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In This Months Icon Property Newsletter!


              QUOTE OF THE MONTH

With out passion you don’t have energy…

with out energy you have nothing.

                                               – Donald Trump




New stamp duty measures for first-home buyers

The Victorian Government has announced that stamp duty (land transfer duty) will be abolished for first-home buyers purchasing a home with a dutiable value of not more than $600,000.

This will make the existing first-home buyer 50 per cent duty reduction that applies to the purchase of a home with a dutiable value of not more than $600,000 a full exemption.

Further, duty will be phased-in for eligible first-home buyers who purchase a home with a dutiable value between $600,001 and $750,000.

The new measures will apply for contracts entered into from 1 July 2017.

source: State Revenue Office



Thinking of Selling ? Read what our vendors said…

 Three Bedroom Penthouse

  “In 2017, we finally picked Robert Mitchelson / Icon Property to sell our property. This was our 3rd attempt … From day #1 (list with Icon Property), we were confident and were left in no doubt that the property would be sold …….our biggest regret – not engaging Robert Mitchelson back in 2014. It could have saved us a lot of unnecessary expense and stress… “

– Vendor of 86, 604 St Kilda Rd

Penthouse Style Three Bedroom Apart on 77th Level at ‘Eureka’

“…A three percent commission seemed to be a higher fee compared to what some other agents charge, but it has been more than justified with the level of service, especially the price achieved for my apartment which was $4,300/m2 more than other sales of similar apartments in the building… ”

 – Vendor of 7701, 7 Riverside Quay 

 Two Bedroom Apartment

“I am an experienced property person and I have bought and sold many properties in the past…

I was aware that Robert had some fifty years of experience in selling apartments and that experience worked to my advantage when he sold my apartment at 50 Albert Rd in a declining market….Although charging a slightly higher commission than his competitors, the net result to me was to my advantage.”

 – Vendor of 2612, 50 Albert Rd

Thinking of Buying ? Read what our purchasers said…

 Two Bedroom Apartment with Lake View

“Hi Robert , thank you very much for your honesty, and integrity when dealing with my partner Karen today. It was the first time she has purchased a property, so she was quiet tense, and nervous, and after some unethical practices by other agents, was quiet disappointed in the process of buying a place for herself.

But your pleasant nature, and no nonsense approach made her feel at ease, as well as you and your companies honest description of the property, and it’s purchase price, which I must say was a pleasant change to others we have dealt with. Thank again Robert your service was nothing short of First Class. ”

 – Purchaser of 84, 604 St Kilda Rd

Spacious Two Bedroom Apartment at ‘Yve’

“My Wife and I recently purchased a property offered for sale by ICON Property …

Robert Mitchelson, the Managing Director was professional, patient and made sure we had the full range of     Information which assisted us with the purchase…Robert’s obvious knowledge of real estate, proved to be a   valuable resource which assisted us to make an informed decision.

– Purchaser of 210,  576 St Kilda Rd

*Full version of all the above testimonies are available upon request  – more testimonies are avaiable on


Good Food and Wine Show

02/06/2017 to 04/06/2017 Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Enjoy a fun day out with friends discovering new foods, new wines and latest products. With hundreds of local and international exhibitors, your new favourite food and drinks are only a sample away.
Learn new recipe ideas from some of Australia’s best chefs and restaurateurs on stage at the Good Food Theatre, where they will show you how to recreate their delicious creations at home.

Winter Night Market at Queen Victoria Market

07/06/2017 to 30/08/2017,Wed: 5pm – 10pm – 65-159 VICTORIA Street  Melbourne

This year’s Winter Night Market at Queen Victoria Market is themed around fire and lights.
Illuminate, fascinate and salivate as the Winter Night Market ignites your Wednesdays like never before. Featuring an exciting new lighting concept by John Fish, a quirky line-up of entertainers, 30 stellar street food stalls, 50 specialty and design stalls, warm drinks, cold beers and raging open fires.


The Australian Ballet presents The Sleeping Beauty

16/06/2017 to 27/06/2017 – 100 St Kilda Road Melbourne VIC 3004

He curtain goes up…the audience gasps…and David McAllister’s spectacular Beauty unfolds like a rose, drawing you into a world of romance, wonder and imperial grandeur. Gleaming with Baroque golds and creams, glowing with vivid colour, and spilling over with fairies, princes, woodland nymphs and story-book charm, this ballet casts a spell of delight all the way to true love’s kiss.


