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Housing stock gains $1 trillion in value even as businesses shed staff

Housing stock

Australia’s residential housing stock has gained $1 trillion in value in just five months, even as the number of people in work falls back to pre-coronavirus levels with lockdowns in NSW and Victoria dragging down the national jobs market.

Record-low interest rates, reduced spending opportunities for cashed-up Australians and government grants to first home buyers have contributed to the fastest increase in property values on record.

CoreLogic data shows just how quickly the property market has appreciated over recent years.

It estimates the total value of residential property reached $9 trillion in September. It had climbed to $8 trillion in April.

Despite the biggest economic downturn since the 1930s due to the pandemic, the value of Australian property has climbed by more than $2 trillion in about 14 months.

“This puts housing values around 28.2 per cent higher than the estimated value of superannuation, the ASX and commercial real estate combined,” CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said.

Data released on Friday by the federal government shows its first home loan deposit scheme is bringing more people into the market.

In its first 18 months of operation, the scheme has helped almost 6000 essential workers – of which 35 per cent were nurses – into their first home. Almost 60 per cent of those using the scheme were aged under 30, bringing forward their purchase by an average of 4 years.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority this week announced a tightening of bank lending standards due to growing concerns about the state of the financial system related to the surge in house prices.

Banks must test whether new customers could manage their repayments at an interest rate 3 percentage points higher than the actual rate on the loan. Until now, banks have added 2.5 percentage points – known as a “serviceability buffer” – onto the rate of the loan when assessing a customer.

APRA said it believed its actions would reduce new customers’ borrowing capacity by about 5 per cent.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said APRA’s move was well-targeted, arguing it was likely to affect investors more than other borrowers.

“What has been pleasing in this cycle compared to previous cycles is that more first homeowners, more owner-occupiers are coming into the market. And this move will affect investors more than it will affect first home buyers,” he told the Seven Network.

As NSW, Victoria and the ACT approach key dates for their re-opening out of COVID-19 lockdowns, payroll figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released on Thursday showed the total number of people on business payrolls has fallen below its pre-virus levels, with women and young workers again suffering the most from the pandemic restrictions.

The number of people on business payrolls fell by 0.7 per cent in the fortnight to September 11, after a 1.5 per cent drop in the fortnight before that.

Victoria (down 1.8 per cent) and the ACT (down 2.3 per cent) took the biggest hits while NSW slipped another 0.3 per cent.

Since going into lockdown, there has been a 9.2 per cent drop in the number of people on NSW business payrolls. There’s been a 10.2 per cent drop in NSW women on the state’s payrolls while people aged between 15 and 19 have suffered a 28 per cent fall.

It’s s similar story in Victoria with its lockdown, which started several weeks after NSW. Total jobs on payrolls are down by 7.2 per cent, with women (minus 8 per cent) doing worse than men (minus 6 per cent).

The worst-hit area has been the ACT where jobs have tumbled by 12.2 per cent.

Westpac senior economist Justin Smirk said small and medium-sized businesses were taking a bigger hit to jobs than previous lockdowns.

“There clearly is a lot of pressure on small businesses in NSW and Victoria but overall the recovery has a strong base to build on given the strength of larger firms,” he said.


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Stamp duty crimps property listings, pushing up prices

property listings

The increasing impost of stamp duty is restricting the number of properties that come onto the market, contributing to record-high prices as buyers compete for tight supply.

As prices rise, more properties are pushed into higher-bracket stamp duty bands, exacerbating the trend.

If stamp duty was replaced by an annual land tax, one of the barriers for those looking to downsize later in life would be removed, boosting supply, says SQM Research in a report: Stamp duty: the relationship to Australian housing affordability and supply.

The report shows how the rising cost of stamp duty has fostered reduced property listings for more than a decade.

Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research, says there has been an ongoing decline in the number of listings, despite steady increases in the total numbers of dwellings being built across Australia.

In 2008, up to 4.5 per cent of all residential properties were available for sale; today the percentage is less than 2.5 per cent, says the report, which was commissioned by the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).

‘The long-term decline in listings fundamentally represents a shortage of real estate, which is a contributing factor to the surge in prices.’

Louis Christopher, managing director of SQM Research

“The long-term decline in listings fundamentally represents a shortage of real estate, which is a contributing factor to the surge in prices,” Christopher says.

Adrian Kelly, president of REIA, says stamp duty remains a prohibitive tax, adding tens of thousands of dollars to the purchase price of a home.

“Stamp duties as a percentage of average national earnings have jumped over the past decade to 34.3 per cent, from 25.1 percent in 2012 – up almost one-third”, Kelly says.

