Weekend reads – Must read articles from the last week

There are more interesting articles, commentaries and analyst reports on the Web every week than anyone could read in a month.

Each Saturday morning I like to share some of the ones I’ve read during the week.

The weekend will be over before you know it, so enjoy some weekend reading.

More Australians feel positive about the housing market, but younger buyers face an affordability barrier


This article from Domain.com.au

More Australians now have a positive view of the property market and more confidence that prices will rise, new research has found.

Recovering property prices across Australia have fuelled improved sentiment, according to a quarterly report by ME Bank.

The findings come against a backdrop of record-low interest rates and higher auction clearance rates in major capitals. 34079710_l

The report, which surveyed 1000 Australians in the property market, found about 42 per cent of participants said they felt good about the current market, up 9 percentage points from last quarter.

Respondents in all major cities except Perth showed a more positive outlook on prices.

Sentiment was most improved in Sydney and Melbourne, both of which saw a dramatic rebound in property values in recent months.

Sydney has seen the fastest quarterly comeback in decades, while house prices in Melbourne regained more than half of what was lost in the downturn, according to Domain’s latest House Price Report.

The number of people who now intended to buy was up by 2 percentage points, ME’s report found.

Intention to sell was up by 4 percentage points, which could boost the number of homes coming onto the market.

On Sydney’s lower north shore, that was playing out through a boost of activity for homes up to about $2 million, Tim Foote from Belle Property Mosman said.


“Buyer sentiment is definitely positive. They’re finding that getting financing is easier, and there’s a sense that the market has bottomed out … that prices are improving, and sustainably so,” Mr Foote said.

He said inspection numbers for homes under $2 million were the strongest, typically attracting investors and first-home buyers.

“Things are selling pretty well in that space,” he added.

In Melbourne’s inner-east, Michael Armstrong from Kay & Burton South Yarra said market sentiment had improved dramatically after the federal election.

“I found it surprising how quickly people went from being very pessimistic about property … to all of a sudden there being a big swing around,” he said.

Rising prices a double-edged sword

ME found Millennials to be the most likely to buy or sell, up by 8 percentage points since their last report. Hand Drawing A Graph About Real Estate Market Concept Image

But even though there was a rise in positive sentiment across the board, it climbed by the smallest amount among first-home buyers.

This could be due to narrowing opportunities for those buyers to secure a bargain, according to ME general manager of home loans Andrew Bartolo,

“For them, rising prices are potentially going to affect their affordability,” Mr Bartolo said.

“But they do have the government’s new First Home Loan Deposit Scheme on the horizon.”

Mr Bartolo said the uptick in first-home buyer activity could be a sign of young Australians trying to find a foothold in the market before prices rose much higher.

“That’s potentially driving the moves in that space, as well as pent-up demand,” he said. “The older buyers [in that segment] might have been holding on for a little while and might be thinking, ‘it’s now or never’.”

Mr Armstrong noted that first-home buyers were facing increased competition for properties too.

Bank Of Mum And Dad“Investors are roaring back now,” he said.

For some, financial assistance from their parents is helping matters.

“The bank of mum and dad is very busy at the moment,” said Mr Armstrong.

“It is a very visible thing now that you do get parents playing a very active role in the purchase, and it’s more noticeable than it’s ever been.”

Window of opportunity could be closing

A new survey from Finder, also carried out in October, found older Australians more likely to think now is a good time to buy than younger groups.

This was the case for nearly two-thirds of Baby Boomers, compared with 59 per cent of Millennials and just 40 per cent of Gen Z.

Finder insights manager Graham Cooke said it was becoming increasingly difficult for younger buyers to snag their first home without a high-paying job or input from family.

“The bottom rung of the ladder is getting higher and higher,” Mr Cooke said.

Read the full article here

Is the poop finally hitting the fan?


This Blog by Pete Wargen explains the results.

Insolvencies spike

This housing cycle isn’t out of the woods yet – not by a long chalk – as more developers and construction firms continue to go bust. 17034015_l

This is the sort of thing we’ve been hearing a lot about around the traps, but now there are official statistics to confirm it.

In Q3 construction insolvencies spiked to their highest level since the September 2013 quarter, according to the latest ASIC figures.

There was a sharp quarterly increase in construction insolvencies in Victoria, from 107 to 190, as well as a further increase in New South Wales, and more than a 40 per cent jump in Queensland.

Finance conditions often remains hellishly tight, and developers are increasingly facing challenges related to insurance, while for many apartment pre-sales have dried up.

Construction insolvencies are now at multi-year highs in all three of the most populous states, and have increased sharply to a six-year high at the national level.

You can click on the below image to expand the chart:


There appears to be a general complacency that Australia is ‘home and hosed’ now that housing prices are rising again, but complacency can so often be a dangerous frame of mind in finance and markets.

Read the full article here

Melbourne, Sydney record biggest property price gains in a decade



This article from 9news.com.au

Property markets in Sydney and Melbourne are surging, recording the biggest month-on-month gain in value in a decade.