Source: What’s on Blog, City of Melbourne —

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Kylie Davis, Head of Marketing, CoreLogic Wrote:

3 Ways To Get More Value From Your Real Estate Agent

When choosing a real estate agent, there is more to the transaction than just the amount of commission he or she charges. Agents often have an arsenal of other skills they can bring to a transaction to help a vendor that even they may not realise.

When you meet with your agent, here are three new things you can ask them to assess the level of service they offer:

  1. Repairs and making your home ready for sale.
    So your agent has assessed your home and pointed out the small repairs here and there that need to be done to get your home in tip top condition for sale – fix the leaking taps, paint the doors, new door knobs in the kitchen, repair the gutters, wash down the house.Before you buy in to the additional stress that comes with trying to coordinate a multitude of tradespeople – or nagging your spouse – ask your agent whether this is a service they offer. Every real estate agent has a property management team for whom coordinating repairs and maintenance is their day job. You will need to pay the cost of the tradespeople and repairs and your agent is likely to charge you a coordination fee, but if you’re time poor and working to a market deadline, this can be a lifesaver.
  2. Market reports and valuations.
    Every agent has access to powerful databases that are constantly analysing the property market – including your property. (Whether they know how to use them properly is a different matter. Tip: choose an agent who does!)If you are anxious about the price setting of your property, ask your agent to run you an Automated Valuation Report. This uses similar formulae used by the banking industry to give you an insight into your property’s value (which is often different from its sale price which will hopefully be higher). You can also ask your agent to see suburb statistics to give you an indication of the health not just of the property market you are selling in, but also buying in.
  3. Ask for help buying.
    So you’ve sold your home, got the price you wanted and now, you need to buy. Your first port of call should be your selling agent – after all you’ve paid them a truck load of commission and you’re within your rights to expect some love. If the property you want to buy is being sold at auction and the idea of bidding terrifies you, ask your agent if they can help you develop an auction purchasing strategy. Really good agents will not only help you understand what the home you want to bid on is probably going to sell for, but may even attend the auction with you and bid on your behalf.

Author: Kylie Davis
Source: CoreLogic


Dec 19, 2016 Julia Corderoy wrote:

WHILE most millennials are struggling to save a deposit for one home, Gen Y couple Scott and Mina O’Neill own 25.

Unlike some 22 and 23-year-olds, who are fresh out of university and spending almost every dollar they earn from their first fulltime job at the pub every weekend, this Sydney couple were purchasing their first property — an ugly, old home in Sutherland, in Sydney’s south, which they bought for $480,000 to ‘rentvest’ their way into the market.

That was in 2010. Fast forward to 2016 and Scott, 29, and Mina, 28, own a 25-strong property investment portfolio worth more than $10 million.

Just three years prior to purchasing that first investment property in Sutherland, however, Mr and Mrs O’Neill had just $15,000 in the bank between the two of them.

Scott and Mina O’Neill had just $15,000 between them when they decided they wanted to invest in property together.

But the decision to knuckle-down and save for the next three years was a very natural one for the pair, who both grew up with steadfast, savvy parents. They said it was this dedication that was really all it took to turn that $15,000 into their first deposit.

“My father was an accountant by trade but an investor part-time, so I was always interested in [investing] from a very young age,” Mr O’Neill told

“What made me really start thinking about [investing] was when I was about 12-years-old, my father told me to buy some Telstra shares … and I got about $50 back in dividends at the time. Fifty dollars when you are a child is a lot of money and I was pretty thrilled to get that for ‘free’, so that got me thinking about getting returns on money rather than just saving it.”

Mrs O’Neill, who is the child of immigrant Egyptian and Greek parents, said dedication was “ingrained” in her from a young age after seeing her parents sacrifice.

“Both my parents came from poor families, so saving was number one — saving to survive for your family was number one,” she told

 “I was brought up in a family where a dollar could be two dollars if you put your mind to it. My dad invested as soon as he could get his cash on something. Coming from a very, very poor family with 12 siblings, everything was rationed. He had to work hard and he wanted return on that hard work.

“So all I did was work my butt off as much as I could, and sacrifice. Even though my income was very little at the time, every time I got it I would think how much I could set aside for myself and how much I needed to save to reach each goal.”

One you overcome the hurdle of purchasing your first property, the couple are adamant that building a portfolio is much easier.

“The first property is definitely the hardest and the second one is the second hardest, and so forth,” Mr O’Neill said.

“When you buy that first one — let’s say you purchase it for $400,000 and it grows in value to $500,000 over a few years, then you can go back to the bank and refinance 80 per cent, hypothetically, of the new purchase price. That will give you access to $80,000 — 80 per cent of the $100,000 growth — and you can use that to put a deposit on the next house.”