Stamp duty of $40,207 is paid on a $1 million property purchase in New South Wales, and $55,000 on a purchase with a “dutiable value” of $1 million in Victoria.

CoreLogic data for September showed Sydney house prices up 25.8 per cent since the year began with the median value now at $1.3 million. In September alone they increased by $18,000.

Melbourne prices have climbed 16.2 per cent since January 1 with the median value now at $962,250 after adding another $7750 last month.

A $2 million property in NSW attracts stamp duty of $94,567 and $110,000 in Victoria. States and territories have various stamp duty concessions for first home buyers.

In some cities, the news is not so bad. In Perth and Canberra, where stamp duty as a proportion of average wages has reduced or not risen much, there has not been as marked a deterioration in the availability of properties listed for sale.

Stamp duty creates economic distortions, according to former treasury secretary Ken Henry in a review of the tax system a decade ago. His report recommended replacing the impost with an annual land tax.

The NSW government has floated the idea of introducing a land tax. The proposal would see property purchasers given a choice of either paying a lump sum stamp duty, or paying a smaller, ongoing annual property tax.

Stamp duty on property purchases is being phased out in the Australian Capital Territory.

A report from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corp., released in July, favoured replacing stamp duty with land tax.

It said retirees and low-income earners could be paid a rebate on any land tax liability.

The report said a move to annual land tax would “likely lift dwelling prices in the short-term, as the removal of transfer duty is capitalised into prices.”

“However, if lenders fully capitalise the cost of the replacement land tax into loan serviceability criteria, the price impact from removing duty [over the short-term] may be negligible.”


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The Fernery, Brisbane apartments in Ferny Grove, hit 70% sold

The Fernery comprises of 82 luxury apartments at 47 Conavalla Street, Ferny Grove, with a resort-style rooftop recreational deck for residents

The $140 project, Ferny Grove Central, in Brisbane’s north-west has seen 70% of its apartments sold two months after its construction began.

The Fernery comprises of 82 apartments featuring 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments in the low rise project.

Some 85% of the buyers come from surrounding suburbs through Colliers since the April launch.

Some 70% of the sales have been to owner-occupiers. For investors, based on an appraisal by local agents, the yield is likely to be circa 5%.

The Fernery

The Fernery 47 Conavalla Street, Ferny Grove QLD 4055 

Apartments prices at The Fernery start from $349,000.

There will be a resort-style rooftop recreational deck with 15-metre pool set among landscaped sub-tropical surrounds.

The Fernery is a joint venture project by Honeycombes Property Group and MaxCap Group.

The Fernery is the residential centrepiece of Ferny Grove Central, the $140 million landmark urban renewal project, which has been almost eight years in the making.

It will transform the northern Brisbane suburb with a new Transit Oriented Development (TOD) which combines apartment living, a major retail centre and an entertainment precinct .

Its construction contract is with builder Broad Construction, a subsidiary of CPB Contractors, part of the ASX-listed CIMIC Group.

Peter Honeycombe is managing director of Honeycombes Property Group, which has over 25 years had more than $1.5 billion in projects that are either completed or under construction.

More than 800 full time jobs are being supported by the development, including about 285 jobs directly tied to the construction project.

Construction of Ferny Grove Central is expected to take 28 months with completion set for late-2023.

The most high-profile example of Honeycombes’ urban redevelopment projects is the award-winning Coorparoo Square, a $252 million urban renewal development completed in 2018.

With property projects at the fore, MaxCap Group has invested more than $10bn across more than 370 loans since inception in 2007.


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Gold Coast

Gold Coast apartment insights: What happened on the Gold Coast in September

Gold Coast apartment insights

There’s been a continued uptake in residential apartment projects, with some developers still seeing exceptional results in the early weeks of launching

Any fears of oversupply across the Gold Coast were well and truly quelled in September, with data form Urbis suggesting that, if the current sales demand continues and no new developments are released, there would only be around four months of apartments left.

There’s been a continued uptake in residential apartment projects, with some developers still seeing exceptional results in the early weeks of launching.

Urban has wrapped up all of the moves in the apartment market

Chevron One adds further level of luxury, with the new Sky Homes release featuring the Gold Coast’s biggest ever penthouse 

Chevron One

Chevron One 36-44 Stanhill Drive, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217 

Chevron One, set to reign as Chevron Island’s only luxury high-rise apartment tower, is about to achieve another level of luxury the Gold Coast hasn’t seen before.

