Debunking the Supply Side Argument
Finally the old mantra politicians have been sprouting for years has been disproved. It did seem like common sense that house price rises must be due to lack of supply. Thats what made it possible for pollies to keep repeating this furphy that allowed them to dodge their responsibly to provide affordable housing.
Two academics at ANU have pointed out that house building has been running ahead of demand, at least in most of the major markets of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney in fact has poured billions into new home construction over the last few years and has still had massive price rises. The report goes on to encourage government bodies to create incentives for affordable rental as well as build-to-rent investment in the private sector.
Council as Theatre
BPS encourages local residents to observe public access at Byron council if they can. It happens on a Thursday morning at 9 am when council meets. Democracy at work is messy, loud and a long way from efficient, but a good way to see the sausage factory at work. It’s also a good way to be reminded to value and appreciate all our councillors, regardless of their political affiliation. For very little money they endure quite a lot stress and abuse. Its a dirty job but someone’s got to do it.
Public access also highlights our main problem in the shire and with politics in general -NIMBYism. Not In My Back Yard is the main reason most people are against anything and usually become blinkered to any opposing opinion. I can understand the desire to keep our region undeveloped, green and simple. Unfortunately we can’t stop people from wanting to move here and we need to find creative ways to manage this demand while maintaining what we love about the place. YIMBYism is a growing global movement which wants to change Not in My Back Yard to Yes In My Back yard. It is mainly driven by GenX and Millenials who are sick of being priced out of the present property market and want Baby Boomers to move over and allow more creative living options.
“Instant Hotel” on TV
One of the issues council had to deal with recently was the illegal promotion of a property on Red Gate Road South Golden Beach. The large residential home featured on a Channel 7 TV show called “Instant Hotel”. It was being promoted as a holiday rental contrary to its zoning and compliance. It has received more than 21 complaints in the past two years and copped an on-the-spot fine of $3,000.
Mayor Simon Richardson said “the owners of this property have a flagrant disregard for Byron Shire Council and thus, the community, which is charged with protecting the rights of residents against unlawful developments. To see this property promoted on national television as an ‘instant hotel’ is extremely disappointing given it is not currently complying with council regulations.”
Lift in First Home Buyers
The incentives for FHBs that were introduced by the NSW state government on July 1 this year are starting to show results. The proportion of owner-occupier loans compared to investor lending is beginning to reconfigure. The first quarter of this financial year showed a jump in First Home Buyer loans from 4295 to 6775. The incentive by the government eliminates stamp duty on new and established homes on purchases under $650,000 and with a sliding scale to $800,000.
Mullumbimby Hospital Site
As a member of the Mullumbimby Hospital Site Project Reference Group, the BPS newsletter will be bringing you updates as this progresses. For those needing some background, NSW Health decommissioned both Byron Bay and Mullumbimby hospitals and replaced it with the new one in Ewingsdale. BSC, with a lot of community push and support, managed to buy the site for one dollar. The Byron site, probably a lot more valuable, is still in limbo. There was a lot of celebration when the community scored this as a successful outcome but there was always a question mark over the buildings as they were known to have asbestos, which would require expensive remediation.
As it happens, the asbestos issue is greater than first hoped and the complete and costly demolition of both major buildings will be required. Cost estimate is now in the three million area instead of the expected $1.8M. Obviously this is something we could have done without, but it is not insurmountable. It is 13 acres of flood free land close to popular Mullumbimby town centre. The PRG is made up of community group representatives, stakeholders and four councillors. Our first meeting was very cohesive and productive. I have a lot of confidence that there can be a good outcome for this site, even with such a demanding cost override.
Bitcoin – New Kid in Town
The established global investment world does not know how to handle the brash young startup currency Bitcoin. It has had a stellar performance and has grown in value 1000% and now worth over $13,000 AUD per coin. Is it a currency or an investment vehicle? Will it last or will it crash? Questions I can’t answer I’m afraid. Bitcoin is now being used, or included in, some property transactions. Locally based agency Unique Estates have just transacted a sale in Victoria using part bitcoin. Grandview in Mount Macedon was selling for $2.5M – about 208 bitcoin. A property at the Gold Coast has been the first to exchange for 100% Bitcoin. The $5.15M four story house on Sovereign Island was equal to 500 Bitcoin. The owner, a financial planner, stressed it has was his decision only and not something he advises his clients to do.
The mother of A-list Aussie actor Naomi Watts is called Miv Watts. The Watts matriarch divides her time between the south of France and the Byron Bay hinterland. Miv Watts has just published a book called “The Maverick Soul” where she interviews 24 successful creative bohemian types and shows the reader through their homes. Miv Watts last home was in Rosebank and it sold last year. Naomi Watts and actor husband Liv Shreiber and two kids were spotted around town prior to their split at the end of last year. Ms Watts will probably renew her regular Byron Bay Xmas summer holidays with her mum back in town.
Welcome back Naomi and Miv. Byron Bay locals are known to be very respectful and unobtrusive of celebrities in our midst. Lets all keep it that way and refrain from asking for silly selfies, etc. Unfortunately, we have been cursed with spotters from the online UK Daily Mail as well as from low rent Murdoch rags. These are parasitic people who are paid spotters fees for alerting paparazzi when a Celeb is seen. It got ramped up a couple of years ago when Chris Hemsorth’s very attractive Spanish wife was snapped doing cart wheals in a bikini on 7-mile beach. The pic went viral globally and made us more of a paparazzi magnet. (BPS’s own hypocrisy is noted even doing this story).
I think its time we all update our assumptions about Schoolies. For those not aware, the last weeks of November and first week of December, Byron Bay is awash with school leavers celebrating the end of high school. Byron Bay is just one choice for young people to let off steam – Gold Coast, Noosa, Bali – are some of the others. Many accomodation providers I talk to say the idea we have that schoolies are only one step up from heavy metal bands or UK backpackers is incorrect. They say that, yes it does occasionally happen that we get trashed rooms and binge drinking, but in the main, schoolies are not the rampaging horde of mayhem most assume. I concur, these last few weeks I have taken every opportunity to chat and welcome members of “igen” (the generation after Millennial). I have found them to be polite, considerate, well mannered, articulate and very sweet. A long way away form what I was like at 17.