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Australia's biggest state hikes taxes for foreign property buyers

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Australia's most populous state will double property taxes for foreign buyers, the New South Wales treasurer said on Thursday, a move aimed squarely at Chinese investors as well as appeasing voters worried about housing affordability.

[SYDNEY] Australia's most populous state will double property taxes for foreign buyers, the New South Wales treasurer said on Thursday, a move aimed squarely at Chinese investors as well as appeasing voters worried about housing affordability.

A surcharge collected from foreigners on home sales will rise from 4 per cent to 8 per cent, New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told reporters in Sydney.

The move comes shortly after a policy change by Australia's national government to impose foreign property owners with fines if their properties are vacant for at least six months of the year, as well as a similar surcharge hike by Victoria state last year.

China is the largest source of foreign investment in Australia, and Chinese investors ploughed two-thirds of a total A$47.3 billion sum in to the property market in the 2016 financial year, government figures show.

sentifi.com

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But there are concerns that foreign buyers have priced many locals out of the market, and that investment homes that remain vacant only add to housing shortages.

REUTERS

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