[img2=right]http://www.lifeinqueensland.com/images/house-3.gif[/img2]Real estate agents are predicting a flurry of activity in the market over the next six weeks as potential homebuyers rush to snap up properties before changes to stamp duty kick in from August 1. The State Budget, released on Tuesday, unveiled changes to stamp duty charges for non-first homebuyers, permanently removing the concession on new or established homes used as a principal place of residence. The change will double the amount of stamp duty paid by homebuyers on a $400,000 home, while stamp duty concessions for first homebuyers will remain for homes up to $500,000. LJ Hooker Edge Hill principal Ross Moller yesterday said he expected a rush over the next six weeks would be followed by a “dead” market after August 1. “This change to stamp duty has to lead to a rush by homebuyers because if you were contemplating buying a house in the next six months why wouldn’t you do it before August 1 and save yourself thousands of dollars?” he said. “The changes are also inequitable, because you’ll pay an extra $7000 whether you buy a $1 million home or a $300,000 home. The other impact will be on the rental market because more people won’t be able to afford to buy so they’ll have to rent. “The market here was starting to float along again but this is just going to be another nail in our coffin up here.” Cairns Home Loans director John Watts agreed, saying the short-term benefit for people building their first home paled in comparison with the long-term pain caused by the stamp duty changes. “This change will significantly hamper the $350,000 to $500,000 range, which is our bread and butter market in Cairns,” he said. “This will effectively double the costs for people buying their second home and many buyers just won’t be able to afford that jump in costs.” The Real Estate Institute of Queensland said there were better ways to stimulate Queensland’s property market. “A better way to stimulate the economy would have been to provide financial incentives for all buyers of all types of properties,” an REIQ spokesperson said.