The Cost of Living Amendment Bill 2012 (COLA) amendments to the Building Act 1975 came into effect on Wednesday, reducing real estate red tape by eliminating the sustainability declaration.
This means vendors no longer have to prepare and sign a sustainability declaration before advertising a property for sale.
Where there is already a sustainability declaration, there is no longer any requirement for the vendor or real estate agent to give copies to a potential buyer.
Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) acting CEO Rodger Hills said buyers needed information about the long-term energy and water use of their future home to make an informed decision about the ongoing costs of the property.
“When people are facing the biggest purchase of their lives, their homes, they deserve to know if that home will cost them a fortune to live in it comfortably,” Mr Hills said.
While he acknowledged that the sustainability declarations were a “flawed piece of policy” open to “abuse and fraud”, Mr Hills advocated a system similar to that used in the Australian Capital Territory where an accredited assessor compiled an energy assessment of a home, similar to a building and pest inspection, at the point of sale.
“It could save a buyer thousands of dollars in the long-term,” he said.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) chairman Pamela Bennett said the sustainability declarations were a lot of “red and green tape” for no result and buyers didn’t want them.
She rejected any mandatory replacement to the declarations, saying it was something the market needed to determine.
“At this stage, given most people are challenged to be able to afford a property, most buyers don’t have the luxury to worry about sustainability features in a property,” she said.
The amendments to the Building Act retain protections for buyers and sellers where inaccurate or misleading information has been included in a sustainability declaration.
Specifically, a contract may not be terminated simply because of a false or misleading sustainability declaration; and a buyer who has been disadvantaged because of a false or misleading sustainability declaration may still be awarded compensation.
The changes were greeted by widespread relief from real estate agents.
Bees Nees City Realty director Rob Honeycombe commented that the sustainability declarations were a “great intention, rubbish idea execution”.
Sustainability declarations became mandatory as part of the sales process in Queensland in January 2010.
‘Absolutely inundated’: Lack of stock drives Queensland interest
As open-home restrictions begin to lift, a Brisbane agency has reported huge interest from first home buyers clamouring to get onto the property ladder despite COVID-19.
Coronis Agency has reported that it had more than 80 potential buyers attend the first scheduled open home of an Archerfield property.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom property only hit the market last Thursday and received more than 56 phone and email enquiries within 48 hours.
Director Anthony Hunt said the agency was “absolutely inundated with buyer enquiries within 30 minutes of the property going live, with many buyers asking to schedule a private inspection on the Thursday night or Friday as they were eager to beat the rush on Saturday”.
“In the end, I opened the property up on Friday afternoon and had nine groups of buyers turn up purely from responding to their calls and emails,” he explained.
He added that at the Saturday open home, which was the first advertised inspection, “it took more than an hour to get everyone through the property due to the social distancing restrictions, but on the whole, everyone was really understanding and willing to wait their turn”.
Mr Hunt said the general feedback he received from most parties is that “they want to buy something right now, despite everything going on with COVID-19”.
“Many of them are first home buyers with pre-approval who are looking to get their foot on the property ladder and aren’t fazed about going out in public to attend open homes,” he said.
The director believes that what they’re more concerned about is the lack of properties to choose from and how quickly properties are selling at the moment.
By Saturday afternoon, Mr Hunt said he had received four offers and it was under contract by Saturday night for a price that exceeded the seller’s expectations, “so they’re very happy”.
While 140 Granard Road was “beautifully presented”, the agent expressed the opinion that the main reason it was so popular with buyers was because it offered “great value for money in a suburb only 15km from Brisbane CBD”.
He iterated that buyers are willing to look outside of their desired suburb to purchase the right property.
His message to those who are considering holding off on selling? Don’t wait.
“In the past week, the Coronis sales team has received more than 1,000 buyer enquiries, and from that, 550-plus groups attended an open home on the weekend, so there is no doubt about it — buyers have a strong appetite to purchase now, they just need more options to choose from,” he concluded.
This article is republished from www.smartpropertyinvestment.com.au under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Coronavirus combines with end to interest-only home loans in big hit coming for investors, experts warn
House prices are tipped to fall by 11 per cent over the next three years as the COVID-related economic downturn bites, and for one group of Australian homeowners, it could not come at a worse time.
There are an estimated 730,000 investors, many of whom are self-funded retirees or people planning for retirement, who have taken out interest-only bank loans in the belief property was a safe bet.
Coronavirus has already delivered challenges, including rent arrears and the prospect of losing their tenants altogether.
But now these private landlords are facing big hikes in their monthly bank repayments as they switch from interest-only to paying off the principal of their loans as well.
Max Green is one of many who has been trying to negotiate with the banks for an extension to the interest-only period of his loans.
