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Melbourne’s walkable neighbourhoods attract price premium: report

Homes in highly walkable neighbourhoods are more likely to hold their value than those in less pedestrian-friendly areas, a new report has found.

The effect holds during a rising market and also during the current slowdown, a paper from Melbourne buyers’ advocacy Secret Agent found.

Sought-after inner suburbs such as Carlton, Fitzroy, Collingwood and Brunswick were among the most walkable in Melbourne, even allowing residents to walk to the CBD, Secret Agent researcher and report author Jodie Walker said.

“Some [buyers] want to be close to work, they’re sick of driving on congested roads so they want to be able to walk to work,” Ms Walker told Domain.

“If they’ve got kids, maybe they want to be walking distance to their school.”

The report compared prices per square metre for select Melbourne suburbs, dividing locations into walkable and less walkable regions.

On average, price growth increased by 0.9 per cent in walkable zones compared to less walkable zones, over the 12 months to February this year, the paper found.

Houses in Melbourne Neighbourhood - Investors Advisors
Pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods attract a price premium. Photo: Jesse Marlow

It follows an earlier study by the agency that found a significant price premium for homes in walkable neighbourhoods during a rising market.

Vendors could expect to gain an extra $298 per square metre for their home for every five point increase in its Walk Score, the 2013 study found.

The group plans to repeat the study in future to better assess the effect of walkability in a falling market.

“We can hypothesise that walkability will likely have a protective effect on property value, in a similar way to what has been seen in America,” Ms Walker wrote.

A recent study in Dallas found homes in walkable neighbourhoods held their value by about 2 per cent more than less walkable counterparts during the GFC, while another in Los Angeles found the price premium for walkable homes increased as the economy recovered from the crisis.

Jellis Craig Fitzroy director Rob Elsom sees buyers willing to pay a premium to live in amenity-rich, city-fringe neighbourhoods.

“Generally speaking any suburb that’s close to the CBD does hold its value quite well,” Mr Elsom said.

“The closer you are into the CBD, the less boxes a property has to tick for a buyer to purchase them. When you’re further out of Melbourne CBD, people are a lot more discerning on what they want.”

Buyers were often willing to forgo a second car space or a large block so they could live in a “destination suburb” such as Fitzroy or Collingwood, where they could walk to work in the CBD and to local restaurants and cafes on the weekend, he said.

Houses in Melbourne Neighbourhood - Investors Advisors
Being able to walk to local restaurants is a drawcard for Fitzroy homebuyers. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Woodards Carlton North partner Glenn Bartlett said inner-city buyers were looking to be close to cafes, transport, parkland and schools, and were willing to make compromises such as having smaller backyards.

“A lot of people will buy as close to the CBD as they can possibly afford if their broad criteria are met,” Mr Bartlett said.

“We hear from a lot of buyers that they’d much prefer to extend themselves and buy something closer to their places of work, rather than have to battle an extended commute time.”

An earlier study conducted for Domain named Fitzroy and Carlton as among the most walkable suburbs, and found the 16 most walkable suburbs were all within eight kilometres of the CBD.

The middle and outer suburbs are more varied in terms of walkability, said Lukar Thornton, senior lecturer at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University.

Outer suburbs might start as a small area with a central shopping centre and school, then grow outwards, he said.

“If you’re there early, you might be near the resources that are there,” Dr Thornton said.

“If you’re coming to the town later, on that sprawl away from these town centres, it means you’re very disconnected from anything that would be considered accessible by foot.”

Even so, living in a walkable neighbourhood didn’t stop some residents from driving everywhere.

“The environment of the neighbourhood provides the opportunity. But it’s then up to the individual to take advantage [of it],” he said.

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The Sydney suburbs where buyers are paying 2014 prices

It’s 2014 all over again — just without the ice bucket challenge.

House hunters in multiple areas across Sydney have been purchasing homes at or close to prices last recorded five years ago as sellers continue to slash their asking prices to counter the current market slump.

CoreLogic figures showed the areas with the biggest reversal in prices were spread across the southwest, Western Sydney and the Hills district and Ryde area.

They included suburbs Cobbity, Denham Court, Catherine Field, Mulgoa and Box Hill, among others.

Many of these areas had been in high demand when the market was booming but rampant housing construction has given buyers more choice, forcing sellers to adjust their prices.

The suburbs were also fiercely popular with investors up until 2017 when banks began clamping down on investment lending, squeezed out much of the previous competition for sales and putting home buyers in the box seat.Tips to keep ahead of the property market

Among the notable price falls were in North Ryde and nearby suburb Meadowbank, where heavy apartment construction helped pull down median unit prices from over $720,000 two years ago to about the $650,000-$670,000 mark.

It’s meant current apartment buyers are paying the same prices they were five years ago.

