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July 30, 2012

Mid-year market update – including some good news

We’ve reached the halfway point of 2012 so it’s a good time to look at the performance of the residential property market so far. What’s happening with prices, auction clearance rates, vendor discounting and rental prices?


Using the most recent figures from RP Data, I’ve formatted several tables that give an insight into the state of property in Australia. The first table provides an overview of capital growth over the past three months, 12 months, five years and 10 years.

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July 27, 2012

Will Sydney’s horror commute times change property demand?

A recent New South Wales Department of Transport survey shows that Sydney has the second longest reported commute time in the world, next to New York City. If you’re a local, it’s probably not surprising. The average time it takes to travel to work has blown out to 34 minutes – one way.


As if that isn’t bad enough, Sydney’s densification planning policies seem likely to lengthen commute times even more in the future. It’s therefore not surprising that more people are swapping their backyards for balconies and choosing to live in the inner suburbs, with demand coming not only from young people but families wanting to live closer to the CBD.
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July 25, 2012

Making the most out of your tax refund

What would you do if you suddenly found a couple of grand sitting in your bank account? According to estimates, a number of taxpayers are about to enjoy that sort of windfall. The average expected tax refund this year is about $2000 – that’s not a bad little chunk of change. But what should you do with it?


I’m terrible at saving money in the conventional sense. Putting aside a portion of my pay packet each week, with a goal in mind, just isn’t for me. So when I was dreaming of an overseas adventure a few years back, I wrote off the idea as too hard.

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July 23, 2012

Back to school… and back to congestion

For a few weeks every couple of months when kids are on school holidays, road traffic drops off dramatically and congestion eases. The moment they go back, it becomes almost unbearable again. And in my observation, the first half of the year seems much worse than the second part.


Recent posts by Alan Davies of The Urbanist have uncovered some interesting statistics about how children get to and from school.

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July 20, 2012

Melbourne’s oversupply isn’t universal

Recently The Age newspaper reported a huge oversupply of properties in Melbourne’s outer suburbs. It suggested the city’s urban fringe has been swamped with 35,000 unsold homes that could obviously trigger a further slump in property values in these areas.


This stockpile of unwanted housing in many of Melbourne’s newest suburbs has led to warnings by some planning experts that suburban ghettos could emerge on the city’s fringe, creating a social divide. How big is the problem?

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July 18, 2012

An accidental start in property

Investing in property is usually the product of thorough planning, budgeting and at least a few discussions with a loved one. Occasionally it’s far less deliberate. Take my friend who stopped for a snooze in a garden on his way home from a particularly big night out, woke to the noise of an open house, wandered inside and signed a contract.


There he was, minding his own business in a comfortable hedge, when the jingling of keys roused him from the mid-morning slumber. Hungover and confused, he peeked his head out of the shrubbery and saw the suit-clad agent perched on the stairs preparing to welcome potential buyers.

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July 13, 2012

What can investors learn from tennis?

Simon Ramo is a legendary American engineer who wrote a book in 1970 about, of all things, tennis. It was titled Extraordinary Tennis for the Ordinary Player. The engineer in him noticed tennis involves two games – one is played at the professional level and the other is played at the weekend warrior level.


Now, that’s not a particularly brilliant observation, but the conclusion he reached from his observation is. After extensive analysis, Ramo concluded professional tennis players win points while amateur players lose points.

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July 9, 2012

Accessing equity when you don’t need it

Time and again, I receive the frantic phone call from a client who has found a property, had their offer accepted and needs to arrange finance in a hurry. This is usually not an issue – except when they also needs to access equity in another property to get the deal done.


In a perfect world, we’d have already accessed equity for the client so they had the funds available to them to cover the deposit. This saves a lot of time and stress.

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July 6, 2012

Property investors painted in a negative light

As a property investor, it’s likely you wouldn’t be too keen on the suggestion from New South Wales Labor leader John Robertson that Australians should engage in a debate about the “effect” negative gearing has on our property markets.


Despite Robertson’s concerns that negative gearing is potentially driving up house prices and adding to affordability issues facing new generations of first homebuyers, Treasurer Wayne Swan has assured investors the Federal Government has no intention of altering present tax arrangements.

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July 4, 2012

George Clooney “likes” a quick sale

Trying to sell a property urgently in a relatively quiet market without massive discounting requires a bit of creativity. A friend’s recent use of Facebook to give her apartment a bit of personality and promote its sale got me thinking about social media’s relationship with real estate. Is it worth the effort?


Taking off to the United Kingdom is a well-worn path that’s been travelled by university graduates, ambitious young professionals and former Neighbours cast members for decades

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