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Savvy buying: Experts tip Melbourne’s overlooked and underappreciated suburbs

In Melbourne’s inner ring, there are few suburbs that escape the attention of buyers looking for the best compromise between distance to the city, value, and amenity.

But agents say there are a few underappreciated pockets which are often overlooked by buyers for their size or perceived attractiveness or status.

East
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17 Baker Parade, Ashburton is going to auction on March 16. Photo: Marshall White

While most of the east receives more love than other parts of Melbourne, a few key areas were overlooked by the more wealthy residents and offered aspirational buyers a chance to get a leg up into the leafy enclave, founding director of Jellis Craig Alastair Craig said.

“East Malvern, parts of Glen Iris, Ashburton, Ashwood and North Balwyn,” he said when asked to list suburbs he thought were unappreciated.

“We saw some really good growth in them and there are pockets in them that represent good value.

“Mount Waverley and areas like that, they’re still very popular areas. But there is a growing trend in those suburbs where prices have moved tremendously, including towards Doncaster.”

Mr Craig said in recent years urban sprawl made the relatively close suburbs more attractive.

“They used to be seen as too far out. Now they’ve improved services, they’re far more accessible,” he said.

Northwestern suburbs
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36 Farnham Street, Flemington is for sale with an asking price of $890,000 to $970,00. Photo: Nelson Alexander

Western and northwestern suburbs are often seen as budget alternatives to the better-connected parts of Melbourne, but Seddon and Footscray are no longer the secret known only to savvy buyers that they once were.

Nelson Alexander agent Ryan Currie said Flemington was often overlooked, but was coming back into vogue as prices fell.

“People can definitely buy something sub a million in Flemington, when previously it was tipping over that,” he said. “Otherwise they were jumping it as a suburb. They were looking to get a bit more bang for their buck in Maribyrnong and Maidstone.”

But even then, Mr Currie felt Maribyrnong was underappreciated.

“It’s got a lot of upside to come, and it’s a good lifestyle suburb.”

Northeastern suburbs
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17 Temby Street, Watsonia has an asking price of $1 million to $1.1 million. Photo: Jellis Craig

Just outside affluent Rosanna and Ivanhoe, Miles agent David Blythesaid Watsonia was making waves despite being little known to most.

As well as tiny, sleepy Watsonia, Mr Blythe said MacLeod wasn’t as popular with buyers as it should be.

“MacLeod and Watsonia shopping villages are really coming alive. Then they’re on the Hurstbridge line, which is about 15 to 20 minutes up the line from the city,” he said.

“The bang for your buck is great.”

Similarly, Mr Blythe said Heidelberg Heights was an underrated suburb due to its history as a housing commission area. “There’s a perception that’s not really reality,” he said.

“There’s pockets of Heidelberg Heights that are really good. The [best] road would be Waiora Road. There’s a really high calibre suburb, Rosanna, that’s literally [on the other side] of the road.”

Southern suburbs
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10 Gardenia Road is one of four homes for sale in Gardenvale at the time of publication. Photo: Thomson

Finally, in the south is Gardenvale, one of the city’s smallest suburbs.

Gary Peer director Leor Samuel said the suburb was often overlooked because buyers didn’t know it existed.

“[Buyers] don’t [know] because you don’t ever search Gardenvale,” he said. “It sort of just pops up. They look at Elsternwick and Brighton.

“They say things like, I really love this area and homes rarely come up.

“It doesn’t have much turnover. There’s not even a median, so few homes go up for sale.”

Mr Samuel said the good-sized blocks and period homes made the oft-forgotten suburb a hit with buyers who do stumble upon it.

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/melbournes-overlooked-and-unappreciated-suburbs-809252/

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Sydney faces shortfall of more than 200,000 homes for low to moderate-income earners, report shows

Sydney needs to find room for 200,000 more homes to help low to moderate-income earners who face chronic rental stress, new research has found.

The biggest area of need is the inner south-west, according to University of New South Wales researchers, where 33,600 homes are needed within the next two decades just to keep up with demand at that income level.

Sydney has a huge backlog in social and affordable housing thanks to decades of undersupply, said research fellow Laurence Troy from the university’s City Futures Research Centre, ahead of the release of the research on Thursday.

The Parramatta region and the south-west also have a lack of appropriate housing and face a shortfall of 28,000 and 23,000, respectively.

“Social housing doesn’t currently deliver enough to even maintain the same share [of the market] and while affordable housing is being built by the community sector, it’s not enough to meet the current unmet backlog,” Dr Troy said.

A further 117,000 properties are needed across the rest of the state, which Community Housing Industry Association chief executive Wendy Hayhurst said indicated the urgent need for government action.

ADDITIONAL SOCIAL AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEEDED BY 2036
Region Dwellings needed
Inner South West33600
Parramatta28000
South West23900
City and Inner South17700
Blacktown15200
Inner West13500
Outer West and Blue Mountains13000
North Sydney and Hornsby11500
Outer South West10600
Eastern Suburbs10300
Ryde7000
Northern Beaches6300
Sutherland5400
Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury3800
Source: City Futures Research Centre.

