Real Estate Property Market

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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)

Renovating tips for first-home buyers

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

dog as a painter with a brush and colorSOME simple precautions can make life easier and cheaper when doing up old properties.

If the great Australian dream is buying a house on the traditional quarter acre block, then the fantasy is renovating it. Reality TV shows such as The Block, House Rules and Selling Houses Australia don't do anything to dispel the illusion.

Simply follow their lead, knock down a few walls, pull up the carpet to reveal original floorboards and a slap on a new lick of paint to transform a house from dull and drab to sleek and sexy. Well, that's the dream. Reality is something different altogether.

While buying the worst house on the best street is an opportunity to add value to a home, it can also result in stress, tears and cost blowouts if you aren't careful.


Before exchanging contracts, it's essential to conduct a pre-purchase inspection report.

Although they aren't mandatory, Philip Connor from Express Building Reports says it can save a lot of heartache and money.

A standard report will set you back around $500 and will tell you the present condition of the property, the structural integrity of the building and what potentially expensive problems you'll be inheriting.

As building inspectors no longer have to be licensed, Philip suggests the best way to find someone reputable is to look for a person with 15 years of practical experience and who is insured.

"My first question would be, are you insured?'' he says. ``If they make a mistake and they're not insured you can't sue them.''


A property inspection on a house reports on the entire property from fence to fence; it's a different story for apartments.

"With a unit you're inspecting only the unit and the immediate surrounding area,'' Philip says. "It can be problematic because you don't inspect lifts or other people's apartments.''

Philip recommends buying a house rather than an apartment, but if you can't afford to, choose a unit in a smaller block.

"You can get a better feel for the history of smaller buildings,'' he says. "Important issues that apply to units include noise and we don't inspect or comment on noise between units.

"The other is fire. If the unit block isn't certified for fire safety, you could be looking at $15,000-$20,000 to certify it.''


Philip says houses built between 1895-1920 can be affected by rising damp, and those built from 1920-1985 can have asbestos.

"One issue that affects all of these houses is drainage,'' he says.

"Rising damp, termites and wood decay fungi are all basically caused by poor drainage, so if you can solve the drainage problem you can often resolve all three issues with one stroke.

"It's inexpensive, just make sure that the water that comes off the roof is taken away from the base of the building using a stormwater system or conservation tank.

Then you'll need some patience.

"Once you resolve the drainage issue, you need to allow at least three to 12 months for the building to start to dry out,'' Philip says.


"Rising damp is like sex; every generation has to find it out for itself,'' Philip says.

"I've been around for so long I assumed everyone knew what rising damp was but that's not the case.''

Rising damp is when moisture seeps up from the ground through porous building materials, such as brick, and up through the walls of the home. It stains the walls, causes paint and wallpaper to peel, rots skirting boards and generates a musty smell.

While it's unpleasant, it's also treatable.

A damp-proof course, made from lead, slate or asphalt, is used to waterproof walls so moisture doesn't penetrate the bricks.

To ensure they do their job, Philip says the soil needs to be kept at least 500mm below the damp-proof course. ``Rising damp rises only to one metre above ground level, however if ground levels are built up it's going to go another metre,'' he says.


Philip says that inspections don't cover asbestos because it's virtually impossible to detect without ripping up the home.

"The company may say, `If we see fibro then we will flag that as most likely containing asbestos,' but here is the catch: there may be a painted surface that you don't flag as fibro, so you might miss it,'' he says. ``There are some fibro materials that do not contain asbestos, but as a general rule, you should always suspect fibro as having it.''


Philip says it's important to take a realistic look at the numbers before you buy.

"If you're buying a dump in a bad location, watch out. If it's in a great location, it changes the ballpark rules substantially,'' he says.

Paul Myors, energy efficiency specialist from Ausgrid, says renovations over $50,000 require a BASIX certificate, which measures a home's energy efficiency.

Approximately 60 per cent of a home's energy consumption comes from heating, cooling and hot water systems so a major renovation makes it easier to install insulation, reverse cycle air conditioning and a gas hot water system to reduce bills.

John Rose from TKD Architects believes it pays to be aware of local council requirements before buying, otherwise your dream of turning that single level semi into a split level home could be shattered.

"There are always development control plan differences between councils and that can be the character of an area, heritage or environment,'' he says.

"You have to know the local council code requirements, but having said that, in recent years a number of changes have happened to council codes to bring them into line. It's much easier these days to understand how a building can be placed on a site.''

John has seen an increase in clients asking architects to attend site inspections.

"Most people feel that getting a builder's advice is the most important thing but in reality you need to understand if and how you can make it into the home you want. Inner Sydney is full of cottages 40-80 years old that need a substantial amount of work done,'' he says.

"You need to make a judgment call on what good advice is worth to you. Most people are paying for one or two hours of an architect's time, which is between $150-$500.''

John suggests discovering what you can do to a property without approval before purchasing.

Top 10 costly repairs

David Hallett from Archicentre,, lists his top 10 renovation money pits.

Re-stumping:An inspection of the sub-soar area is the only way to tell whether the foundations are solid.

Roofs: A dodgy roof, which includes leaks, scracked roof tiles or poor guttering, can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.

Wiring: Blackened power points are an syndicator that the home's wiring is problematic.

Pests: If access hatches to the sub-floor or sceiling are blocked, chances are they could be trying to prevent access which would reveal pest infestations.

Plumbing: Rusted pipes in old homes may shave poor water flow. Check water pressure by having a few taps running to test pressure and see if the water is discoloured.

Painting: If paint has been used to mask a sproblem, you could be up for the cost of repair and repainting.

Plastering: Plastering can be as simple as sminor cracks or major work if restumping a home. Framing: affected by termites will also need replastering.

Rising damp: Damp walls encourage mould and weaken a building's frame.

