Word of the week would be ‘taxing’, as property investors weigh up their exposure to the marketplace, and ‘taxing’ with the ‘Governor of Moolah’, refusing to rule out further interest rate increases in 2004. Following the mini-budget, which simply saw a double-dip by the Carr government, where it was out with the old less profitable taxes, and in with the (hopefully) more profitable taxes. The Carr government has been highly consistent with its budgets, as when it sets out to trim the budget, the knife always slips and it is the property owners who end up with a knife in the back. The sad thing about governments is that they are a protected species, and one has to wait four years for a culling. The greatest concern is whether the species that participates in feeding the ‘government’ will be able to survive an elected government that is doing its best to make them extinct.

The great H2o debate has been a feature this week, with the Minister of H2o announcing that new mandatory water restrictions will need to be initiated as the catchment areas are missing the recent rainfalls. I think that it’s not only the catchment area that’s missing in action! The Sydney Catchment Authority has conveniently been up-dating the water storage levels of dams on their website, although for the last week or so, for some strange reason it was not updated. Water restrictions (voluntary) were announced on 14 November 2002, and the overall levels were assessed at 67.4 per cent full in that week. Sixty-four weeks on, the levels are sitting at 52.8 per cent. In that time on a weekly basis, they have graphed fifty-two weeks of water levels decreasing and twelve weeks of water increasing. The lowest recorded was on April 1, 2004 where it hit rock bottom at 50.6 capacity, then after running a few days late with the up-date on April 8 2004, they recorded the second highest ever capacity increase of 2.2 per cent. Yes, a modern day miracle when the expected lowest ever recording has been saved at the last minute, by water that failed to reach the catchment areas !! What next, a budget surplus !!

In December 2003, Mosman hit the all time highest average when it posted a $1,848,413 record, For the twelve months to March 31, 2004 it further climbed to a new record of $1,954,559 which was an eight per cent increase for that twelve month period. The average price for a Mosman apartment rose 2 per cent for the very same period and today sits at $581,848. The average price for a home in Cremorne could only manage a 2 per cent increase and posted an average price of $1,439,630, yet apartments in Cremorne had an 8 per cent annual increase to see them average out at $579,793. Neutral Bay homes won the Bob Carr Award showing a zero improvement over the twelve month period with prices averaging out at $1,092,789, however home units posted a 12 per cent increase with prices climbing to $720,714. Now the pocket rocket suburb of Cammeray was the top-performer with houses jumping to $1,099,029 which was a 15 per cent annual increase. Not to be outdone, the apartment average climbed 15 per cent also, to average out at $538,948. For the record, we have not had a single enquiry from any of our investors (for whom we manage property), to sell before the July 1, deadline. Oh Bob you have done it again !

It is all eyes on the ‘iconic eyesores’, those being the eight blocks of land up for public auction in Markham Close on April 28, 2004. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has given the green light for these less than attractive Department of Defence houses to first go under the hammer, then a timely introduction to a bull dozer. It has been decade upon decade since this Municipality has seen a land release and this will be a great test of the local market. Nothing like a bit of progress. Even the greatest eyesore, “Kentucky Fried Chicken” zinged itself out of Mosman last month. Apparently, the fixed rule of government is “the less it’s worth, the more it costs”. I hear the bells ringing!! Cheers and clink ^__^

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