“It’s a huge total, but if we turn our back on it, all it will do is get bigger and bigger, and more difficult and more difficult to solve … it won’t go away,” she said.

Ms Hayhurst, whose organisation commissioned the research, said demand for social and affordable housing was greatest in the city’s outer regions because lower income earners had already been pushed to live there. But, she noted, this did not mean this was where the most new housing should be built.

Dr Troy added while it was more affordable to build fringe estates where land was cheaper, this would not have the same benefit as having a spread of social and affordable housing across the city.

Delivering such a huge amount of social and affordable housing would cost billions, with the report indicating government would need to chip in $3.3 billion a year under the preferred funding model to meet demand. More than $1.2 billion would be needed for housing in Sydney alone.

Dr Troy said a capital grant, combined with money available though the federal government’s bond aggregator, would be the most efficient way to fund supply long-term. He said if combined with any private housing development that in turn raised capital for social and affordable housing, annual funding needed for Sydney properties could drop to $345 million.

He said while an ongoing subsidy was often more appealing to governments than an upfront payment, it could be more costly in the long term.

Along with picking the right funding model, Ms Hayhurst said the delivery of social and affordable housing could be greatly affected by affordably housing targets, such as those put forward by Labor and the Greens, as well as by government giving up land – which could make up between 40 and 60 per cent of development costs – for redevelopment.

The findings come ahead of a cost of living rally to be held Thursday night, which will call for at least 5000 new social housing homes to be built across the state each year. The rally at Sydney Town Hall, expected to draw about 2400 community leaders and members, will also call for government action on housing insecurity, rental affordability and energy costs.

A spokeswoman for Social Housing Minister Pru Goward said the government was on track to deliver 23,500 new and replacement social and affordable housing dwellings over 10 years. An extra 3400 homes were expected to be delivered by community providers under an affordable housing fund.

The opposition was contacted for comment.

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/sydney-faces-shortfall-of-more-than-200000-homes-for-low-to-moderate-income-earners-report-shows-808928/

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Governments urged to spend billions to meet Victoria’s housing shortfall

Victoria’s social housing stock is in urgent need of new supply, with one researcher reporting a cash injection of $960 million needed in just the first year of a long-term overhaul.

The University of NSW’s City Futures Research Centre report, released on Thursday, showed that under a capital grant funding model, a further $744 million in land and cash will also be needed to build affordable homes across the state.

Separate figures show 225,600 new social and affordable homes will be needed in Victoria by 2036.

That number takes into account those under rental stress who are spending more than one-third of their income on rent.

Housing boom Melbourne
Melbourne urgently needs more affordable housing. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Report author Laurence Troy said while the outlay was huge, spending the money on social and affordable housing would mean cost savings for governments.

“Based on our modelling, the best and cheapest way for governments to deliver on our unmet housing need is to fund it through a combination of upfront grants and low-interest, government-supported financing,” Dr Troy said.

He said the federal government spent $11.8 billion on negative gearing and capital gains tax subsidies for property investors each year. Funding social and affordable housing until 2036 would cost an estimated $8.6 billion annually across the nation.

“Delivering below-market rental housing through the not-for-profit sector, as opposed to the private equity model, will save $3 billion a year by removing developer mark-ups and shareholder returns,” Dr Troy said.

The report comes as housing and community sector organisations ramp up the Everybody’s Home campaign in the lead-up to the federal election. The groups are demanding 225,600 more social and affordable houses in Melbourne alone.

The need is most pronounced in the inner city, western suburbs and south-eastern suburbs, according to the UNSW report.

Dr Troy said the cost of the existing housing market was adding pressure to low-income families in these areas.

“Higher cost housing [in the inner city] leads to people paying more rent and more chance of people being in rental stress. Meanwhile there are lower income earners [in other areas], which is how you end up with higher rental stress in those areas,” he said.

Dr Troy said governments should not just be building social and affordable housing in suburbs in need but across the city.

National spokesperson for Everybody’s Home Kate Colvin said the cash figures would be surprising to politicians, many of whom might be unaware of how big the issue was in their electorates.

“I think this is an issue that people who struggle to pay the rent every week have been feeling for some time – and there are thousands and thousands of people every week,” Ms Colvin said.

Adding to the issues in Melbourne were the low rental vacancy rates – 1.8 per cent in January –  which saw people on extremely low wages struggle to compete in the private rental market.

More social and affordable housing across Melbourne, and Victoria, would help to reduce the pressure on rent costs.

“One of the other things the report is telling us is that the lowest cost way of delivering this housing is via upfront capital grants from a land contribution from government … it’s highlighting the need for both state and federal governments to look at their land holdings and contribute the land and capital that’s needed,” she said.

