A common theme in 2006 with the property market is that it continues to remain on its best behaviour. Doing nothing out of the ordinary and with no scandals, the niche markets keep taking care of business whilst remaining in a now familiar holding pattern. We are of the opinion that we can expect much of the same for the remainder of 2006 and it appears that overall, the market will be scandal-free. This will make valuing much easier as no mathematical equations need to be factored in – although many will be disappointed as the much discussed property market will no longer be the topic of conversation. This is already happening with much of today’s attention being turned to the financial market as it is currently producing record performances, unlike that of the property market that has adopted a more casual, laid-back mentality.

It is that time of the year when the NSW government goes in search of its missing $3billion worth of GST and one wonders if this year, it will be successful. For the first time since 1999 it is actually tabling a proposal which is a far cry from its previous requests for the money. Just which taxes will be sacrificed remains to be seen. However, a reduction in the Stamp Duty rate would be popular, as would increasing the Land Tax threshold. A reduction in Payroll tax would benefit business owners as many forget that we are the ones who contributed to the GST and at the end of the day, the government is just collecting our money. Many are predicting that the taxes applied to the property industry will remain very much the same, as the government has concerns that providing relief to the property industry could set a bad example for coming years as once started, it has to keep going.

The investment sector of the property market definitely needs repairing as it continues to fight for survival. We recently witnessed first hand, a few investors purchasing property although sadly in recent times, this has not been consistent. With the 20th biannual Property Investors Survey just released by Ashe Morgan Winthrop, the property investment prognosis is not good. Again it revealed that Stamp Duty and Land Tax remain the thorn in the side of the property investors. The Managing Director, Michael Rothner, said in The Sydney Morning Herald “that while the past six months have seen a slight easing in investors’ intent to wade into the property market, the outlook was improving”. Of those who responded to the survey, it was encouraging to see that sixty two per cent of those who reside in NSW said that they were likely to invest in property in the next six months.

Today, the State Government should classify investors as an extinct species and then do its level best to protect them. The only way it can do that is to offer inducements that would encourage them back to the property market which in turn, would ease the rental market crisis which in many instances is at fever pitch given the acute shortages. As it says in its current tax payer funded advertising campaign “It’s just not fair” and in the Federal Government’s tax payer funded campaign, its slogan is “Time to end double taxation in NSW”.

With a large concentration of offline businesses now pursuing the ever popular online strategies, it is interesting to see the successful www.realestate.com.au venturing back into offline with this week’s release of the April Property Guide Northern Suburbs Edition. No doubt it is focusing on its online branding by means of directing more consumer traffic to its site. It will be very interesting to see the results of traffic increases. It is very clear today that there still remains a lot of work for offline and online brands to unite and dominate the property market. Although a little bird tells me that presently, parties are working on some new and smart initiatives that many would argue are well over due. A big cheers to that ^_ _ ^

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