A similar trend was recorded in Penrith suburb Mulgoa, where the median price of a house was $1.39 million in 2017, but has since dropped to $829,000 — marginally below the level it was in 2014.

Divisions of larger blocks resold as smaller, cheaper lots explained some of the drop in the Mulgoa median, but local agents also reported weakened investor activity had an impact.

Houses in Sydney Suburbs [Pay 2014 Prices]-InvestorsAdvisors

Buyers have a chance to get a better deal.

Home buyer Chantelle Stevenson and partner Eric recently bought a block of land in local estate Mulgoa Rise where they will be building their dream home and said their purchase went unexpectedly quickly.

The couple had heard stories about buyers in the surrounding area camping outside sales offices the night before a land release to avoid missing out on blocks and were expecting to come up against strong competition from other buyers.

“We were surprised how easy it was,” Ms Stevenson said. “We knew people had been waiting years for some of these blocks to become available.”

Their experience of competing for property was also much smoother than a year ago when they bought their current home, she added. “We felt like we were in a much position this time as buyers than we were last year.”

Houses in Sydney Suburbs [Pay 2014 Prices]-InvestorsAdvisors

1 Dukic St, Bonnyrigg Heights was first listed at over $1.32 million but the price has been cut to $1.06 million.

Developer Mupha executive general manager Tim Spencer said buyers in the estate were capitalising on the choice of properties available, which appealed to first home buyers and upsizers. chief economist Nerida Conisbee said the notable absence of investors in many suburbs, especially those with new housing estates, was creating “good opportunities” for owner occupier buyers.

“There’s a chance to get a better deal,” Ms Conisbee said. “Not only are prices down, but buyers have more time to think about their purchases. They can negotiate more and there is no rush to buy, which was something buyers struggled with during the boom.”

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Out of the shadows: Waverley, the tiny suburb emerging as a cool new enclave

A quiet renaissance is underway in a small pocket of the eastern suburbs, where a high street is shedding its dowdy image to emerge as one of the area’s coolest customers.

Waverley has long stood in the shadow of beachy Bronte and the retail mecca that is Bondi Junction. Like Oxford Street in Paddington, its main shopping strip – known as Charing Cross – faltered when Westfield opened down the road nearly 20 years ago.

Gentrification has finally caught up with this part of the east. While its real estate is still more affordable than Bronte and other nearby beachside enclaves, Waverley has started punching above its weight with its vibrant village atmosphere.

Waverley Tiny Suburb Emerging as a Cool New Enclave- Investors Advisors
Chic clothing boutiques, homeware stores and renovated pubs make up Waverley’s village vibe. Photo: Steven Woodburn

Among the highlights are a bike shop, chic homewares stores, clothing boutiques, a blow-dry bar and two pubs – The Robin Hood Hotel and Charing Cross Hotel, both recipients of fresh renos.

The dining scene is on fire too, including local faves Bronte Road Bistro, Bellagio Cafe, Iku Wholefood and Vacanza Pizzeria.

Carissa Lake was planning to open a cupcake shop in Alexandria a few years ago but decided instead to set up shop on Albion Street in Waverley, near St Catherine’s School.

“When I was working around the clock to open the shop as soon as I could, the neighbours often asked me in for dinner or a drink once I finished for the day,” Lake says.

Waverley Tiny Suburb Emerging as a Cool New Enclave- Investors Advisors
Waverley’s cafe, bar and dining scene is on fire too. Photo: Steven Woodburn

The Cupcake Princess, a purveyor of delightfully decorated cakes made from scratch each day, opened in 2015. It has since expanded to include a party room next door.

“At first, I had a couple of older residents tell me I wouldn’t last and that I should make sugar-free products. These people are now my regular customers,” Lake says. “Nothing brings a smile to my face like seeing the after-school rush coming in to tell me what happened during the day. I guess I’m the new version of the milk bar.”

Between 2012 and 2018, the suburb’s house price median more than doubled, from $1.205 million to $2.438 million. But the rate of growth slowed right down last year. Units have also increased in value, though less dramatically since 2016. 

Waverley Tiny Suburb Emerging as a Cool New Enclave- Investors Advisors
The suburb is about 1.5 kilometres away from public transport options at Bondi Junction. Photo: Steven Woodburn

Bondi Junction’s trains and shops are 1.5 kilometres away – close enough for convenience but far enough away to avoid the hectic town centre.

By bus to Bondi Junction then train to Martin Place, it takes about 25 minutes to reach the CBD. Bronte Beach is two kilometres to the east. A coveted cheap beach parking permit is a bonus for Waverley residents.

Anthony Puntigam, an agent at Phillips Pantzer Donnelley, says properties range from apartments to attached houses, semis and a small number of free-standing houses. Federation and art deco styles are especially popular.