But they key to making sure you’re taking on good debt that you can handle is to focus on rental yields, rather than just capital growth.

“You have got to make sure the rent covers that extra debt you have caused on the first house and then the new debt on the future house. You don’t want to create an inward debt that just spirals,” Mr O’Neill said.

“The only way you can own a lot of properties is if you have a really good cash flow. We don’t look at anything under 6 per cent gross yield. Never neglect capital gain, but you can’t ignore cash flow — and that’s what people sometimes do.”

Building a successful portfolio is also about taking the emotion out of investing.

“Don’t buy in your own backyard … Getting emotional is such a bad thing,” Mr O’Neill warned.

“If you’re willing to think like an investor and invest outside of your comfort zone, or your local area, you can find what you need,” Mrs O’Neill added.

The couple may reside in Sydney’s eastern suburbs but their portfolio includes properties from all over Australia — from Cooma, a small town in southern NSW; to Port Macquarie, a coastal town in NSW; to Labrador, a beachside suburb in the Gold Coast; to Perth.

But the real golden rule to rentvesting your way to a multi-million dollar portfolio is: don’t be scared of debt.

“A lot of people are scared of debt and a lot of the critics reading this might say look at how much debt we have got,” Mr O’Neill said.

As they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it. And by making logical decisions, this couple prove there is such thing as ‘good debt’.

“[Our] portfolio will be positively geared at just under a 9 per cent interest rates. What that means is if there are 20 interest rate rises of 0.25 per cent, our portfolio will still be covering all its holding costs. The reason I bring this point up is it will help those who fear debt to understand that there is good debt and bad debt,” Mr O’Neill told

And if the pair were in that much crippling debt, then they wouldn’t have been able to quit their jobs — which they did, about two years ago.

The couple’s portfolio now includes 25 properties, valued at over $10 million, allowing them to “buy back their time” to travel and follow their passions.

Replacing their income through property investment has given them the freedom to travel — they recently spent six months travelling Europe and are off to Fiji in a few weeks — and the time to help others do the same. In 2014, the couple started their own property investment business, Rethink Investing.

“We always said it was for ourselves,” Mr O’Neill said. “We didn’t do this to get rich; it is about buying our time back.”

Mr and Mrs O’Neill now plan to continue building their portfolio, saying they would like to buy “at least five” properties a year.

To this day, they have never sold one of their investments, and yes, they are still renting themselves.

“To save to where you want to get is possible, you just have to be dedicated and put your mind to it,” Mrs O’Neill said.


Dec 7, 2016 Jennifer Duke wrote:

 ‘Co-buying’ – the strategy gaining traction with Australian first-home buyers

Some home buyers are grouping together as friends and family to purchase their first property.

First home buyers are going to great lengths to get on to the property ladder.

Lauren Bush, 28, an admin assistant, couldn’t afford to buy her first home on her own. Despite this, at the end of November, she had managed to get a leg on the property ladder.

She joined forces with her younger brother, 24, to halve the costs – and their parents stood guarantor – so they could buy a $665,000 three-bedroom house in Condell Park, in Sydney’s south-west.

Currently using the home as an investment, she said they bought it as a potential first home for her and her fiance with the property being near good schools and transport.

“Neither of us wanted too much risk or commitment, and it was a good way for our parents to help us both,” Ms Bush said.

“We have looked for a property for about a year and had agreed that we would go 50/50 on everything.”

This strategy, also known as “co-buying”, is becoming an increasingly popular way for young home buyers to get on the property ladder.

Mortgage Choice spokeswoman Jessica Darnbrough said it had also seen an increase in first-home buyers co-buying with friends and family – from 7.9 per cent of first home buyers in 2014 to 9.2 per cent in 2016.

“Given that property prices have risen fairly consistently across most markets in Australia, it is little wonder why we have seen an increase in the number of first home buyers who are buying property with their friends and family,” she said.

A recently launched company, called coHome, promises to help young Australian homebuyers do just this – by providing a platform to help co-ordinate the co-buying process. When it surveyed 350 people in the Millennial age bracket, it found 60 per cent would consider joint ownership with friends or family.

“Over 35s would probably never [co-buy] but the reality is we’re in a sharing economy and it’s just a conceptual hurdle,” chief executive of the site Josh Littin said.

“Buying alone isn’t the only option.”

He pointed to cities overseas, such as Vancouver, where the concept is taking off.

In Australia, it’s likely co-buying will become more popular, with RateCity research finding one in seven Gen Ys requiring three incomes to afford repayments on a first home and 50 per cent needing help from their parents.

