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Federal Government extends HomeBuilder program for another three months but at a lower rate

 

 

A Federal Government program offering cash grants for housing construction projects has been extended, but at a lower amount.

The HomeBuilder scheme currently provides $25,000 grants to eligible people building a new home or renovating an existing one.

It had been due to expire at the end of the year but will be extended to 31 March, 2021, at the lower rate of $15,000.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the extension was expected to lead to another 15,000 construction projects, bringing the total anticipated renovations or builds under the program to 42,000.

“Extending HomeBuilder will mean a steady pipeline of construction activity to keep tradies on the tools.”

 

Price caps and time limits changed

Property price caps for new builds in two states will be lifted for contracts signed between January and March next year, rising to $950,000 in New South Wales and $850,000 in Victoria.

The amount of time all approved applicants who signed contracts on or after June 4, 2020, are given to start construction will also be extended, from three months to six months.

The decision follows calls from the construction industry for more flexible deadlines, with concerns people could miss out due to a bottleneck of applications.

The Federal Opposition had also called for changes to the program, arguing it had failed to deliver on its promises and amounted to a “marketing exercise.”

The changes have been costed at $240 million, bringing the total expected price tag to $921 million.

Of the around 24,000 applications made to the scheme so far, the majority (19,180) are for new builds while the rest (4,697) are for renovations.

 

SOURCE: abc.net.au

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First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (New Homes)FACT SHEET

What is the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme?  

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS) is an Australian Government initiative to support eligible first home buyers to build or purchase a new home sooner. The Scheme is administered by the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC). Usually first home buyers with less than a 20 per cent deposit need to pay lenders mortgage insurance. Under the Scheme, eligible first home buyers can purchase or build a new home with a deposit of as little as 5 per cent (lenders criteria apply). This is because NHFIC guarantees to a participating lender up to 15 percent of the value of the property purchased that is financed by an eligible first home buyer’s home loan.

What is the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (New Homes)? 

In the 2020-21 Federal Budget, the Australian Government announced an additional 10,000 FHLDS places for the 2020-21 financial year, specifically for eligible first home buyers building or purchasing new homes. These additional places are known as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (New Homes) or FHLDS (New Homes).

How does FHLDS (New Homes) work?

Eligible first home buyers looking to build or purchase a new home are able to apply for a loan to purchase an eligible property through a participating lender during this financial year (ending 30 June 2021). Eligible borrowers can use the guarantee in conjunction with other government programs like the First Home Super Saver Scheme, HomeBuilder grant or state and  territory First Home Owner Grants and stamp duty concessions. The guarantee is not a cash payment or a deposit for your home loan.

What types of properties are eligible?

Eligible FHLDS (New Homes) properties include:

  • newly-constructed dwellings
  • off-the-plan dwellings
  • house and land packages
  • land and a separate contract to build a new home.

A newly-constructed dwelling can also be one where a home has been substantially renovated, or knocked down and rebuilt, by the vendor – thus creating a ‘newly-constructed dwelling’.There are particular requirements which apply for each type of property. Contact a participating lender for more details.

What are the timeframes for FHLDS (New Homes)?

If you are purchasing a new home:

  • you must enter into a contract of sale to purchase your new home within 90 days of being pre-approved
  • for an off-the-plan property, the contract of sale must be dated on or after 7 October 2020. Generally, the building of your off-the-plan property must start within 6 months and finish within 24 months.
  • for a newly constructed dwelling, the dwelling must have been completed on or after 1 January2020.

If you are building a new home (either under a house and land package or as a land and separate contract to build a home):

  • you must enter into an eligible building contract within 90 days of being pre-approved; and
  • you must start building within 6 months of entering into the eligible building contract and finish building within 24 months of starting.

What property price thresholds apply for FHLDS (New Homes)?

FHLDS (New Homes) assists in the building or purchase of a new home. The value of the new home must not exceed the relevant price cap for the area in which it is located. The price caps for capital cities, large regional centres and regional areas are on the following page.