Waverley Tiny Suburb Emerging as a Cool New Enclave- Investors Advisors
Architectural styles include attached houses, semis, units and a small number of free-standing houses. Photo: Steven Woodburn

Young families are drawn to the neighbourhood’s good schools, including Waverley College for boys.

“It’s basically become a lifestyle hub, just giving you a fraction more bang for your buck compared to neighbouring Bronte,” Puntigam says.

Two homes in the area

4a Arden Street

Waverley Tiny Suburb Emerging as a Cool New Enclave- Investors Advisors
4A Arden Street, Waverley NSW. Photo: Supplied

Tipped to appeal to growing families and downsizers, this Victorian-era house combines classic Italianate detail with modern style.

It’s about halfway between Queens Park and Bronte Beach.

The Agency Eastern Suburbs’ Mary Howell advises on a price guide of $1.8 million ahead of the April 27 auction.

24/5-7 Macpherson Street

Waverley Tiny Suburb Emerging as a Cool New Enclave - Investors Advisors
24/5-7 Macpherson Street, Waverley NSW. Photo: Supplied

Enjoy ocean views from the balcony of this top-floor unit at the rear of an updated security block between Macpherson Street’s cafe strip and Charing Cross village.

Phillips Pantzer Donnelley agent Alexander Phillips has quoted a $950,000 guide.

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The ATO clamps down on property-related tax errors

Last month, ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan told The Tax Institute conference in Hobart that the ATO had randomly reviewed 300 rental property claims and found errors in almost nine out of 10. Soon after, the ATO announced it would undertake 4,500 audits of taxpayers its data analytics systems had identified as “high risk” – roughly 2,000 more than it undertook last year.

Using data from accommodation sharing platforms, rental property bonds and property sales records, these systems flagged instances in which taxpayers were likely to have either over-claimed deductions or under-declared rental income. The ATO then contacted these taxpayers to offer them the opportunity to make appropriate adjustments to their returns – either through letters or via real-time “nudges” on the web-based platform myTax.

“We really want to help people get it right in the first instance, so that we don’t have to go down the audit pathway,” ATO Assistant Commissioner Gavin Siebert tells

“If the claims raised by the data analytics systems aren’t amended or advised, then that’s when we do the reviews. And if we get to the end, that’s when we need to do the audits.”

Siebert says the ATO’s enforcement gave taxpayers the benefit of the doubt and that there were a lot of “genuine mistakes”, which could generally be split into one of three categories – over-claiming interest repayments; confusing repairs and maintenance; and incorrectly apportioning rental income.Nerida’s 2019 property predictions

Over-claiming interest repayments

According to Siebert, the most common errors were related to incorrectly claiming interest repayments.

Current legislation allows investors to offset interest paid on the loan they used to buy an investment property against their assessable income, but Siebert said many investors were continuing to claim interest repayments on the entire loan even when they had refinanced a portion of it for private purposes, which contravenes the law.

The ATO only allows you to claim interest on the portion of your loan that is used to fund an investment property, regardless of whether equity in an investment property is used as security in that loan.

Confusing repairs and maintenance

The second most common mistake was the conflation of capital works and repairs. While the latter can be claimed immediately, in the income year in which the expense occurred, the former must be depreciated over a long period of time.

“For example, let’s say you renovate the bathroom in your rental home. Many investors are claiming the entire cost of that renovation in that one income year, but you need to depreciate that at a rate of 2.5% over 40 years,” says Siebert.

Ben Kingsley, co-host of the Property Couch and chairman of the Property Investors Council of Australia, says investors also often incorrectly claimed immediate deductions when they replaced fixtures and fittings.

“Great examples are things like fences, washing machines, carpets, curtains. When people replace rather than repair them, they need to write them off over a period of time, not as a complete one-off claim,” he says, in reference to the ATO’s rule that only repairs directly related to wear and tear can be claimed as an immediate deduction.

Recent change to the laws around depreciation, however, mean that investors who bought a property after 9 May 2017 can only claim depreciation on an asset if the asset was brand-new, the property was newly built, or the property had been substantially renovated and no-one had previously claimed any depreciation deductions on the asset.

ATO Clamps Down on Property Tax Errors -Investors Advisors

Investors often claim interest on an entire loan amount even when they have refinanced a portion of it for private purposes. Picture:

Incorrectly apportioning rental income

Just as some investors are claiming interest payments for loans used for private purposes, Siebert says many are also claiming interest repayments during untenanted periods.

“You should only be claiming interest for the periods the property was rented out, or genuinely available for rent,” he says.

Travel expenses no longer claimable

Finally, Kingsley says taxpayers were still attempting to claim deductions for the cost of travel incurred while visiting their investment property on official business.

