Tag Archives: Australia

Burnie Property Market Steady

Click here to read the 2013 Property Market Outlook

Market conditions in Burnie, on Tasmania’s North West Coast, have steadied which will continue into 2013, as a result of low consumer confidence levels and lack of buyer incentives, but will pick up as the year progresses after reaching the bottom of the property cycle, according to the First National Real Estate 2013 Property Market Outlook.

The Outlook, released recently, is based on a survey of the 400+ member network, drawing on its experience at a grass roots level and providing insight into what member agents expect the market to do.

“People in the region are still opting to save their money, further evidenced by the tough retail climate,” Ms Deanne Lamprey, Managing Director, First National Real Estate Burnie said.

“The most significant factor affecting the North West Coast property market is the lack of confidence relating to the Labour/Green Government.”

According to the Outlook, property stocks are expected to increase, while the number of days a property is on the market should hold at current levels, showing the market is stabilising.

A lack of buyer and building incentives, coupled with the increasing number of competing properties available for sale will place downward pressure on property prices in the state.

“This presents some excellent opportunities for upgraders who are expected to show the strongest growth in activity for the region, driven by improved affordability and lower transaction changeover costs,” Ms Lamprey said.

There is an expectation the rental market will ease, as overpricing and job losses force people into moving away from the North West Coast region.

These job losses, along with rising living costs are expected to produce an increase in mortgage defaults for the region.

Ms Lamprey expects the Entry Level market, where properties are priced lower than $350,000, to see the most activity in the first six months of 2013.

Interest rates are expected to decrease further, but Ms Lamprey does not believe this will necessarily translate into any real change for the market.

Solar power continues to be the most sought after energy efficient feature of a property in the North West Coast region.

“Conditions on the North West Coast will remain the same unless change occurs at the political level such as a new state government comes into power, so that stamp duty can be abolished, incentives for building and buying introduced and investors return”.

First National launches national bushfire appeal

Visit a First National office to make a donation

Visit a First National office to make a donation

The First National Real Estate network, through the First National Foundation, has launched a national bushfire appeal and joins the Red Cross in its appeal for all Australians to dig deep and donate to assist those who have been directly affected by the recent spate of bushfires across the country.

Australia is prone to disasters of all kinds, especially over the summer and wet seasons, which is why we are urging everyone to give generously and support those communities most in need,” Mr Simon O’Donoghue, Chairman, First National Foundation said.

“Our members have always been involved with the support of their local communities and, over the past six years, the First National Foundation has donated more than $2,200,000 to the Australian Red Cross as a result of our fundraising efforts.

“People know that when they donate through First National Foundation, their donation will reach the people who need it most from individuals, families and farmers, right through to the community level.”

Thousands of people across Australia have been affected by bushfires with many suffering untold losses including their homes, pets, livestock, sentimental and personal effects, and in some cases, their livelihoods as well.

“At times like these, when communities are threatened by natural disasters, we redouble our fundraising efforts through the Foundation, which donates to the Australian Red Cross and its assistance to Australians in disaster preparation, response and recovery,” Mr O’Donoghue said.

“Even today, as the nation faces one of the worst fire-prone seasons in decades with the current heat wave conditions, the money we have raised in the past is still being used to assist those areas affected by some of the most devastating disasters in Australia’s history.

“Many of these people are the ones that we have helped to purchase their homes, or move into a new one and we feel their need as much as if it were our own.

“This is why we value our partnership with the Red Cross.  It affords us the opportunity to give back to the communities where we live and work, as well as be involved in activities that can make a huge difference to our clients.”

Use It Or Lose It

Senator Bill Heffernan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Australian governments and business need to act today to realise the value of our natural assets or investors from overseas will do it for us” says Senator Bill Heffernan.

Speaking recently at First National Real Estate’s Commercial and Rural Conference in Canberra, the outspoken Senator made a passionate plea for changes to help Australians rather than overseas investors to realise the value of our assets.

“By 2070 China will need to feed 50% of their population from outside the country and they are looking around the world to find investments to make that possible,” Senator Heffernan said.

“100 years ago we would never have thought a sovereign power could come and acquire assets here without an army. Now all you need is a cheque book”.

