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Marquette Turner’s real estate radar® hones-in on property news to keep your finger on the pulse, and with interest rate cuts on the cards, our news couldn’t be more timely!

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.

What Next?

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.

Simon Turner

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A new concept for bringing builders, other tradespeople, designers and suppliers into contact with thegeneral public will be launched in Newcastle in late June or early July 2008.

The HIA Hunter Home Ideas Centre, a new complex in the industrial estate of Steel River at Mayfield West, is set to revolutionise the way the home building industry does its business in the surrounding region.

Well located alongside the Industrial Highway , just a few minutes’ drive from the central business district and within easy reach of Newcastle ’s satellite suburbs, the centre rejects traditional concepts of how building products and services should be displayed. HIA’s Home Ideas Centre Manager, Steve Jeffries, said its design resulted from extensive consultation with members and consumers.

Mr Jeffries said research indicates that kitchens and bathrooms are the current ‘hot’ items with consumers. “We will have eight kitchen displays in the centre, all by established cabinet-makers, so consumers will meet the people who will actually be doing the work,” he said. “The same goes for the bathroom exhibits.

This state of the art HIA Homes Ideas Centre showcases local construction industry services in addition to 15 display modules each two metres high by a metre wide, leased by local builders, architects and home designers.

The budget has introduced a range of measures to address housing affordability.

  • The Government is committing to spend $623 million over four years on a rental affordability scheme that will stimulate the construction of new rental properties by providing investors with $8000 a year for 10 years for each property that they rent out for 80 per cent of the market rent.
  • A fund for affordable housing worth $500 million over four years will also help to increase the supply of new housing by assisting with surrounding infrastructure and cutting obstacles to development approvals.
  • A national housing supply council will oversee the adequacy of the nation’s housing stock for the next 20 years, and the Government is looking for surplus Commonwealth land that could be used for new housing.

Housing Industry Association Managing Director Dr Ron Silberberg said the $21.7 billion surplus would help mitigate interest rate pressures and investment in infrastructure and skills would help reduce inflationary constraints and increase productive capacity.

“Measures aimed at boosting the supply of new housing along with desperately needed urban infrastructure will assist in pegging the gap between underlying demand and current production,” Dr Siberberg said in a statement.

Housing commitments in the budget include $500 million over five years for a housing affordability fund, $623 million over four years for a national rental scheme, $1.17 billion over five years for first home saver accounts and $10 million to assist with financial counselling for Australians facing mortgage and rental stress.

The government had increased investment in skills to address immediate and longer-term needs for tradespeople for the housing industry, according to HIA.

HIA also said it applauded measures aimed at making cities more efficient and productive through new investment in transport, community facilities and services is.

Simon Turner

The collapse of one of Sydney’s biggest project home builders, Beechwood Homes, could put further pressure on an already tight rental housing market, according to the Housing Industry Association.

Beechwood was placed in voluntary administration yesterday, which is expected to affect about 300 homeowners in Sydney, the Hunter, and the south coast.

Beechwood owes a total of $20m, made up of $10m in secured debts to a bank, and $10m in unsecured debts to its builders and contractors.

“Obviously you have a certain level of overheads if you are building 25 properties a week, which was the case until recently. But when you still have those overheads but are only building 12-15 homes a week, then that isn’t enough to keep the business going” said the administrator.

Rising rates have hit the building industry hard, with building approvals (the number of new homes being built) down by 5.7 per cent in March, as high rates stem consumer demand.

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