Investors were able to do this up until 1 July 2017, but changes to the law have since stripped them of this right. Now, only excluded entities or those who are carrying on a business of property investing can claim these expenses.

“The vast majority of investors are doing the right thing most of the time,” says Kingsley. “But there are some real complexities to some of the details in the tax legislation, so I would always advocate seeking out a professional tax agent who specialises in residential property investment.”

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Five affordable housing markets where prices are tipped to skyrocket by 2022: Sell or Hold forecast

Property prices are expected to shoot up by 2022 in several major affordable housing markets across Australia, according to new findings from property research platform Sell or Hold.

Sell or Hold, managed by the independently run Select Residential Property group, looked at 17 markets for the study, each with a median house price of about $500,000.

The research identified the suburb of Karabar in Queanbeyan as likely to see the most price growth over the next three years. The top five is rounded out by Middle Ridge in Toowoomba, Seaton in Adelaide, Ashtonfield in Maitland and Brompton in Adelaide.

Sell or Hold chose the price range of close to $500,000 because investors were most likely to target properties around that price point. This meant that suburbs in Sydney, which has a median house price of $1,062,619, were too expensive to be included in the forecast.

Affordable Housing Australia where Prices Skyrocket by 2022 - Investors Advisors
The affordable price bracket ruled out all Sydney suburbs. Photo: iStock

Only significant urban areas with a diversified economy and a population of over 100,000 were part of the study.

Select Residential Property group head of research Jeremy Sheppard said a three-year analysis period was the most accurate way to predict price trends.

“In a 12-month period, there isn’t much time for supply and demand to influence price growth, and a lot of times after three years, supply and demand may have [balanced] again,” he said.

Mr Sheppard said Sell or Hold’s forecast was based on gathering supply and demand metrics, rather than collecting data on individual properties. Demand was calculated by using a variety of metrics, including clearance rates, how quickly homes are selling, discounting rates, and the percentage of renters to owner-occupiers.

Where to look for growth
Affordable Housing Australia where Prices Skyrocket by 2022 - Investors Advisors
Affordable three-bedroom houses tend to perform well on the Karabar rental market. Photo: LJ Hooker Queanbeyan

Mr Sheppard suggested that some suburbs on city outskirts have seen the benefits of a ripple effect in property prices.

“Often, if you have a boom like we saw in Sydney, it tends to start in more affluent areas. Once prices go up, people look for the next best thing. Prices tend to ripple out to fringe suburbs that are possibly less desirable, but far more affordable,” he said.

The predicted price growth for Karabar, which is tipped to increase by about $150,620 by 2022, is a massive 5 percentage points more than the next suburb on Sell or Hold’s list.

With a median house price of $522,986, Karabar is about 20 minutes’ drive to Canberra’s CBD. Mr Sheppard said this may help to explain why prices were expected to climb so significantly. 

Aaron Papahatzis of Belle Property Kingston is well aware of that drawcard. “For Karabar and for Queanbeyan more broadly, the attraction would be the easy access to Canberra, as well as affordability and the local shopping and sporting facilities,” he said.

Aerial view of Canberra-Affordable Housing Australia where Prices Skyrocket by 2022 - Investors Advisors
Karabar residents can reach Canberra by car in about 20 minutes. Photo: iStock

While the bulk of Mr Papahatzis’ buyers are owner-occupiers, he said there was good scope for investors to find strong opportunities in the area. 

“The majority of properties we sell are family homes and the rent does stack up quite well. If you’re buying a three-bedder with one bathroom, which you can get for about $500,000, you’d be looking at $520 to $550 in rent payments per week.”

He recommended investors seek out low-maintenance properties in Karabar which were already partly renovated, and said more affordable rentals would perform well, especially among young families.

Affordable Housing Australia where Prices Skyrocket by 2022 - Investors Advisors
A typical four-bedroom house for sale in Middle Ridge, QLD. Photo: Ecology Property

In Middle Ridge, which ranked in second place in the forecast, it’s a similar story.

Robbie Witt of NGU Real Estate Toowoomba said most Middle Ridge buyers were owner-occupiers.

“You will have no dramas renting a property out,” Mr Witt said, pointing to four-bedroom, two-bathroom houses as an ideal bet for investors. “These properties just get snapped up really quickly on the rental market.”

With Middle Park’s large blocks, abundance of parks, and quality schools, Mr Witt said the area was performing comparatively well.

Affordable Housing Australia where Prices Skyrocket by 2022 - Investors Advisors Lake Annand in Toowoomba LOW RES
Infrastructure and a strong economy in Toowoomba (pictured) may affect Middle Ridge prices. Photo: T&GWSBT

Mr Witt said aside from a new land development called The Leas, Middle Ridge itself was not slated for significant development in the near future.

