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THIS WEEK’S ARTICLES: Rainforest Living in Queensland; Raffles Residences Manila; Swarovski Bathroom Faucets; Chinese Property Taxes; US interest rates; Australian Banks on the Assault; The Malibu Home of Sting; The Rotating Bath Tub; The W New York…
We bring you the last installment for 2008 of our look at luxury property, design and concepts from Australia and around the world. Your support throughout the year has made the MTLH blog the most viewed of its kind in Australia and contributed to Marquette Turner Luxury Homes being named as The World’s Most Outstanding Luxury Agency Under 2 Years Old. Not bad in just a year, and 2009 promises to be even bigger and better. Thank you!
We wish you a fantastic & safe festive period.
See our luxury homes showcased in Australia & Around The World
“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Oprah Winfrey
Three stunning homes, three vacant blocks of land, and a water front parcel of land have just been listed by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes on Hope Island at Queensland’s Sanctuary Cove.
Sanctuary Cove is Australia’s leading lifestyle community offering wonderful facilities and 24 hour active land and water security. Sanctuary Cove has Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval for all foreign investors. It is set over 474 hectares and offers fantastic lifestyle options that are complimented by two championship golf courses, four harbours, 15 restaurants, harbor-side cafes and fashion boutiques. Sanctuary Cove also features an extensive recreational club, a Country Club and the five-star Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove Hotel.
3008 Hillside Walk – 711sq m – $1.125 million AUD
3009 Hillside Walk – 711sq m – $1.175 million AUD
3010 Hillside Walk – 711 sq m – $1.125 million AUD
8081 Riverside Drive – 994 sq m – $1.125 million AUD
To view more information and see more images of each property, simply click on any of the images above. Alternatively, select this HOPE ISLAND link to go straight to all the properties and blocks of land available.
Even in difficult global economic times, property in the Caribbean is unsurprising still sought after: the sun, the sand, and the opportunity are the pick of the Northern Hemisphere any time of year.
The change, however, are the buyer’s of Caribbean property: this time last year it was the British baby-boomers who were flocking to the region whereas now it’s the Canadians.
The Canadian market has been the largest increase in Caribbean real estate purchases this past year, with their desire for a second home being driven by the Canadian Boomers’ desire to re-model their retirement lifestyles. Unsurprisingly – and Australian’s can no doubt appreciate this – they are looking to leave the cold behind and follow the sun.
From Aruba to the Dominican Republic, this year 42% of the Canadian buyers of Jim Walberg of Caribbean Island Realty, our Caribbean luxury real estate partner, have been paying ALL CASH for their real estate purchases, such is their desire to secure their place in the sun.
Here are some interesting statistics:
- 14% of the Canadian population own recreational real estate asset.
- 57% of owners are sole recreational property owners.
- 36% of those who are sole owners purchased their property prior to 1990.
- 59% increase in second home ownership among Canadians since 1990.
- 30% of the total population indicated that they are interested in a recreational property asset.
- 48% prefer to be very close to the beach.
- 46% want retail facilities nearby.
Marquette Turner Luxury Homes is the luxury agency of the Southern Hemisphere with properties for sale in Australia, as well as Tahiti, the Philippines and Vanuatu available very soon. For the Northern Hemisphere contact Caribbean Island Realty for endless sun!
Putting your property on the market poses two very personal concerns:
- invasion of privacy: that your personal life will be on show;
- theft: your personal effects are prey to any “prospective” buyers
De-clutter your property before placing it on the market for sale: this is my first tip of advice for those vendors concerned with their privacy being publicised to the world.
To some it means removing everything from bench tops, cupboards and shelves and to others it means keeping the home clean, neat and tidy. But how do you protect your privacy and hide your personals?
Your home generally depicts your personal life, showing your taste in furnishings, colours, art, antiques and family photographs. Is opening your home to the public an invasion of your privacy? Absolutely!
The experience of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes shows that people buy the home that “ticks most of the boxes”. When selling your home, you should take the distractions away so the buyer can concentrate solely on looking at your home.
Furthermore, we are not great advocates of open for inspections in a troubled market and it is important to appreciate that household contents insurance does not cover the loss of personal effects during a viewing of a property. Remove the opportunity for theft and protect yourself as if you were a celebrity like Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise and Hugh Jackman.
Selling your home can be stressful enough without the concern that someone is taking an interest in your personal life and possessions.
Marquette Turner Luxury Homes we will not allow anyone to view your home without showing their photo identification. If someone objects they are not respecting your home and are not serious about buying the property. Only a Luxury agency can truly protect your privacy.