These “staggering” results found that most people wouldn’t be able to buy on their own, RateCity data insights director Peter Arnold said.

“A double income doesn’t cut it for a lot of young would-be homebuyers now. House prices are on the rise, as is cost of living, so it’s really hard to save for a deposit,” Mr Arnold said.

“That’s why the bank of mum and dad has never been so popular … While not all parents will be wealthy enough to contribute financially towards the deposit, many are helping out in other ways by going guarantor on the home loan and buying together as ‘co-borrowers’.”

But there are some downsides to the strategy.

Firefly Wealth certified financial adviser Adele Martin has had several clients buy with family members, but in some cases the outcome wasn’t ideal.

One client, who bought an investment property with his father, later decided he wanted to purchase his first home.

“Now he is buying his home, having that investment property impacts his ability to borrow,” Ms Martin said.

“Even though he only has a loan on half of it, the whole loan is assessed against him.”

For many, it’s also a case of carefully planning for the worst-case scenario upfront, when relationships are amicable.

In one situation, a couple bought a holiday home with their brother and sister-in-law. But when one of the couples broke down and had to sell their part of the property, the other couple were unable to afford to buy their share, she said.

They had to sell, much earlier than they’d hoped.

“Have that conversation – it could be that [someone] passes away, gets separated or divorced … have a strategy and be upfront with a solicitor to help you facilitate it,” she said.

ME head of home loans Patrick Nolan said the attractions of co-buying include increasing the borrowing capacity of the home buyers, potentially avoiding lender’s mortgage insurance and sharing the ongoing costs of maintenance, rates and insurance.

“With property values remaining strong, the trend of co-buying looks set to gain momentum. It could be just the solution that allows young buyers to climb the property ladder while bringing families and friends closer together,” Mr Nolan said.


The legend of brave Gelert

By Ben Johnson

The story goes that in the thirteenth-century, Prince Llywelyn the Great had a palace at Beddgelert in Caernarvonshire, and as the Prince was a keen hunter, he spent much of his time in the surrounding countryside.

He had many hunting dogs, but one day when he summoned them as usual with his horn, his favourite dog Gelert didn’t appear, so regretfully Llywelyn had to go hunting without him.

When Llywelyn returned from the hunt, he was greeted by Gelert who came bounding towards him …his jaws dripping with blood.

The Prince was appalled, and a horrible thought came into his mind …was the blood on the dog’s muzzle that of his one-year old son?

His worst fears were realised when he saw in the child’s nursery, an upturned cradle, and walls spattered with blood! He searched for the child but there was no sign of him. Llywelyn was convinced that his favourite hound had killed his son.

Mad with grief he took his sword and plunged it into Gelert’s heart.

As the dog howled in his death agony, Llywelyn heard a child’s cry coming from underneath the upturned cradle. It was his son, unharmed!

Beside the child was an enormous wolf, dead, killed by the brave Gelert.

The death of Gelert

Llywelyn was struck with remorse and carried the body of his faithful dog outside the castle walls, and buried him where everyone could see the grave of this brave animal, and hear the story of his valiant fight with the wolf.

To this day, a cairn of stones marks the place, and the name Beddgelert means in Welsh ‘The grave of Gelert’. Every year thousands of people visit the grave of this brave dog; slight problem however, is that the cairn of stones is actually less than 200 years old!

Nevertheless this story has great appeal. History and myth appear to have become a little confused when in 1793, a man called David Pritchard came to live in Beddgelert. He was the landlord of the Royal Goat Inn and knew the story of the brave dog and adapted it to fit the village, and so benefit his trade at the inn.

He apparently invented the name Gelert, and introduced the name Llywelyn into the story because of the Prince’s connection with the nearby Abbey, and it was with the help of the parish clerk that Pritchard, not Llywelyn, raised the cairn!

Whether the story is based on legend, myth or history it is still an entertaining one. Similar legends can also be found throughout Europe.

Gelert headstone

One of the best known, and loved, folk-tales in Wales is the story of a faithful hound.




On Nov 3, 2016, Icon Property Pty Ltd wrote:


This Weekend’s OFIs –


On Nov 2, 2016, Shane Garrett wrote:

No Cup Day surprise from RBA

Despite some speculation about a Melbourne Cup Day surprise, the RBA Board today decided to leave the Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 1.50 per cent, according to the Housing Industry Association – the voice of Australia’s residential building industry.

“The majority view in the financial markets was for a ‘no change’ decision from the RBA, with only a low probability of an OCR cut to 1.25 per cent. Last week’s inflation figures came in a bit higher than expected, but the rate of price growth still remains well below the RBA’s target range,” commented HIA Senior Economist, Shane Garrett.