According to Mr Sheppard, however, infrastructure in the wider Toowoomba area may have an effect on Middle Ridge prices. He said projects like the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, as well as Toowoomba’s strong economy, were worth considering.

Middle Ridge is about a 15-minute drive to the centre of Toowoomba.

Investor advice
Affordable Housing Australia where Prices Skyrocket by 2022 - Investors Advisors
Mr Sheppard pointed to Adelaide as a key city for investors to consider. Photo: iStock

Mr Sheppard advised buyers to keep an eye on Adelaide, which had two suburbs in Sell or Hold’s top five for price growth.

“It seems to have quite a broad range of high demand, relative to supply. There are still plenty of pockets that aren’t going to see much in the way of growth but Adelaide … seems to have clusters of growth,” he said.

“This could be down to affordability, or due to the efforts of the state government … starting to show fruit. It’s not clear what the precise cause is, but there’s definitely a lot of heat picking up in Adelaide.”

He pointed to Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra as key cities for investors to consider.

Mr Sheppard said there was no common thread that tied Sell or Hold’s top-five performers together. He said the results came down to timing and where each suburb sat relative to the broader market.

Where prices should stagnate
Affordable Housing Australia where Prices Skyrocket by 2022 - Investors Advisors
Two of the bottom five rankings were in the Darwin area. Photo: iStock

Sell or Hold’s forecast also identified the areas that should see the least price growth. Prices are expected to fall the most in Rosebery in the Darwin area, with a drop of about $3148 expected over the next three years.

Wandi in Perth had the second lowest predicted growth rate, where the median house price is forecast to decline by about $2103 for that same period. 

Four of the bottom five suburbs were in Perth and Darwin, with Brisbane’s Bahrs Scrub in fifth place.

“In real catastrophe areas, [poorer price performance] will be because a major industry has gone belly up, as we saw with the end of the resource boom. Those changes in the economy have had that affect on Rosebery, where prices are still falling,” Mr Sheppard said.

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The NSW federal electorates hardest hit by the property market downturn

Home owners in Sydney’s middle-ring suburbs have taken the brunt of the city’s property downturn, with voters in key marginal seats among those hardest hit by falling property prices, new data shows.

One in every five federal electorates across NSW recorded double-digit house price falls last year, data from Domain has revealed, with the Liberal seat of Bennelong experiencing the biggest drop — its median fell 16.3 per cent year on year.

Electorates with a median house price between $1 million and $1.5 million saw the biggest declines, said Domain economist Trent Wiltshire, with nine of the 15 most affected electorates   — including the marginal Sydney seats of Reid and Banks — held by the Liberal Party.

“These are the more expensive areas, but not the most expensive,” Mr Wiltshire said, adding Liberal seats tended to have higher rates of home ownership due to generally higher income levels and an older demographic.

Meanwhile Labor electorates were home to more renters and harder hit by apartment prices falls.

Federal Electorates Hardest Hit by Property Market Downturn-Investors Advisors
The median house price fell by more than 10 per cent in more than a fifth of electorates last year. Photo: James Alcock. Photo: James Alcock

The biggest unit price drops were in the city’s west, north west and south west, with the seat of Fowler — which covers the Liverpool region — faring worst with an 11.5 per cent annual fall.

The marginal Labor seats of Lindsay, in the city’s west, and Macquarie, covering the Blue Mountains, as well as the Liberal seat of Banks, were also among the top 10 electorates for unit price falls.

The election and potential changes to negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount, if Labor wins, are front of mind for buyers there, according to Dean Jr Boskovic of BOS Realty.

“A lot of people [in the Liverpool region] are asking what it means, how will it affect me and how will it affect the market,” said Mr Boskovic.  “It’s definitely a big question on buyers’ minds and rightfully so.”

While first-home buyers in the area were keen to see negative gearing scrapped, Mr Boskovic said, investors and home owners wanted to see it remain.

He said concern about falling property prices was so strong among residents that he expected to see a swing away from Labor, particularly as the NSW election had already seen a swing to the Liberal Party.

Meanwhile, in the Liberal-held electorate of Bennelong, which had the biggest hit to house prices, the election was front of mind for sellers, said Catherine Murphy of The Agency North.

“Our market is not great at the moment, the selling market is not energised and you’re throwing another thing on it … just another concern [vendors] have,” Ms Murphy said.

She added home owners were concerned about whether they should be aiming to sell before the election, while investors — who now make up a very small portion of her buying pool — were watching keenly to see what happens with negative gearing.

Mr Wiltshire said electorates with a greater proportion of renters were likely to be more welcoming of potential housing-related tax changes.

“Renters might see that policy as a way of lowering house prices a little bit,” Mr Wiltshire said. “Lots of those renters would be looking to buy and they will be looking for government to put in measures to improve housing affordability.”