First National CEO agreed that Government needs to make some changes to avoid this happening.

“Senator Heffernan is right. If we do not find Australian investors, then overseas investors will step in.  The Foreign Takeovers Act is out of date and we need to make sure, if and when foreign investors come in, that they are competing on the same basis as Australian investors,” Mr Ellis said.

“In a challenging market Australians are being cautious and often the only way to sell a property is to look to overseas investors.  We like to get our clients a sale, but it is not in anyone’s interest to get unrealistic prices that then inflate average prices and increase rates.  We firmly believe the market has bottomed out and all we need now is some confidence and then we can see Australians investing in both commercial and rural assets.”

Senator Heffernan agrees. “There will be a lot of opportunities in the future. We need to make sure everyone investing in Australia does so on the same basis and we need to be able to tax foreign investors and make sure all Australians can benefit from our potential as the market garden of Asia.”

“We in Australia are wooden headed, we think agriculture is a mature industry and it is not. We need to get the modern equivalent of soldier settlers to develop the land and develop solutions or someone will come and do it for us,” Senator Heffernan said.

Making Homes Age-Smart

As today’s Baby Boomers approach retirement, their needs change and so too should their living accommodation requirements.  

Planning for a post working life includes looking at whether a different style of accommodation will better suit their future aspirations, such as an apartment or townhouse, or making alterations to an existing large family home. 

No matter what, living quarters need to suit the changing realities of progressing through senior years. 

When looking to buy a house or apartment, or updating the existing home, the following safety measures should be taken into account.

Inside the home:

  • corridors, door frames and turning areas should be able to accommodate a walking frame, wheelchair or mobile-assisted device
  • door and cupboard handles should be easily grasped and at a manageable height
  • in multi-storey homes, at least one bedroom and one bathroom should be located on the ground floor
  • the bathroom should be large enough to fit a wheelchair or walking frame, and be able to have railings fitted for easy access into and out of baths and toilets
  • bench heights in laundries and kitchens should be appropriate for potential disabled access
  • stairs, thick carpets and other incidentals that could impede mobility or be easily tripped upon should be avoided.

Outside the home, the site and topography should be considered.  If it is too hilly, steep, or has steps, it will be difficult for elderly people to manoeuvre.  Car parking should also be on a flat area with easy access to the front door as well as a porch to protect from the elements, and if possible, no stairs.

It is also a good idea to seek the advice of an expert, either building or disability, who can inspect the property and ensure it is suitable for any future changes that may be required.

Duty Of All To Abolish Taxes

In the light of the federal budget, which has just been handed down, First National Real Estate says the government should have delivered on the GST promise of abolishing stamp duty and that home buyers should also do their bit to support the Australian property market. 

Australia’s soft property market will continue to tread water unless major changes are made.  We need more new housing stock to come onto the market, indirect costs to be reduced, inefficient taxes such as stamp duty to be abolished – preferably all three. 

And  while HECS-like schemes are commendable for assisting home buyers to pay their stamp duty obligations, it should be a matter of reducing, or better still, getting rid of stamp duty altogether and that falls on everyone’s shoulders. 

 A struggling property market affects all Australians, as it is a key driver of the nation’s economy and represents a burden for all to share.  This is why home buyers should do their bit and continue to put pressure on governments to live up to their GST promises. 

Property taxes are reducing home buyers’ ability to purchase new homes, whether they are first home buyers, upgraders, downsizers or investors. 

Last year, stamp duty accounted for 37% of total property related taxes in Australia and the reliance of Governments on property taxes to boost their coffers should have lessened over time with the introduction of the GST, but the opposite trend seems to be occurring. 

Nationally, stamp duty has risen, due mainly to increases in NSW and Victoria according to industry figures.  And yet, property taxes were cut in WA and NT, and government revenues actually increased. 

What seems to be happening is that stamp duty is putting new homes beyond the reach of many, so fewer homes are selling overall, reducing revenue raised through these taxes to governments. 

Making home ownership too taxing is a short-sighted and quick grab for cash by governments and should be ‘stamped out’ as soon as possible so that everyone can achieve their home ownership goals.

