Recent Conveyancing Changes

Over the last few years there have been so many changes to property and conveyancing laws that if you blinked you could have missed some.

So who do they effect? Well, everyone looking to buy or sell property. The following is a summary of the recent changes:

The last few years have seen a push towards a 100% digital conveyancing registration process. All free standing Transfers (no mortgage) of property must now be lodged electronically. All mainstream property transactions to be lodged electronically by 1 July 2019. If you have any questions about this please contact us.
First Home Buyers Exemptions
The First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme replaced the First Home New Home Scheme. Eligible first home buyers are now exempt from paying Transfer Duty (Stamp Duty) on New and Existing homes with a purchase price of up to $650,000. Concessions exist for homes between $650,000 and $800,000. Eligible purchasers buying vacant land on which to build their home will receive an exemption up to a purchase price of $350,000 and concessions between $350,000 and $450,000. To find out more click here.
First Home Buyers Grants
The New Home Grant scheme, providing a $5,000 New Home Grant closed on 30 June 2017. Replacing it is the First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) Scheme. From 1 July 2017 first home owners can access a $10,000 grant for purchasing a new home worth up to $600,000 or building a new home where the contract price, when added with the land value, does not exceed $750,000. Click here for more details
Identity Verification
The NSW Land Registry now requires Conveyancers and Solicitors to verify their clients identity according to the rules that the Registry has established. In order to comply with these rules your conveyancer or solicitor will either verify your identity face to face and ask you to produce certain identity documents or use an Identity Agent to verify your identity. The verification lasts for two years.
Foreign Duty
Surcharge Purchaser Duty is payable on the purchase of residential real estate by foreign persons on 21 June 2016 it was set at 4% and as at 1 July 2017 it has increased to 8 per cent. The surcharge is in addition to the duty payable on the purchase of residential property.
Foreign Person Land Tax Surcharge
A foreign person (including a company) who owns residential land in NSW must pay a land tax surcharge on the value of the property that they own at a rate of 2% (previously 0.75% for 2017). This is in addition to any ordinary Land Tax payable. There is no tax free threshold available to foreign persons.
Off the Plan Stamp Duty Deferral
Investors buying a property “off the plan” are no longer entitled to the 12 month extension to pay their stamp duty. Stamp duty must now be paid within 3 months of exchange or the completion date, whichever is earlier.

Purchasers who wish to obtain the deferral will need to declare an intention to occupy the property as their principal place of residence. The land must be occupied as the purchaser’s principal place of residence for a continuous period of 6 months, commencing no later than 12 months after completion of the sale or transfer, otherwise interest and penalty tax may apply from the liability date.
Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding Payments
For properties that sell for more that $750,000, purchasers are now required to withhold 12.5% of the purchase back from the seller and submit this amount to the Australian Tax Office, UNLESS the vendor provides a Capital Gains Withholding Clearance Certificate prior to completion of the conveyance.
New Prescribed Documents for Contracts
The required documents to be included in a Contract for Sale has been expanded to include:-
An additional sewer diagram is required (if available) to show the location of sewer lines in relation to the subject property.
If the property has a swimming pool, then either a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate or Non Compliance Certificate must be attached to a Contract before contracts exchange (excludes strata plans with over 2 Lots)
All strata by-laws in force for the scheme to be included in the contract.
A new warning statement in the prescribed form must be included in the Contract which alerts potential purchasers to the possible presence of Loose Fill Asbestos in certain properties. Click here for the full list of prescribed documents
Vacant Residential Property Foreign Persons Fee
The Government will now charge Foreign Owners of residential property a fee if their property is not occupied or available to rent for at least 6 months of the year. The fee is referred to as an annual vacancy charge. The ATO will assess the vacancy fee amount that is payable following lodgement of the vacancy fee return by the foreign person.

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