The 69-year-old and his partner have bought two properties — one in Brisbane, the other in Perth — in the past 10 years to help fund their retirement.
But the value of the Brisbane property has flatlined and the Perth property, a unit in the city’s outer suburbs, has plummeted from $425,000 in 2016 to $300,000 today, according to a recent valuation.
“The intent was … to provide us with some equity growth in the properties, which would then assist us in the future once I had retired,” Mr Green said.
“We had been advised that we would be able to extend the interest-only period.”
Instead, the couple face paying an additional $1,900 a month from July as they begin to pay off both the principal and interest on their loans.
Mr Green said he still enjoyed his work as a project manager at WA’s Water Corporation, but conceded his retirement ambitions had not gone to plan.
He said he would now be forced to either keep working beyond 70, dip into the couple’s superannuation to pay the banks, or sell at a loss.
Investors brace for massive losses
Others with similar investment plans have already decided to cut their losses and are now facing negative equity as a result — where their home is worth less than the amount they owe.
Wayne Grimes, 50, said he couldn’t help but laugh when he considered the price he would likely now get for his luxury investment unit.
“I’m laughing because it is just ridiculous,” he said.
This article is republished from www.abc.net.au under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
How COVID-19 has impacted tourism hotspots
New research has revealed the impact COVID-19 restrictions have had on Queensland’s tourism property markets.
The Palaszczuk government’s mandatory COVID-19 restrictions went live from 20 March 2020, with knock-on effects to the state’s property market.
However, despite the perceived effects, the REIQ said the sunshine coast capital – Brisbane – has reported a relatively stable vacancy rate of 2.44 per cent for the last quarter.
But how has this translated to tourism hotspots?
According to the REIQ, this quarter’s rental vacancy data provides a peek at the initial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic across popular tourism hotspots in particular.
“The Gold Coast saw an end-of-summer sharp spike result in a 1.2 per cent rise to 3 per cent (with only a 0.4 per cent increase in the Scenic Rim region).
“Up the coastline and it’s not so different around the Bay Islands district where the archipelago average soared by 2.7 per cent to a vacancy rate of 4.3 per cent (making up part of the state’s 10 per cent weakest regions).
North of Brisbane
When it comes to areas slightly north of Brisbane, the REIQ noted that most areas have remained stable with little movement either way.
“For example, Caboolture saw a drop in vacancies (-0.6 per cent to 0.8 per cent) while Redcliffe saw a marginal rise of 0.1 per cent to level out still within tight vacancy range at 2 per cent,” REIQ said.
“Further north and the Sunshine Coast hasn’t offered up any side effects from COVID-19 as of yet, with a 0.2 per cent drop in vacancy rates across the region to 1.4 per cent.
“Even inland across the majestic hinterland region the average vacancy rate reflected a 0.8 per cent decrease to 1.5 per cent.”
There’s some “unmistakeable movement upward” when it comes to areas back along the coastline, according to the REIQ.
“Early tremors of COVID-19 [are] attributable to those results recorded in Noosa (+1.3 per cent to 3.6 per cent) and Fraser Coast (+1.4 per cent to 3.1 per cent) which includes Hervey Bay (+2.4 per cent to 4.3 per cent),” it said.
“Drive a few hours north and more stable yet tight vacancy rates become the norm once more from Bundaberg (+0.9 per cent to 2.4 per cent) through to Rockhampton (-0.3 per cent to 1.3 per cent).
“However, the outlier here is Gladstone. With mining and infrastructure projects on the go, demand for trades has boomed – with vacancy results reflecting rental demand by a staggering 2.5 per cent to a record low of 1.6 per cent for the region.”
The REIQ noted Mackay represents the only area across Queensland that’s remained unchanged over the quarter (2.5 per cent).
Far North Queensland
Townsville remained relatively unscathed with vacancy rates fairly stable (+0.8 per cent to 2.9 per cent), according to the REIQ.
Meanwhile, Mount Isa saw a 1.1 per cent drop to 2.5 per cent, proving the state’s largest township maintained a healthy rental market in the first quarter of 2020.
“Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for Cairns,” REIQ said.
“As the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest, the tourism-driven region closed out the quarter with a 1.8 per cent increase to 3.5 per cent rental vacancies – teetering on the edge of weak market conditions after experiencing record-low vacancies over the last 12 months.”
Commenting further on the results, REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said:
“Any further surges in vacant properties across Queensland’s tourism regions are likely to be addressed by future tourism-focused initiatives to boost domestic holidaymakers.”
“It’s an optimistic start to the year. The next quarter will reveal more about the true impact of COVID-19 on the Queensland rental market.”
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