In a time where debt is catching up with companies and individuals alike it is important to look at those who have led the way: what have they done to amass their wealth and importantly what have they avoided doing?
With banks and countries collapsing (Iceland is teetering the brink of bankruptcy), Japan is potentially already in recession and the EU and US are in disarray, it is hard to go past Warren Buffett in looking at the best way to handle difficult times.
Over the past thirty-five years, Warren Buffett has emerged as arguably the greatest investor in American history, and is currently listed by Forbes as the world’s wealthiest individual with a fortunate of approximately $US62 billion.
If you had invested $10,000 in Berkshire Hathaway when he took control in 1965, your holdings would be worth more than $50 million today. Buffett still lives in the same house he bought three decades ago for $31,500 and drives an older Lincoln Towncar.
This all points to avoiding excess and showing restraint, even in the good times. Warren Buffett had humble beginnings and has never lost sight of what it takes to continue succeeding and preparing for the tougher times. It’s certainly never too late to take notice: the sooner the better!
From early on art has inspired everyone though paintings, body art, houses, and even rooms around the house. Furthermore, whilst the typical family size is shrinking, kitchens are becoming larger and an increasing focal point of the home.
As such, many people when renovating their home use many artistic influences, with designers currently trending towards the use of industrial appliances and heavy duty industrial materials for the bench-tops and cabinetry, and adding kitchen islands where space allows.
With the kitchen on average proving to be the second most expensive room in the household and the main decision making factor when purchasing a home, the kitchen is certainly the “focal point” of the household and the family.
Marquette Turner Luxury Homes frequently features hot and cool new trends for the kitchen and you can use our many articles as resources when renovating your home simply by clicking on the images below.
Simon Turner & Todd Hudson
A report conducted by the Real Estate Institute of Australia in June 2008 has showed that housing affordability has fallen across every Australian State and Territory for the first time since March 2004.
The figures, which consider both rental and home loan affordability, shows that:
New South Wales as the least affordable Australian State in which to own a home
Home loan holders in New South Wales are having to use 42.6% of their income to meet payments
The average monthly loan repayment has risen 7.5% in the last quarter to $2301.
Tenant’s have had to face tightening vacancy rates
Tenant’s are having to use 25% of their income (up 0.3% from the final quarter) to meet their rental payments.
Tasmania is the least affordable State in which to rent, with 29.2% of the median family income having to be used to pay the rent.
After nine months lows in the housing market, there are signs that the Australian mood is settling.
Housing Industry Association data shows that:
- New home sales rebounded by 4% in June
- Unit sales increased by 15.5%.
- Detached house sales increased by 2.6%
Whilst auction clearance rates remain jittery, Marquette Turner Luxury Homes continues to maintain that the choice of auction’s when selling property at this time is more of a gamble than it is a strategy. In terms of consumer interest in real estate, however, we have noticed a jump in the level of inquiries in the last week or so.
Looking ahead for the rest of the year, a typically more effervescent period for property sales anyway, a combination of easing inflationary pressures and interest rate cuts should certainly put a spring in the step of many Australians.
RoofRay, a new Californian business, aims to give home owners better information to enable them to make more informed environmental decisions for their home. Using the site’s modeling tools, consumers can estimate how much solar energy a home could capture and how that would affect their monthly bills.
The data provided is based upon historical weather conditions, current power usage charges, the gradient of the property, and the maximum amount of solar paneling the roof can hold. One tool uses Google Maps to let users calculate the size of their roof and build virtual panels. RoofRay then estimates the output potential of the solar panels as well as financial considerations like costs of installation, upkeep and return on investment.
Whilst not yet available in Australia, such a tool would be a welcome addition to our growing eco-conscience and our excessive reliance on fossil fuels. Furthermore it would be useful for would-be real estate buyers in making purchase decisions, something that the Marquette Turner team are increasingly finding is a factor in how and where buyer’s buy.
Property owners are choosing to list earlier this year in the run up to Spring. Many are searching for answers after being on the market for months without success and others are hurting under the pressure of high interest rates and the ever increasing cost of living.
The decrease in the value of the Australian dollar seems to have caught many experts by surprise. Our dependence on imported oil places us in an interesting position. Further drops in the value of the Australian dollar, coupled with an increase in oil prices would put enormous pressure on inflation. It appears, however, that our prayers for interest rate relief are about to be answered but only by a quarter of one percent (25 basis points).