The Melbourne-based Bensons Property Group has released its Sky Home collection, starting from levels 31 and rising to level 41, soaring nearly 100 metres in the air. Bensons hadn’t released the high-level apartments, but are now seeing high demand in ultra-luxury, large apartments in the sky.

When complete, Chevron One will be the tallest tower on the exclusive island, and the tallest there ever will be, with the Gold Coast City Council two years ago bringing in strict planning laws, limiting future apartment projects to 33 metres, or 12 storeys.

Victoria & Albert Broadbeach set to launch in October

Victoria & Albert Broadbeach

Victoria & Albert 12-18 Albert Avenue, Broadbeach QLD 4218 

The Victoria & Albert Broadbeach apartment project marketing campaign will commence in October through Colliers.

The $800 million mixed-use development will feature more the 330 apartments across two residential towers rising 30 and 40 levels. Construction is expected to begin mid next year and take two years to complete, the first of many Gold Coast projects envisaged by Iris Capital, Sydney developer, Sam Arnaout.

The East tower known as The Albert will comprise 114 two, three and four-bedroom apartments over 30 levels.

The west tower, known as The Victoria, will rise over 40 levels and deliver 219 apartments of one, two and three bedrooms.

Final five apartments released in Chevron Island’s Allure as locals dominate sales 


Allure Chevron Island Corner Burra Street & Dalpura Street, Chevron Island QLD 4217 

The final five apartments in the sought-after Allure development on Chevron Island have been released to the market, at a time where the supply of new apartments is nearing record lows.

Each of the apartments left in the Macquarie York-developed, BDA Architect-designed building at 26-28 Dalpura Street, have three bedrooms and a multi-purpose room.

Macquarie York founder Roy Skaf said that the timing of launching Allure, which has netted over $72 million in sales, coincided with a demand for high-quality residences in the heart of the Gold Coast.

Locals, Sydneysiders and Melburnians swoop on Esprit, S&S Projects Rainbow Bay apartments


Esprit 217-227 Boundary Street, Coolangatta QLD 4225

It took just a weekend soft launch for the luxury developer S&S Projects to secure over half of the sales in its latest Gold Coast apartment development, Esprit.

Esprit, at 217-227 Boundary Street, in the sought-after Rainbow Bay location in Coolangatta, sold over half of the 97 apartments on offer in the two interconnected Cottee Parker-designed buildings.

No surprise in the quick-fire sales by KM Sales and Marketing agent Jayde Pezet given the location, the fact Esprit is crowned by Club Esprit, the Gold Coast’s first ever residents-only rooftop wellness centre, and the size of the apartments.

Exclusive first look: Hirsch & Faigen lodge plans for Mermaid Beach apartment tower, Yves 

Following the launch of its boutique Kirra Beach apartment development The Emerson, the Melbourne-based developer Hirsch & Faigen are on to their next project.

They’ve lodged plans for their recently acquired 1,905 sqm Mermaid Beach site, 7-9 Mermaid Avenue at the northern end of Mermaid Beach, which was bought back in June.

H&F, led by the Melbourne lawyer Daniel Faigen and Richard Hirsch, has had ROTHELOWMAN design Yves, which will comprise three 25-level towers. They will home a total of 145 apartments.

Brisbane-based developer Siera lodges Chevron Island apartment development plans 

The Brisbane-based development and construction firm, Siera Property Group, are the latest in a wave of developers heading to the Gold Coast for the first time.

Seira, headed by the managing director and founder Brent Thompson, has laid plans on the sought-after Chevron Island for a 17-level project dubbed Tapestry, paying homage to the Island’s new Home of the Arts precinct.

The plans by the local BDA Architecture will see 83 apartments built on a 1,518 sqm site at 39-43 Darrambal Street, toward the southern end of the island.

Thompson, who sits on the board of UDIA QLD and chairs the Brisbane City Council Policy Committee, sees it as a shift in thinking for the company, who made their name in the Queensland capital developing luxury townhouses in Brisbane’s inner ring.

Sherpa branch out from Palm Beach, lodge plans for Perspective Broadwater in Biggera Waters

The Gold Coast developer Sherpa Property, who have been developing and finalising plans for a number of luxury apartment projects in Palm Beach, are broadening their horizons.

Sherpa, led by chief executive Christie Leet, are continuing the trend of their Perspective collection in Biggera Waters, lodged plans for a boutique apartment development overlooking The Broadwater at 536 Marine Parade.

The exclusive building will have just seven apartments, six full-floor, three-bedroom apartments and a two-storey penthouse overlooking Broadwater and the surrounding parklands.


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