“Residential building activity has been instrumental in boosting growth across the economy, with public infrastructure investment and increasingly exports also becoming important drivers of activity,” Shane Garrett explained.

“With residential building set to start easing back in 2017, and business investment still sluggish, it is crucial that policy reform proceeds with a sense of urgency in order to ensure that Australia’s economy meets its potential over the coming years,” concluded Shane Garrett.

Scott Keck, CHAIRMAN of Charter Keck Cramer wrote on 24 Oct 2016:

“There is a ‘self-governing’ process for apartment projects to be underwritten by a high level of pre-commitment”

The market for inner urban, established residential properties remains strong reflecting the fundamentals of a lengthening low interest rate environment, increasing demand evolving from the maturing Gen Y demographic and continued overseas interest from intending immigrants and others with appropriate credentials.  Over the last few years value growth of course has been strong but current levels to a degree reflect considerable equity rather just mortgage debt, for which reason I do not believe that the market is in a “bubble”, or therefore that there is to be an unexpected, sharp, downward correction.  In any event, if there were a market aberration to lower values it would find support with the next rung of purchasers ready and near eligible to participate although not able to quite meet the current market.

Although global factors may be the catalyst for a gentle rise in interest rates in due course and unemployment might rise, neither of these events in Australia will be fast or therefore unexpected, nor significant in the medium term, thus sparking a severe downturn in purchaser sentiment, or therefore a significant correction.  Rather, whilst forward value growth is expected to be less than in past years, it will correlate to generally lower inflation and an economy still strongly supporting private sector professionals and enterprise.

The development sector, particularly the medium density apartment market has been a focus of anxiety and speculation nationally as to the extent to which current and/or planned inventory may represent over-supply, weakening sentiment by investors and overseas purchasers in consequence of tightening finance and the imposte of purchase levies on some parties, quality of construction, possible taxation reform, slowing of population growth and other factors.  The media loves the debate and peppers its commentary with highlighted comments, often poorly expressed and wrong or non-contextual statistics which can distort the real outlook.  Fundamentally, there is a “self-governing” process for apartment projects to be underwritten by a high level of pre-commitment, which means that virtually no developments are built without being sold and thus over-supply of newly completed apartments but unsold, is and is likely to remain negligible.  Yes, there may be a few defaults on settlement particularly if finance is unavailable to certain purchasers although this is not expected to be significant  Consequently there is little in the way of unsold stock and that which is delivered to the market is destined to be absorbed.  Indeed, by international standards, Australia, particularly Melbourne and to a lesser extent Sydney, have a very small percentage of housing in the form of apartments compared with other cities.  This also applies to townhouses, which as a lower density solution to affordable inner urban housing are expected to play an increasingly significant role in housing over the next 20 ‑ 30 years.

As Government and the strategic planning community respond to strong population growth and changing community standards we are now at a point in the evolution of our large metropolitan centres where a broader, all-encompassing understanding towards major influences is essential.


I envisage that there will be a strong increase in the demand for and inevitable acceptance of “soft” medium density accommodation for both owner occupiers and renters.  This will express itself in more sophisticated interpretations of what is now described as “low rise apartments and townhouses”.  Probably no higher than 3 – 4 storeys but smaller in dwelling size, yet in greater numbers per development this model will likely be more viable for developers, cheaper for consumers, socially less controversial and more lifestyle attuned than inner urban densely focussed higher rise or detached housing alternatives.


A major shift in preference to small electric vehicles with registration and operation costs subsidised if operated on a share model.  Combined with an increasing community indifference to private vehicle ownership in favour of more community sympathetic alternatives, much of our future inner urban housing designs will be less influenced by car security and storage onsite, releasing much of the land use and cost devoted to the automobile.


There is likely to be a huge shift in social conscience and therefore support for future Governments that recognise the need for and deliver community infrastructure, particularly mass capacity, cost effective, reliable public transport and in areas of broader public safety, for cyclists and pedestrians and health and aged care real estate infrastructure.


In a challenged economy, the future ambitions of many younger Australians are at risk of not being achieved.  This emerging younger demographic (millennials) has a changing attitude to education and career and is more short term in its focus, resulting in a more transient generational attitude impacting on accommodation and therefore the need for more flexible housing tenure and terms.  There are also the needs of an ageing population which will present wide ranging social challenges, whether within the traditional family household or seeking cost effective housing solutions from the private enterprise sector.