The long term forecast appears good with some Banks already cutting fixed term rates which should give buyers some much needed confidence in choosing a home
It appears that our economy is slowing enough to see rates come down even further with signs that the commodity boom may have reached its peak. I believe we can look forward to improved market conditions and increased competition for property in the near future with bricks and mortar becoming the asset class of choice with some excellent buys throughout the country.
In tough times choosing an agent to sell your property is more important than ever. Asking agents to show evidence that what they are claiming actually works is a great idea. I strongly believe that agents who insist on vendor paid marketing should be capable of proving that your money is going to be spent wisely and not just be used to advertise their brand.
Can the agent show that Newspaper advertising which costs thousands of dollars is necessary? Can they show that their website is truly more effective than other sites? Can they reach an international Luxury audience and how?
Is advertising in a real estate agency magazine essential in selling your home and where is it distributed? Is the agency database so good that it’s a point of difference in choosing your agent? I have heard dozens of agents speak about the strength of their database, yet few can back it up with real buyers. They insist that although their database is great, other vendor paid marketing is necessary to achieve a sale – so what is so good about a database if you still need to advertise elsewhere?
This is a wonderful time to carefully consider where you are spending your money and what return you are getting on the investment. Don’t be shy in asking agents to produce evidence to back up their claims. Your home is a valuable asset that deserves the very best. After all you wouldn’t gamble with your health by allowing a Doctor to experiment on you without proof that the treatment would actually work.
Auction Clearance rates for the week ending August 10, 2008 continued to show an uncertain market where buyers and vendors are struggling to find common ground. Low price expectations from would-be bargain hunters are making it difficult for many vendors to make decisions on auction day and Luxury property continues to perform poorly at auction.
Properties below $1 million are the best performers at auction right now with Melbourne leading the way with an overall Clearance rate of 55%. Sydney is steady at a clearance rate a little over 43% with Perth performing worst of all Australian Capital cities with a dismal clearance rate of just over 15%.
The figures for the week ending August 17, 2008 will be available shortly and I hope to see an improved result with expectations of an interest rate decrease growing. We eagerly await the announcement from the Reserve Bank.
We at Marquette Turner Luxury Homes have been urging our Luxury clientele to sell by Expressions of Interest and we are experiencing high levels of success. Whilst this is a strategy less commonly used below $1million, we find that the flexibility it enables for all parties very much assists in the ultimate sale of properties.
This table is compiled with the assistance of RP Data for the week ending August 10, 2008.
Are you considering a sea change or thinking about which suburbs are in most demand in Newcastle? If you are this information is essential reading. Earlier in the week I wrote about the massive 85% drop in sales in July this year compared to the same month last year for property in the City of Newcastle.
If the trend continues many real estate agencies will close their doors and many agents will be forced to flee the industry. This staggering decrease in demand has put enormous pressure on pricing in the area and is causing many vendors considerable grief. So the question of where to buy to best protect your investment is more important than ever.
In Sydney we have seen suburbs close to beaches and the Harbour hold their price the best. The outer suburbs, especially in the West have struggled and have significantly dropped in value. It really shows that as demand drops in an area price follows in the same direction.
In Newcastle the Blue Ribbon suburbs of Merewether, Bar Beach, Cooks Hill and The Hill have all suffered from interest rate increases and decreased buyer demand but nowhere near to the extent of rest of the City. Year to date sales in those suburbs are down 32% on the same period last year – not the massive reduction seen in the City as a whole.
These suburbs enjoy close proximity to beaches, Newcastle Harbour, cafes, restaurants and many enjoy spectacular coastal views. Purchasing a home is all about location and the choice of suburb is crucial in protecting your valuable asset. This formula is true for all coastal cities and will help put you in the safest position.
Marquette Turner Luxury Homes
It has always astonished me how many real estate agents advise everyone they meet to auction their home. In Regional cities like Newcastle this happens all too often with the inevitable result of the property passing in, and in most cases not even receiving one bid from a potential buyer.
The process is horrendous for vendors who quite often have their hopes set high only to have them come crashing down on auction day. Potential purchasers use the fact that the property passed in to show that there is little if any interest in the home and accordingly offer much less for the property or just wait for the price to continue falling in the hope of snapping it up for a bargain price.
This is even truer when looking at Luxury Homes in sort after suburbs in Newcastle like The Hill, Bar Beach and Merewether. Twenty seven (27) homes were put to auction in the Hunter yesterday with only eight selling, for a clearance rate of just thirty percent (30%). Even more interesting is that the highest price paid for a property sold at auction yesterday was just $452,000!