Guttering and downpipes: Guttering that sis badly fitted, rusted or neglected can cause issues during heavy rains.

Stormwater drains: Underground pipework, including stormwater drains and sewer pipes can be expensive to repair.

(source: Perthnow)

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.





Friday, April 19th, 2013


  • Homes Selling within hours of opening
  • Low Stock driving competition
  • Buyers acting quickly to avoid missing out

PERTH'S property market is on fire and being stoked by the perfect combination of short supply and hungry first home buyers.

Homes are selling within hours of their first home open, with record numbers of attendees, multiple offers received sometimes for above the asking price. Some agents have declared better results than the last boom of 2007.

"Homes are now selling as fast as they're coming on,'' Altitude Real Estate agent Julie Pedulla said, adding that well priced properties were the top picks.

"Homes that are overpriced will sit on the market and continue to attract low offers,'' she said. "The market had a real buzz right from the second week of January this year, after picking up steam in November and December.''

Several other local agencies have recorded properties selling off-market or within hours of the first home open and some agencies have recorded their best sales month ever in February.

Ray White Uxcel Morley principal Sarah Kinsey said her agency recorded its best sales month on record in February this year, with the highest number of sales, highest prices and the most people through opens inspections since the agency opened in 2007.

Beaufort Realty in Mount Lawley and Yard Property in Fremantle also recorded their best sales months ever.

Beaufort Realty sales assistant Jen Jones said her team had a record nine sales in three weeks, with a number of homes sold at the first home open and sales negotiated up to $80,000 over the asking price.

The latest REIWA statistics on the average "days on market'' show 62 days for the December quarter, down from 71. However REIWA president David Airey said March figures are likely to be significantly lower.

Both Mr Airey and Momentum Wealth managing director Damian Collins said properties in the lower price brackets were selling particularly fast because of the huge influx of first-home buyers. Mr Airey said he believed consumers were more confident as people rightly believed the market had turned and would only improve.

"With interest rates being low, now is the time many people are looking for a bargain; keen not to miss the opportunity to enter the market at a good time in the housing cycle,'' he said.

Mr Collins said the speed of sales was due to dropping stock levels with the number of properties available for purchase dropping since the start of the year to less than 8900 properties this week.

He said buyers felt more competition to purchase the limited stock available and were making purchase decisions quickly to avoid missing out.

"While six months ago the activity and competition was in established inner-city areas, the competition has spread and most areas of Perth at the lower and middle price sectors are experiencing high demand and sometimes multiple offers on the same property,'' Mr Collins said.

However some agents were wary of the fast-sales phenomenon. Realmark managing director John Percudani warned sellers they risked under-selling by taking an offer at the first home open or selling "off market''.

"This is often the risk in a rising market, as we have now, where buyers are generally more in tune with and sensitive to value shifts than sellers and maybe even some agents,'' he said.

"How do you know unless you have tested the market that you have not undersold your property?''

Ms Kinsey agreed saying she generally discouraged her clients from taking offers made before or at the first home open.

(source: March 13)

Perth median house price at new record

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Rising prices of housingMarch quarter data by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia show that Perth’s median house price has reached a new record of $510,000.

The previous peak was $505,000 in the March quarter of 2010.

REIWA President David Airey said there had been a 2 per cent increase on the median price from the December quarter which had been driven by a lift in turnover and more sales activity above the median price.

“Our preliminary data for the March quarter show that while the proportion of sales under $500,000 has fallen there was a marked increase in sales between $500,000 and $1 million,” Mr Airey said.

REIWA data show that homes selling for $600,000 to $700,000 and those between $800,000 and $1 million represented some 20 per cent of all sales during the quarter.

“The $600,000 to $700,000 range was the most dominant price point above the median during this period and is a healthy illustration of consumer confidence through trade-up activity,” Mr Airey said.

Mr Airey said that despite a general downturn of sales under $500,000, those homes which sold for between $400,000 and $450,000 showed a slight increase in turnover largely driven by strong first home buyer activity.

“The $400,000 to $450,000 range was the leading price point in the overall market, representing 12 per cent of all sales for the first three months of this year. Sales in this price range are turning over very quickly and the Office of State Revenue reports that in February the median purchase price for first home buyers was $425,000,” Mr Airey said.

Flats, units, apartments and villas are more common in the central part of Perth and indicate a 10 per cent rise in sales during the quarter, suggesting an upturn with investor activity given that around half of all multi-residential property is tenanted.

Suburbs closer to the CBD also saw stronger sales activity during the quarter including within the cities of Bayswater, Belmont, Bassendean, South Perth, Victoria Park and the coastal strip in the City of Stirling.

“These areas are all over the general median price and as such contributed to the overall lift in the market median,” Mr Airey said.

REIWA’s preliminary data indicates that most local government areas had movements in median prices of plus or minus 3 per cent, suggesting that the composition of sales was an influencing factor in the quarter with more expensive homes impacting on price movements.

Nearer to the CBD in the cities of Bayswater, Bassendean, Belmont and Canning where the supply of listings has tightened indications are a median rise of around 4 to 5 per cent.

Increased sales activity was also reported in the more traditional first home buyer areas across the South East Corridor in the cities of Gosnells, Armadale and the Shire of Serpentine- Jarrahdale along with Rockingham, Kwinana and Wanneroo.

Reported land sales are also showing a 10 per cent rise across the quarter.

“The volume of land for sale remained relatively stable across the quarter at around 1,500 lots, while the total number of listings including houses, units and land have remained reasonably steady in recent weeks,” Mr Airey said

REIWA data show listings at around 8,500 properties after starting the year at 9,300.

“The March quarter results show a buoyant market returning to more normal conditions on the back of solid population growth and a strong state economy, ” Mr Airey said.

(Source: REIWA)