Sydney Property Buying Costs

As we all know, purchasing Sydney property is an expensive exercise. When you’re calculating how much you can spend on a new home, make sure you factor in all the costs not just the purchase price. And did you know that you’re liable for land tax if you purchase an investment property. This is important if you’re purchasing an investment house as due to the greater land size your tax bill will be higher with a house than with an individual apartment.

Listed below are some of the fees and expenses that are associated with purchasing a property in Sydney:

  • Stamp Duty
  • Transfer Fee
  • Legal Fees
  • Land Tax
  • Council & water rates

Plus Premier Home Finders Recommended Services:

  • Strata Reports (for apartments)
  • Building and Pest Inspections (for houses)
  • Building and Contents Insurance (for houses upon exchange)


In NSW stamp duty is payable on the contract when purchasing a property of any kind and is paid to the NSW Office of State Revenue on or before settlement. The amount of stamp duty payable is calculated based on the price of the property. The higher the price of the property the higher the stamp duty.

Click on the NSW Office of State Revenue link to calculate the stamp duty on your NSW property purchase. Stamp duty fees vary between states.


The Land Transfer Charge applies to all transfers of land lodged for registration with Land & Property Management on or after 1 July 2010 until June 30, 2011. As of July 1, 2011 the new State Government has abolished the Torrens Assurance Levy, which means that purchasers entering into agreements to buy property on or after 1 July 2011 will not incur any Torrens Assurance Levy, regardless of the purchase price. If you entered into an agreement before July 1, 2011 even if you exchanged contracts after this date, you are still liable for this levy. For more information: Torrens Levy Info

*Source: Land and Property Authority, NSW Government

Legal fees vary depending upon the complexity and size of the property transaction. To find a conveyancer or for more information, visit the Australian Institute of Conveyancers NSW Division


Land tax is a tax levied on the owners of land in NSW as at midnight on 31 December of each year. In general, your principal place of residence (your home) or land used for primary production (a farm) is exempt from land tax. You may be liable for land tax if you own or part own:

  • vacant land, including vacant rural land
  • land where a house, residential unit or flat has been built
  • a holiday home
  • investment properties
  • company title units
  • residential, commercial or industrial units, including car spaces
  • commercial properties, including factories, shops and warehouses land leased from state or local government.

You can claim the principal place of residence exemption for land, including strata lots, that is used and occupied as your principal place of residence (your home). The area or land value of the property does not affect whether you qualify for the exemption or not.

A family, including dependents under 18 years, can only claim the principal place of residence concession for one property. If there is more than one owner for the land, at least one owner must use and occupy the property as their principal place of residence.

Your principal place of residence is generally exempt from land tax if the land value is less than $3 million. However where the dutiable land value exceeds $3 million, you, the purchaser, are liable for premium property duty. Premium property tax is applicable to land values $3m and over. View facts about premium property duty:

For more information on the eligibility criteria, view the principal place of residence

Source: Office of State Revenue NSW


The buyer and seller share these costs in proportion to the length of time each party owns the property during the rating period.


When you are buying an apartment or townhouse, you are buying into a strata scheme Therefore, you should get an inspection of the books and records of the owners corporation, which is commonly called a strata inspection. The strata inspection will tell you:

  • Status of building insurances
  • How much the quarterly levies are
  • The financials of the strata scheme
  • If there are building maintenance problems
  • If there are any special levies for works to be done
  • Any other matters of interest that have been minuted at building or strata committee meetings.


As buyers agents, we strongly recommend having a professional building and pest inspection carried out on your selected property prior to making an offer. We implement this for all our clients. Please note, this is an optional service and not mandatory when purchasing property in Sydney.


We recommend our clients take out building and contents insurance on the property upon the exchange of contracts. This is because you have a legal interest in the property upon exchange and if anything were to happen to it, you would want to be covered for loss or damage. Again, this is not mandatory in NSW, however we recommend it to all our clients.

Comparison of Fees for Primary Place of Residence vs. Investment Property:

Primary Place of Residence:

Transaction Costs on $3,000,000 primary home purchase (assuming land value of $1,800,000 & a 20% deposit of $600,000)

Stamp duty: $150,490

Transfer fee: $6,198

Legal fees*: $2,500

Building & Pest Inspection**: $600

Total Fees: $159,788

*Approximation of legal fees – the cost will vary per transaction.

**Approximation of building & pest inspection fee.

Investment Property / Non-Primary Residence:

Transaction Costs on $3,000,000 investment property purchase (assuming land value of $1,800,000 and 20% deposit of $600,000)

Stamp duty: $150,490

Transfer fee: $6,198

Legal fees*: $2,500

Building & Pest Inspection**: $600

Annual Land Tax***: $22,508

Total Fees: $182,496

*Approximation of legal fees – the cost will vary per transaction.

**Approximation of building & pest inspection fee.
***Calculated using the Office of State Revenue online calculators

Disclaimer: This information is general in nature only and should not be relied on as financial or legal advice. Formal advice should be undertaken before acting on any of the information above.