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/big-spenders-governments-need-to-spend-billions-to-meet-housing-shortfall-809270/

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World-first building in Melbourne to provide home for young people sleeping rough for as long as they need

It’s not the first time a “world-first” building is being claimed by Melbourne.

But when it opens in April, Melbourne City Mission’s Frontyard Youth Services in King Street will take the descriptor – and for good reason.  Near the corner of Flinders Lane, it will be a place where young people living on the streets, or at risk of homelessness, can find a home and get the support services they need 24 hours a day. A world-first, according to those in the youth services field.

Melbourne City Mission homelessness and justice general manager Wayne Merritt said there was an urgent need for a building offering accommodation and health, legal and drug and alcohol services for young people aged 16 to 25 in the city.

Between 30 and 60 young people seek crisis accommodation from Frontyard Youth Services each day. 

“I think, over the past six years, there’s been a noticeable increase in young people sleeping rough in the city,” Mr Merritt told Domain. “[And] we know when young people come to our services, we’ve only got one chance to help them, otherwise they’re gone.”

Frontyard Youth Services building
The refurbished Frontyard Youth Services building in King Street. Photo: Supplied

Frontyard’s redeveloped building is four storeys, with the top two floors providing 18 rooms for accommodation. It also features kitchens for young people to cook a meal, sensory rooms for quiet contemplation and offices and consulting rooms for health, mental health and legal services.

The building is not only a first for youth services, it is also a first of sorts for world-renowned Melbourne-based architects Fender Katsalidis and builders Built.

For both, it’s their first significant pro bono job in Melbourne. They teamed with the Property Industry Foundation to help deliver $8 million worth of refurbishment works, funded in part by the state government with other philanthropic donations.

Built project manager Luke Rankin said the build was challenging and inspiring for the company, which has previously undertaken other, much smaller, pro bono projects.

He said about 90 per cent of the internal building changed, meaning lots of work for the team involved.

“We’ll probably be lacking a bit of sleep by the time it opens,” Mr Rankin said.

Frontyard Youth Services building
The refurbished Frontyard Youth Services building in King Street. Photo: Supplied

Fender Katsalidis Associate director Jessica Lee and director David Sutherland said the design was undertaken with Melbourne City Mission to make the building somewhere young people would feel welcome and calm.

“We wanted to create a sense of comfort from the time of arrival [at the building] because it’s a very stressful time,” Ms Lee said.

Mr Sutherland said the initial brief was to add two floors to the existing building for accommodation. When it became clear that would not be approved under planning regulations, the decision was made to gut the building and design it.

Mr Merritt says the entrance features soft furnishings, lots of plants, natural light and wooden finishes – all which create a calm, open and warm feeling for young people suffering from heightened trauma and anxiety about entering.

“There are lots of lines of sight, so there are no surprises – they know what they’re stepping into,” he said.

The crisis accommodation has also been specially designed and will allow young people to stay as long as they need.

Mr Merritt said he is already expecting the 18 beds to be full when the building officially opens and hopes that the extra rooms can help Frontyard in their mission to reduce the number of young people who end up in a cycle of adult homelessness.

“It’s so exciting, it’s a really big project and is going to allow us to show the sector, Australia and the world what can be done,” Mr Merritt said.

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au by MELISSA HEAGNEY. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/world-first-building-to-offer-home-to-young-people-sleeping-rough-808313/

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Futurist Steve Sammartino explains why we’ll soon be talking to walls and printing houses

Developers Property Investing

IMAGINE printing a 3D house that can put an at-risk family in emergency accommodation in as little as 24 hours for just $4000.

It’s not science-fiction.

Australian futurist Steve Sammartino, who is speaking at the upcoming REIQ Summit, is currently designing his own 3D printed smart house in Melbourne, and will talk about how he will integrate the latest technology in to the build.

He said the design could help across Australia’s natural disaster zones as well as assisting with affordability issues.

“With housing, you can set up a house really quickly, and not even for disaster zones, but even areas where they’re living in substandard housing, it will make things affordable,” he said.

It is a technology already being explored in other parts of the world.

An American manufacturer is working with the not-for-profit company, New Story, to set up 3D printed houses in developing countries as part of a humanitarian drive.

The 3D printed house Texan company New Story has designed for use in developing countries. Picture: supplied.

While in The Netherlands, a 3D printed housing community will go on the market this year in a partnership between Dutch developers and a local university.

A workers in The Netherlands supervising the 3D printing of concrete walls as part of the Project Milestone 3D community.

Mr Sammartino said technology had changed the way we work and live.

“But houses haven’t changed much and houses are the number one indicator of where we are in life,” he said.

“Two hundred thousand years ago we lived in caves, then stone houses, now those stone houses haven’t changed that much but the technology inside them reflects how life is going.”

Queensland University of Technology 3D printing expert Melissa Johnston said the 3D printing technology was being used across health, construction, IT, and the arts, and the popularity of desktop 3D printers was helping consumers embrace the new technology.