He added the falling property market was less likely to be a concern in marginal electorates in regional NSW, such as Page, Eden-Monaro, Richmond and Gilmore, which saw price growth for both apartments and units.

Property markets across regional NSW held up better or even saw price growth last year, Mr Wiltshire said, but were now cooling — but not to the same extent as Sydney, which had a far greater boom.

Stewart Jackson, a politics lecturer at the University of Sydney, said falling prices may sway votes away from the ALP in some electorates like the safe and fairly safe Labor seats of Watson and Barton, which had the second and third-highest price falls.

“People are a bit worried about what’s happened, [the vote could sway] a couple of per cent … but I don’t think it will make a great deal of difference,” Dr Jackson said.

He added while renters might lean towards Labor, that might not translate to a victory in areas with a high proportion of renters, where many tenants such as international students would not be voting.

Australian politics professor Rodney Smith, also from the University of Sydney, added while the cooling market was a concern for voters, it would be far from the deciding factor come polling day.

He said economic management, health and education were generally the top three issues that affected how people voted, but he expected both parties to put a strong emphasis on housing policies.

“Both sides probably see the issue as something they can gain from and that they believe in. Labor’s put out its policies and will push for them as a means of improving housing affordability and getting people out of the rental market and buying their own homes. The Coalition will attempt to portray these policies as potentially [economically] risky and dangerous,” Dr Smith said.

North SydneyLP$2,177,500$916,000-9.6-2.629.127.240.9
Kingsford SmithALP$1,760,000$850,000-6.9-3.525.424.246.6
New EnglandNP$325,000$240,0001.6-3.637.128.630.2
Source: Domain Group data, ABS data. Note: Median is based on six months of sales to December, with minimum of 50 sales required.

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Australia’s cheapest home will cost you less than your weekly Corona six pack

It comes with access to a pool, barbecue facilities and no water and council fees. But best of all, weekly mortgage repayments on Australia’s cheapest capital city home will cost you less than a night out at the movies or a slab of Coronas.

Listed with a bargain price tag of just $42,950, 11/565 King Rd, Virginia is Australia’s cheapest residential listing on, setting buyers back a mere $38 a week in mortgage repayments. That’s based on a 20 per cent deposit of $8590.

However, there’s a catch.

Australia’s Cheapest House Prices - Investors Advisors

11/565 King Rd, Virginia

Australia’s Cheapest House Prices - Investors Advisors

11/565 King Rd, Virginia

The one-bedroom home is set in the Virginia Gardens Residential Village – a 25 minute drive from Adelaide’s CBD, and as such is subject to park rates – $120 per week for singles and $138 per week for couples.

On the upside, the new owner will have access to all facility features, including an inground swimming pool, barbecue areas, and there are no water and council fees.

As for the home, the weatherboard house features a master bedroom with built-in robes, a bathroom, a large living space, and a separate kitchen with storage, and an electric oven and cooktop.

Australia’s Cheapest House Prices - Investors Advisors

11/565 King Rd, Virginia

Australia’s Cheapest House Prices - Investors Advisors

11/565 King Rd, Virginia

There are also two small lockup sheds and garden beds to the front of the property.

Selling agent Katrina Nelsen on LJ Hooker Gawler said interest in the property was coming in thick and fast.

“I’m actually really surprised by the amount of interest we’ve had in the property as it’s not your standard home. Then again, it’s really cheap,” she said.

“Personally I think it would be perfect for truck drivers, FIFO workers, or someone separating or going through a divorce, needing a place to stay.

“I’ve also had some interest from singles. There are a lot of market gardens in the area, so it would be the perfect spot for a person looking to for work.”

Australia’s Cheapest House Prices - Investors Advisors

11/565 King Rd, Virginia

Australia’s Cheapest House Prices - Investors Advisors

11/565 King Rd, Virginia

As the home is located within a residential village, Ms Nelson said the prospective new owner would have to be approved by management.

“Apparently it’s a close-knit community out there and everyone gets on really well,” she said.

“You also won’t be able to lease it out as a holiday unit. They (management) want someone to actually live there.”

Virginia is a northern suburb in the Playford Council Region. According to CoreLogic, the suburb has a median house price of $275,000.

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First-home buyers in major capitals to decide the winner of the federal election

First-home buyers are set to determine who will win this year’s federal election, new data shows, with electorates in the outer-ring suburbs of capital cities, including Melbourne, holding key marginal seats. 

How these electorates vote across Australia will determine whether Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Coalition government return to power, or Bill Shorten and the ALP take the reins after the election — predicted to be held in mid-May.

In Melbourne, the federal electorates which could see swings between the major parties include Dunkley, which takes in the suburbs of Frankston and Mount Eliza, Casey with Lilydale and Belgrave, and Latrobe with the booming growth belts of Cranbourne and Pakenham. 

