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Investors in Victoria who buy properties only to leave them empty will attract a new vacant residential property tax, a move the state government says will help free up properties to renters and first home buyers. The tax will take effect from January and will mean owners who “unreasonably” leave properties vacant for more than six months each year will face a tax levied at 1%, multiplied by the capital improved value of the property. For example, if the property has a capital improved value of $500,000, the amount paid each year would be $5,000.Victoria’s treasurer, Tim Pallas, told ABC radio 774 in Melbourne on Monday that “I hope I don’t raise a cent out of it” because he would prefer people made the properties available to renters or for sale. However, the government has said it expects to raise tens of millions each year from the policy, with 20,000 dwellings in metropolitan Melbourne currently vacant.

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