bigstock-modern-living-room-with-design-18426827HOMEBUYERS and renters value a good neighbourhood above any other property feature, a new survey has found.

Nearly 70 per cent of respondents made this selection in a recent Aussie Home Loans questionnaire.

The results were generally in line with what professional valuers consider to be the property features which add most value to a home.

A modern kitchen was the third most sought-after feature, appealing to 63.4 per cent of respondents.

This was pipped by that man haven and all-round storage space, the garage (63.7 per cent).

More than half said they were on the lookout for big bedrooms, air-conditioning and a modern bathroom.

Lifestyle features such as a swimming pool (11.3 per cent) or a home cinema (3.9 per cent) were a long way down the wish list.

The main factors that deterred buyers were tobacco odour (67 per cent), a busy street location (65.8 per cent), a dirty interior (61.6 per cent) and noisy neighbours (60 per cent).

Herron Todd White Perth managing director Brendon Ptolomey said location was the biggest factor in determining a property's value.

For example, a 4x2 in Peppermint Grove was not going to be the same value as a 4x2 in a new estate.

After location, valuers would rank modern kitchens, modern bathrooms, parking spaces, alfresco areas and extra bedrooms as the biggest value add-ons for a home, Mr Ptolomey said.

"There is a massive emphasis on kitchens from the market place," he said.

"People are much more aware of what's in there, and they're aware of features like the size of the oven or finishes like stone bench-tops."

Extra features added to a kitchen's value, but storage was a bigger factor.

Valuers would rank a garage further down the list, but in newer suburbs an enclosed garage could add between $20,000 and $30,000 to a property, Mr Ptolomey said.

The number of bathrooms also added value. He said valuers were seeing more homeowners put in a third bathroom.

"It could be a powder room with a shower, or a laundry with a shower," he said.

"People tend to want to shove teenagers down the end of the house."

A second bathroom added more value than a third, however.

"A second bathroom is almost essential in today's market," Mr Ptolomey said.


Parking space could also increase the value of a property.

"The closer you get to the city and the more difficult it is to park, then it can add anything from $20,000 to $50,000,'' Mr Ptolomey said.

"We certainly see a difference in value between one and two-bay apartments in the city."

A patio upgrade could virtually be relied on to lift the value, provided the job was well done.

"There are not too many homes without an alfresco it's pretty important to the market," Mr Ptolomey said.

"It can be a massive selling point."

Valuers said it was difficult to judge the dollar benefit of an extra bedroom.

"There's no perfect formula - you can't say a fourth bedroom will add $10,000 to a property," Mr Ptolomey said.

"But they always get used as a bedroom or a study, or most often as the junk room."

But he said living area was vital and the space taken up by a fourth bedroom might be at the expense of a lounge room.

Curtin University property studies professor Andrea Constable said bedrooms were also subject to the "law of diminishing returns'' - a fourth bedroom would be likely to add value but a ninth bedroom probably would not.

REIWA president David Airey said storage was an underrated influence on value.

"We are living in smaller households but accumulating more possessions," Mr Airey said.

"Homes with plenty of storage space are likely to be more valued."

But extra features, such as swimming pools or outdoor kitchens, were likely to be an over capitalisation.

Mr Ptolomey said a swimming pool could cost $30,000 to put in and add only $15,000 to the property's value.

Top 5 killer features

1) Kitchen 
"A well-designed, functional and spacious kitchen with quality draws and cupboards, bench-tops and appliances is an increasing priority for home buyers.'' - David Airey

2) Bathrooms 
"The market values a second bathroom and toilet or ensuites very highly due to the convenience and privacy they offer.'' - David Airey

3) Parking
"The closer you get to the city and the more difficult it is to park then it can add anything from $20,000 to $50,000.'' - Brendon Ptolomey

4) Undercover al fresco area
"We see everything from a BBQ shoved under a patio to an extensive outdoor kitchen, under patios with high ceiling fans. It can be a massive selling point.'' - Brendon Ptolomey

5) Bedrooms 
"Many homes today are occupied only by one or two people. Regardless of this shrinking household size the desire for larger homes remains strong and the market tends to put higher values on four-bedroom houses and three-bedroom apartments. Extra bedrooms offer flexible lifestyle options such as a home office or guest room.'' - David Airey

(source: Perthnow)


Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

bigstock-housing-team-844036AS low interest rates prompt a fresh surge in real estate activity, a Battle Royale is looming between first-home buyers and property investors.

Sadly for the first-home buyer crowd, it's a one-sided contest.  Low interest rates help both parties with their repayments, but investors typically have more financial firepower when it comes to a bidding war.