New Homes To Drive Property Market

The New Homes Building sector may provide a solution to Australia’s sluggish start to the property market for 2012, especially if associated regulatory and government taxes were reduced.

As a key barometer for the health of the domestic economy, and often a driver for first home buyer activity, the new home building sector needs more than just low interest rates to sustain improvements in conditions. Something needs to be done at the policy level.

An industry report released in February this year showed a decline of 7.3 per cent in seasonally adjusted new home sales in January, with Victoria experiencing the sharpest decline of 19.6 per cent.

The report also showed a decline in detached house sales for NSW and SA as well, which further weakened results, but strengthened the case for government action.

A real opportunity exists for governments to set the new home building agenda and look at policy reform that will reduce new home building taxes.

Up until now, both state and federal governments have relied on Victoria to prop up this segment of the Australian market, but the results show they can no longer do that. It is up to governments to show leadership and do something.

Policy reform, especially reducing taxes and costs for home building would have a multiplier effect. It would attract people in a financial position to build a new home, and have the knock on effect of increasing economic activity through jobs and sales activity.

Trends in Property – What’s APP-ropriate

Click here to download the First National Real Estate App

First National Real Estate cautions buyers and sellers to make sure they know the most app-ropriate new technologies that best suits their needs. 

Consumers crave information because it gives them power, control and improved certainty over their purchase decisions, and new technologies will make this even easier, especially the advent of Point-Know-Buy (PKB) technology. 

PKB will reshape consumers’ information expectations, search behaviour and purchasing patterns, which is why it is crucial consumers understand how it works whether they are interested in buying or selling property. 

PKB enables consumers to access information about objects they encounter in the real world while on the go, simply by pointing their smartphone or similar device at anything they are interested in. 

It effectively links images to any available information about that picture, which means a buyer can be out and about, perhaps at a display home or open house, point at a prospective piece of real estate and access any available information about it just by pointing their phone. 

First National Real Estate already uses mobile technology to its fullest advantage through various Apps which give consumers greater control. 

One of its Apps will instantly add a customer’s wish list to a database which will highlight properties that are suitable matches.  Another demonstrates to home sellers the impact on the number of potential buyers if a selling price is too high. Its mobile Apps allow agents to demonstrate, using a sliding scale, how many buyers are waiting on a database for their home, based on their asking price. 

Mobile Apps also allow First National to offer superior property management services for both landlords and tenants through an application that adds a tenant to a database at inspections and another one that enables First National to provide a much more thorough and efficient condition reporting tool for landlords.

Should you invest in Australian property?

The decision to rent or buy is always a big one. The traditional strategy of buying a first house and then moving up to the ideal home as your income and equity grows is fast being replaced by the initial purchase of an investment property. However, the alternative of renting indefinitely while you save to buy is becoming equally difficult because of escalating rents and an historic squeeze on vacancies.

If you’ve wondered whether you’re ahead by renting or better off buying, consider these statistics.

  • The median net wealth of a renting household is $55,265 whereas homeowners have nine times as much – $487,183
  • Renters comprise 28.7 per cent of the nation’s households but have only 6.3 per cent of the nation’s wealth
  • Australians who own their home are worth 13 times more than renters – $734,394

So, despite arguments to the contrary that emerge from time to time, real estate ownership has made the average Australian second only to Swiss residents as the wealthiest in the world.

So how do you take the step from renting to buying your first home?

  1. Approach the market with a sound five-year plan. Get into the market, pay down the mortgage, and establish equity in the home as a basis for long-term financial security and flexibility.
  2. Budget for extras. As well as a solid deposit, have money set aside to cover insurance, routine maintenance costs and to meet mortgage payments for several months if something goes wrong.
  3. Don’t worry about the market. Your focus should be on building a deposit while looking for the property that matches your lifestyle and budget.
  4. Compromise. Your perfect home is likely to be out of reach for now, so focus on hunting down a property that has solid real estate attributes – good location, off-street parking, security, quality finishes and proximity to restaurants and transport. Choose something that will suit your needs for the next five years or so while you build up equity and prepare for the next phase of home ownership.

First National Supports Rates Decision

First National Real Estate says RBA’s decision to keep interest rates on hold is the right one because the market needs stability to counter ongoing consumer nervousness and tension.