They are all found on Melbourne’s fringes where first-home buyers have flocked for more affordable homes.

These electorates were more likely to have lower rates of renters, higher rates of home owners with mortgages and lower median house prices compared to safer inner Melbourne seats, Domain data shows.

Domain economist Trent Wiltshire said median house price data over the past year revealed a gap between the inner and outer suburbs — and not just in who they voted for or their property prices.

“Over the one-year change there is a clear pattern, and that is the electorates in inner-city Melbourne with the more expensive properties have seen the biggest house price falls,” Mr Wiltshire said.

“Owners without mortgages are skewed to the [safe] Liberal held seats – they tend to be wealthier and older and bought decades ago pre-property boom. These things combined means they had time to pay off their mortgage.”

The safer inner-city seats were also likely to have a higher percentage of people renting. In the federal electorate of Melbourne, which Greens MP Adam Bandt represents, more than 62 per cent of residents were renters. The electorate has a median house price of $1.17 million which dropped by 15.7 per cent over the past year.  

The most expensive house price median in Victoria, $1.528 million, is found in the electorate of Goldstein which includes the suburbs of Brighton, Hampton and Sandringham. Goldstein, represented by Liberal MP Tim Wilson, has seen the median house price drop by 10.4 per cent in the past year.

First Home Buyers Decides Winner of the Federal Election
The Australian Electoral Commission map of inner Melbourne federal electorates.

These figures sat in comparison to the outer suburbs of Melbourne whose medians remained a little more steady.

In the electorate of Dunkley, currently represented by Liberal MP Chris Crewther, the house price median is $621,000. That median rose 53.5 per cent over the past five years, which includes the time since the last election. Over the past year, however, house price medians have dropped by 2.1 per cent.

In Casey, where Liberal MP Tony Smith is the representative, the median now sits at $676,000. The house price median in Casey has risen 54.9 per cent over the past five years, but has dropped by 7.7 per cent between December 2017 and 2018.

One of the best performers in terms of house price medians was the electorate of Latrobe, where fellow Liberal MP Jason Wood holds the seat. The median house price is $600,000 which has risen by 45.1 per cent over the past five years. It has also seen a median rise of 2.6 per cent over the past year.

First Home Buyers Decides Winner of the Federal Election
Australian Electoral Commission map of outer Melbourne’s federal electorates.

Monash University’s senior lecturer in political sciences Nick Economou said it was these electorates that would decided the outcome of the election.

“My view is that governments are made or broken in seats on the fringes of the cities,” Dr Economou said. “It’s the same in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.”

He said first-home buyers in marginal seats would be unlikely to worry about policies or promises regarding cuts to negative gearing tax breaks for investment properties as they mostly could not afford them.

They would be focused on party promises to keep interest rates low, employment rates high and see penalty rates for weekend work being reinstated. These could see a swing against incumbent PM Scott Morrison and his government in some outer seats at the upcoming election, he said.

“[Ex-prime minister] Malcolm Turnbull supported the Fair Work Commission and did away with weekend penalty rates,” Dr Economou said.

“Quite often couples in the outer suburbs have both people working. It’s the old-fashioned patriarchy but those working part-time are usually women and they rely on penalty rates to help pay the mortgage. There definitely could be a residual resentment there.”

Victorian federal electorate data by household
ElectorateHeld byMedian house price Dec 2018Median house price – 1 yearMedian house price – 5 yearsProperties owned outrightOwned with a mortgageRented
Coopernew electorate$840,000-8.7%34.4%30.2%28.0%38.1%
Nichollsnew electorate$310,0006.9%15.736.832.825.9
Source: Australian Electoral Commission (AEC); ABS; Domain

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Federal budget 2019: $1.7 billion recommitted for affordable housing but few new measures

The federal government has recommitted to previous pledges on affordable housing, setting aside more than $1.7 billion towards state projects in this year’s budget.

But despite Treasurer Josh Frydenberg declaring that “affordable housing is a priority for this government”, the budget papers contain limited new policies addressing the issue.

Mr Frydenberg highlighted the $300 million raised last week for the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, saying it was the largest social bond in Australia’s history.

The NHFIC, announced in the 2017-18 Federal Budget and also known as a bond aggregator, is a mechanism to provide cheaper finance for the community housing sector.

No significant announcements in relation to the NHFIC appeared in this year’s budget but an estimated $225 million will be spent on the program over 2019-20.

$1.7 Billion Recommitted for Affordable Housing - Investors Advisors
Affordability was talked about but few new measures were delivered. Photo: Stephen McKenzie

Meanwhile, more than $1.7 billion of federal government funding will go towards supporting state affordable housing services.

This includes a government pledge to deliver almost $1.6 billion towards the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, as foreshadowed in last year’s budget.