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Who is eligible for FHLDS (New Homes)?

  • Australian citizens who are at least 18 years of age. Permanent residents are not eligible.
  • Single applicants with a taxable income of up to $125,000 per annum for the previous financial year and couples with a taxable income of up to $200,000 per annum for the previous financial year. For all FHLDS (New Homes) applications made to 30 June 2021, the relevant financial year assessed will be 2019-20.
  • Couples are only eligible for FHLDS (New Homes) if they are married or in a de-facto relationship with each other. Other persons buying together, including siblings, parent/child or friends, are not eligible for FHLDS (New Homes).
  • FHLDS (New Homes) assists single (individual) applicants and couples (together) who have at least 5 per cent of the value of an eligible property saved as a deposit. If 20 per cent or more is saved, then the home loan will not be covered by FHLDS (New Homes).
  • Loans under FHLDS (New Homes) require scheduled repayments of the principal and interest of the loan for the full period of the agreement, which will need to be for a term of 30 years or less, (with limited exceptions for interest-only loans, which mainly relate to construction lending).
  • Applicants must intend to be owner-occupiers of the purchased property. Investment properties are not supported.
  • Applicants must be first home buyers who have not previously owned, or had an interest in, a property in Australia, either separately or jointly with someone else (includes residential strata and company title properties).

How to apply

Eligible first home buyers can apply for FHLDS (New Homes) through a participating lender. The full list of participating lenders is at link.

  • First home buyers are responsible for meeting all costs and repayments for the home loan associated with the guarantee.
  • All applications for the FHLDS (New Homes) need to be made directly with one of the Scheme’s participating lenders. NHFIC doesn’t accept applications directly from first home buyers.

DATA SOURCE: www.nhfic.gov.au

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Melbourne and Geelong Growth Areas Achieving a Robust Sales

The new house market continues to experience relatively buoyant purchaser sentiment, despite ongoing strict lockdown measures, with Melbourne and Geelong growth areas achieving a robust total of 1,532 lot sales in September.

Demand for new dwellings has undoubtedly benefited from the $25K Homebuilder Grant and collapse in turnover activity in the established market. Furthermore, buyer preferences are also shifting to the growth of areas, which provide the bigger hoes and greater space that is becoming increasingly desirable as more people work remotely, all at a more affordable price that is attainable for the first home buyers.

Gross sales increased by a solid of 194 lots of 14.5% from the previous month. More than half this escalation occurred in Wyndham, which clawed back market share lost to Geelong during the previous two months, after Geelong also witnessed the largest fall in monthly lot sales. Heading in September, Wyndham contained the greatest supply of titles/hear titled lots, which continue to be in high demand from purchasers in response to Homebuilder grant. Overall, 32% of total sales were titled lots, with a further 27% likely to be eligible for the Homebuilder Grant as they are expected to be titled before the end of March 2021.

However, the deterioration in economic and employment conditions has elevated price sensitivity among purchasers. This has led to an acceleration in the monthly rate of decline in Melbourne’s median price over September to 2.1% drooping to a value of $300,510. Although some of the fall was attributed to the reduction in the median lot size, the per sqm lot price was also down by 0.9% over the month. Significantly, lot pricing from both a median and per sqm perspective are now both at their lowest point since May 2019, which coincided with the trough in the previous market downturn.

The reopening of estate sales offices from October, albeit only for private appointments, is still likely to build on the momentum in sales activity in the growth areas. This has already manifest itself through improving enquiry levels during the first half October, as owner occupiers look to take advantage of the current enhanced incentives available.

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City of Logan Emerges as Global Investment Hotspot

The City of Logan is fast emerging as a global investment hotspot in south-east Queensland, buoyed by a strong economic track record, historic levels of infrastructure investment in the pipeline and business confidence on the rise.

Logan has continued to attract a number of multinational businesses and fast-growing start-ups looking to capitalise on the city’s growth potential and enviable location between Queensland’s capital, Brisbane and tourist destination the Gold Coast.

