The property markets supposedly ducked a bullet this week when our retiring “Governor of Moolah” decided to leave rates at 6.00 per cent. However, since January 1990, September has only ever had two adjustments and both were actually decreases. Interest rates since January 1990 have had in total, forty two adjustments with the most popular months being May, with seven adjustments (one increase in 2006), December with six adjustments (our tip for 2006, to make it seven) and August with five (one increase in 2006). I think that this is much more than a coincidence. The other months were January (2), February (3), March (3), April (3), June (1), July (4), September (2), October (3), November (3).

Having said that and cracked the “Macfarlane Code”, you can bet that in all probability, the December increase will shift now to November! Inflation remains the greatest concern and the release yesterday of the jobs figures indicated that the total number of people in work rose by 23,400 to a record 10.3 million. The major concerns are that strong workforce figures identify a strong economy which then comes back to that “inflation” word. The October board meeting will not have the latest inflation figures to be released at the end of October, which points to a more than interesting meeting, scheduled for November 7 (Melbourne Cup Day).

The increases in interest rates this year have slowed the property markets under the $1.500 million range, but had absolutely no effect on the top–end markets. As strange as it may seem, these wealth markets are arguably at their highest price points ever, with little sign of easing. To put this into perspective, if the property is over-valued it remains un–sold, it is that simple. An even greater clue is that properties that remain unsold for a long period, sell (in the majority of cases) for a lower price eventually and sometimes the truth serum can have a sour taste.

Nice to see the Treasurer, Peter Costello, insist that the states keep their word on abolishing stamp duty in return for the GST. How ironic that NSW has actually increased stamp duty since the introduction of GST. The Queensland coalition is promising, should they win power, to cut stamp duty. One can only ponder what promises we will be offered with the state election in March 2007. GST has been a great gig for the states as it has delivered $187 billion since it was introduced in 2000. Even more interesting is, that since the introduction of GST, NSW has continued a backward slide compared to the economic growth of the other states. Perish the thought that we are awarded the “wooden spoon”.

They say “it can only happen in America”. Well it did and now Fairfax Digital trumped the Australian property portals and markets this week when it launched its Google Mapping to www.domain.com.au This is without doubt, in my opinion, one of the smartest releases that our industry has seen Domain Google Maps Now you can see all the properties listed in a suburb and it makes the search even faster. Once the page loads you start your search with a suburb map, then you can click on satellite to receive Google Earth of that suburb and the hybrid allows you get street names.

We were so impressed with this release that we will be launching our version on www.rwm.com.au on Monday. Our IT Department has been working around the clock and I think from that perspective we possibly will be the first real estate agency in the country to offer this facility. In the coming weeks we hear that we will see many new changes to our property markets. Some I believe, will completely change the traditional landscape of our property industry. Also, strong word that a third property portal is looming on the horizon and unlike the other free ones that achieve very little, you will have to pay for this one. Fairfax Digital, your timing was perfect !! Cheers ^__^

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