No sign of winter doldrums with the weather, or the property market, in Byron Shire this month. Most properties going to auction are selling beforehand and there is a high demand for new stock. I have no stats for local auctions, but Sydney for example, had an auction clearance rate last weekend of 80.4% for close to 500 properties. This is still very high. Sought after locations like Melbourne, Sydney, Byron Bay see no sign of a slow down as yet.
Some clients and other pundits are saying it must be time for an easing and prices should start to start coming off. No one wants to enter a market at the crest. Commentators are predicting a consoladation rather than a rapid drop. Good properties in sought after locations are now in such high demand they are often insulated against major fluctuations.
Master Plan wins award
It was an interesting experience observing the progress of the Byron Masterplan. I was really happy to hear that it was nominated, and then the Australia Institute of Landscape Architects gave it the State Award in the Communities category. The lesson here was how to successfully navigate community consultation and how to make major decisions in a highly contested area, like we have in Byron Shire.
OS buyers have identity problems
International ex-pats and non-resident buyers have been caught up in ASIC’s latest move to stop Chinese speculators. The new “Verification Of Identity” requirements by the banks require OS buyers to jump through many hoops to prove they are a real person. The move comes after regulators and ASIC found fraudulent loan applications of Chinese mainlanders fabricating identity and loan documents in order to expatriate funds.
The new requirements, although necessary, may be heavy-handed. In some jurisdictions a loan application will need to be filled out in front of a consular official. There is currently a 3-month delay for finance approvals if you are a resident of Hong Kong. Unfortunately, the move disadvantages all overseas buyers and not just the culprits.
Byron Trails Launched
Get off the couch and get out and about (memo to self). It is time you start to explore our beautiful hinterland and rainforest. A friend of mine, Mairéad Cleary, has done a great job collating all the good bush walks in our region. It is available online for $40 if you google Byron Trails or at better local bookstores.
Interest Rates drop
The RBA were in conundrum on what to do with interest rates this month. They want to stimulate the economy but do not want to drive up housing prices. They want to bring down the Australian dollar but not go into a deflationary cycle. In the end they decided to lower it to the historically low rate of 1.5%. The banks have decided to pass on half of that cut and we may see a 0.13% reduction passed on to our mortgage payments.
Please see the related article “Interest Rates for Dummies” where I have gone into more detail about this decision and the affects low interest rates have on property and much more.
My trip to Melbourne
I love Melbourne and just spent three days there attending the REBAA (Real Estate Buyers Agent Association) conference. REBAA is the national guild for professional, exclusive buyers agents in Australia. Our main aim is to educate the public in the difference between a fully trained and licenced BA and someone who just calls themselves that. At the moment there is no barrier to entry in the industry and licencing is very light. If you know anyone thinking of using a BA make sure they contact a REBAAA buyers agent.