Hold – on, what’s going on here?

Hold – on, what’s going on here?

The internet has become a fascinating tool as it’s been a revolution on how we do business today but it has also caught many governments off guard too, not to mention made them more accountable as strange as that may sound. For example, I have been for some time now mystified about how Australia’s house market continues to soar with Sydney prices up nearly 15 per cent just in the past twelve months. Our unemployment rate sits at 6.1 per cent which is the highest rate (or thereabouts) for 13 years, where of all developing countries Australia’s is the only rate increasing. And real wage growth is now at the weakest level for two decades.

Deutsche Bank has just released its fourth annual Mapping the World’s Prices report and for the fourth year in a row Australia sits at the top of the list for being the most expensive. Yes Australia is now into its 24th year of uninterrupted growth – a feat no other developed country has been able to replicate. It must have been release week as the International Monetary Fund also produced its World Economic Outlook which has economic growth still on target at 2.8 per cent for 2015. Before we get too excited they also thought that Greece will be the strongest Eurozone economy over the next few years too.



Whilst businesses and individuals have been using and adapting this online phenomenon the same can’t be said for a government where the best case at hand is that they have no idea just who is buying Australian real estate. In 2014 I and others started writing and probing this actual point about foreign investors in Australia. This brought the treasurer Joe Hockey on 19 March 2014 to announce an inquiry and report on ‘Australia’s foreign investment policy as it applies to residential real estate’. Twelve months on nothing has actually happened so it would appear that such a debate might be construed as not being politically correct. Treasurer Hockey did announce to all and sundry that he had sought a divestiture order on the $39 million sale of Villa del Mare in Point Piper – although despite claims of more to come no announcements have been made. One might think that the backlash of sentiment coming from Asia may have seen these forensic investigations put on the back-burner?

Let’s face it – Australia is one very popular destination especially when you look back at what Philip Ruddock as Immigration Minister had to say in a speech back in 2000. Back then official projections suggested that Australia’s population would reach 24 million by 2050. Just 15 years later those population targets have almost been met with the latest projections having our population as now likely to be 40 million by 2050.

I read a report recently that the Master Builders of Australia estimated that overseas buyers make up approximately 5 to 6 per cent of Australia’s housing market. The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) figures show for the year from July 2013, $24.8 billion in foreign investment was approved, 44 per cent higher than the previous year.

It’s now common knowledge that the FIRB have failed miserably in their assigned duties. The problem we have is twofold. Firstly, the government has no way of precisely knowing exactly how many properties are being acquired by foreign investors – I would suggest that realistic estimations should be more than double what the FIRB are suggesting. The only way to know for sure would be to extrapolate the stamp duty data and then run that through the Australian Taxation Office data – and we all know that won’t be happening anytime soon.

Secondly the big property market mover in Sydney especially is the rezoning of high – density residential land into new developments. Previously this was a domain dominated by Australian developers who now can’t compete with the Asian developers. Given that it’s legal to buy – new off the plan, these developments are then re – sold exclusively in Asia.

So what we are clearly seeing is the Asian property developers paying much more for the sites given the apartments can be sold for much more to overseas buyers – who are using the buying off – the – plan incentives to buy Australian real estate which is totally legal.

When we dart back to populations we see that as of 1 January 2015, the population of China was estimated to be 1,370,811,348 people which is a bit more than our 23,790,582 as at 30 September 2014.

Maybe our federal government could lower our unemployment rate by employing some computer programmers’ to extrapolate all the countries’ stamp duty data and then cross pollinate that with Australian Tax Office data and create their (as promised) National Property Register?

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Then again I’m probably spending way too much time on my computer and simply imagining what is happening to Australian residential property prices!

MOSMAN – 2088

• Number of houses on the market this time last year – 79

• Number of houses on the market last week – 56

• Number of houses on the market this week – 58

• Number of apartments on the market this time last year – 51

• Number of apartments on the market last week – 54

• Number of apartments on the market this week – 60


• Number of houses on the market this time last year – 6

• Number of houses on the market last week – 0

• Number of houses on the market this week – 2

• Number of apartments on the market this time last year – 7

• Number of apartments on the market last week – 13

• Number of apartments on the market this week – 14


• Number of houses on the market this time last year – 4

• Number of houses on the market last week – 3

•Number of houses on the market this week – 3

• Number of apartments on the market this time last year– 35

• Number of apartments on the market last week – 34

• Number of apartments on the market this week – 33

For this week’s sales in Cremorne real estate, Cremorne Point real estate, Mosman real estate, Beauty Point real estate, Clifton Gardens real estate, Balmoral real estate, Neutral Bay real estate, Cammeray real estate.

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Source: APM Price Finder

One Response to “Hold – on, what’s going on here?”

  • peter maccormick says:

    Great article you are so spot on pity you don’t write for the national papers !! so true about how much more chinese developers are paying for sites keep up the good work

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