Data released this week by mortgage broker AFG shows that investors snapped up between 28 per cent and 50 per cent of all mortgages processed in August, depending on which state you live.

And the RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index reported the strongest quarterly gain in house prices in four years.

It's good news for sellers, but not so great for buyers who have been scraping a deposit together and now must fight cashed-up investors for properties, plus a growing number of wealthy foreign buyers.

So in the interests of helping the underdogs, here are some ways that first-home buyers can compete in the real estate market.

Firstly, get pre-approval for a loan. If a seller has a choice between a pre-approved offer or one that is subject to finance, it's no contest.

It's also important to think about supply and demand.  If there is high demand for an area or property, you're going to have to pay more and battle others for it. In many cases taking that first step on the property ladder makes more sense in an area where there is abundant supply and lower demand. You can always trade up later once you have built some equity in your property.

Remember that most property investors think with their heads rather than their hearts and will seek simplicity in their purchase. That means first-home buyers may have a better chance at grabbing a bargain if they target properties that need a little renovation work to get them into good shape.

Search for opportunities before they get listed by building a network of real estate agent contacts.  Property experts suggest always making the first offer and asking the agent for the opportunity to make a counter offer.

Finally, take emotion out of your buying decisions, just like good investors do.  New properties will always be popping up.

(source: Perthnow)

WHO needs a man?

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

bigstock-Happy-Young-Woman-with-Sold-Fo-47691676Not financially savvy Gen Y women, who are outstripping their male counterparts in their determination to crack into the property market.

And Gen Y ladies also have a better grasp of finances, with 81 per cent understanding what a variable rate is compared to only 60 per cent of Gen Y men.

The men also lagged behind in understanding offset accounts (39 per cent compared to 50 per cent of women).

The Westpac Home Ownership Report found 73 per cent of Gen Y women were focused on the benefits of paying off their loans early, while only 56 per cent of the men were concerned about early ownership.

Almost half of women aged 18-34 ranked home ownership as their top priority, ahead of having a family (14 per cent) and marriage (5 per cent).

Rosalind Davis, 27, who bought her one-bedroom Randwick apartment for $425,000 a year ago, hopes to climb the property ladder by upgrading in a few years time.

She said home ownership is a goal for lots of her friends.

"I don't know if it is more important than getting married and having kids but it is more controllable. You can't control when you are going to meet the right person but you can completely control your income and save enough.

"It is definitely a priority for all my girlfriends.''

Researching on the internet and the ability to secure a loan without a formal interview with a bank manager made getting a mortgage less intimidating, she said.

"As a young woman going into the bank is a really daunting thing on your own. Now with the internet you can just figure out how to do it and just go for it,'' she said.

Gai McGrath, Westpac's general manager of retail banking, agreed: "I think those days of a man as a financial planner are long behind us.

"There is this cohort of young women who are very determined about getting a platform for financial security from a young age.''

She believes men of the same age may not be as driven because of the comforts of home.

"There may be something in the proportion of Gen Y men v Gen Y women who are still living with their parents,'' she said.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle said Gen Y women were better educated and commanded rising incomes.

Just under 30 per cent of men aged 25-34 have a university degree, compared to 40 per cent of women, he said.

"We are really starting to see the rise in the financial power of the next generation of women,'' he said.

"They are getting education, they are getting careers and they are taking charge of their financial future.''


What suburbs are “Hidden Gems”

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013  joined forces with Westpac and RP Data to uncover the areas where Australians can buy a home at a lower cost than its more popular neighbouring suburb.

These areas provide an opportunity for house hunters to use the money saved by purchasing in a lower-cost neighbouring suburb to own their home sooner.

The ‘hidden gem suburb’ is one that’s close by to the popular suburb, but has a cheaper average house/unit price.

“By simply considering a suburb just a stones throw away from your first preference, these suburbs represent real value for buyers who want to truly ‘own’ their home sooner,” said Gai McGrath, General Manager of Retail Banking at Westpac.

“For example, if you wanted to buy a house in the third most popular suburb in Perth, Mount Lawley, you could consider neighbouring suburb Highgate where the average house price is 27% cheaper".

