cash requirements, and their formal incidence among potential homebuyers is highly regressive. If all potential homeowners were granted exemption from stamp duties, we estimate that cash requirement gaps are immediately bridged for only 9% of those who cannot currently meet up-front cash requirements from savings.