The NHHA, announced in the 2017-18 budget, aims to increase the supply of new homes through working with state and territory governments.

NSW will receive the largest slice with $484.2 million, followed by Victoria and Queensland at $406 million and $319.8 million, respectively.

WA will receive $165.9 million, $108.7 million will go to SA and Tasmania will receive $33.7 million. The ACT will get $26.7 million and NT $20 million.

Other funding for state and territory governments around affordable housing over 2019-20 include $300,000 for a review of community housing regulation in NSW and $113.5 million for remote housing in the Northern Territory.

The government has also reaffirmed to provide $529.9 million over 11 years from 2018-19 to support projects under the Hobart City Deal. Of that, $30 million in funding will go towards providing more than 100 new social housing dwellings in Greater Hobart.

$1.7 Billion Recommitted for Affordable Housing - Investors Advisors
House prices in Hobart continue to rise, making the city increasingly unaffordable. Photo: Sarah Rhodes

While house prices across most capital cities declined last year, according to the latest Domain figures they increased by 8.8 per cent over last year in Hobart and rents jumped 6.3 per cent over the same period. The Tasmanian capital also has the tightest rental vacancy rate in the nation at 0.3 per cent.

Despite house prices falling across the nation, housing affordability continues to remain an issue.

According to the most recent Domain House Price Report, prices have fallen nationally by 6.5 per cent with Sydney and Melbourne leading the fall at 9.9 per cent and 8.4 per cent, respectively. Even so, the income to median price ratio remains elevated in these capital cities.

In the budget economic outlook, the government touched upon the fact falling house prices could detract from the forecast that predicts a real GDP growth rate of 2.75 per cent.

Labor has promised to put housing affordability high on the agenda if it comes to power at next month’s federal election, with a policy to curtail tax breaks for negatively geared investment properties a major campaign platform for the party.

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Melbourne’s champagne suburbs for buyers on a beer budget

Budget-minded buyers can raise a glass to falling house prices in Melbourne’s exclusive suburbs, which have become easier to break into.

Properties in the city’s “champagne suburbs” can now be bought on a “beer budget” thanks to recent price drops, a new report says.

The Herron Todd White analysis shows some blue-chip ‘burbs had experienced significant price declines and many quality family homes were selling below the sales median.

Reasonable House Prices Melbourne Suburbs - Investors Advisors

16 Power St in Hawthorn sold for $2.065 million.

Reasonable House Prices Melbourne Suburbs - Investors Advisors

The suburb’s median sale price has dropped to $2.2175 million.

Herron Todd White Melbourne director Perron King said the softer market had opened the door to suburbs like Hawthorn and Carlton for an increasing number of buyers.

“Cosmopolitan suburbs have actually been some of the worst performers during the downturn, but in the long-run they will provide great value,” Mr King said.

“With limited buyers and prices dropping, this is an opportunity that’s never been better.”

Hawthorn, Kew and Camberwell had seen prices drop by 12 to 15 per cent since the market peaked in late 2017, the report found.

Reasonable House Prices Melbourne Suburbs - Investors Advisors

19 Horne St, Brunswick sold for $1.55 million in May 2016.

Reasonable House Prices Melbourne Suburbs - Investors Advisors

It sold again late last year for $1.365 million.

Brunswick, Carlton and Northcote were identified as some of the best investment options for buyers in the inner-north, with prices dropping about 10 per cent since their peak.

Jellis Craig Brunswick director Rob Elsom said families should take the opportunity to buy north, with more schools opening in the area.

“There’s a lot of demand at the moment because more people have started catching on to the area being competitively priced,” Mr Elsom said.

“The lifestyle on offer in each of these suburbs is obvious, with great street shopping strips that speak for themselves.”

Reasonable House Prices Melbourne Suburbs - Investors Advisors

22 McLauchlin Ave, Sandringham is for sale for $1.65-$1.725 million.

Reasonable House Prices Melbourne Suburbs - Investors Advisors

Inside the immaculate property.

Sandringham and Black Rock were highlighted as other top choices for savvy buyers.

Mr King said it was a great time to buy family houses, knockdown properties and units.

“First-home buyers should be circling Brunswick, young families and professional couples can be looking out east,” he said.

“And families looking to upgrade and get that bit closer to town should do their best to make it happen now.”

Reasonable House Prices Melbourne Suburbs - Investors Advisors

Sandringham was highlighted by the report as a suburb that could be broken into.March 23: Jack Boronovskis’ Victorian property wrap

But the report suggests the blue-chip bargains will not last long.

“Victoria’s last quarter was the worst performing since the global financial crisis, but there’s now a slightly more positive outlook on the horizon,” Mr King said.

“We expect it will stay a soft market until the election this year, but we could be seeing green shoots in the market again in 2020.”

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