Here’s the gems:

1. Innaloo $618,891 – a saving of $81,282 (11.6%) from neighbour Scarborough
2. O’Connor $572,144 – a saving of $229,908 (28.7%) from neighbour Fremantle
3. Highgate $678,530 – a saving of $250,899 (27%) from neighbour Mount Lawley
4. Victoria Park $623,090 – a saving of $415,187 (40%) from neighbour South Perth
5. Langford $367,703 – a saving of $259,270 (41.4%) from neighbour Canning Vale
6. West Perth $709,723 – a saving of $445,324 (38.6%) from neighbour Subiaco
7. Bentley $501,376 – a saving of $200,815 (28.6%) from neighbour Como
8. Ashfield $496,997 – a saving of $101,711 (17%) from neighbour Maylands
9. Mirrabooka $385,485 – a saving of $250,326 (39.4%) from neighbour Dianella
10. Eden Hill $439,378 – a saving of $177,794 (28.8%) from neighbour Bayswater

REIWA responds to State Budget

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Real_Estate_BoomPresident of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, David Airey, has welcomed the decision by the state government to maintain the stamp duty exemption for first home buyers but said he was disappointed by changes to the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG).
“Maintaining the stamp duty exemption for first home buyers is a huge saving to many people, but slanting the FHOG towards new construction and away from established dwellings will not produce the outcome the government is expecting,” Mr Airey said.
The Treasurer adjusted the FHOG from $7,000 to $3,000 for the 70 per cent of people who purchase an existing dwelling.
New-builds will receive a boost of $3,000 to a grant of $10,000.
In defending the policy shift Premier Barnett said it would help stimulate construction and provide more homes.
“That argument is not supported by any evidence from over east where other states have already gone down a similar path,” Mr Airey said.
“Building a new home is a lifestyle decision that around 30 per cent of first home buyers are attracted to.  It is not a decision based on cost.
“The policy shift in the application of FHOG is unlikely to have any impact on boosting construction,” Mr Airey said.
Mr Airey said that, more importantly, the building industry didn’t need any stimulus and was currently flat-out meeting existing demand.
“Data from the Office of State Revenue show that for the June quarter, first home buyer applications for new-builds jumped by 36 per cent on the March quarter.”
“Grant applications from first home buyers increased from 1,522 in the March quarter to 2,075 in late July, reaching their highest level since September 2009,” Mr Airey said.
However, Mr Airey took aim at the 12.5 per cent increase in land tax for other owners, saying that owners were frustrated with increasing bills.
“This is a kick in the shins for property investors who supply two thirds of rental stock in WA. It will suck an extra $73 million out of their pockets as a punishment for being an investor.
The budget’s projected land tax revenue in 2013-14 is $657 million and is projected to raise an extra $338 million over the forward estimates.
“These owners already pay rates to local government for the provision of services yet get nothing from the state directly and subsidise government services which benefit the entire community.
“It's a great concern that the government remains so dependent on property taxes to run the state despite the enormous revenue earnings from resources,” Mr Airey said.
(source: Reiwa)

2013 Honeywood Telethon Home by In-Vogue

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

bigstock-Family-With-House-10464848In-Vogue is delighted to once again be involved in the building of the Telethon Home. This year we welcome Nigel Satterley and Wandi Anketell Holdings Pty Ltd as our major partner in this prestigious event. The 2013 Honeywood Telethon Home by In-Vogue will be one of the most significant fundraising initiatives undertaken during the year for the benefit of ‘Princess Margaret Hospital for Children’ and to improve child health and research in Western Australia.

Nigel Satterley and Wandi Anketell Holdings Pty Ltd has kindly donated a prestigious lot in the master planned community of Honeywood ,  a thoroughly modern estate, with first-class community and family facilities. At the same time, the estate provides an almost rural tranquility, thanks to an extraordinary 25% of its area consisting of preserved native bush. The leafy surrounds are further enhanced with a network of landscaped parks. Honeywood  balances seclusion with connection. Located just off the Kwinana Freeway, and just 20 minutes to either Perth or Fremantle with shopping pristine beaches quality schools all close by.  The elevated 418 sqm home site is close to nature and overlooking landscaped parks, playground and recreation areas.

In-Vogue are constructing the Hamptons inspired home, which has been designed to cater for families to enjoy the natural and tranquil lifestyle. The home features a large open plan entertainment area, several independently zoned living areas and four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a home theatre, study, sitting room and a fantastic alfresco suited to outdoor entertaining with views to the park. Once again this year’s home incorporates energy efficiency features.

The construction of the home project commenced early in 2013 with completion anticipated early September 2013 and the launch of the home shortly thereafter. The home will then be open for inspection for approximately 6 weeks leading up to the auction on Sunday 20 October 2013, if not sold prior.

We once again thank our valued key suppliers without whom the home would not be possible and who participate by assisting with  donations of products, supplies or services  towards the construction of this exciting Telethon home.

Last years 2012 Telethon Home by In-Vogue and Australand was a resounding success selling prior to auction for a record sale price of $1.2 million.

We look forward to an equally successful outcome for this year home. 2013 Honeywood Telethon Home by In-Vogue.

