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.
Mark Forytarz has a great development opportunity in Burwood, this high exposure development site (1,776m2) approx. and regular in shape is within close proximity to Deakin University (Burwood).
Boasting a wide frontage, this site suits many options including a prime student apartment site (STCA) or OYO 1 & 2 bedroom apartment site (STCA).
03 9827 1177
0407 766 308
Claire Heaney from the herald sun has written an interesting article about whether the hesitation from property investors is leading to bargains in the market. From the article:
NERVOUS property investors are waiting for prices to stop falling before returning to the market, according to property research company RP Data.
But this hesitation is creating bargains for fast-acting first-home buyers who are willing to take a bet that prices are at or close to their lowest point.
“This is good news for first-home buyers, because fewer investors mean less competition,” RP Data’s national research director Tim Lawless says. “These two segments of the market often compete for the same housing stock because of the low entry price and generally strong rental yields.”
Figures released this week show Melbourne homes are now at their most affordable in five years for first-home buyers. Falling interest rates, higher first-home buyer grants and falling property prices have cut the amount of income needed to service a mortgage.
Read the full article here: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25074653-5013926,00.html
Good article about whether its a good time to buy into the hard hit top end of the market, from the article:
There are plenty of losers in the falling market, but the big winners will be those able to pounce on a cut-price premium property.
Though the downturn is being played out differently from suburb to suburb, it’s clear the properties at the top end of the market are being hardest hit. Exclusive suburbs such as Balwyn have seen as much as 21 per cent sliced from their median prices in the year to December last year.
The houses in the $500,000 to $600,000 bracket haven’t been as hard hit and some may have dropped only 10 per cent.
They are also expected to rebound quicker.
Read the full article here: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25074641-5013926,00.html
Interesting article by Ben Butler and Ben Packham over at http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25091470-5013926,00.html about
From the article:
The Reserve Bank has cut rates five times since August, slashing the official rate from 7 per cent to 3.25 per cent.
While those who fixed their home loan at last year’s higher rates have seen no relief, falling home loan rates have helped contribute to a clearance rate of 77 per cent this weekend.
Another interesting artcile from Bankwest over at realestate.com.au (Full article here: http://www.realestate.com.au/doc/review/feb09-1/bankwest.htm?rsf=newsletter_rea), below is an extract:
Almost every industry expert has a different view. Some senior economists are forecasting further large falls in the RBA cash rate whilst others say we’re nearing the bottom of the cycle. To the ordinary borrower, it can all be very confusing.
Of course, the reasons for choosing a fixed rate mortgage as opposed to a variable product may differ based on individual circumstances.
For first homeowners who are on a tight budget, a fixed rate mortgage is a great way to lock in a rate and know exactly what the payments will be for a few years while they are settling into their home. Fixed rates may be slightly higher than a variable option, but if knowing the rate is locked in helps borrowers sleep at night, it can be a great option.
On the other hand, a mortgage product with a variable rate may provide greater flexibility for homeowners looking at selling their property or who are looking to pay off their mortgage faster with extra repayments.
So what are the main things to be aware of?
A fixed rate loan may be costly to leave early
The majority of fixed rate loans will charge a break cost that is based upon the economic cost to the lender of reversing the funding they have locked away for the life of the loan. So if you anticipate paying out the loan early, a variable rate option may be more appropriate.
Do you want to pay off more than the required repayments?
Most fixed rate loans limit any additional repayments to a specific amount each year (eg. $5,000) and if you put more into the account, the lender could pass on any costs.
Read the fine print
Variable rate loans can offer more flexibility when paying the loan back early, but this could incur high exit fees with many ‘introductory’ rate loans. It’s important to understand the terms and conditions of the product that you’re applying for.
Ultimately, you should work out what’s more important to you; the knowledge of exactly what your repayments are with a fixed rate, or the flexibility to repay the loan early that comes with a variable rate.
If you want the best of both worlds, most lenders will allow you to ‘split’ your loan.
For example, you could have $200,000 as a variable rate loan and $200,000 on a fixed rate loan. This can be a great option as you are protected against rate movements on one side, yet you retain the ability to put extra funds (such as a tax refund) into the variable portion. It also means you’ll be charged a lower break cost on the fixed portion if you need to pay out the loan within the fixed rate term.
Looking ahead, it seems that we may be in for several more rate cuts as variable and fixed rates continue to fall. But how far is anyone’s guess. If you’re comfortable that you can afford the repayments on your mortgage, the question of whether to fix or not comes down to what is most suitable to your individual circumstances. That means weighing up your plans for the next few years against any savings you might pick up from renegotiating your loans.