The launch of autonomous drone delivery services in Logan by Wing — a subsidiary of global technology company Alphabet — is just one of the businesses that have funnelled a total of $100 million of private investment into the city over the past 12 months.

Logan is just one of four locations in the world that now has access to Wing’s air delivery service, which flies a range of convenience items by air in just minutes.

Under the helm of chief executive James Ryan Burgess, Wing will focus their Queensland expansion plans in Logan first, with select households in the suburbs of Crestmead and Marsden already having access to the service.

Burgess said what made cities like Logan most attractive for investment was not only the demographic factors but the opportunities driven by growth.

“Logan is one of the fastest growing areas of Queensland, so that’s a great fit for us because drone delivery makes it much easier for people to get the things they need in rapidly expanding metropolises,” Burgess said.

“Logan is also a very innovative community, and the growth and excitement around the city makes it a great place for us to start our Queensland operations.”

Logan is located in the heart of south-east Queensland where around 70 per cent of the state live, and is predicted to be the second fastest growing city in this region.

In just over 20 years, Logan’s population is predicted to grow more than 50 per cent to around 548,000 residents.

This has led to an unprecedented level of infrastructure investment, with more than $18 billion of publicly funded projects under way to support the growing residential population.

 

Earlier this year, a $1.2 billion agreement — the largest of its type by any government in Australia, was signed by local authorities and private developers to build essential infrastructure in Logan’s Priority Development Areas Yarrabilba and Greater Flagstone.

This follows the completion of Transurban Queensland’s $512 million Logan Enhancement Project in August, which increased freight productivity by reducing road travel times along some of the busiest transport routes in the region.

Major infrastructure projects in the pipeline has triggered a surge in commercial activity along the Logan Motorway corridor, with large national and multinational businesses including Metcash Hardware, DHL, Queensland Logistics Service, Huhtamaki and Pinnacle Hardware setting up operations in Logan’s industrial precincts.

It’s not only the city’s efficient transport connections and affordable land driving this investment, Logan has advantages beyond its borders.

Within a 40 kilometre radius, Logan has access to a regional catchment of over 2.6 million people, a vast network of suppliers and a diverse pool of potential talent for employers to draw from.

GO1.com, the world’s largest on-boarding, compliance and professional development platform, recently relocated their headquarters from Brisbane to Logan to take advantage of this accessibility.

Co-founder Vu Tran said running a global company from Logan was a strategic decision for GO1.com and their future plans.

“Being in Logan has provided us with the opportunity and space we need to grow and also attract the talent that we need for our growing markets,” Tran said.

“Having businesses like Ikea, John Deere, Avery Dennison all based in the area means they are potential partners for us to engage with.”

GO1.com has offices in the United States, South Africa, Vietnam, United Kingdom and Malaysia, and is on track for further expansion, recently securing more than $30 million of investment led by M12, Microsoft’s venture fund.

The increasing investment in Logan is reflected in the city’s economic report card – an annual 3.9 percent increase in the Gross Regional Product in the year ending 2017-2018 and the highest percentage of jobs growth in over fifteen years.

The arrival of businesses like GO1.com and Wing could mark the beginning of an exciting chapter in the city’s development.

For Wing, the city of Logan will be their largest investment in Australia to date and will play a role in shaping what the company will do in cities around the world.

“We’re really going to be investing here in Logan, learning as much as we can from the community and over time looking to apply that to other countries and cities that we may go to,” Burgess said.

“For now, it’s all our attention on Logan and making sure we offer a great service for the community.”

 

*Note: This article is originally posted in this link.

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PROS AND CONS OF BUYING OFF THE PLAN

Many people are hesitant to “buy off the plan” because of the negative associations with this term. However, this reputation may not be really deserved. The decision whether to buy off the plan depends on personal finances, and whether you want to take a risk which may deliver fantastic returns but could just as well be a disaster.