“I really do expect to see 3D houses in my lifetime, the technology is advancing so quickly now,” she said.

Regardless of what house you live in, Mr Sammartino said it was time to renovate.

“And that’s not putting plaster in places, I mean renovate so it matches the technology that’s all around us,” he said.

He said housing had gone through the industrial age, where energy and artificial power was placed inside a house, and the next phase was for intelligence to be put inside houses.

“Our houses will be commanded in the same way we interact with humans, commanded by voice and movement and body language and gesturing and thinking,” he said.

“We have power in the walls, and now we will have intelligence.

“It’s not even that expensive, we could automate a house to never have to put on a light switch again, to have it heat and cool itself based on sensing the outside environment, to only do the washing at a time when the electricity’s cheap.”

Mr Sammartino is calling on government and industry groups to develop a basic standard for smart housing to encourage competition, and address consumer concerns over security and privacy.

“We have a standard for wiring, plugs, plumbing; industry needs to come together to develop a basic standard that can be used in all houses, so instead of having Google or Amazon dominate, you can plug in different suppliers.

“I think it’s the job of industry and government to regulate around this so it becomes a competitive marketplace.”

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland Summit will be held from March 14 to 15 at the Royal International Convention Centre at Bowen Hills.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the conference was the most forward-thinking one so far.

“The next generation of property consumer, whether that’s owner occupier or investor, will have different values to the generations that have gone before,” she said.

“They will have different expectations and demand different results.”

This article was first published in www.realestate.com.au. Here’s th elink to the original article: https://www.realestate.com.au/news/futurist-steve-sammartino-explains-why-well-soon-be-talking-to-walls-and-printing-houses/

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What the median house price in each of Australia’s capital cities gets you around the world

Ever dreamed of throwing it all in permanently and chasing your holiday dreams?

It’s tempting, especially with the next long weekend more than a month and a half away! But what could you get for your money?

We’ve taken a look at what the median house price from the December quarter in each Australian capital buys and what you could get in cities around the world.

The prices used here are worked out using the exchange rates on March 11 and, for simplicity, the euro was used in some cities where it isn’t the local currency.

Melbourne – London
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The one-bedroom flat for sale Atherton Street, Battersea. Photo: Douglas & Gordon, Battersea Park

Melbourne’s median of $833,000 doesn’t get you much when converted to British pounds, about £451,000. Similarly, you get much less house for your GBP.

In Battersea, six kilometres from the centre of London, a single bed flat costs £450,000, which is just under budget. And it’s not a huge one bedroom flat – just 47 square metres of floor space, with the kitchen on a mezzanine level. The bathroom also appears to be very narrow.

In Melbourne, the median can get you a two-bedroom townhouse in Moonee Ponds which is about the same distance from the CBD.

Sydney – Tokyo
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A small house in Shibuya, Japan. Photo: realestate.co.jp

The median in Sydney is out of range for most buyers in Australia, but if you take the figure of $1.062 million to Tokyo, you can get a fairly good deal.

That many Australian dollars makes 83 million yen, and that can get you a 75-square-metre block with a three-storey, four-bedroom townhouse on it. It’s almost brand new too, built in 2018.

In Australia’s busiest city that will get you a two-bedroom terrace house a similar distance from the city centre. If you’re lucky.

Brisbane – Prague
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A four-bedroom house in Prague. Photo: ee24

The median house in Brisbane is $566,000 for the December quarter last year. Converting that to euros gives us 354,000 to play with in Prague.

In the Czech Republic’s capital, that figure can get a four-bedroom detached house in the suburbs, which is similar to what it would get you in Brisbane.

The block for sale in Czechia is 564 square metres, which is considered fairly standard in Brisbane.

Canberra – Washington DC
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945 T St NW # 2, Washington, DC. Photo: Fairfax Realty Premier

Canberra’s median of $739,000 translates to about $US520,000. Taking that budget to the US counterpart of our very own capital territory, buyers would be able to pick up a one-bedroom townhouse near Capitol Hill.

The pictured home was built more than 100 years ago.

Perth – Istanbul
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A villa in Istanbul on 350 square metres of land. Photo: ee24

Perth’s median has finally arrested, for now, at $546,000. That’s 342,000 euros, and if we stretch the budget and head to Istanbul, in Turkey, that can buy a seven-bedroom villa, spread over four levels.

The listing boasts that the home is a “HOUSE IN WHICH YOU WILL BE RESPECT !!![sic]”, with a “fenced territory” of 350 square metres.

Adelaide – Auckland
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227 Church Street Onehunga, Auckland City. Photo: Ray White

Over in New Zealand, the exchange rate is a bit kinder, resulting in a budget of $567,000 from Adelaide’s median house price of $537,000.

That sum won’t get you much – possibly a single-bedroom unit in Auckland central, but you might be able to snag a freehold home out on the outskirts.

