Conveyance/Stamp Duty: How Does Canberra Compare?

Buyers of properties in Australia don’t have to pay real estate agent commissions (that’s the seller’s responsibility), but they often have to pay conveyance duty (also known as stamp duty). Conveyance duty is basically a State or Territory government tax on property purchases.

Conveyance duty rates vary across Australian States and Territories, which begs the question: how do the rates in Canberra compare nationally?

First, it’s important to understand that there are different conveyance rates for non-commercial (i.e. residential) and commercial (i.e. business) properties. This article focuses on conveyance duty for residential properties (including investment properties).

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Conveyance Duty Rates

The table below shows the current conveyance duty rates charged by the ACT Revenue Office.

Property valueConveyance duty rate
Less than $200,000$20 or $1.20 per $100 (whichever amount is greater)
$200,001 to $300,000$2,400 plus $2.20 per $100 over the value of $200,000
$300,001 to $500,000$4,600 plus $3.40 per $100 over the value of $300,000
$500,001 to $750,000$11,400 plus $4.32 per $100 over the value of $500,000
$750,001 to $1,000,000$22,200 plus $5.90 per $100 over the value of $750,000
$1,000,001 to $1,455,000$36,950 plus $6.40 per $100 over the value of $1,000,000
More than $1,455,000A flat rate of $4.54 per $100 of the total property value.

Applying these rates to the current Canberra median residential property values, you’d pay the following conveyance duty when buying:


  • house (median value $656,667): conveyancing duty = $18,168
  • townhouse (median value $466,244): conveyancing duty = $10,252
  • unit (median value $339,333): conveyancing duty = $5,937

First Home Buyer Exemption

There’s some good news if you’re a first home buyer in the ACT. Conveyance duty has been abolished for ACT first home buyers who have a household income lower than $160,000 from July 1, 2019. However, the first home buyers’ grant of $7,000 that was previously in place in the ACT has also been abolished from this date.

Doing the maths, first home buyers who buy a property valued above about $370,000 in the ACT will be better off overall under these new arrangements. In addition, eligible first home buyers will also be able to access the federal government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme from 1 January 2020.

How do Canberra conveyancing/stamp duty rates compare nationally?

 For the sake of comparison, let’s assume you want to buy an established residential property of the same value in each Australian State or Territory. We’ll use the current median Canberra house price of $656,667 for the calculations, and we’ll also assume that:

  • You’re not eligible for any conveyancing/stamp duty exemptions (like the first home buyers’ exemption that’s available in the ACT).
  • You’re intending to live in the property.

 The table below shows the conveyancing/stamp duty that you’d pay on this property purchase in each Australian State or Territory.

State/TerritoryConveyance/Stamp Duty PayableVerdict
New South Wales$24,983ACT cheaper
Victoria$34,470ACT cheaper
Queensland$15,401Queensland cheaper
South Australia$29,948ACT cheaper
Western Australia$25,208ACT cheaper
Northern Territory$32,505ACT cheaper
Tasmania$24,907ACT cheaper

As you can see, you’ll pay less conveyance/stamp duty in the ACT compared to every other State and Territory except Queensland.

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What about conveyance/stamp duty rates on investment properties?

Although Queensland may be cheaper than the ACT when it comes to conveyance/stamp duty rates on buying primary residences, it’s not when it comes to established investment properties. Queensland is the only Australian State or Territory to have different conveyance/stamp duty rates for primary residences compared to investment properties.

The table below shows the national conveyance/stamp duty rates on an investment property bought for $656,667 in each Australian State or Territory. As you’ll notice, the ACT is far cheaper than Queensland’s comparable rate. Again, these calculations assume that you’re not eligible for any concessions that may be available in each location.



Conveyance/Stamp Duty Payable




New South Wales


ACT cheaper



ACT cheaper



ACT cheaper

South Australia


ACT cheaper

Western Australia


ACT cheaper

Northern Territory


ACT cheaper



ACT cheaper

Tax Benefits of ACT’s Leasehold System

Buying property in Canberra also comes with the tax advantage of the ACT’s leasehold land title system. When you buy property in Canberra you are technically renting the land from the Crown (the Federal Government) as opposed to the indefinite ownership of land offered when buying freehold. Although the period of this lease has been set at 99 years, it is almost certain that you will be able to renew your lease for a small administration fee.

As you are not acquiring the land outright, 100% of the stamp duty is tax deductible for investment properties within the ACT for the financial year in which it is purchased; another very attractive benefit for property investors in the capital.

The bottom line

Conveyance/stamp duty costs are often overlooked by buyers when searching for a property. But it’s important to factor them into your budget because these costs will be in addition to the property purchase price.

You can save yourself thousands of dollars in conveyance/stamp duty costs by buying an investment property in the ACT compared to any other Australian State or Territory.

And if you’re looking to buy an established primary residence, conveyance/stamp duty costs are far cheaper in the ACT than any other State or Territory except Queensland. 

If you’re considering selling your property, why not speak to one of our senior agents? Our agency principal, Peter Tolhurst, has over 25 years experience and would be happy to perform a free, no obligation market appraisal at a time that suits you.

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