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Mega suburb land value jumped after deal

Mega suburb land value jumped after deal

The suburbs has been very in demand for the past years and until now, the properties in the area is being chosen by home and property buyers. However, as in every business, there will still be ups and downs in all kinds of businesses.
A property owner sold a site slated for a new mega suburb for $70 million more than it was valued at earlier this year, after signing a land deal with Brisbane City Council.

The council signed an infrastructure agreement with Ian Macallister, a long-time LNP donor, in February that paved the way for him to sell 227 hectares of land bordering The Gap to West Australian property developer Cedar Woods for $74 million in May.


The document forms part of an assessment application made to Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt by Cedar Woods, which has proposed a high density, 1350 lot subdivision for the leafy site that has been met with fierce opposition from neighbouring residents.

Its emergence has heightened fears among residents the council gave the massive subdivision its tacit approval, three months before a development application was even lodged.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk is on leave, so was unavailable for comment on Monday.

Acting Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner was also unavailable for comment.

The council’s planning chairman Amanda Cooper was also unavailable to speak to Fairfax Media on Monday but on Tuesday told 612 ABC Brisbane mornings host Steve Austin the infrastructure agreement was not pre-approval for the development.

However, she repeatedly deflected questions probing whether there was a link between the signing of the infrastructure agreement and Mr Macallister’s donor history.

“This infrastructure agreement doesn’t allow development at all,” she said.

“The infrastructure agreement was drafted by council officers to make it very clear about the ecological values of the sMega suburb land value jumped after dealite, it rules out ecological corridors (for development).

“I just want to make it clear there is no link between the development application and the infrastructure agreement. They sit separately.”

But Save the Gap president Shane Bevis said the document appeared to confirm residents’ fears that the development application was a done deal, despite contravening the allowable density for the area in both the new City Plan 2014 and the Ferny Grove Upper Kedron local plan.

He said no developer would outlay tens of millions of dollars for land without some guarantee their plans would be approved.

“This agreement appears to have been worth in the order of $60 million, so this is no insignificant document council has entered into with the original land owner,” he said.

“What it looks like to us is council has been trying to hide this document, to hide the existence of it, they have not discussed it publicly.

“They have entered into a legally binding agreement that says something completely different to what the City Plan says and how the local plan says this land should be developed.

“It’s time for council to come clean and start answering some serious questions about how this agreement was entered into and on what basis.”

The infrastructure agreement is not available in publicly accessible documentation relating to Cedar Woods’ application on the council’s planning website, PD Online.

A council spokeswoman said the document did not guarantee approval of Cedar Woods’ development application but rather, was a bid to protect the site’s “significant ecological and waterway corridors”.

The infrastructure agreement, which the council spokeswoman said was binding on future development, irrespective of property owner, was signed just 20 days after the council endorsed City Plan 2014, which came into effect on July 1.

It appears to override planning instruments in both the City Plan and the Upper Kedron Ferny Brook neighbourhood plan, both of which were endorsed after extensive public consultation.

In both plans, the site is designated for low density future development and as environmentally sensitive.

“Everybody who believed the council and the Lord Mayor when he said City Plan would protect our leafy suburbs, when this document was created at the same time, it’s a real kick in the guts,” Mr Bevis said.

“To those who thought they would have protection, the residents of Upper Kedron who rightly have an expectation council would stick to the local plan, it is just a real kick in the guts.

“This agreement runs counter to everything council endorsed just 20 days earlier.”

A huge backlash from residents of The Gap and Upper Kedron greeted the massive subdivision proposal, when it was submitted by Cedar Woods in June.

The council spokeswoman said the site had been identified as a location for future housing development under the South East Queensland Regional Plan.

She said it was not uncommon for infrastructure agreements to precede a development application.

The council’s opposition leader Milton Dick called for a special council meeting to examine the emergence of the infrastructure agreement.

“The Lord Mayor personally met with this developer on two separate occasions, including the day the Infrastructure Agreement was signed and it’s been reported he has made supportive comments in a statement calling for investors to the project,” he said.

“We need to restore independent scrutiny to the assessment of this development application and I call on the Lord Mayor to cut his holiday short and immediately re-call councillors for a special meeting of the Brisbane City Council.”

The council is currently in its spring recess period.

Mr Macallister has donated on several occasions to the Queensland LNP, as well as to the respective election funds of Cr Quirk and former Lord Mayor Campbell Newman, Team Quirk Forward Brisbane Leadership and Forward Brisbane Leadership.


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Investors Lead Home Loan Rush

Home Loan

Property investor lending in January has risen by 10.5 per cent, lifting the overall value of home loans to $28.7 billion in the month—an increase of 43 per cent on 2020.

The surge in the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures occurred across all states and territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory, to be 44.3 per cent higher year on year, the largest annual growth on record since 2003.

Owner-occupier lending for homes rose 10.9 per cent in January, 52.3 per cent higher than in January 2020, with first home buyers increasing by 9.6 per cent to be at the highest level since May 2009, mirroring the similar uptake following the global financial crisis and the introduction of the first home-owner grant.

Investor lending for housing lifted by 9.4 per cent, capping a 22.7 per cent rise across the last twelve months and revealing a renewed appetite in new loan applications.

The lift marks the the largest rise in new loan commitments for investor housing since September 2016.

The number of first home buyer loan commitments for investment purposes accounted for 4.4 per cent of all first home buyer commitments.

The HomeBuilder program, which offers grants of $25,000 to help construct or renovate a property, is also contributing to an increasingly febrile market.

 Home Loan

▲ The value of loans for alterations and additions in the three month to January 2021 is 40.8 per cent higher than the same time the previous year.