For example, the “Perch on Church” is a two-bedroom, dated weatherboard home about 12 kilometres from the city centre.

Hobart – Jakarta
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A five-bedroom home in Jakarta.

Turning Australian dollars into Indonesian rupiah is much more enjoyable than pounds, USD or euros. Australia’s lowest median, Hobart’s, shoots from a measly $480,000 to 4.8 billion rupiah.

And that’s nothing to be sneezed at in Jakarta, that sort of cash can land a buyer a five-bedroom compound on the eastern edge of the city.

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here’s the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/what-the-median-house-price-in-each-of-the-capital-cities-gets-you-around-the-world-808397/

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Are Australia’s ‘secondary’ cities still a bargain, or have they run their race?

Australia’s capital cities may be coming off the boil, but what of their metropolitan siblings?

Secondary cities such as Geelong, Newcastle and Launceston have been on a run,  proving more affordable options for buyers after prices shot up in the closest major capital city. But with prices in some capitals declining – most notably in Sydney and Melbourne – some secondary cities now don’t look quite as good value as they did a year or two ago.

The outlook for prices in major regional cities Newcastle, Wollongong, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Geelong and Launceston is analysed below.

Secondary cities boomed after major cities became too expensive

When capital city prices become too expensive for first-home buyers and investors, aspiring capital city home buyers often look to nearby regional cities as a cheaper alternative. These secondary cities are often close enough to a major capital that people can commute to the capital city for work.

Price growth in major cities and secondary cities generally track pretty closely together, but sometimes with a delay of around a year. For some cities, the major city in some city-pairs can lead turning points in the price growth of the secondary city.

Sydneysiders consider Newcastle and Wollongong, Melburnians often look to Geelong, and Launceston, Tasmania’s second-largest city, is considered after Hobart. In Queensland, the typical house in Brisbane is cheaper than in the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, but these coastal cities are both within commuting distance to Brisbane and are obvious alternatives to Queensland’s capital.

Property prices in Wollongong, Newcastle and Geelong began rising a year or two after Sydney and Melbourne property prices began taking off around 2013. Launceston house prices have increased significantly since 2017, a couple of years after Hobart’s price boom started in 2015. While price growth has been more subdued up north, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast house prices have increased by more than those in Brisbane.

Most secondary cities have experienced stronger house price growth than their nearest capital cityMedian house price, December quarter
2015201620172018Per cent change,2015-2018
Sydney$1,015,559$1,131,882$1,180,024$1,062,6195%
  Wollongong$585,000$665,000$718,000$705,00021%
  Newcastle$453,000$495,000$535,000$558,00023%
Melbourne$718,853$811,393$909,463$833,32116%
  Geelong$435,000$465,000$518,000$557,50028%
Hobart$347,841$377,316$440,970$479,68538%
  Launceston$285,000$285,000$310,000$344,00021%
Brisbane$517,843$546,984$566,602$566,0589%
  Gold Coast$545,000$590,000$620,000$622,50014%
  Sunshine Coast$540,000$560,000$615,000$620,00015%
Notes: Capital city house prices are Australian Property Monitor city regions and are a stratified median price. Secondary cities are ABS Significant Urban Areas and are a raw median price.

What’s in store for secondary cities house prices?

Several indicators are used to predict price growth in secondary cities in the coming years.

The first method is comparing the ratio of the median price in a capital city with the secondary city’s median house price. The higher the capital city/secondary city price ratio, the more expensive the capital is compared to the secondary city (for example, a ratio of 2 indicates a typical house in the capital city is twice as expensive as the secondary city).

If a capital city/secondary city price ratio is below average, then this may indicate the secondary city is overvalued, suggesting the secondary city may see weaker price growth in the near future (and vice versa).

Buyer interest in an area – using changes in the number of views per listing from Domain’s website and apps, a leading indicator of future price growth – is also analysed. The economic outlook and job prospects in secondary cities, including the interconnectedness of the secondary city with the closest capital city, are also considered.

Sydney-Wollongong

While Wollongong’s economy is performing well, its prices are likely to stagnate or fall in the year ahead. The main reason is that the Sydney/Wollongong price ratio has fallen just below the 2010-2018 average and is back close to the level over the 2003-2013 period, where the median house price in Sydney prices was approximately 50 per cent higher than in Wollongong (see graph below). This fall in the price ratio was due to Sydney house prices falling by more than Wollongong house prices over the past two years.

While prices are likely to remain fairly stagnant over the next one to two years, Wollongong’s improving job market and growing links to Sydney should provide support to Wollongong property prices in the medium term.

Wollongong has seen strong jobs growth in the past couple of years, with the unemployment rate for the Wollongong LGA falling from almost 7 per cent in 2016 to 4.5 per cent in 2018.

Wollongong is also a growing commuter town: in 2016, more than 21,000 people commuted from Wollongong to Sydney for work (the second largest regional city to capital city commuting pair, behind the Gold Coast to Brisbane). Wollongong and Illawarra residents may also benefit from the construction of the Badgerys Creek airport, which will be just over an hour’s drive from Wollongong, although construction is not expected to finish until 2026.

