Why doesn’t this surprise me? A bank that would profit handsomely from stamp duty being cut (because, perhaps counter-intuitively, such a cut would actually increase house prices) releases some self-interested “research” and The Age just repeats it uncritically:

Melbourne stamp duty ‘the worst’

MELBOURNE has received further confirmation it has the least affordable housing in Australia, with data showing it takes home owners on average almost 4½ months’ household income to pay stamp duty, easily the highest in the country.

Well, for starters, having the highest stamp duty isn’t the same as having “the least affordable housing” at all. Having the highest price compared with wages would mean that, and Sydney’s well ahead of us there (even with an apparently lower stamp duty rate). All a higher stamp duty rate means is that a smaller cut of the ridiculous sums being obtained for real estate is going to vendors, so those using the equity in their homes to buy investment properties can’t borrow quite as much to outbid first home buyers.

But The Age apparently doesn’t care about that. Adam Carey’s only sources mentioned in the story are Bankwest (with a clear self-interest in its argument) and the state Liberals (who’d like some support for their plan to enrich the wealthiest Victorians at the expense of the next generation by halving stamp duty).

I know Fairfax relies heavily on real estate advertising and would probably benefit from the market continuing to inflate, but don’t they have some journalists there interested in providing balance?

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