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Bridge to go

THE William Street traffic bridge will be removed to open the city’s foreshore to public access and new riverfront facilities.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the removal of the bridge would end a major physical and visual barrier between the city and the Swan River foreshore.

“This decision will also allow roads west of William Street to be relocated further north, away from the river, freeing up more than five hectares of useable foreshore land,” she said.

Ms MacTiernan said the new Esplanade rail station would bring 10,000 people each day into its new location at the northern end of the existing traffic bridge.

The bridge will be demolished in the first half of 2004 and will be replaced with a traffic light-controlled intersection at William Street and Riverside Drive.

The intersection’s performance would be reviewed 12 months after the railway began operation in late 2006.

Tax prompts boom

THE (then) imminent rise in stamp duty on property purchases was a major reason behind a real estate buying spree in Western Australia in June, according to the Real Estate Institute of WA.

The resulting lift marked the highest housing sales figures since 1994.

There were 5,976 sales of established homes in WA in June, 5.5 per cent up on the previous month and 21 per cent up on the same month last year.

REIWA President Jim Henneberry said the 15 per cent increase in stamp duty at the start of this financial year was a huge incentive for homebuyers and investors to buy early. 

Most homebuyers and investors saved between $1,000 and $5,000 in stamp duty by entering into purchase contracts before July, he said.

“The irony of this is that the buying frenzy pushed up property values,” Mr Henneberry said.

The median price of established house sales in Perth in June 2003 was $210,200, an increase of 13.2 per cent up on the same period last year.

Mr Henneberry said stamp duty was now a major consideration behind any decision to buy, sell or renovate a property. He said the stamp duty applying to the median house price in Perth was $7,300, with stamp duty of $24,400 payable on a $500,000 purchase. 

“Perth’s housing stock is rapidly ageing and we need lower transaction taxes to attract urban renewal,” Mr Henneberry said.

“Unfortunately the State Government is taking the current real estate boom for granted. 

“When the market turns the high stamp duty costs in real estate transactions will become a much bigger problem for the community.”

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