Sydney-Newcastle

Newcastle is likely to see weak price growth or modest price falls in the next year or two. The Sydney/Newcastle price ratio has fallen below the 2010-2018 average as prices have grown slowly in Newcastle over the past year, but fell by 10 per cent in Sydney. This indicates Newcastle houses may be becoming overvalued compared to Sydney.

Buyer interest in Newcastle also appears to be waning. Domain’s views-per-listing measure for Newcastle fell by 2 per cent over 2018 as there were fewer buyers or they began looking elsewhere.

Another reason property price growth in Newcastle might be subdued is that there is no clear jobs boom on the horizon in the region. Newcastle’s unemployment rate has hovered around 6 per cent over the past couple of years, which is above Sydney’s unemployment rate of 4 per cent.

Melbourne-Geelong

The Melbourne/Geelong house price ratio fell significantly over 2018 as house prices increased in Geelong and fell in Melbourne. The Melbourne/Geelong price ratio now sits at 1.5, meaning a typical house in Melbourne is 50 per cent more expensive than a typical Geelong house. The ratio is now below the 2010-2018 average.

With Melbourne house prices forecast to continue falling in 2019, Geelong’s relative affordability will decline further, so this may also see prices in Geelong stagnate or fall modestly. The Geelong market is already losing momentum, with house price growth slowing in Geelong over 2018 and Domain’s views-per-listing measure for Geelong falling at the end of 2018.

While the analysis of the Melbourne/Geelong price ratio suggests Geelong prices may fall, there are some promising signs for Geelong’s economy. Some sectors are seeing jobs growth, particularly government jobs, and the city is on the rebound after the end of car manufacturing in 2016. Geelong’s unemployment rate has hovered around 6 per cent since 2016, but a very low unemployment rate in Melbourne of 4 per cent (down from 6 per cent over the past year) may help push Geelong’s unemployment rate lower.

Geelong is increasingly interconnected with Melbourne, which should see the Geelong property market become further tied to the Melbourne market. There are a number of transport infrastructure projects planned, or underway, that should improve travel times between Geelong and Melbourne, including the West Gate tunnel project and planned improvements to the Geelong-Melbourne rail service. 

These projects – combined with strong population growth and lots of homebuilding in Geelong and surrounding towns – mean the number of commuters from Geelong to Melbourne will likely increase from the 15,000 commuters in 2016.

Hobart-Launceston

An above-average Hobart/Launceston price ratio, increasing buyer interest and brighter economic prospects all indicate that Launceston may see further price growth over the next one to two years.

Price growth in Launceston, Tasmania’s second-largest city, is closely correlated with price growth in Hobart. As Hobart’s prices boomed over the past few years – house prices have increased by more than 40 per cent since early 2015 – Launceston has become relatively cheaper. The Hobart/Launceston price ratio has increased, with a typical house in Hobart now 40 per cent more expensive than a typical Launceston house, up from a 20 per cent difference a few years ago. 

But Launceston prices have also grown strongly since 2017, resulting in the price ratio stabilising, with the relative affordability of Launceston likely to encourage some investors and migrants to buy in Launceston instead of Hobart.

There is also growing buyer interest in Launceston. Views per listing in Launceston increased by about 40 per cent over 2018.

Launceston’s economic prospects are also improving. Unemployment recently fell to its lowest level in more than seven years, although it remains elevated at 6.8 per cent. Launceston is the subject of a City Deal partnership between federal, state and local governments to boost the Launceston economy. 

The annual MONA-FOMA festival has been moved from Hobart to Launceston, so Launceston may benefit from some of the “MONA-effect” that has boosted Hobart’s economy. A weaker Australian dollar should continue to support Tasmania’s economy by boosting tourist numbers to Tasmania, as well as making Tasmania’s exports cheaper for overseas buyers.

Unlike other city-pairs considered in this article, few people travel between Launceston and Hobart for work (only 275 people commuted from Launceston to Hobart in 2016).

Brisbane-Gold Coast and Brisbane-Sunshine Coast

Moderate price growth in the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast compared to slower price growth in Brisbane over the past two years has made a house in Brisbane relatively cheap compared to the coastal cities. The Brisbane/Gold Coast and Brisbane/Sunshine Coast price ratios have fallen and now sit below the 2010-2018 average, suggesting the coastal cities are slightly overvalued.

Because the smaller Queensland cities have a higher median price than Brisbane, the Brisbane/Gold Coast and Brisbane/Sunshine Coast price ratios are below 1, meaning a typical Brisbane house is about 10 per cent cheaper than in the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

South-east Queensland is highly interconnected. More than 30,000 people commuted from the Gold Coast to Brisbane for work in 2016, the biggest city pair in Australia, while 8400 people commuted from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane. 