It is more important than ever to choose an agent with the experience, qualifications and knowledge of the Luxury market when selling your home. The one size fits all approach simply doesn’t work when selling Luxury Homes and is even more important when selling property in Regional cities.
Home owners and investors have welcomed suggestions that the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates this year, but will the Banks pass the rate cuts onto borrowers?
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told Australians to change banks if they fail to pass on rate reductions. The banks have had no problem increasing rates to levels higher than official rate increases and have even increased rates despite the Reserve Bank keeping them on hold.
In an interview with The Australian Financial Review last week I was asked what it would take to restore confidence in the market. I expect buyers to remain cautious until the banks show that any rate reductions will be passed on. I believe a rate cut of around one per cent is needed to restore buyer confidence as I’m hearing increasingly that buyers and vendors are skeptical that banks will pass on the rate cuts. A reduction of 100 basis points will result in the market reacting in a positive way, even half a per cent will be looked cautiously.
So the question is buy now or wait? The answer is simple. There are some fantastic buys in the market at the moment and this will continue for the foreseeable future. As the stock market wobbles, dividends decrease and share prices drop bricks and mortar will become a major focus for many investors.
If you find the right property at the right price and choose the right lender your decision is an easy one to make. My only advice is to ensure sure that you keep your lender honest, and if “changing banks” as PM Rudd suggests, make sure you are aware of all fees and costs that may apply.
It may seem obvious that what goes up must come down, but there are some property owners out there that are learning this the hard way. Quite simply, the appreciation of real estate is not a guaranteed birthright, nor a foregone conclusion.
In boom times, many of your friends and acquaintances may be sharing with confidence and bravado their two cents worth of real estate insight over the dinner table. You may hear such claims that “real estate prices only go up,” “everyone has got to live somewhere,” “the population will never go down” or, and this is the time your alarm bells should be ringing, “trust me!”.
As we are experiencing now, when economies and markets come under pressure, together with buying too high and borrowing too much, there is almost an inevitable period when property prices will head southwards.
Over-eager buying and over-zealous lending has meant that in lots of cases real estate prices in the short-term have had nowhere to go but down. Buying or selling is a stressful enough period in one’s life without facing additional pressures.
Go one step further and if you’ve paid perhaps ten per cent too much for the property, you must somehow recoup 15 per cent just to return to “Go”: there’s no advancing and you can’t even collect $200, to use Monopoly language.
On the plus side, and there is still plenty of positive news, those that can weather a less than booming economy, who bought well, borrowed sensibly and paid off plenty will be rewarded, as over the longer term real estate prices have traditionally shown excellent appreciation and will no doubt do so in the future.
Constantly educate and re-evaluate yourself, your wants and your needs. This will ensure that you have a full appreciation of your financial position and make well informed choices if, when, and why ever you need to make them.
“Be a property intellectual” by frequently visiting our blog and the many other resources on the internet: they will stand you in great stead for the future.
Residential property is definitely more of a buyer’s market these days. Buyers, however, are taking a lot of convincing and are often missing out on a great purchase simply because they are waiting for someone else to make the first move. As Michael Marquette of Marquette Turner recalls, “by the time a nervous buyer waits for a competitor to make the first move, the sale has been sealed under their nose and they must continue the never-ending search for that ‘perfect’ property, meanwhile economic pressures are increasing.
Lower prices are offset by concerns about inflation and interest rates and anecdotal evidence suggests that there are fewer people attending open homes and inspections.
If anything at the moment softer prices and rapidly rising rents make Sydney property a good long-term buy. With data suggesting weaker retail spending, it is likely that we can expect another year or two before inflation becomes acceptably in check, whilst the pressure on interest rates remaining.
So it is likely that the lack of competition identified in the under-$1million price range in Sydney will also remain. During that time, rents will continue to rise.
Here’s some tips for potential buyers:
- With houses, focus on land size.
- With apartments, look at the number of bedrooms (stear clear of studios and aim for two) and give preference to boutique blocks over large buildings, and avoid high strata costs – lifts, gyms and pools may look nice, but they are costly to maintain.
At present in NSW 25 per cent of household income is needed to cover the average rent, whilst in Victoria 22 per cent and Western Australia 23 per cent.
First home buyers continue to dive into the housing market, despite an affordability crisis gripping much of NSW.
New figures show that the numbers of first home buyers have grown by more than 12% per annum for the last four years, with most choosing Sydney’s South-West and Western suburbs.
The Real Estate Institute of Australia’s Steve Martin notes that people are looking to get out of the rental frustration.
“It’s a bit of a balancing act because property has proven to be a very, very good investment over many years. However first home buyers need to be a little bit careful as far as affordability is concerned.”
