Housing Taxation in OECD countries

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) study on Housing Taxation provides a comparative assessment of housing tax policies across OECD countries.

The study covers all taxes levied on the acquisition, ownership and disposal of housing assets. The report identifies a number of reform options that countries could consider to enhance the design and functioning of their housing taxes.

The report identifies a number of reform options that countries could consider to simultaneously enhance the  efficiency, equity and revenue potential of housing taxes.

Housing Taxation

Housing Taxation in OECD countries identifies a number of options that governments could consider to reform housing taxes based on an assessment of their efficiency, equity and revenue effects, which includes:

  • Strengthen the role of recurrent taxes on immovable property, in particular by ensuring that they are levied on regularly updated property values, while lowering housing transaction taxes to increase efficiency in the housing market and improve vertical and horizontal equity.
  • Consider capping the capital gains tax exemption on the sale of main residences to ensure that the highest-value gains are taxed to strengthen progressivity and reduce some of the upward pressure on house prices, while continuing to exempt capital gains on the main residence for the majority of households.
  • Gradually remove or cap mortgage interest relief for owner-occupied housing. This would have a positive impact on progressivity, tax revenues and house price affordability.
  • Improve the targeting of tax incentives for energy efficient housing renovations to ensure that they reach low-income households. This could contribute to greater emissions reductions and enhance the equity of tax incentive schemes.
  • Exercise caution when considering tax incentives to encourage homeownership; in most cases, encouraging the supply of housing and promoting the more efficient use of existing housing stock through both tax and non-tax measures is likely to have a greater impact on housing affordability.
  • Strengthen reporting requirements, including third-party reporting to the tax authority and international exchanges of information for tax purposes, are also key to ensuring that housing taxes are enforced properly.

Youth

The report notes young people are being locked out of a housing market. Recent decades have seen unprecedented growth in house prices, making housing market access increasingly difficult, especially for younger generations. Despite some fluctuations, house prices have seen a strong and continuous growth over the past century, with a rapid acceleration in house price increases in the last 30 years and even sharper growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The OECD report can be found here.