Job prospects have been better in the Gold Coast than in the other cities. The Gold Coast’s unemployment rate has fallen from 5.5 per cent in late 2016 to 4.3 per cent at the end of 2018, whereas the unemployment rate hovered around 6 per cent in Brisbane in 2018 and increased to 6.5 per cent in 2018 in the Sunshine Coast.

The price ratios suggest Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast house prices may grow more slowly than Brisbane in 2019. But the Domain views-per-listing measure for the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast increased in the second half of 2018, and job prospects look better in the Gold Coast, suggesting there is scope for further price growth for both secondary cities.

The outlook

Secondary cities are closely tied to the performance of their closest capital. Over the next few years, as jobs continue to concentrate in Australia’s major cities, secondary cities will likely become even more closely linked to their nearest capital city.

The outlook for some capital cities is for further falls in 2019 before prices bottom-out later in the year, so the likelihood is secondary cities will see prices stagnate or fall in 2019, although Launceston looks to be an exception.

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/are-australias-secondary-cities-still-a-bargain-or-have-they-run-their-race-801179/

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Dream Rental: Swap the city for a beach lifestyle

Hands up if you often find yourself daydreaming about swapping the city grind for a laid back beach town? Well, if you’re a renter, chances are you can.

86 Cabarita Road in Avalon is the perfect example of a dream rental in a dream location.

The four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home is perched overlooking the docked boats on Careel Marina.

Rent comes in at $1,395 per week, so if you decided to live here with a group of friends that would make it $348 each.

This may sound like a lot, but it can cost more to rent a terrace house in Paddington.

Cheaper rent is not the only perk to switching to a beach lifestyle. Properties near the water are often good quality as they are owned by landlords who one day plan to holiday or live at the home.

Avalon has a strong rental market for this reason.

“People are moving here as a lifestyle choice and to be surrounded by the surf on one side and Pittwater waterway means there is only a limited number of properties available in this pocket,” says listing agent, Melinda Blake at Blake Property.

“Leases are normally 12 months and we have tenants who have been renting with us for over 10 years. You do not want to move once you are here. A lot of families rent here initially before buying,” she says.

The outdoor lifestyle at 86 Cabarita Road is next level. Picture: realestate.com.au/rent

“You get open spaces, beautiful beaches, endless water ways, and a community vibe where all the shop owners know you by name.”

With an increasing number of freelancers entering the Australian workforce, rentals like this which prioritise lifestyle could be the best option for digital nomads.

So while all the other schmucks are heading into the CBD for their nine to five job, as a freelancer, you could be setting up the laptop overlooking the water and sipping on a cold beer.

This article was first published in www.realestate.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.realestate.com.au/news/dream-rental-swap-the-city-for-a-beach-lifestyle/

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Six months mortgage free: Sydney developers continue to roll out incentives to lure buyers

Free mortgage payments are among the latest incentives on offer as developers try to lock in buyers in Sydney’s cooling market.

In addition to the stamp duty rebates, rental guarantees, frequent flyer points and strata levy payments already on offer, developers are now prepared to cover mortgage repayments to get buyers in the door.

Apartment buyers can have six months of their mortgage repayments covered for purchases at the Flour Mill in Summer Hill, under an incentive by Colliers International.

Meanwhile, Allam Property Group is offering to cover a year of mortgage repayments on more than 200 new homes across Sydney, the Central Coast and Illawarra.

With tighter lending restrictions hitting buyer demand, Colliers International wanted to address concerns around lending limits, residential project marketing director Ian Bennett said.

The Flour Mill apartments in Summer Hill NSW NOT FOR REUSE
An artist’s impression of the Flour Mill apartments in Summer Hill, which buyers can now purchase for six months mortgage free. Photo: Artist impression

“[Buyers are] concerned about banks and lending and interest rates,” Mr Bennett said. “We wanted to make it easy for them to forget about all that.”

The offer kicked off two weeks ago in a bid to sell just fewer than 30 remaining apartments in stage three of the inner-west development by EG, which has been for sale since 2017.

Mr Bennett said buyers could expect to save a fraction under $20,000 on an apartment priced at $900,000, and noted they also had the option to deduct the savings from the purchase price at settlement.

It comes after buyers were offered a two-year utilities holiday if they purchased at the same development last year, with 18 properties sold over the eight-week promotion, which covered water, gas, electricity bills, as well as strata fees and council rates. Mr Bennett noted a similar promotion – offering 18 months free of bills – kicked off for apartments at Wooloware Bay last week.

Allam Property Group has seen a big increase in inquiries off the back of its 12-month offer, the first it’s had for mortgage payments, said founder Barney Allam. About 25 people have bought homes since January and buyers could save up to $65,000 if they purchase before the end of the month.

“In today’s market we think this is important; smaller offers or offers of free upgrades or furniture simply do not have the cut-through in today’s incentive-driven market,” he added.