Essentially, there are two key risks associated with buying off the plan. First, is the risk that the end product may not be high-quality and may not match your expectations. This is something that can manage by hiring a good conveyancer as well as making sure to buy from a reputable building company. We are not going to talk about this article, but rather focus on managing the second main risk of buying off the plan, that is the value of the property may change between when you sign the contract and the settlement. This could be either a good thing or a bad thing: as the value may have gone up or down.

What does “buying off the plan” means?

Essentially, it means that you are shown a property, whether a unit, commercial property, housing development, or something else that is yet to built. The timeline for construction may be 6, 12 or 18 months or more. You will receive information from the agent or developer about expected fees, yields, depreciation and other features, and will be asked to put down a deposit which secures the property at a certain price. You do not need to pay the balance until the property is built. From the developer’s perspective, this arrangement is highly advantageous as it helps them to secure
investment or financing for the development. A bank is more likely to issue financing for a project which already has commitments on a certain numbers of units. Furthermore, the more units which have been pre-committed, the better the terms of the loan.

How can I maximize this result?

If you want to be on the right side of property value exchanges, firstly you need to do due diligence. This means researching into the market, its cycles, how comparable properties are performing in the area, and so on.

It is also important not to overcommit. You should always keep the worst case scenario in mind: that the property’s value falls by 10% for example, and make sure you are covered in case this happens. Be sure to have the funds or equity available to cover this if necessary. On the other hand, if the value of the property goes up by 20 or 30%, you’ll be laughing!


What are the risks of buying off the plan?

As mentioned, one of the key risks is that the value of the property may change between contract signing and settlement. In worst cases, this could mean that your bank won’t authorize your loan for the full amount because they value the property at less than the agreed purchase price. In this situation you may be forced to make up the difference from your savings or equity, because you have already committed to pay this amount to the developer.

 

 

Why this happens?

There can be two reasons this situation may eventuate: either market changes, or faults by property valuers. In the latter case, the property valuer has simply made a bad call. The bank may be overly conservative in their valuation because they are cautious to protect their investment, or the developer may be overly optimistic on their assessment. This can particularly happen if there are not many similar properties in the area to draw comparative figures , which can make the bank’s valuers cautiously undervalue the property.

Additionally, although the property market is not often violate, it can be difficult to predict property prices in the long term. This means if you are buying 12-8 months or more in advance, the price may change in this time, and sometimes even for the worse.

Benefits of buying off the plan.

On the flipside, this means that property values can go up, too. With some research (and some luck) you can feel the benefits of a rise in property price, and made a capital gain with little deposit and no interest, which is a pretty rare achievements!

We’re always hearing about the latest “property hotspot”. This is the newest hot suburb that everyone is saying you should invest in, and seems much better than any other are. It seems like if you miss out in investing here you will be doomed to a life of poverty and become a pariah among your property investor friends! However, the reality behind property hotspots is quite different. The truth is, by the time it becomes known as a ‘hotspot’ and is mentioned in the newspaper or on TV current affairs shows, it is probably not a real hotspot anymore. Getting involved at this point doesn’t do you favors, as prices are now peak because everyone is interested in the area.

Worse still, in some cases, rent have actually stagnated even though property prices have stagnated. This means you could pay top dollar for a property without being able to recover your investment through rental income. You could increase rents, but this will likely price your property out of the local rental market.

Other factors to be cautious of include if the ‘hotspot’ has a lot of older properties which may be too valuable to knock down, but need a lot of money to bring to the standard needed to attract good tenants or resell for a decent price. Also be conscious of being drawn into an area where properties is simply out of your price range. A property hotspot may not be the right spot for you.

There are some great opportunities which will allow you to get in on the ground floor and develop the value of your portfolio. But identifying the best opportunities ahead of everyone else means you need to know what the perfect property investment for you is. This will depend on your investment strategy: renovate and flip or long term holder for example. Also what kind of property or type of tenant are you looking for? Knowing yourself as an investor will help you rise about the trends to identify the best opportunities.