An interesting article over at realestate.com.au ( Full article here: http://www.realestate.com.au/doc/Resources/Invest/property-investment-bargains.htm?rsf=newsletter_rea), below is an estract:
Markets are all about supply and demand, and a property’s value is a fixed figure reflecting a balance of both. Right? Well, mostly yes, but there are ways to push your advantage so that you end up paying less than you may have expected and land a great buy that will fill out your portfolio plus provide plenty of opportunities for dinner party gloating at your next social engagement. The key is to get smart, get ready and back your judgment.
We’ve found a few ways to help you look back on your next purchase with smug self-satisfaction.
1- Look for an eager vendor
A vendor under distress is the most obvious component of a cheap purchase. There is no moral high ground here – often it’s a case that the seller needs a quick disposal and is willing to cut back on the price in order to move the bricks and mortar on.
While it isn’t pleasant to see another party in a sticky situation, you may be doing them a favour by relieving them of the property and, in most circumstances, it’s a business transaction where if you don’t someone else will.
Ben Anderssen is the director of Brisbane-based buyer’s agency Property Chase and is on constant lookout for property bargains for his clients. He often finds his best source of information to be the seller’s own representative.
“If you quiz the agent you’ll get to the point where they’ll start telling you perhaps a bit extra… And you can’t forget that agents, despite everything else, are there to do a deal. You’ll be able to tell pretty quickly whether or not they’re in a hurry to sell,” says Anderssen.
Some eager vendor situations:
The vendor has bought elsewhere
Gun-shy buyers will contract on one home before selling their current abode and will include a ‘subject to sale’ clause in the dealings. As settlement draws near, they become eager to dispose of their old property and now is the time for you to leap. Drive hard on the bargain – particularly when you’re armed with a cash contract free of conditions.
“I spoke to an agent the other day and he said: ‘It’s a young couple that owns this property and they’ve bought another house and have bridging finance.’ And I just thought: ‘Oh, my god, this is perfect,’” recalls Anderssen.
No one enjoys seeing these situations come to a head, but the end of a relationship is often punctuated by cutting ties and the settling of assets. Even where the separation is amicable, there is often an eagerness to move on and this means disposing of assets at a quick sale price. The effect can be amplified in acrimonious endings where both parties are eager to sever ties as quickly as possible.
Costs of living pressures, interest rate rises, spiralling petrol prices – these are all catch phrases that have put further stress on those trying to service a mortgage and keep their head above water. Unfortunately, an overextended buyer may receive an unwanted knock on the door from the financier looking to recoup their loan.
Watching for a ‘Mortgagee in Possession’ sale is one strategy, and another is to seek out an owner trying to consolidate their assets and settle their loan.
In the situation where property is willed to the next of kin, there may be many recipients to consider. While this is sometimes a sticking point, it’s common for family members to agree that a quick disposal of the property will help put the estate to rest.
Another consideration when multiple beneficiaries are involved is that the value of their share becomes diluted, so any reduction in the offer can appear minor. For example, a $500,000 home divided between four siblings will reap $125,000 per share. If a cash unconditional offer of $460,000 is forwarded, a $40,000 saving to the buyer means each sibling now gets $115,000 – not too dramatic a fall in the scheme of negotiations.
2 – Get smart
Forearmed is forewarned. When a bargain arrives, the first buyer to spot it will be the victor, so if you don’t recognise the opportunity when it arrives, someone else will run off with it.
My first purchase occurred in inner Brisbane in 2003. After months of researching the market, I was sure a dated two-bedroom unit with lock-up car accommodation could be located for under $180,000. Despite the agent’s reservations about such an animal existing, I received a phone call from one local realtor informing me that something had come onto the market “just yesterday”.
He first called the out-of-town lady at the top of his possible purchaser list who was keen to find a Brisbane base for her student daughter, but she had baulked at the $145,000 asking price.
Within three hours we’d arranged to meet at the unit and, armed with an intimate knowledge of the market, I suggested he bring around a standard contract of sale at the asking figure. The contract was signed on the kitchen bench within the first half hour of the inspection.
The body corporate manager told me later that the Gladstone-based couple who sold it was delighted to get $145,000 for it. My response was: “That’s great because I was delighted to pay $145,000 for it.” After $30,000 worth of renovations, the unit was worth approximately $210,000 and now five years later is around the $340,000 mark.
Know your market. Set your criteria on what you want and get informed. If you know that your next investment is to be a four-bedroom, two-bathroom, double-garage renter in outer Melbourne, get real about what they sell and rent for. Dig, dig, dig so you become the local expert.
