Rising stamp duty charges are being blamed for the lack of listings in the market, with new research labelling it a major deterrent to sellers.

Research commissioned by the Real Estate Institute of Australia from SQM Research shows a lack of listings correlates with the surging costs of stamp duty. SQM managing director Louis Christopher says the long-term decline in listings is contributing to price rises.

“When transaction costs of transferring properties disproportionately rise compared to dwelling prices and incomes, that must be a massive disincentive for property owners to move house,” he says.

Stamp duty has increased as a proportion of earnings from 25% in 2012 to 34% this year and as high as 49% for houses in Melbourne.

Christopher says stamp duty reform is needed, with many advocates calling for it to be replaced with a land tax. This he says will “loosen up” the market and result in more owners selling large family homes they no longer need.