So as suggested above, it is not just population growth and affordability alone which are driving change in the residential landscape, but there are many other issues which manifest influence on housing and it should be recognised therefore that this need for innovation represents great opportunity.

With respect to current market conditions, I emphasise that the current levels of anxiety are not really warranted as there is not a crisis born of physical, uncommitted, over-supply rather to the contrary, the important issues ahead are more to do with
maintaining an adequate supply of appropriately conceived, designed and located medium density accommodation

Within Melbourne for example, recent interim guidelines issued at State Government level have had an immediate impact on the yield and therefore viability of many inner urban apartment sites which were otherwise candidates for immediate investment.  Combined with tightening finance to the development sector and rising costs the progress of development is already stalling.  Even without investors and overseas purchasers, local intending occupiers, whether first home buyers or those downsizing for retirement still demonstrate strong support for well-conceived, appropriate scale and well located inner urban projects especially those which offer a mix including townhouses and larger not predominantly smaller apartments.  Scale of development, quality of construction, development “brand” (both architect and builder) and location are all very much in demand.

Astute developers with capacity remain active for acquisition of eligible sites for future pipelines and notwithstanding much of the media about availability of “end product” purchaser finance, this also remains freely available.  Although the main Banks and financiers are understandably more searching in their due diligence, well-conceived projects still attract support and most financiers are “open for business”.

It is interesting to observe that there is a continuing trend by developers in favour of townhouse developments, which, apart from being largely unaffected by the recently announced Apartment Guidelines, are relatively straightforward from a development perspective and with
purchasers increasingly more prepared to commit “off the plan” for townhouses than a few years ago.  It will always be the case that townhouses provide a preferred amenity to apartments and an affordability alternative to detached established housing and thus present a mid-point solution increasingly popular not only with first home buyers but those downsizing from larger homes wishing to retain an inner urban amenity.  We anticipate a growing increase in this area of activity in Melbourne.

An important point for awareness, is that there is a difference between “off the plan”, pricing and value of completed apartments.  This is the source of puzzlement to many, particularly purchasers settling 18 months post-contractual commitment.  An “off the plan” price is invariably confused with value for the reason that an informed understanding is necessary to appreciate the difference.  “Off the plan” contract prices involve delayed settlement, stamp duty savings and “newest” product, whereas two years later, an established apartment has a value which reflects immediate settlement, no stamp duty savings and a two year old product.  All other circumstances being the same, there will logically be a difference between the two particularly as “off the plan” pricing is escalating at a higher rate than actual market values.  Typically, the difference between the two, will vary in the range 7 – 10%.  A lack of understanding about the difference can be confusing and cause implications not only for purchasers, but also for financiers and developers who for this very reason may not fully appreciate the financial mechanics of the development model and the correlated valuation process.



SCOTT MURDOCH THE AUSTRALIAN 12:00AM October 17, 2016 wrote:

Lack of new stock overshadows strong clearance rates

The national property market’s auction clearance rate is being maintained at strong levels, but industry experts say the lack of new housing coming online is holding back potential buyers.

The weekend’s clearance rate was 77.9 per cent from 2405 auctions held across the combined capital cities. Real estate agents said the number of sales was down on last year, which has been a common theme during the spring selling season as people hold on to their properties rather than list them. Data agency CoreLogic said 2858 auctions were held on the same weekend last year, and the fall has been blamed on high government costs, especially stamp duty, and low interest rates prompting owners to renovate rather than sell.

Sydney had the highest clearance rate in the country, with 83.3 per cent of auction properties sold, up from 79.8 per cent last week. It was the 26th straight week above 70 per cent, which agents consider the benchmark. The city’s eastern suburbs were the most popular, with a 97.1 per cent clearance rate. Melbourne recorded a 78.5 per cent clearance rate, up marginally compared with last week, while in Brisbane 52.2 per cent of properties that went under the hammer were sold.

Raine and Horne national auctions director James Pratt said some buyers were keen to buy at auction before now to ensure properties settled before Christmas. “The listing numbers are still down on the past two years,” he said. “A lot of people are registering at the auctions and not bidding. I think that says that people realise it’s 10 weeks before Christmas; the average settlement is 42 days so they are keen. “The motivation is there but the low stock numbers are pushing up prices and they are getting priced out.”­of­new­stock­overshadows­strong­clearance­rates/news­story/4b0e5dd84ec34ad01aadafa827bd2


Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision | Media Releases | RBA

Media ReleaseStatement by Glenn Stevens, Governor:
Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.50 per cent, effective 3 August 2016.

