It has been a week of reaching milestones for RWM and for Bob Carr. He appears to have tripped on his fragile tombstone, courtesy of a dazzling uppercut from John Singleton. Never a dull moment in the ‘State of Taxes’, as compared to Queensland where a sale of white-shoes makes the front page news. This week we celebrate the third anniversary of ‘Virtual Realty News’. Some 128 editions later, we have notched up a very respectable 120 Internet sales totalling $199,371,000 from ‘click on a mouse to buy a house’. A special thanks to those agents who said “the Internet is just a faze, the industry is going through”. I can think of nearly two hundred million ideas why it not a “just a faze”!!

Once again all eyes return to the strongest market in Australia – the property market. The economists are telling all that we can expect a rate increase. What they don’t say is how many times they have been proved wrong since June 5, 2002 when the ‘Governor of Moolah’ bumped the cash rate +0.25. If one actually takes the time to look at the Sydney property market growth from December 2001 to December 2002 it is the western suburbs that are really performing beyond expectations. Areas such as Campbelltown, have been leading the way, posting 28% appreciation for houses and 35% appreciation home for units. In comparison, Mosman managed 9% for houses and home units over the very same period. There are very clear market indications that areas such as Bankstown, Liverpool and Blacktown are right up there on the popularity stakes, with the Eastern Suburbs and North Shore suburbs all sitting comfortably at just under ten per cent capital growth.

The Productivity Commission finally issued a media release and the head Pooh Bah, Gary Banks, revealed that “The Commission will be taking a close look at how housing markets operate and the reasons for the recent surge in prices. We will also assess the scope of government action to lead to better outcomes”. Great to see that since they were handed this riveting assignment a few months ago, so much thought has gone into this Commission. Should you wish to read more about this Committee that ‘keeps minutes and wastes hours’, click on www.pc.gov.au No doubt many will be adding this site to their list of favourite websites. This ‘up to the minute’ Committee will be publishing their ‘exposure draft’ in mid-December with the final report being handed to the Govenment on 31 March 2004. No doubt the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics will assist them greatly. It shows that the property boom has moved from Sydney and Melbourne, and now Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra are the favoured areas. Brisbane jumped 26.3 per cent for the year, although Sydney over the same period, still posted a 20 per cent market growth, and a clearance rate of 73 per cent. I wonder if the Committee might stumble on a small fact, that the principal place of residence is tax free!!

In the three months to 31 August in Sydney alone, 581 homes valued in excess of $1,000,000 were auctioned, according to Australian Property Monitors. I am sure that every home posted a very tidy profit, totalling $906,361,200 in overall sales. Yet another windfall in Stamp Duty! What is happening is that the property market is dying, due to natural causes as we are simply running out of properties to sell, and we are seeing sales volume down considerably on previous years. This is now seeing real estate agencies looking closely at their businesses, and how they will grow in years to come.

ACCC Chairman, Graeme Samuel, signed off this week on our latest aquisition, Richardson & Wrench Neutral Bay. We are now Simpatico Realty Pty Limited, trading as Richardson & Wrench Mosman & Neutral Bay which means that we are now trading from the Spit Bridge to the Harbour Bridge. We see the aquisition as a natural progression for the growth of our core business, and we have quite a few innovative ideas in our letter-box ready for implementation. We have five new staff members so welcome to Bernadette, Jayne, Deeann, Pip and Jasmine, Bob ‘glass jaw’ Carr will also be happy as we qualify now for Payroll Tax!!

Should be some great advertising campaigns on the box this weekend, with ‘glass jaw’ still down on an eight count, maybe he will find solace with his beloved gropers on Clovelly Beach. Great to see ‘Singo’ the modern day advocate of the biffo!! I just hope that ‘Singo’ ups the anti and lands a few more on Land Tax also. Have a great week, for some it was a week that they would prefer to forget, cheers ^__^

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