New research from property statistics house CoreLogic has shown house prices in Melbourne and Sydney have lifted 2.3 percent in October – the largest month-on-month gain since November 2009.

The biggest gains over the last three months were felt in Melbourne, where property prices have soared by 5.5 percent to a median of $650,197 (including both units and freestanding houses).

Property Prices

Sydney remains Australia’s prime mover, with values lifting 5 percent over the last quarter to the most expensive median price of $817,886.

Nationally, the value of Australian property is up 2.9 percent since finding a value “floor” in mid-June this year.

Property values are now at a similar level to where they were three years ago. Propertyupdate Victorian Property Melbourne

Even Perth, which felt the sharpest drop in values of any capital city, house prices only lost 1 per cent of value in the last quarter to a median price of $527,2017. (AAP)

CoreLogic’s Head of Research Tim Lawless said the rebound of values can be attributed to low mortgage rates, stamp duty exemptions and stronger population growth.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the housing market rebound is gathering pace, both geographically and across the broad valuation cohorts, off the back of lower mortgage rates and improved access to credit,” Mr Lawless said.

“Demand for housing is responding to stimulus measures, including mortgage rates that are now lower than anything we have seen since the 1950s and improved mortgage serviceability tests following APRA’s decision to adjust the minimum interest rate serviceability rules in July this year.”

Established property owners will likely make a windfall off falling interest rates. (AAP)

Outside of Sydney and Melbourne the gains experienced by smaller capital cities were far more modest. Sydney+suburbs

Canberra grew 2.4 percent to record a median of $601,487, Brisbane grew 1.1 percent to notch up a median of $493,426 and Hobart lifted 1.0 percent to $460,033.

Over the last quarter Adelaide held onto a marginal improvement, lifting 0.1 percent to $433,140 while Darwin dropped 1.2 percent to record a median of $394,132.

Perth suffered the biggest loss over the last three months, falling 1.7 percent to record a median value of $435,119.

Perth now has the lowest median house price (excluding units) of any capital city in the country.

There has been a shortage of new listings for some time now. (AAP)

Given the downwards trend in Perth and Darwin, CoreLogic research said it was “unsurprising” that both capitals were showing the highest proportion of first home buyer activity.

Mr Lawless said it is suspected many property owners have been reluctant to put their homes on the market, which may be driving prices up.

“There has been a shortage of new listings for several years which has likely resulted in some pent up demand from home owners looking to sell,” Mr Lawless said.

Read the full article here

Brisbane’s property buzz


In this article for Switzer, John McGrath

Continuing weakness in the Queensland economy and oversupply of dwellings has kept property price growth in Brisbane low in recent years.

However, the city is poised for a turnaround with predictions of a 20% jump in house prices over the three years to June 2022.

This will be the strongest growth of all capital cities, according to analysts and forecasters, BIS Oxford Economics. Brisbane

Brisbane’s median house value is still an affordable $540,224 and its median apartment price is $377,447; making the price differential between Brisbane and Sydney houses nearly 40%.

As discussed in our recently released McGrath Report 2020, Brisbane and South East Queensland property was impacted by lending restrictions that took significant buyer demand out of the marketplace in 2018 and the first half of 2019.

Comparing the East Coast capitals, Brisbane held up best, with home values dipping only -2.6% in FY19 while Sydney fell -9.9% and Melbourne declined -9.2%, according to CoreLogic.

With the Sunshine State offering great affordability and lifestyle, more people are relocating here, with Queensland recording the highest and rising net interstate migration.

Southern migrants are spoilt for choice because prices are so much lower.

For example, in Brisbane there are still 14 suburbs within 20km of the CBD where a typical house costs less than $500,000.

While interest rate cuts and reduced lending restrictions will boost activity across South East.

Queensland in FY20, it is economic growth fuelled by infrastructure projects and strong interstate migration that will be the key driving forces for property prices over the next few years. Herston Brisbane Suburb

In FY19, $11.6 billion was poured into 405 construction projects, with more to come.

Contracts were awarded for the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail, a 10.2km rail line from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills.

Brisbane Airport’s second runway is on schedule to open in 2020, doubling its capacity and contributing a predicted $5 billion in additional annual economic benefits.

Major infrastructure spending on the Sunshine Coast is also raising the area’s appeal and transforming the local economy.

The coast’s largest construction project is the $303 million Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion, which includes a new runway to be completed by late 2020.

The longer, wider runway will facilitate more tourism and enable direct exporting to new markets in Asia, the Pacific and other parts of Australia previously inaccessible.

The project will contribute an estimated $4.1 billion to the local economy through to 2040.

The creation of Maroochydore’s new CBD is underway, with work commencing on the first new commercial building as well as an international broadband cable that will create the East Coast’s fastest internet. To be completed in 20 years, the new CBD will create 15,000 new permanent jobs and make the Sunshine Coast a more viable location for business.

New housing developments are expected to benefit from improved public transport on the Sunshine Coast, with early works underway on the $800 million Beerburrum to Nambour rail duplication project and a feasibility study completed for light rail linking Maroochydore with Caloundra.

