The Byron Bay real estate market is steady as she goes. There is still ongoing demand for good property in good locations. The expected rise in product and new listings as we move into winter did not eventuate as some pundits thought. Agents are still struggling to find sellers. The top end of the market (over $3 million) is certainly seeing some softening and a loss of heat. The strongest area of demand is what Domain.com have dubbed “luxury downsizing”. This demographic is retiring baby boomers who have been selling up and looking for somewhere to base a comfy retirement. This includes apartments and smaller single-story houses in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as lifestyle destinations like Byron Bay.
Drowning in Rubbish
Be careful putting out your bins this month. Byron Council garbos will be inspecting landfill, recycling and green organic bins. If they are contaminated, or overfull, they will not be collected until the lids are closed with incorrect items removed. If your bin is left full, call 1300 652 625 when you have remedied the problem to arrange a pickup.
FYI, Byron council have been sending all our waste to Ipswich (west of Brisbane) for years. Ipswich council are the first LGA in Australia to cease recycling the waste since the Chinese stopped importing it and now it all gets tossed into a landfill. It’s frustrating to think of us greenie voters in the shire diligently separating our plastics and papers, only to have it all mixed back together and thrown in the ground.
It’s Got Wheels!
Talking about problems for council: a recent decision in the Land and Environment Court went the wrong way for Camden Council. This could have dire consequences for our own BSC. Korena and George Russell fought back against the South West Sydney council’s refusal to allow them the right to have a caravan in their driveway. The fact that the “caravan” was really a fairly hefty prefab studio with wheels stuck on it was not a problem for the court.
The structure has one bedroom with en-suite and a kitchenette is connected to plumbing, sewer, gas and electricity services. Valued at a tick under $50,000, it also has wheels, lights, a number plate, and is registered as a caravan with NSW Roads and Maritime Services. Placed in the driveway, it houses the couple’s grown daughter and her husband. Byron Shire has enough trouble with unapproved dwellings and this could open up yet another front.
The royal commission into the banks has got me thinking. As a buyer’s agent for nearly 20 years, I always thought I would have more professional interactions with financial planners. One would assume that a “balanced investment portfolio” would include property. The number of times I have had a financial planner discuss a client’s potential property purchase with me would be less than the fingers on one hand. Apparently, other BA’s are in a similar situation.
Could it be that financial planners are only paid commission on financial products like shares, superannuation, and managed funds? There is no commission incentive to put their clients into a property. It’s possible the only time financial planners promote property to their clients is when its off-the-plan units and developers are offering hefty sales commissions. Double dipping, being paid by both the client and the seller, is unethical and an obvious conflict of interest. The financial planning industry needs to move to a fee-for-service payment structure ASAP to regain credibility and ethical standards.
And there’s more! While I am on this topic, my rant also extends to the wasted opportunity existing within the trillions of dollars sitting in superannuation funds. This is the opposite over-regulation here, as well as the conservative nature of these fund managers. So many new patents, start-ups, innovations and SME’s have to go OS for investor funds. The government and the ATO plays a part as well in demanding that these start-up companies have to pay capital gains tax when a company floats, not when it’s in profit. This is a major hindrance to young entrepreneurs starting new businesses in this country.
Interest Only Crack Down
The only other main repercussion from the banking inquiry is the tightening of Interest Only loans. The boffins at the RBA and other economists highlight the potential of a worrying housing market downturn if a few things come together. When an investor takes out an interest-only loan, they have a period of grace before the loan reverts back to P&I (Principle and Interest). This means the borrower will then have to pay more per month. Now if that happens to coincide with a much higher interest rate, coming off our historic lows, then we may see a cascade of forced selling by holders of investment property. Coupling that with an excess of apartment oversupply in the capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, and we may see a more serious property price correction.
April Celebrity Purchase
Gold Logie winner, Carrie Bickmore, who co-presents with Waleed Ali on Channel Ten’s “The Project”, has purchased a $3M home in Massinger Street, Byron Bay. The property is just a short walk to Clarkes Beach and set on 935 sqm. The renovated four-bedroom 1920s original cottage retains its heritage features. Bickmore and hubby Chris Walker were holidaying in Byron over Xmas, posting lots happy snaps on Clarkes Beach with their two kids.
Last month’s newsletter reported that A-list actor Margot Robbie purchased Byron Bay real estate in Broken Head. This was not correct. Just as many in the mainstream press also reported that Matt Damon had purchased in Byron, this too was not factual. It seems the mainstream press jumps the gun a lot and will print anything to sell a tabloid.