The global economy is continuing to grow, at a lower than average pace. Several advanced economies have recorded improved conditions over the past year, but conditions have become more difficult for a number of emerging market economies. Actions by Chinese policymakers are supporting the near-term growth outlook, but the underlying pace of China’s growth appears to be moderating.

Commodity prices are above recent lows, but this follows very substantial declines over the past couple of years. Australia’s terms of trade remain much lower than they had been in recent years.

Financial markets have continued to function effectively. Funding costs for high-quality borrowers remain low and, globally, monetary policy remains remarkably accommodative.

In Australia, recent data suggest that overall growth is continuing at a moderate pace, despite a very large decline in business investment. Other areas of domestic demand, as well as exports, have been expanding at a pace at or above trend. Labour market indicators continue to be somewhat mixed, but are consistent with a modest pace of expansion in employment in the near term.

Recent data confirm that inflation remains quite low. Given very subdued growth in labour costs and very low cost pressures elsewhere in the world, this is expected to remain the case for some time.

Low interest rates have been supporting domestic demand and the lower exchange rate since 2013 is helping the traded sector. Financial institutions are in a position to lend for worthwhile purposes. These factors are all assisting the economy to make the necessary economic adjustments, though an appreciating exchange rate could complicate this.

Supervisory measures have strengthened lending standards in the housing market. Separately, a number of lenders are also taking a more cautious attitude to lending in certain segments. The most recent information suggests that dwelling prices have been rising only moderately over the course of this year, with considerable supply of apartments scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years, particularly in the eastern capital cities. Growth in lending for housing purposes has slowed a little this year. All this suggests that the likelihood of lower interest rates exacerbating risks in the housing market has diminished.

Taking all these considerations into account, the Board judged that prospects for sustainable growth in the economy, with inflation returning to target over time, would be improved by easing monetary policy at this meeting.


Media and Communications
Secretary’s Department
Reserve Bank of Australia

Phone: +61 2 9551 9720
Fax: +61 2 9551 8033

With apartment towers booming, are once exclusive penthouses becoming passe?

A double storey penthouse at the plush Queens Place apartment tower.
A double storey penthouse at the plush Queens Place apartment tower. Photo: FloodSlicer

Long ago in Melbourne’s property market, before the apartment towers sprouted, the penthouse was as rare as it was expensive.

Penthouses were then in short supply for prestige buyers with deep pockets and lofty desires, and concentrated in the CBD.

But the apartment boom has meant plenty of penthouses, crowning new apartment developments from Malvern to Richmond and Brunswick.

Melbourne's tallest tower, Australia 108. The penthouse fetched $25 million.

Melbourne’s tallest tower, Australia 108. The penthouse fetched $25 million.

Even a Swan Hill real estate agency is marketing the third floor of a brick block as “Swan Hill’s only penthouse”. Whether 11/21 Splatt Street, which is on sale for a steal, qualifies as a penthouse is open to interpretation.

At the high-end of the real estate market, scarcity equals exclusivity. So with more on the market than ever before, is the penthouse passe?

Icon Property founder and agent Robert Mitchelson said penthouses have lost none of their lustre or status.

The lavish, sprawling penthouse of city skyscaper Australia 108, which is under construction in Southbank,

The lavish, sprawling penthouse of city skyscaper Australia 108, which is under construction in Southbank, Photo: Flood Slicer

Older versions, about 10 years old, are still in demand.

He said the term “penthouse” has been more loosely applied in the past five years

“It used to mean the top floor, but now anything high up in the building becomes a ‘penthouse’ if it over a couple of hundred square metres,” Mr Mitchelson said.

An apartment development at 8 Breese Street, in Brunswick, was capped by a three-bedroom, three-bathroom penthouse, costing just shy of $1 million.

An apartment development at 8 Breese Street, in Brunswick, was capped by a three-bedroom, three-bathroom penthouse, costing just shy of $1 million. Photo: Supplied

“A lot of the new product, they are building little dog boxes, and there is very solid inquiry for good-sized penthouses, particularly around St Kilda Road, Southbank, and the fringes of the city.

“Anything built five to 10 years ago has more scale to it. The established product is bigger, and generally speaking cheaper, because it has not had all of those price demands of construction driving up the prices.”

He said cashed-up baby boomers, who want a lock-up-and-leave apartment, are the lion’s share of buyers, but there is a shortage of their preferred older penthouses, built during an era of limited numbers.

Swan Hill's "only penthouse", on the third level of this neat Splatt Street block of flats.

Swan Hill’s “only penthouse”, on the third level of this neat Splatt Street block of flats.Photo: Supplied

“There are more and more people inclined to move that way. We just can’t get the product at the moment. There are not enough good properties.”