Additionally, whilst there are first home buyer incentives offered by the government, the Marquette Turner team recommend those concerned make themselves fully comfortable with the rules and conditions by talking the issues through with their solicitor, conveyancer or accountant. A common roadblock is that 2 first home buyers do NOT receive the full $7000 each in NSW, but share $7000 in total.
Furthermore, you must understand stamp duty ramifications: property values up to $500,000 are exempt from stamp duty in NSW; up to $600,000 the duty is discounted; after $600,000 even a first home-buyer must paid the entire duty.
To learn more, simply download this First Home Buyer Factsheet.
With the current tightening of the property market and increases in the cost of living it has never been more important to take full advantage of any eligible tax deductions available.
When it comes to property investors, it pays to have all of your deductions accounted for. We have developed a list of tax tips for property investors, that will hopefully place additional dollars into your pockets.
Claim all of your expenses in relation to your investment property
The following is a list of items that can be claimed as deductions
Expenses for which you can claim an immediate deduction
Expenses for which you may be entitled to an immediate deduction in the income year you incur the expenses include:
- Advertising for tenants
- Bank charges
- Body corporate fees and charges
- Council rates
- Electricity and gas
- Gardening and lawn mowing
- In-house audio/video service charges
- Public liability
- Interest on loans
- Land tax
- Lease document expenses
- Stamp duty
- Legal expenses (excluding acquisition costs and borrowing costs)
- Mortgage discharge expenses
- Pest control
- Property agent’s fees and commission
- Quantity surveyor’s fees
- Repairs and maintenance
- Secretarial and bookkeeping fees
- Security patrol fees
- Servicing costs – for example, servicing a water heater
- Stationery and postage
- Telephone calls and rental
- Tax-related expenses
- Travel and car expenses
- Rent collection
- Inspection of property
- Maintenance of property
- Water charges
You can claim a deduction for these expenses only if you actually incur them.
Examine the above expenses that you have incurred over the year
Whilst the above expenses can be claimed as deductions, property owners should take the opportunity to review all of the expenses incurred with holding their investment property.
Ensure that your agent has been proactive in the collection of monies owed to you for items such as water usage, which is payable by the tenants.
Also, consider cutting down on recurring expenses such as monthly lawn mowing fees. Do the lawns really need to be mowed every month or can you get away with making this bi-monthly? Look at other areas where the expenditure has been high and consider ways of reducing your expenses.
Pre-pay your interest
There may be an opportunity to pre-pay your interest on the loan. Remember, your loan is more likely to be interest only (as only the interest component can be claimed), look at pre-paying the interest bill for next year and collect a discount from the bank whilst bringing your deductions forward.
Essentially, if you can afford it, this will significantly reduce your taxable income. Throughout the year you will also get the benefit of still obtaining rent whilst your loan repayments will cease for the period of prepayment.
Remember to only prepay for one year as this is the only period that can be claimed as a deduction.
Obtain a Tax Depreciation Schedule
Engage a specialist tax depreciation firm to carry out a depreciation schedule of your property. This will allow you to capture the depreciation on the plant and equipment within the property, the capital works including common areas (if applicable) and any renovations and improvements carried out to the property. The cost for the schedules are fully tax deductible also.
Lodge a PAYG income tax withholding variation form
Section 221D of the Income Tax Assessment Act provides the Commissioner of Taxation with the authority to vary the amount of tax installments to be deducted from the salary or wages of an employee, or class of employees, in order to meet the special circumstances of any case or class of cases.
In this context, where you are claiming depreciation and deductions on your investment property, you may be eligible to vary your income tax deductions on a monthly basis rather than waiting till the end of the year to make your claims.
Essentially, the income tax withholding variation form will allow you to vary the amount of tax deducted, leaving more in your account and allowing you to pay less interest on your mortgage.
Bring forward any repairs
If you are considering doing repairs to your property, do them prior to June 30th and claim them now rather than waiting till June next year. However, be careful in claiming items considered to be improvements as repairs. Generally improvements are depreciated whilst repairs are deducted. Examples of repairs include items such as:
- Replacing broken windows
- Plumbing maintenance
- Repairs to electrical appliances
Look at increasing the rent
With the current shortage of rental properties available in most capital cities, it might be a good time to review the rent and increase it if it is not in line with the current market. Liaise with your property manager to see if it is possible to increase the rent and look at the rents of other comparable properties on the real estate portal sites.
DISCLAIMER: This information is provided as guidance only. You should seek your own independent financial advice.