THE number of home loans approved in March fell to a 10-year low, dragged down by the Queensland floods and by the November rate hike.
The number of home loans approved in March fell 1.5 per cent, to a seasonally adjusted 44,968, its lowest level since February 2001.
Economists’ forecasts had centred on a 2 per cent rise in housing finance commitments for the month.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said total housing finance by value fell 0.1 per cent in March, seasonally adjusted, to $19.300 billion.
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/money/property/housing-finance-falls-to-10-year-low/story-e6frfmd0-1226056749429#ixzz1Mke5kain
Mark Forytarz is recognized as the most successful project marketer in Melbourne. This enviable position has only taken him 14 years to establish.
His relentless work ethic, attention to detail and understanding of this market is the reason why he is so successful.
He has sold projects all over Melbourne ranging from student accommodation right through to luxury high end apartments.
He is an extremely capable auctioneer and has a degree in Marketing.
Mark lives in Toorak with his wife, Dimi and three young children.
He is actively involved in many aspects of community life.
The clearance rate this week was 84%, a result in line with the year to date clearance rate before today of 86 per cent, well above this weekend last year when it was 77 per cent and the corresponding weekend in 2008 when it was 63 per cent.
It is clear that as a result of a healthy economy and a stock shortage that the Melbourne residential market is very strong and it has not recorded such a demand level before Easter in recent times.
There were 1004 auctions reported this week with a total of 842 selling and 162 being passed in, 76 of those passed in on a vendors bid.
Next week is Easter and under 50 auctions are expected.
Pauls brother John has had a lucky escape after being buried under over 1m of snow in an avalanche in New Zealand over the weekend. Johns son Angus is being hailed a hero after digging his dad out, after first locating him with a tracking becon.
Here is an extract from the Sydney Morning Herald Story:
AT FIRST the Melbourne multi-millionaire John Castran thought he had escaped the avalanche unscathed, unaware that metres away his Sydney skiing companion was dead.
Buried under more than 1.8 metres of snow on a New Zealand mountain range, Mr Castran, 53, could still move his arms and legs. But then the snow shifted and he was crushed.
Pinned beneath the overwhelming weight of what moments earlier had been featherweight powder snow, Mr Castran realised he did not have enough oxygen to yell for help.
The real estate agent survived the avalanche at Ragged Range, near Methven, west of Christchurch, yesterday, but a NSW businessman, 61, whose name has not been made public, was killed.
As Mr Castran ran out of air, he too thought he would perish under the ice. "You choke with the snow, you can’t breathe, you’re suffocating … it’s like being poured into plaster of Paris. The only thing I could move was my tongue, to push the snow away from in front of my mouth.
Here is a link to the full story: http://www.smh.com.au/world/avalanche-victim-shut-himself-down-to-survive-20090724-dw62.html
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says the real estate industry has been put on notice.
An amendment to the Trade Practices Act is due to be further scrutinised by Federal Parliament next month.
It is proposing fines of more than $1 million for companies and up to $220,000 for individual agents that underquote, use dummy bidders at auctions and airbrush photos of properties.
By the looks of things, these changes will become law sometime next year.
With affordability at its lowest level on record, first-home buyers have to think outside the square.
The home-ownership dream rarely used to feature a sibling in your bathtub and a parent on your certificate of title. But these days, first-home buyers are prepared to be flexible.
Housing affordability fell to record lows in the March quarter this year according to the latest Housing Industry Association-Commonwealth Bank report. Mortgage payments now account for 30.7 per cent of total first-home buyer income!
Generations X and Y are also settling down later meaning for many home ownership is a solo battle.
It’s not surprising then that increasing numbers of first-home buyers are teaming up with siblings, parents or friends in a bid to break into the property market.
“There has been a noticeable trend towards family members buying property together, as property prices are still very high, particularly for first-home buyers,” says Aussie Home Loans boss John Symond.
The number of family members taking out mortgages together has jumped from about 1% of all loans originated by ‘Aussie’ to 5 per cent over the past two years! Mortgage Choice has reported a similar trend. A survey carried out by the company last year revealed more than 6 per cent of people who bought property within the past two years had done so with family or friends. And of those who intended to buy property within the next two years, more than 8 per cent intended to do so with family or friends!
INVESTORS own around two million homes in Australia and every year thousands claim deductions they’re not entitled to and fall foul of the Australian Taxation Office.
The result can be a kindly warning or a significant fine and large interest bill.
The tax office says it is investors’ responsibility to get their tax returns right and they can’t blame their accountant or plead ignorance if they get it wrong.
One of the most common mistakes investors make is claiming items that should be depreciated over several years.
According to the tax office, initial repairs to fix damage, defects or deterioration that existed when a property was bought are capital expenses that should be claimed as capital-works deductions over either 25 or 40 years.
Capital improvements such as re-modelling a bathroom or adding a pergola should also be claimed as capital-works deductions.
Other mistakes include:
Taxpayers sometimes use loans for investing and private purposes — for example, to buy or renovate a rental property or to buy a motor boat.
The interest expense on the private portion of the loan (the boat) is not deductible.