Young gun developer Tim Gurner earlier this year sold out $10 million worth of penthouses in just one hour.

Buyers blitzed through the contracts for all six apartments on the upper floors of his plush 74 Eastern Road development in South Melbourne, on the edge of Albert Park lake.

A still from the marketing film created by Goldeneye Media for the luxury penthouse at 191/85 Rouse Street, Port Melbourne.

A still from the marketing film created by Goldeneye Media for the luxury penthouse at 191/85 Rouse Street, Port Melbourne. Photo: Supplied

Melbourne’s first double-storey off the plan penthouses are on the market, within the city’s Queen’s Place development, and four of the six have already sold.

Tennis star Lleyton Hewitt owns a dual-level penthouse within the Yve building on St Kilda Road, but bought separate units on floors 19 and 20 and spent four years and a fortune merging them.

Gavin Boyd, general manager of Queen’s Place developer 3L Alliance, said the four penthouses have been snapped up international and local buyers.

He said the top levels of the Queen Street project have been designed as “townhouses in the sky”, to attract an older buyer who is accustomed to a standalone property, ranging from $2.6 million to $3.8 million.

The Alumuna penthouse, Johnson Street, Port Melbourne, which set a suburb price record.

The Alumuna penthouse, Johnson Street, Port Melbourne, which set a suburb price record.Photo: Supplied

“Buyers can see the benefits of it – it doesn’t feel like an apartment,” Mr Boyd said.

“We did feel it was a spread market, and the pricing is fairly reasonable, they are not crazily priced apartments. We didn’t over compensate by having something ridiculous, but we wanted to attract the downsizer.”

A Victorian penthouse holds the national price record and is the most expensive property in metro Melbourne – the top level of skyscraper Australia 108, being built in Southbank. A China-based buyer paid $25 million, through CBRE, for the penthouse.

In Port Melbourne, a $5.6 million penthouse in the slick Alumuna development, sold this year by Hocking Stuart agent David Wood, set a new suburb benchmark for an apartment.

Swan Hill’s only penthouse will set a buyer back just $329,000.

Reference: with apartment towers booming, are once exclusive penthouses becoming passe?



Date 3 May 2016

Media Release
Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor:

Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to
1.75 per cent, effective 4 May 2016. This follows information showing inflationary pressures are lower than expected.
The global economy is continuing to grow, though at a slightly lower pace than earlier
expected, with forecasts having been revised down a little further recently. While several advanced economies have recorded improved conditions over the past year, conditions have become more difficult for a number of emerging market economies. China’s growth rate moderated further in the first part of the year, though recent actions by Chinese policymakers are supporting the near-term outlook.

Commodity prices have firmed noticeably from recent lows, but this follows very substantial declines over the past couple of years. Australia’s terms of trade remain much lower than they had been in recent years.

Sentiment in financial markets has improved, after a period of heightened volatility early in the year. However, uncertainty about the global economic outlook and policy settings among the major jurisdictions continues. Funding costs for high-quality borrowers remain very low and, globally, monetary policy remains remarkably accommodative.

In Australia, the available information suggests that the economy is continuing to rebalance following the mining investment boom. GDP growth picked up over 2015, particularly in the second half of the year, and the labour market improved. Indications are that growth is continuing in 2016, though probably at a more moderate pace. Labour market indicators have been more mixed of late.

Inflation has been quite low for some time and recent data were unexpectedly low. While the quarterly data contain some temporary factors, these results, together with ongoing very subdued growth in labour costs and very low cost pressures elsewhere in the world, point to a lower outlook for inflation than previously forecast.

Monetary policy has been accommodative for quite some time. Low interest rates have been supporting demand and the lower exchange rate overall has helped the traded sector. Credit growth to households continues at a moderate pace, while that to businesses has picked up over the past year or so. These factors are all assisting the economy to make the necessary economic adjustments, though an appreciating exchange rate could complicate this.

In reaching today’s decision, the Board took careful note of developments in the housing market, where indications are that the effects of supervisory measures are strengthening lending standards and that price pressures have tended to abate. At present, the potential risks of lower interest rates in this area are less than they were a year ago.

Taking all these considerations into account, the Board judged that prospects for sustainable growth in the economy, with inflation returning to target over time, would be improved by  easing monetary policy at this meeting.

Media and Communications
Secretary’s Department
Reserve Bank of Australia
Phone: +61 2 9551 9720
Fax: +61 2 9551 8033
© Reserve Bank of Australia, 2001–2016. All rights reserved.



Date August 2015  

MelbourneKeep up to date with our latest news on properties including editorials

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