Categories : Buying, General, News

bigstock-Chairs-On-Deck-Facing-Ocean-6971165Many people reading this column might be relaxing at a beachside getaway, a wine region in the south-west, a great fishing spot in the Kimberly or perhaps in a heritage town in the wheat belt.

Over summer many people will be enjoying Western Australia's delightful holiday spots, particularly along the coast. Places like Dunsborough, Denmark, Dongara, Lancelin, Cervantes, Albany and beyond. Over the years many people have bought holiday homes in these places.

Today, holiday homes are being purchased as far apart as Exmouth and Esperance. It all depends on people’s budget, allowable travel time and their strategy behind the purchase.

The ideal holiday home for most people is one that is always available for short stays, but this is a costly option for people who need to take out a mortgage on a second home. They are not the inexpensive country option they once were, particularly on the coast.

However, these days an increasing number of buyers are choosing to combine the purchase of a holiday home with long-term investment plans. This is possible because many favoured holiday locations have developed viable rental markets with local tenants leasing properties for extended periods, often beyond the summer holiday.

Some of these places might include Albany, Harvey, Busselton, Margaret River, Gin Gin, York  and Cervantes, for example.

Homes initially purchased as investments in these locations can later be used for holiday purposes.

In places where demand for rental accommodation is seasonal, such as fishing towns, windsurfing spots and agricultural areas, there is a greater likelihood of vacancies for rental properties outside the peak holiday or industry period. However, the rentals are normally much higher in properties leased for short periods and this can partly offset the loss of rental income when the place is vacant.

The benefit of this strategy is that the owner can then take advantage of the seasonal rental market by using the property off season.

Another option for holiday homebuyers is to purchase a unit in a resort development. Some resort operators will guarantee a rental income for a fixed period. In many cases the purchaser is acquiring a share of a managed investment scheme, which includes a stake in the total income and expenses incurred by the resort.

Either way, the most important consideration when buying a holiday home is, as far as possible, to set aside the emotional reactions and approach the purchase with a clear understanding of the real value of the property, its ongoing costs and the likely rental income.

If you are travelling around the state this holiday season and maybe thinking of a holiday home investment, why not drop into the nearest REIWA agency office and talk to the staff about opportunities?


What’s trendy in bathrooms right now?

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

BathroomNEUTRAL tones, luxurious freestanding baths, frameless showers and plenty of natural light and fresh air are all the rage in bathrooms nowadays.

But Angela Gianakis, an interior and exterior consultant for Outside Square, says functionality is always key.

Take freestanding baths, for example. She says they can look fantastic and are easy to get in and out of, but must also be easy to clean around.

Anyone upgrading their bathroom should think carefully about whether the freestanding bath of their dreams will be very difficult to clean around the back and underneath.

She also points out they need to be placed in a handy location to taps.

''Make sure you can add a bit more warm water without having to get our of your bath,'' she advises.

Frameless showers, which are easy to clean, can be found in many of the most modern bathrooms, but they also need to be carefully thought-out and installed in order to avoid leaks, Ms Gianakis says.

''The preparation for a frameless shower is important in making sure that they function well.''

Ms Gianakis says large windows and plenty of natural light are another trend in bathrooms.

''Lighting and ventilation are very important in a bathroom - we all know that things like to grow in warm areas,'' she says, adding small windows can be just as effective and sometimes more practical

''Remember that if you can see out, people can probably see in,'' .

She says she is not a fan of bathroom window treatments (such as blinds and curtains) because they tend to gather dirt, dust and steam.

Ms Ginakis says neutral-toned bathrooms are in vogue at the moment, but can be jazzed up with coloured feature tiles.

''Timber-look'' tiles are also very of-the-moment, she says. They can feature on a wall or around bathroom joinery.


bigstock-hand-drawing-house-in-a-whiteb-27027779QUESTION time at Canberra's Parliament House is now over until after the Federal Election, giving us a break for probably a couple of months from the bluster, bravado and frustrating antics of our pollies.

But when buying or selling real estate, question time should never end. We need to constantly question our decisions - often playing chief motivator and devil's advocate at the same time - to ensure we make the right property decisions.

But what to ask?

When selling, make sure you understand why you want to sell. Whims can be incredibly expensive. Try these questions:
* Do I have a case of grass-is-greener syndrome? It's common in these days of instant gratification, so draw up a list of pros and cons about your existing home.
* What are the changeover costs? Stamp duty is a big one, but there are also real estate agent and conveyancing costs, finance charges and possible mortgage break fees.

