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Belgium Tops Global Ranking Of Prime Real Estate Purchase Taxes

Amisha Mehta

25 July 2016

Belgium has the highest average property taxes for real estate worth $1 million of any country at 11.3 per cent – a charge of $113,131, according to research by .

UHY studied tax data for individuals purchasing a house worth $1 million in 26 countries, including all members of the G7 and key emerging economies.

Other Western European economies at the top of the ranking include France and Germany, charging $50,901 and $50,000 respectively. The UK ranks in 11th place, charging an average of 3.5 per cent or $35,382. It charges rates below the European average of 3.8 per cent ($38,355.94), but above the global average of 3.3 per cent ($33,037.99).

Countries ranking below the UK include Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland at $21,000, $20,000 and $10,000 respectively.

UHY noted that many other advanced economies have far lower property purchase tax rates on prime real estate in this price bracket. For example, although the rate can vary across states, the US levies an average charge of just 0.6 per cent ($5,970) while Canada charges an average of 1.8 per cent ($17,833).

The accountancy group highlighted that high property taxes can discourage overseas investment from high net worth individuals as well as labour market mobility of senior executives.

“The issue of labour mobility is particularly pressing due to the uncertainty created by the recent Brexit vote,” said Mark Giddens, head of private client services at UHY Hacker Young.

“Excessively high taxes for purchasing a property could make the housing market less attractive to both domestic and overseas investors. Investment into the property market helps to improve the quality of the overall housing stock and benefits associated sectors, such as the construction industry.”

New Zealand and Russia have the lowest taxes of all countries studied, effectively charging 0 per cent on prime property purchases. New Zealand has no central or local government transaction taxes on real estate and residential property deals between home owners, as they are exempt from the government’s goods and services tax. Similarly, Russia imposes no transfer taxes on the buyer, who only pays a minor fixed amount of state duty of around $30.