When the right property comes along, you might be surprised to find that both the vendor and your competing buyers have scant idea as to what a great deal a property offers.
3 – Be prepared
By taking care of a few of the basics, you can remove uncertainties and move quickly.
Arrange your finance before you start hunting your prey. Know how much you can afford to borrow and get it organised. Now is the time to shop around for finance, not when your unconditional day of reckoning is imminent.
Also, go through the exercise to work out what sort of rental you need to achieve on your property to help service the loan.
This is an important step that can stop a prospective buyer in their tracks if they haven’t taken the time to consider the return on the investment.
Form a relationship with professionals whose help you’ll need when snapping up a deal.
Most valuers will be happy to discuss their general expertise and what they look for in a property, and can stand at the ready to provide their services quick-smart when they know you’re likely to call.
Similarly, have the phone number of your trusted pest and building inspector handy so they can provide a ready-to-go service when you come up with a possible winner.
By making their acquaintance early, you can get some pre-purchase heads-up on possible pitfalls that might surround your sale of the century.
4 – Look for the angles
Bargains aren’t always obvious and you must dust off a little dirt to find the gold seam. Try thinking outside everyone else’s square to see if you can make a go of a property possibility.
For example, one agent in a near-university suburb has built a formidable self-funding rental portfolio by identifying homes where additional bedrooms can be created for leasing on a per room basis to the student market.
It’s also worth considering whether a property holds a value to you over and above the local market. Perhaps by purchasing your neighbour’s home you may suddenly find yourself with a potential development site ripe for rezoning to units. And all for not much more than the cost of a standard residential dwelling.
Bargains may also be had by considering other angles for savings. Purchasing a home from a family member or buying the property you currently rent may circumnavigate the need for agents, thus saving on commission. In the latter case, you may also come to an arrangement where you’re compensated for upgrades you’ve carried out on the property yourself.
5 – Stick with the basics
Bargains aren’t bargains if things go sour easily.
Avoid main roads and adjacent rail lines. These things don’t sell in a soft market.
The rule is: a window of opportunity comes around to sell a dud property about once every seven years, so avoid them like a biblical plague.
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Sydney will be reinvented as a high-density metropolis serviced by mass-transit subways under a transport blueprint being developed by senior state and federal government bureaucrats.
Powerful new legislation underpinning a proposed metro network costing $13 billion will enable transport and planning officials to reshape the inner suburbs of Sydney, paving the way for apartment towers as high as 15 storeys as well as large-scale retail and office blocks.
To justify the multibillion-dollar investment, tens of thousands more people would have to live and work within walking distance of the proposed Parramatta Road metro stations, according to planning officials behind the overhaul.
Heritage inner-west suburbs such as Glebe, Leichhardt, Rozelle and Camperdown are to be among the first to face radical changes should both the $8.1 billion West Metro underneath Parramatta Road and the $4.8 billion CBD Metro go ahead.
Read the full article here: http://www.domain.com.au/Public/Article.aspx?id=1231003979729&index=NationalIndex&headline=Get%20ready:%20high-rise%20suburbs%20coming
VICTORIAN property values have plummeted about $40 billion in the past six months.
Melbourne’s median house price of $450,000 mid-2008 is now down to $427,500, according to estimates.
And house price expectations across Australia have sunk to an all-time low, a new report says.
Victoria’s $800 billion residential property market has dropped 5 per cent – or $40 billion – overall since July, according to BIS Shrapnel calculations prepared for the Herald Sun.
The trend has opened the door for potential borrowers desperate for cheaper housing.
The latest Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia/BankWest Home Finance Index shows almost two in three Victorians expect the value of their biggest asset to erode in the first three months of this year.
"The expected decline in prices will help address the chronic problem of housing being unaffordable for a lot of Australians, and first-time buyers are likely to be enticed back into the market," MFAA chief Phil Naylor said.
Recent Real Estate Institute of Victoria sales results show the volatile economic climate is producing winners and losers.
Expensive suburbs such as Albert Park and Armadale recorded price drops of at least 30 per cent in the three months from June.
However, other suburbs, including Fitzroy and Beaconsfield, jumped 20 per cent.
BIS Shrapnel senior economist Jason Anderson said the spectacular credit crunch price crashes witnessed in the United States would not happen here because Australia had a housing shortage and tenants hoping to escape the rent trap.
The research company predicts Melbourne’s median house price will rebound 4 per cent during 2009-10. The median value is tipped to increase 9 per cent in the three years to June 2011.
Read the full article here: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24881569-5013926,00.html