Conveyancing expenses incurred when buying and selling a property are not deductible. These form part of the cost for capital-gains tax purposes.
If you take a holiday and visit your investment property while you’re there, you cannot claim a deduction for the full trip.
The tax office says you may claim only those expenses that are directly related to the property inspection and a proportion of accommodation expenses.
CASHED-UP Melburnians keen to snatch beachfront holiday homes from struggling vendors may be in for a big disappointment.
Plunging average prices for regional seaside homes don’t tell the full story.
Valuer-General Victoria sales figures released this month by Land Victoria show median house prices rose in a third of seaside towns!
From the end of 2007 to the end of last year, prices fell in 16 of 30 coastal towns and stayed level in four others!
Hardest hit is Port Fairy with a 34.6 per cent drop from $390,000 in late 2007 to $255,000 at the end of last year. Average house prices also fell dramatically in Blairgowrie, Barwon Heads, Portarlington and Rosebud West.
Anne Murphy of Stockdale & Leggo says Port Fairy sales results during the summer were the best in the eight years she’s been there, saying the big drop in the median house price for Port Fairy is not because property values have fallen. Instead, figures have been skewed by tightly held, top-end properties being kept off the market.
“We’ve been recommending they delay selling because demand isn’t strong.”
People have owned houses here for 30 to 50 years. They’re kept in the family and passed down. Unless unforeseen circumstances such as a divorce occur, why sell in this market if you don’t have to?”
But Murphy says those Port Fairy vendors who are on the market are more realistic than in previous years.
“We’re not expecting a good summer season with the economy the way it is, but we’ve had extremely good results in the number of sales and most sales were within 10 per cent of asking prices.”
“In the past 18 months in our office, there has been only one sale of a property that sold for less than the vendor paid for it!”
“Most properties here are about $450,000. You won’t get much for your money under $400,000.”
That hasn’t stopped holiday-home hunters prowling Port Fairy.
“We’ve had people come in looking for that bargain,” “I don’t have any bargains but there are realistically priced properties and motivated vendors who will negotiate.”
A historic fishing port that is now a popular holiday and retirement town famed for its annual folk festival, Port Fairy is about 290km west of Melbourne.
What will happen if rates go up? In today’s low-interest-rate environment one of the common questions property investors ask is, “What happens if we buy now and interest rates skyrocket, like back in the 1980’s?”
An understandable concern and today’s historically low interest rates can’t be sustained forever because at some point the economy will begin recovering, inflation will grow and rates will rise!
That’s part and parcel of the economy’s cyclical nature.
When rates do rise it’s doubtful they’ll hit the dizzying heights of the late 1980s. The major lenders certainly don’t think so; they’re setting their 10year fixed rates about 7per cent.
With vast resources and access to the world’s top economic minds, it’s highly unlikely that major lenders will make the wrong call about the future direction of interest rates.
But for argument’s sake that they do and rates climb back to the heady levels of 20 years ago.
If interest rates go up that far it’s a sign that business and consumer confidence is high. When rates go up so does inflation. And when inflation rises, so do property values. Yes, your holding costs will be higher because of higher interest rates but as an investor you will benefit on three fronts.
High rental returns
First-home buyers won’t be active because property is less affordable in a high-interest-rate environment. This will keep them in the rental market, put pressure on the available rental accommodation and drive up asking rents. The higher the interest rates, the higher the investment yield.
Negative gearing benefits
If your expenditure on the property exceeds your rental income, you’ll be able to soften the impact and increase your cash flow by claiming the difference as a tax deduction.
Substantial sale proceeds
If you can’t afford to hold the property you can sell it. While this isn’t an ideal scenario, your property will have grown substantially in value during the time of high inflation so you’ll be better off than when you purchased it and that is the aim of investing!
MELBOURNE‘s auction market had its highest clearance rate over the weekend since the end of the property boom in December 2007.
Of the 452 properties up for auction, 83 per cent sold and 77 properties were passed in!
But the number of properties for auction was 126 fewer than at the same time last year!
The CEO of Real Estate Institute of Victoria attributed the high clearance rate to the extension of the first-home buyer’s grant which was announced in last week’s federal Budget, combined with low interest rates and an increase in investor numbers.
“It’s off a low base. There were not a lot of auctions,” Mr Raimondo said.
“The part of the market which is performing really well is priced at or below the medium of about $410,000.
“In the last 12 months that’s stayed very stable.”
Mr Raimondo expects the strong clearance rate to continue.
“The next two weeks we expect to see just under 1300 auctions, which is a very high number of auctions at this time of the year.
“I expect the clearance rate to remain high until the 30th of September (when the full first-home owner’s boost will be phased out).”
Flat and apartment clearances were also strong: 90 per cent of 136 properties at auction sold.
The latest residential land report from the Housing Industry Association revealed Melbourne’s median land price grew 0.7 per cent in the December quarter to a record $152,000.
The HIA-RP Data residential land report showed the price of land in Melbourne was up 4.8 per cent over the year.
The median land price in regional Victoria fell 2.8 per cent in the December quarter to $97,250, the lowest price since mid-2007.