* What changes are you wanting to make to a new home once you've bought it, and what will that cost?
* Can I afford to buy what I really want? Interest rates are very low, so factor in rises of one or two percentage points when forecasting future mortgage costs.

You also need to question potential real estate agents, and there is a treasure trove online of things you should ask them. Just head for the Google-machine.

When it comes to buying, ask yourself what why you really want the property, does it make financial sense, and how long you plan to stay.

If taking on a new or bigger mortgage, you'll need a secure job and insurance to handle the unexpected.

Have a list of questions to ask a real estate agent. The Real Estate Buyers Association of Australia has some suggestions on this front:
* How did you price this house?
* How long has it been on the market?
* When was the last time the property was sold?
* What are the reasons for selling?

"The important thing to remember in a competitive market is not to let emotion take over and overvalue the property,'' REBAA's Byron Rose says.

Emotion will always be a key factor, but if you ask the right things, question time - for you if not for parliament - is going to be beneficial.


bigstock-Loving-couple-looking-at-their-33303005PERTH people of all ages and incomes are still in love with the dream of a separate house, a new study has found.

The independent report comes as the city and metropolis are about to explode in unit and apartment development over the next few years.

The study, The Housing We'd Choose: A Study for Perth and Peel, surveyed more than 1000 people over six months about what matters most for them in terms of housing and found 79 per cent still want the "white picket fence'' option.
Jointly commissioned by the Departments of Housing and Planning to determine if there is a difference between housing preferences (demand) and what is being built or planned (supply), the report shows the free-standing brick house is still the big favourite.

Department of Housing director-general Grahame Searle said that while most respondents still favoured owning a separate house, they were prepared to make significant trade-offs in location, house type and size to realise their dreams of owning a home.

And in one mismatch between supply and demand, it also found that while 35 per cent of people would choose semi-detached housing as an option, just 12 per cent of Perth's current housing stock is semi-detached.

"This report reveals the enduring aspirations of many Western Australians to own a home, and their willingness to make concessions in order to afford it,'' Mr Searle said.

Affordability is still the biggest determinant in the property scenario, the study shows, underlining the importance of government assistance.

However when it comes to location, Department of Planning director general Eric Lumsden said a key finding showed a strong preference for people to live in the inner regions with easy access to work.

"The study is an important snapshot, which shows that the combination of affordability pressures and desire to live in well-connected locations is driving an evolution in housing,'' Mr Lumsden said.

"We expect to see these evolve further in coming years, as the ageing population and other demographic shifts drive housing demand in the Perth-Peel region.''

The outcomes from the survey support findings from a similar study of Melbourne and Sydney residents performed in 2011 by policy think tank, the Grattan Institute.

The Perth report outlines challenges and opportunities for government, industry sectors, and the local community moving forward to supply the type of housing that people want and can afford.


* Affordability plays a major role in shaping peoples housing choices, often requiring them to make trade-offs between the house they would prefer and the one they eventually choose.

* 98 per cent of people surveyed prefer owner occupation rather than renting.

* 88 per cent of people said building materials were important to them when choosing a home. Of these, more than 50 per cent of these people wanted double brick, however over 25 per cent wanted homes made of alternative materials, suggesting that there may be growing demand for different construction types, if they can be delivered at an affordable price.

* Easy access to (not necessarily close proximity to) work was regarded as very important to most people. People were happier to have smaller properties if it meant that they could live in their preferred location.

* There was a strong preference to live in the inner and coastal regions, with two-thirds of people preferring these locations. However only half of respondents were able to choose these locations when constrained by household budget.

* 44 per cent of people indicated that a three bedroom house is the smallest property that they were prepared to purchase, which increased to 46 per cent when affordability and location were taken into consideration.

* When constrained by affordability, only 15 per cent of people said a four-bedroom dwelling was their minimum requirement and only 8 per cent chose a five bedroom house.

* People were more willing to trade-off house type than the number of bedrooms. This suggests that there is likely to be demand for smaller dwellings (eg townhouses, semi-detached homes or apartments) that can be delivered with the right number of bedrooms, in the right locations.

* Majority of people preferred to live in a separate house (79 per cent) if there were no location or affordability constraints. When constrained by location and affordability, this number dropped to 56 per cent.

* Apartments were the least popular housing option (chosen by fewer than 10 per cent of those surveyed), although many of the concerns raised relate to apartment design such as noise transmission. However, people were far more prepared to rent an apartment rather than being long term owner occupiers.

* The findings of the report indicated that 35 per cent of people would choose semi-detached housing when considering location and affordability factors. Just 12 per cent of Perth's current housing stock is semi-detached, suggesting that there is considerable unmet demand for this type of housing.