Michael Matusik’s thoughts on this week’s property news – 20th January

If you’re just re-joining us after the holidays, What’s News is new – a brief rundown of property market headlines ‘n stuff that we find of interest.

Don’t despair if the office blues are already looming – three day weekend on the horizon.

  • High-risk, no-deposit and low-doc loans are re-emerging in the property market.
    Most big lenders have been offering loans of up to 97 per cent of a property’s purchase price, but some are going a step further.
    Lender Mortgage House is now offering home loans, coupled with a $20,000 Visa credit card, allowing loans of up to 99 per cent of the purchase price of a property.
    Many lenders are pushing no-doc loans where no proof of income is required.
    The seeds of the next property downturn are already being sown.
  • Accor Hotels Group hurt due to weakening economy and mining downturn in 2013.
    Occupancy rates for Accor were primarily down in Western Australia and Queensland last year, due to the mining slowdown.
    Brisbane’s outlook has been affected by a state government clampdown on travel and spending.
    While Perth is expected to turn around; Accor reports Melbourne and Sydney continue strong performance.  
  • Most SMH readers didn’t’ make New Year’s resolutions this year ­– how smart are they?
    Almost 40 per cent say they don’t believe in them; 14 per cent say they made them and are still keeping them; and 4 per cent admit to making and breaking.
    I have kept mine, so far; I have had an afternoon nap on both Saturday & Sunday since the 1st January.  Aim low & achieve high, that’s my motto.
  • Russian interest is building in Sunshine Coast property.
    After sweeping through the Gold Coast apartment market in 2005, Australia’s Russian community are diversifying their portfolios with Sunshine Coast residential and Melbourne and Sydney commercial property.
    Noosa is starting to attract Russian investors.
    A $4 million house at Sunshine Beach just sold to a Russian-born Sydney buyer.  Nearly 18,500 Russian-born people live in Australia.  To find out what we think, go here.
  • Architects say widespread air conditioning is impractical for Australian climate.
    The demand for cooling is up, with more than 80 per cent of Australia’s new homes and apartments incorporating at least one air conditioning unit; and growing refusal by tenants to sign up without air con.
    But also up are reports of employee health problems from air conditioning; and risks of overloaded electricity grids and crippling city blackouts.
  • A garden can add 12 per cent to the price of an Australian property.
    A global survey of 5,000 respondents throughout nine countries by Husqvarna Group, has found that a home’s financial value can be increased substantially with a simple garden and small outlay.
    Locally, Place Estate Agents say a maintained garden can add 5 to 10 per cent to a home’s value.   
  • Plans for Ikea and Westfield North Lakes have been delayed.
    Both retailers cite the lengthy planning process as reasons for the set-backs.
    IKEA’s opening date has been pushed back to 2016 or beyond, while Westfield’s $230 million expansion is held up due to legal wrangling with the local Council.
    Very little really changes in Brisvegas.
  • Saving the best for last – the home building industry looks set for a great year in Queensland – its best since the GFC.
    Master Builders has forecast 32,000 new housing starts and solid renovation activity by the end of the financial year; with 2014-15 forecast to see up to 40,000 starts.
    Queensland saw over 8 per cent growth in total building approvals for November 2013 – the best monthly figures since April 2008.
    Please let this forecast be true.
  • Enjoy your long weekend.
    The SMH reports only a handful of us (7 per cent) intend to wave or wear a flag to celebrate Australia Day; and most of us don’t really feel the love….nothing special, we say – just another long weekend.
    Come on, folks, not even a bar of Waltzing Matilda?
    More than a third will spend the long weekend with family.  Okay, maybe not Waltzing Matilda, but Khe Sanh, surely.

WHAT’S NEWS:  Our wrap of current property headlines.


It’s the first poll of the year….and one of our most telling.  Market Outlook 2014 asks your opinion on what’s going to happen in property throughout the year.  Get in early; give us your two bob’s worth and we’ll report back to you with ours – in February.



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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit Metropole.com.au

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