Other incentives on offer include full stamp duty rebates, low fixed-interest rates on loans and guaranteed finance where buyers will have their deposit refunded if they cannot secure a mortgage. Promotions offering up to one million frequent flyer points, furniture packages, first-home owner rebates and rental guarantees are also on the table.

A Box Hill property by Allam Property Group.
Allam Property Group is offering to pay a year’s worth of mortgage repayments on new homes.

While such offers are appealing, Canstar group executive of financial services Steve Mickenbecker warned buyers to do their research to make sure they were getting good value.

“I’m not saying every single incentive is a problem incentive, but make sure the one you’re taking out is the best one for you. Go in with your eyes wide open,” he said.

He noted buyers also needed to think long term, about whether they could service a loan once an incentive — whether mortgage payments or a rental guarantee — wore off.

“What happens when that first period of support disappears,” he said. “They might find they can’t rent for anywhere near the amount they were renting for, that there isn’t the demand.”

Sydney developer Mark Bainey, chief executive of Capio Property Group, said the rise of such deals was unsurprising given Sydney’s cooling market. The city’s median house price fell 9.9 per cent last year and apartment prices dropped 5.8 per cent, according to the latest Domain Group data.

With tighter lending restrictions affecting buyer demand, as well as finance for projects, Mr Bainey said developers were “throwing everything they have at the buyer to get them to commit”.

On some of his own developments, Mr Bainey offers a furniture package, because “you have to offer some incentive to close [a sale] that’s how difficult the current level of buyer confidence is”.

“[But] I’d never offer mortgage free, I don’t see a reason to; if you’re going to offer six months mortgage free why not just lower the price,” he added.

While attractive, Mr Bainey said, developers were reluctant to drop prices due to the effect it could have on the valuation of apartments already sold for higher values.

This article was first published on www.domain.com. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/six-months-mortgage-free-developers-continue-to-roll-out-incentives-to-lure-buyers-801824/


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Street names that Cupid would approve

There is no excuse not to remember Valentine’s Day for those living in many of the State’s most loved-up residential addresses.

Among the street names that would no doubt be approved by Cupid, is Darling Street,

Balmain; Heart Place, Blacktown, Cuddlepie Place, Faulconbridge, and of course Kissing Point Road, Dundas.

Love may be considered a two-way street, but at Emus Plains there is a Love Court.

Winston Hills resident Ashleigh Bowles didn’t think too much about the street name when she bought her home at Eros Place more than a decade ago. Surprisingly its street sign has never been ‘borrowed’.

60 Dilkera Avenue Valentine

This four bedroom property in 60 Dilkera Avenue, Valentine has a price guide of $1.8m — $1.9m

“It is definitely an easy way to tell people where I live, I just tell them `Eros Place’, the god of love — they usually have a bit of a giggle,” she said.

“Valentine’s Day is a bit of big deal for me to an extent, we usually go out for dinner but I specifically ask my boyfriend not to get flowers because they are always really marked up on that day.”

Residents living in the Lake Macquarie township of Valentine won’t be able to escape the significance of February 14. While those living in the more commonly found Rose Street and Diamond Court may feel pressure to deliver a gift.

BEST WEEKEND OBERON AWAY TRIP

The Grose Valley and Bridal Veil Falls from Govett’s Leap, in The Blue Mountains

It could, however, be a lonely night for residents living in Single Street at Werris Creek.

Marriage has also inspired many names around NSW such as Honeymoon Bay, at Currarong on the South Coast, Wedding Cake Island, just off Coogee and Bridal Veil Falls in the Blue Mountains.

There is a Bachelor Rd at Wotton on the State’s mid-north coast, yet no Spinster Street.

At Wolli Creek, several apartments have been sold in Lusty Street, but the risqué name hasn’t put off buyers. Agent Paul Karasalidis from Century 21 Southern Realty admits he was amazed when no one questioned the unusual address when they sold a two-bedroom unit there 18 months ago.

“People just didn’t bring it up at all — I’m really not sure why they chose that street name,” he said.

162 Wilderness Rd Lovedale

This Lovedale has just been listed for sale

The suburb of Lovedale is capitalising on its romantic name becoming an increasingly popular destination for couples wanting to marry in the Hunter Valley. Agent Ray Armstrong has just listed a stunning vineyard set on 12.14ha at 162 Wilderness Rd. It has attracted several inquiries from buyers interested in turning the property into a wedding reception venue.

“People really do like the name of Lovedale and that is how they have promoted the area,” he said.

32 Love Street Blacktown

This home in Love Street, Blacktown sold in December for $718,000

Romance is literally just around the corner at Blacktown and Cessnock, both of which have a Love Street. But if you are hoping to impress a potential Valentine, maybe steer clear of Dubbo — one of the few towns in the State with a Rocky Road.

This article was first published in www.realestate.com.au. This is the link to the original article: https://www.realestate.com.au/news/street-names-that-cupid-would-approve/