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Do you think the property market will burst in 2015?

sydney

One of the most real estate obsessed cities in the world

This is a question real estate agents get asked a lot as we head into the final month of selling. It’s a dangerous question because really we don’t know the answer and no one else does either.

According to SQM Research, the median house price in Sydney’s inner fringe has now surpassed $1million. To many that seems absurd, we dreamed years ago about our homes being worth a million dollars and somehow our dreams have become reality, even if that millionaire reality is a far from palatial home we imagined many years ago.

SOLD $1,280,000 - 3/5 McDonald St, Cronulla

SOLD $1,280,000 – 3/5 McDonald St, Cronulla

In Cronulla it is now very difficult to find an entry level house on a small block of land for $1.3mil.  If you are thinking of buying an apartment in Cronulla, it is just as difficult to find something under a million dollars. Last month a 2 bedroom apartment with superb ocean views and only a single garage sold for $1.4mil.

If you are not in the market already, how do you get into a market where you have to be a millionaire to buy a basic home? Parents are panicking for their children, 30 and 40 year olds are becoming first home buyers.

Should we take the plunge in November 2014 or should we wait and see till February 2015?

SOLD $1,118,000 16 Targo Rd, Beverley Park

SOLD $1,118,000 – 16 Targo Rd, Beverley Park

This is the dilemma now facing many buyers. Sure, interest rates are low but when you have to borrow the bulk of a $1 million dollars plus stamp duty then the mortgage you end up with is not cheap.

The Reserve Bank has been recently warning us to stop getting carried away, to stop borrowing too much money, but so far this has not had too much of an effect on an insatiable Sydney market.

Anything can happen as shown with the Global Financial Crisis and we now live in a very interconnected world, where something that happens in another country, on the other side of the world can affect us here very quickly.

SOLD $1,570,000 - 5 Cook St, Caringbah South

SOLD $1,570,000 – 5 Cook St, Caringbah South

Unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball but I did win the Melbourne Cup this year so if I had to have a punt on which way the property market was going to go next year I would say upwards, but not at the same intensity as this year.

NSW is now the economic locomotive of Australia and Sydney the most desirable city to live in. Property sales off the plan are booming which means the residential construction industry will also stay robust. Also the NSW government has embarked on huge infrastructure projects which will support thousands of jobs into the medium term.

A steady increase, then a plateau is my guess but full disclaimer here, I have really no idea, just 18 years of being a real estate agent in one of the most real estate obsessed cities in the world…

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Onerous NSW Stamp Duty

When I purchased my first block of land for $12,000 back in the seventies, stamp duty was not a major consideration in absolute dollars. As time went on however, the house my wife and I first built wasn’t quite right, especially with an expanding and growing family. At each stage that we considered a new extension we tossed up whether we should just relocate, but each time stamp duty weighed heavily against us moving.

Job mobility was always another problem. If you lose your job in Sydney, chances are you can get another one and not have to move. However, if you should move because your new job is 2 hours driving away (one of those unfortunate squinters that travel towards the sun in the morning and again in the evening), how much of a deterrent is stamp duty? I believe it is huge. Tuesday’s SMH reminded me of this and other considerations which make NSW stamp duty so onerous and why it stops people moving out west or interstate where the jobs are.

Apparently the new Federal Treasurer agrees. Even the Henry Tax Review stated that “really there is no place for stamp duty in a modern tax system”.
How much easier would it be to sell houses if buyers did not have to pay stamp duty? How much easier would it be to fill the new Greenhills Beach estate in our Shire if stamp duty was not a factor in the equation when weighing whether to stay put and suffer a house which is a compromise, or buy a block of land and put your dream house on it?

Let’s hope the State government sees the sense too, rather than allow 19 storey high rise apartments to be built next to 100 year old beautiful terraces in Erskineville, within a kilometre of where a company has a permit to drill for CSG (coal seam gas).

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NSW State Budget – New Incentives for Home Buyers

As far as I can determine the latest NSW State Budget for 2010 – 2011 includes 4 incentives for some buyers to buy property, mainly new ones.

1)      “Off the plan buyers” up to $600,000 will no longer pay stamp duty. This is going to help developers obtain finance because banks want pre sales before firming up financial arrangements for their clients.

2)      Home buyers that buy during construction or at completion will receive a 25% reduction in stamp duty on purchases up to $600,000. This incentive will help some “spec builders”.

3)      “Empty Nesters” (or last home buyers) over 65 are being encouraged to sell their main home and buy another home up to $600,000. Those who do this will pay no stamp duty on the purchase.

4)      First Home buyers are getting $7000 plus they pay little or no stamp duty on home purchases up to $600,000 for another two years.

Those interested are encouraged to read the fine print about the “NSW Home Builders Bonus” by looking at the Office of State Revenue site.

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