It has often been said that a harp is a piano after taxes. Many Australian expats would be thinking the same, after receiving their current land tax fines which are nothing more than an absolute disgrace and bordering on fraud. One subscriber this week, emailed me to advise that this year’s Land Tax Assessment has increased 19.72 per cent from last year with land tax now equating to 22 per cent of the gross rent. It is well documented that the Mosman market peaked in 2003, so one would have difficulty explaining why, in 2004, you would pay $11,800.00 only to then be told in 2006, that you have to pay $23,000.00. It is no wonder rents keep escalating and vacancy rates are at an all time low. If we did not have expats renting out their principal places of residence we could all but remove any houses that would in fact be available for rent. Under the current system, rent is all but guaranteed to continue escalating due entirely to a system that is well and truly broken. Although with the Iemma government, the harp has been playing that song for some considerable time.

As we predicted earlier in the year, the property markets are in “game–on” mode, although some subscribers did not share that sentiment. Sadly for them, it is simply a matter of “I told you so”. With housing loan commitments now increasing for the sixth consecutive month, it is not just Mosman that is sharing in the spoils. Last week, clearance rates were the highest in two years, climbing to a respectable 62 per cent. In a boom market, the clearance rates sit around the high 70’s to early 80’s so it will be interesting to see if these increases continue. Across Sydney, the stock levels are at their highest and it will also be interesting to see if the sentiment continues. We can now be all but assured of a rate increase as the ‘Governor of Moolah’ will fine the property markets as a direct result of their over-zealous behaviour.

Mosman posted a clearance rate this week of 100 per cent in houses with all five selling, which is a first in quite some time. This week we negotiated the sales of four homes with a value of $13.300 million and we can expect other agencies to post similar results as many auction campaigns conclude in the next week. Whilst many were asking what brought about this change in market confidence the simple answer is “nothing”. Except for one small fact – property values are not falling as some had incorrectly indicated.

The apartment market continues to draw considerable interest with Marize Bellomo posting her tenth exchange this year (that is better than one exchange a week). Certainly the return of the investors has strengthened this once frail market and buyer enquiry is on the improve with good numbers inspecting. All that can be done is to make the most of the conditions with the Mosman market all but guaranteed a strong run up to Easter.

Another significant change this year is that online enquiries are well up on previous years, which coincides with the data that the property portals are releasing. One property we sold this week was only advertised online and contracts are due to exchange next week. Other than a strong market with strong market sales very little else to report except the fact that agents are trying to sign up as much property as possible. Cheers ^__^

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