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I read an article today on the Domain blog in Australia (owned by Fairfax Media) and I cannot believe the total rubbish it conveyed to people. I am so disappointed that I feel forced to discuss it. We can all recognize that someone has done well for themselves – we can praise and applaud that – well done John McGrath – to a point. We can also recognize when they have said something that is too hard to comprehend. So much as to make it simply unbelievable and it has to be discussed.

In a world that is missing realism at times and where the base expectations of the population are set according to media, lies – half-truths at best it is important to point out what is totally ridiculous. Not only do people feel inadequate but they lose sight of reality, feel unsuccessful and like in this case downright ill-informed.

John McGrath, founder of McGrath Estate Agents, stated in a recent blog that property in Australia fell into one of three bands. The Lower End (below $750,000), the mid range ($750,000-$3 million) and the upper end ($3 million to $30 million).

The pure facts are these. Anyone kidding themselves to think that $3m is mid-priced is either lying or living in a fantasy land. The facts are simple – 3.65% of all residential property in Australia in 2007 sold at or above $1million. In other words 96.35% of residential property sold was sold at or less than $1 million. $3 million is NOT mid priced – not in Sydney, not in Regional Australia – not anywhere in Australia. The information is so poor that it needs to be quickly corrected.

I’m not questioning that John McGrath has done well for himself over the years – but that simply does not excuse information that is blatantly incorrect. Since John McGrath has become a franchise agency, seeking to compete with the likes of LJ Hooker and Ray White, it is laughable that he should set such benchmarks given that the majority of the properties for sale through his franchise offices in New South Wales are of “the lower end”.  I’m sure this isn’t the message his agents are conveying to their clients.

Why point this out? Simply people are given so much information that cannot be backed up by evidence and those that are unaware of the reality can at times feel inadequate. What do you need to do to be successful? What have you done wrong? How can you possibly achieve that? The reality is very different to the perception.

I am disappointed that John McGrath would publicly say something that is simply wrong – he is smarter than that and it concerns me that many people will read his material and question themselves thinking he is telling the truth – Shame on you John McGrath.

Michael Marquette

FYI: Read related articles on Luxury Homes; Buying Real Estate; and Michael Marquette

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Over the last month or so I have had numerous discussions with people from all around the world about the level of Stamp Duty we pay in Australia on property transactions. In my opinion it acts as a huge disincentive for people to transact and puts additional and unnecessary barriers in place for buyers and vendors alike.

For those that aren’t aware buyers in NSW pay around 4% tax to the State Government – in addition to the purchase price of their property when they buy.

Who can forget the effect of the vendor duty that the New South Wales Government (for our international readers, Sydney is the Capital City of the State of New South Wales – NSW) decided to charge on the sale of investment properties. That 2.25% duty on the sale of investment properties (paid by vendors to the Government – calculated as a percentage of the total sale price) stalled the sale of investment property in the State and made purchasing investment property look very unattractive.

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Thankfully common sense prevailed and the duty was removed. New South Wales lost hundreds of millions of dollars to States like Queensland as investors chose to purchase elsewhere. South East Queensland did very well out of what can only be described a shocking decision. So what would happen if New South Wales slashed the stamp duty paid by purchasers? Would we see huge amounts of investment coming into the State from Queensland, Victoria and other States?

It’s an interesting question and one I’d like to see debated as increased taxes, tolls or duties is not the way to stimulate the economy. New South Wales is a wonderful part of our country and Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in world – if only we had a State Government to match.

Michael Marquette

FYI: Read related articles on Stamp Duty; or New South Wales; or Buying Real Estate

Resources: Buying Advice

SNOBS – standing for Social Networking for Opportunistic Businesswomen – has featured our very own Michael Marquette in the inaugural installment of “Work it Baby“.

Dubbing him “The Real Estate Man“, SNOBS recognizes Michael’s achievements in a fun and lively interview, his first since being awarded the prestigious title of the World’s Most Outstanding Rookie by the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read the SNOBs article, read about Michael, or read about the Who’s Who Awards

apartments.jpg Sydney is the only Australian capital city failing to build more detached houses than apartments, a new study has shown.

As new home-building figures plummet to their lowest levels since the late 1950s, economists warn that apartments and townhouses will dominate housing in Sydney as we build fewer and fewer freestanding homes.

Melbourne, on the other hand, built 19,100 houses last year, more than three times the detached houses built in Sydney during the same period, according to BIS Shrapnel figures. Brisbane built 11,700 houses.

Sydney is the only city in Australia that builds more apartments than houses – in every other city houses dominate new dwellings

Housing Industry Association report that Sydney’s shift to apartment development has happened as more people prefer to live in the inner city. The other factor was Bob Carr, who said Sydney was effectively shut for business in the 1990s and created a compulsory push towards high density.

Another issue inextricably linked to this issue is Sydney’s infrastructure. As Marquette Turner frequently state, until Sydney corrects its poor infrastructure trend, home ownership – in this case detached dwellings – will become increasingly out of people’s reach.

Simon Turner

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