“Since the HomeBuilder grant was introduced in June 2020, there have been record rises in the value of construction loan commitments,” ABS head of finance Katherine Keenan said.

“Loan applications made late in 2020—prior to the reduction of the HomeBuilder grant on 1 January 2021—contributed to the strong rise in January’s construction loan commitments of 15.7 per cent.”

The value of new loan commitments to owner occupiers rose 10.9 per cent, the largest monthly increase since August 2020.

Owner-occupier first home buyer loan commitments accounted for 36.5 per cent of all owner occupier commitments.

Despite 6.5 million Victorians being put through two lockdowns in the lead up to January, the value of new loan commitments to investors also rose 12.9 per cent in the state across the month.

ANZ economist Adelaide Timbrell said Victoria has continued to play catch-up after its lockdown, with its total new lending moving from 15.2 per cent year on year in December to 29.7 per cent year on year in January.

“Government support is adding to the momentum of housing lending, with stamp duty concessions in Victoria, the first home owner deposit scheme and other first home owner concessions all reducing the initial cost of home purchases.

“Low rates—including an outlook of continued low borrowing costs—are fuelling the housing market more than other parts of the economy,” Timbrell said.

Loans to owner-occupiers for the construction of a new dwelling in the three months to January 2021 compared to the same time last year has tripled in Western Australia, up 221.7 per cent and more than doubled in Queensland to 164.9 per cent.

The Northern Territory recorded a 160.3 per cent boost while Tasmania and Victoria also recorded spikes of around 100 per cent.

HIA economist Angela Lillicrap said investors were now returning but remained more active in the market for established dwellings.

“The value of lending to investors increased by 17.6 per cent in the three months to January 2021 from the previous quarter.

“Low interest rates, rising house prices, higher savings and a demographic shift in demand towards detached housing and regional areas should ensure ongoing demand,” Lillicrap said.

National house prices grew slightly by 0.9 per cent in January to surpassed pre-Covid levels by 1 per cent, and be 0.7 per cent higher than the previous September 2017 peak.


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2020 saw 6,777 interest rate cuts across Australia’s home loan institutions

From 1 January to 31 December there were 6,777 cuts to home loans, with an average cut of -0.30%, according to Canstar’s database.

It recorded:

  • 880 cuts to variable rates for owner occupiers, with an average cut of -0.21%
  • 2,455 cuts to fixed rates for owner occupiers, with an average cut of -0.33%
  • 764 cuts to variable rates for investors, with an average cut of -0.21%
  • 2,678 cuts to fixed rates for investors, with an average cut of -0.32%

Over the same period there were 535 home loan rate increases, with an average increase of 0.20%.

On 1st January 2020 the average variable rate for owner occupiers paying principal and interest was 3.73% (80% LVR). Today that rate is 3.32% The lowest variable rate was 2.69% and it is now 1.99% (80% LVR) or 1.77% (60% LVR).

On the 1st January 2020 the average 3-year fixed rate for owner occupiers paying principal and interest was 3.15%. Today the average 3-year fixed rate is 2.30%. The lowest 3-year fixed rate was 2.69% and it is now 1.89%.

Australia's home loan institutions

Savings interest rates

From 1 January to 31 December Canstar recorded:

  • 529 cuts to savings, with an average cut of -0.18%
  • 262 cuts to regular savings accounts, with an average cut of -0.19%
  • 267 cuts to bonus savings accounts, with an average cut of -0.17%

On 1st January 2020 the average regular savings account rate was 1.12%. Today that rate is 0.43%. The maximum rate was 2.65% and it is now 1.75% (available for 4-months).

On 1st January 2020 the average bonus savings account rate was 1.47%, now just 0.75%. The maximum rate was 2.25% and it is now 1.35%.


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Home-buyer confidence at an all-time high


More than two-thirds of respondents in a recent survey believe that the conditions are right to purchase a home – a level of confidence not seen since the onset of the pandemic.

Finder’s latest consumer sentiment survey, which involved a nationally representative sample of more than 20,300 respondents, found that 67% of Australians feel that now is a suitable time get on the property ladder, up from 42% last April.

This marked the first time that home-buying optimism has reached this level since the financial comparison site started tracking the metric in May 2019.

Confidence was highest in Adelaide, where 77% of those polled thought now is the right time to buy a home. This was followed by Melbourne’s 70%, Brisbane’s 69%, Perth’s 67%, and Sydney’s 59%. Numbers were not available for Canberra, Darwin, and Hobart.

Those expecting house prices in their areas to “significantly increase” also hit an all-time high of 19%, climbing from just 5% in September last year.

Meanwhile, respondents who anticipate property values to “somewhat increase” rose to 44% from a low of 18% back in April.

Graham Cooke, insights manager at Finder, said that the recent spike home-buyer optimism was a good indication of economic recovery.

“This rebound in buyer confidence is indicative of increased economic activity over the past few months, along with an optimistic outlook for 2021,” he said. “Not only did the Australian government do a better job than most at restricting the spread of COVID-19, but federal and state economic support measures helped prop up the property market.”

Cooke said that property prices in every capital city, expect for Melbourne, have reached a higher level compared to the same time last year, adding that he expected “this trajectory to continue,” especially with 86% of economists in a separate Finders survey predicting a full recovery of national house values this year.

However, Cooke advised prospective buyers to carefully consider the pros and cons “before taking the plunge in the current market.”

“Low interest rates and government assistance packages like the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme put buyers in a strong position. The potential removal of stamp duty in NSW will be another boon for buyers and may spread to other states,” he said. “If you’re thinking about dipping your toe in the market this year, make sure you have a strong credit history, and shop around before signing up for a home loan.”


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