The network’s members have reported drops in listing volumes for the second month in a row, which, in part, reflects home owners waiting for selling conditions to improve before they put their properties on the market but also reflects seasonal factors.

While the market remains slow in much of Australia, decreases in housing availability will begin to place upward pressure on prices as it increases competition, ultimately reducing the number of days it takes to sell a home.

Home buying opportunities, even with the rates remaining steady, were still considered plentiful as interest rates are still relatively low and home prices are at their most affordable for quite a number of years – which all bodes well for a property market looking for signs of stability and recovery.

Any rate decreases could have further added to consumer nervousness, which is still suffering from uncertainty around global economies and impacts of rising living costs, especially with the advent of the carbon tax.

At the same time, an increase now could result in reduced affordability, something first home buyers in particular can ill-afford at a time when some of the government assistance schemes are being cut back or dropped altogether.

Home buyers are encouraged to negotiate better rates with mortgage lenders including the Big 4 banks who are all on record as saying they are willing to discuss rates with home buyers in order to retain their share of the market, giving buyers a real position of power.

A calm approach is exactly what is needed right now to allow the property market to catch its breath and stabilise activity, so it can prepare for the next wave of influencing factors. This falls right into the hands of home buyers who should be able to secure the best deals they have for many years.

Burnie Property Outlook 2012

The Burnie property market will be bolstered by renewed interest in 2012, as home buyers stop marking time, after waiting through 2011 for prime buying conditions to arrive.

In the last six months, the market has been falling due to a lack of confidence in the economy and with state government policies, but this is expected to steady in 2012.

With current economic uncertainty, state budget cuts and rising unemployment dampening confidence, house sales and new housing construction will remain slow, with prices generally remaining flat.

It is expected that extended selling periods will be seen and that values will remain under pressure until the region’s economic prospects improve.

The key challenges facing the region’s property market in 2012 will be ongoing low consumer confidence due to State Government budget cuts to health, education and police.  Stamp duty concessions for first homebuyers ceased in the middle of 2011 and this will continue to impact on first homebuyers entering the market, as they will need to save a larger deposit.

The government also announced in the budget, that spikes in property land taxes will be smoothed out with a reduction in the valuation cycle from 6 years to 3 years.  Cost of living increases, such as rising water/sewerage charges and electricity prices, will continue to negate any gains made from high affordability levels.

Market Conditions

Buyer confidence will improve in 2012 on the back of decreasing sentiment in the last half of 2011.  Confidence has been at the mercy of local market conditions and into 2012, interest rates will be more of a key influencing factor.

Residential Market

Property Prices

Property prices in Burnie are expected to remain relatively flat across all sectors although there is potential for some upward movement of below 1 per cent, depending on what happens with interest rates.

A large choice of available properties for purchase in the local Burnie area will continue to ease pressure on prices.

Land prices may be sensitive to any decline in building approvals and an oversupply of land in some areas.

Rental Market

2012 could see an easing in rental vacancies, of up to 1 per cent, and moderating rental growth.

Rental markets in areas where job losses are being experienced may experience further easing of rental prices and some price drops in weekly rents will be due to people leaving areas in search of employment. This could lead to an oversupply of rental properties.

So, weekly rental prices will remain relatively flat in those regions, with the potential of some decreases of up to 1 per cent. 

Growth

Any increases in investor activity are expected to be up to 5 per cent in the main, as economic uncertainty continues to play a role in investment behaviour and purchase decisions.  Any potential increases will only be if investors are able to purchase positively geared properties.

The upgrader segment is expected to produce the strongest growth in 2012, as buyers seize the opportunity to capitalise on greater affordability and the possibility of lower interest rates, which are expected to further decrease by between 0.5 and 0.75 per cent.

While interest rate cuts may increase activity slightly in Burnie, the real benefit will be any relief it provides to home owners who are facing large increases in their day-to-day living expenses.

Changing Market Conditions

The introduction of the carbon tax is expected to further reduce confidence in the state economy and the government that runs it.

Commercial Property Market

Tasmania is currently outperforming all other major office markets and it will continue to set the pace until at least the first half of 2012.