The light rail would benefit the $5 billion Caloundra South housing development, Aura, which is offering some of the coast’s most affordable properties with house and land packages starting at $385,000.

It is within a short drive to beaches and reasonable commuting distance to Brisbane. Brisbane Property Market

While not firing as substantially as the Sunshine Coast in FY19, the Gold Coast property market has endless capacity for long term growth.

Its median house price remained steady in the 12 months to June 30, 2019 at $630,000, slightly above the Sunshine Coast’s median of $600,000 following 1.7% growth over the same period.

The median apartment price rose by 0.2% to $408,000, while the Sunshine Coast’s median rose by 1.2% to $410,000.

The Gold Coast has matured to a point where it no longer suffers the significant peaks and troughs it did in the past. Substantial infrastructure spending, improved public transport and an expansion of services at the airport have helped it develop beyond a tourism economy.

Health care is now the largest local employer following the opening of two new hospitals in 2013 and 2016 and the ongoing growth of the Health and Knowledge Precinct, which currently employs almost 10,000 people and will eventually support 26,000 jobs over the next 10-15 years.

BIS Oxford Economics predicts house price growth of 9% on the Gold Coast and 7% on the Sunshine Coast over the three years to June 2022.

Read the full article here

6 creepy homes to make your next holiday a hoot


An article on realestate.com.au

Living on the edge can be fun, for sure. But would you actually stay the night in a haunted house?

For all the thrill-seekers out there we’ve compiled a gloriously spooky list of places around the world that you can not only reportedly witness paranormal activity in, but also – in theory – sleep the night in.

That is if you’re not too terrified. Boo!

1. The Villisca axe murder house

If you happen to find yourself in Iowa, in the US, with a hankering for some good old-fashioned spookiness, then this creepy old farmhouse – the location of several murders – should be on your hit list.

Weekend reads - Must read articles from the last week

The farmhouse in Iowa has had a long and bloody history with the paranormal. Picture: Facebook

The operators of the Villisca Axe Murder House say: “The walls still protect the identity of the murderer or murderers who bludgeoned to death the entire family of Josiah Moore and two overnight guests on June 10, 1912.”

“Almost 97 years later, her secret continues to draw many visitors to her door.”

You and your five closest friends can hire out the farmhouse for an overnight stay you won’t forget for $US428.

2. Castle Keep, Adelaide

If you’re after a haunted house vibe minus the angry ghosts, then maybe Adelaide’s Castle Keep is for you.

Pictures courtesy of Stayz.com

The award-winning bed and breakfast is made to look like an old-world castle, yet doesn’t have the gory history of other buildings.

3. Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Creepy places to stay

The Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Picture: Facebook

If creepy old hospitals ring your bell you could stay at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, a former asylum for sufferers of tuberculosis, the elderly and mentally handicapped.

Located in southwestern Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium opened in 1910 to house sufferers of the highly contagious diseases. At its peak, it cared for 400 patients.

With the development of treatment drugs decreasing the need for such a large facility, the hospital was transformed into a nursing home for the elderly and the handicapped in 1962.

Sadly, it was allegedly due to patient neglect that the facility was closed for good in 1982.

It’s now a hotspot of supposed paranormal activity, with tours and sleepovers being hosted by its new owners. Proceeds from the tours are going towards funding the building’s restoration.

4. Monte Cristo Homestead

Touted as Australia’s most haunted house and built in 1884, Monte Cristo Homestead – located around 2.5 hours drive from Canberra – was constructed by a local businessman and landowner.

What was once one of the grandest homes of the area, hosting numerous balls and gatherings for the era’s most elite, has now become a hotspot for reported paranormal sightings of the original family that lived in the home until their final days.

Weekend reads - Must read articles from the last week

Several sightings of the owner and his wife have been made and the home now offers overnight stays where you can see for yourself whether the home is haunted.

5. Barcaldine Castle

If you’re wandering around the hills of Scotland on the lookout for a medieval castle to rest your head, then Barcaldine Castle should be on your list.

What’s now an idyllic bed and breakfast and popular wedding venue was, back in the 1600s, the setting of a murder of a Scottish laird in the middle of an uprising.

creepy homes

Barcaldine Castle in Scotland. Picture: Facebook

The ghost of Donald Campbell, the Laird of Barcaldine, is believed to haunt the castle with guests complaining that they experience pressure on their legs during the night as if someone is sitting on them.

6. Dracula’s castle

The home that inspired one of the most famous works of literature in the western world, Dracula, was available for rent on Airbnb in an exclusive competition back in 2016.

Sadly now this castle only accepts day visits.

Weekend reads - Must read articles from the last week

Bran Castle is believed to be the inspiration behind Count Dracula’s castle. Picture: Getty

While Bram Stoker never actually visited Romania, where the castle still stands, it’s believed that he created the myth of the castle and the count from descriptions of Bran Castle.

The Irish writer is believed to have based the character for the novel on a Transylvanian count, Vlad Tepes, who lived around 1450 and was sometimes known as Vlad Dracula.

Read the full article here


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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 his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit Metropole.com.au

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