Unpacking the Complexities of Negative Gearing in Australia’s Property Market

⚡️ Highlights:

1. Australia is not the only country that allows for negative gearing deductions, with countries like Germany, Japan, Canada, Norway, France, the United States, Ireland, and Finland having similar systems.

2. Negative gearing allows individuals to deduct losses from rental properties against other sources of income, making it most attractive to those with higher wages and high marginal tax rates.

3. The Australian tax system currently places no restrictions on negative gearing, with $27.1 billion worth of deductions claimed for property interests in 2023-24.

4. Negative gearing is projected to cost close to $100 billion over the next ten years, with one million people in Australia currently engaging in negative gearing.

5. Past experience shows that the removal of negative gearing in Australia between 1985 and 1987 did not have the expected impact on property values, with rising interest rates being a more significant factor in rental growth and housing market dynamics.

In a detailed analysis, Matusik Missive delves into the contentious topic of negative gearing within Australia’s property landscape, challenging widespread misconceptions and exploring its implications on the economy. Negative gearing, a practice that allows property investors to deduct losses on their investments from their taxable income, has been a subject of intense debate, with critics and proponents fiercely divided over its impact.

Debunking Myths Around Negative Gearing

Contrary to the belief that Australia stands alone in its allowance for negative gearing deductions, the analysis reveals that several other countries, including Germany, Japan, Canada, and Norway, have similar tax frameworks. These countries permit the offsetting of rental losses against total income tax payable, with variations in the generosity of such provisions.

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Understanding Negative Gearing

Negative gearing occurs when the costs of owning a rental property exceed the income it generates. While commonly associated with the housing market, negative gearing can apply to any income-producing asset. The Australian tax system currently imposes no limits on the extent to which losses can be deducted, making it particularly attractive to high-income earners seeking tax advantages.

The Economic and Social Implications

The analysis highlights the significant tax deductions claimed by investors for property maintenance and financing, totaling $27.1 billion in the 2023-24 period. This figure represents a substantial increase from previous years, underscoring the scale of negative gearing in Australia. The distribution of tax benefits predominantly favors those above the median income, with a considerable portion accruing to the top earners.

The Debate on Reforming Negative Gearing

The discussion around negative gearing reform is gaining momentum, with proposals to limit its application to new builds. Critics argue that such tax incentives contribute to housing unaffordability and market distortions. However, the analysis suggests that the abolition of negative gearing, as experienced during its brief pause between 1985 and 1987, may not have the catastrophic effects on property values, rents, and housing starts as some predict.


Matusik Missive’s exploration into negative gearing presents a nuanced view of its role in Australia’s property market. By examining historical data and international comparisons, the analysis challenges prevailing narratives and calls for a more informed debate on the future of negative gearing. As Australia grapples with housing affordability and supply issues, the conversation around negative gearing remains more relevant than ever.

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