While initially pizza may not seem like a crucial cost to account for when moving, it most definitely is.

Costs to consider when changing rental properties

One of the realities of being a renter is that from time to time you may have to move. Perhaps the landlord wants to sell the property or move in themselves, or you may simply need to upgrade to a new space.

While most renters are well aware of the inconvenience of packing up and moving, they may not be so aware of the associated – and sometimes hidden – costs.

Here are the main costs you need to consider when changing rental properties.

Final rental payments on the original property

While not so much a hidden cost, you will need to make sure your rental payments are up to date and that you pay right up to when your lease officially ends. Any missed or insufficient payments can be taken out of your rental bond.

Fees for breaking the lease early

Are you leaving the rental property before the end of the tenancy agreement? If you are breaking the lease early, there is likely to be a fee so the landlord is covered for the costs of re-advertising and finding a new tenant earlier than expected.

While this is not a cost everyone will encounter, you should refer to your residential tenancy agreement for the specific terms if you do find yourself in this situation.

Cleaning and repairs

When vacating the property, you need to leave it in a clean state, ready for a new tenant to move in. Whether you choose to hire a professional cleaner or stock up on your own cleaning supplies for a DIY job, you will need to account for this cost either way.

Furthermore, you will need to ensure all repairs that you are responsible for have been fixed prior to moving out. So you may need to pay for that window you cracked or have any stained carpets professionally cleaned.

Utilities

Don’t forget that you will need to cancel utilities such as gas, electricity and internet in the old home, and organise for and pay the final reading. There may also be fees for setting these utilities up in the new home too.

Bond for new home

While you can look forward to getting the rental bond back from your original property, don’t forget you’ll now need to pay for the bond on your new place. While it’s generally a straight forward process, keep in mind that you might need to set aside some extra money to cover the bond on your new home until the first one is refunded to you.

Paying first few weeks of rent upfront on new place

When signing the lease on your new home you may also need to pay a holding deposit and/ or a few weeks rent in advance in addition to the rental bond, so be prepared for that lump payment. This amount generally varies from state to state and even depends on the type of tenancy. You should check with your real estate agent or state consumer affairs office for clarification.

Removalist

Unless you have a ute or truck of your own, you are likely going to need to hire one or pay for a removalist to do the job for you, or at least transport any larger items.

This is one of the most significant costs you will need to account for when changing rental properties. If you don’t have many items to be moved you could see if you can book on to the end of another load to cut down costs, or shop around for a smaller, independent service. There is usually an optional insurance fee to protect your goods while in transport, so this is another extra cost you should consider.

Also be aware that if you have any large or bulky items, such as a piano or large fish tank, this can be an extra cost. You might also be charged more if either property is in a difficult to access location, with a lot of steps for example.

New furniture

While you may plan to keep the exact same furniture and simply move it from the old place to the new, no two homes are completely alike and a few extra pieces are sometimes required. It’s also easy to get sucked into buying a few new furniture items – even if it’s just some new cushions on the lounge.

Storage

If you have a couple of weeks between moving out of the old place and into the new, you may need somewhere to store your furniture. You will need to consider the costs of storing this. Similarly, if your new place doesn’t have as much storage space as your old one, will you need to keep any items in storage permanently?

Boxes

Cardboard boxes are an absolute necessity when moving and something which can surprisingly hike up costs. Depending on the type and size you get, they cost you around $3 per box. If it’s a big move and you need quite a lot, you can see how this will quickly add to the cost of moving.

You can try to eliminate at least some of this cost by grabbing some free boxes from your local Bunnings or grocery store. Check what days deliveries are usually made so you can pick some up before they get crushed.

Eating out

There’s a good reason most people stick to take out when they first move into a new home. Who really feels like cooking after a long day of moving, and finding and unpacking all the kitchen utensils to do so? And it’s never a bad idea to treat your moving team to some Thai or pizza at the end of moving day to say thank you.

While initially pizza may not seem like a crucial cost to account for when moving, it most definitely is.

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pros and cons of building new

It’s one of the oldest – but never ending – debates when buying property: Is it better to buy old or build new?

There are positives and negatives to each approach and there is no definite answer.

Here we take a look at the pros and cons of building new.

Building new – advantages

A blank canvas and new everything

One of the most obvious advantages is that everything about the house is new. You don’t need to worry about how previous owners treated the place and it won’t require any upfront repair or improvement costs. As everything is new, the buyer has the assurance that everything should be of a good quality and in perfect working order.

There’s also the major drawcard of having a blank slate – you can create your home exactly how you want it to your own specifications, from the floor plan to the fixtures and fittings. Speaking of floor plans, those in newer homes are often more practical and liveable than those in older homes.

And don’t forget the luxuries and modern conveniences more commonly found in new homes. You could even incorporate elements of home renovation if you wish to set your home up for the future.

No environmental or health worries

Newer homes are generally more energy efficient, built with sustainability in mind and with environmentally friendly, sophisticated materials. This could go some way in reducing energy costs down the line, if it is built with solar panels or has modern insulation, for example.

Similarly, by building new the buyer won’t have to worry about the toxins that can be found in older properties such as lead paint or asbestos.

The money and time savers

New home builders have access to a number of incentives, including the first home owners’ grant (which applies to new builds only in most Australian states), the security of new home warranty and reduced stamp duty, as the tax will apply to the land only if there is no property on it when purchased.

There are also cost savings to be made in some circumstances if the owner wishes to purchase a property off the plan.

And while building a new home can be a long process, a positive for owners is that they don’t have to wait for current owners or tenants to move out before they can move in.

Positives for investment

In terms of investment potential, it goes both ways. A new property will give owners access to the full depreciation deductions available and may attract a higher quality of tenant, who will pay more for the luxury touches more common in newer homes.

building new propertyThe disadvantages of building new

For all the positives for building new, there are several downsides buyers must also consider and weigh up.

A drawn out process

A common complaint is the time it takes to build a new home, with the original lengthy timeframe often stretched out even more if there are any hold ups, mistakes or clashing schedules with various tradespeople.

Location, location

Location can also prove an issue – a lot of new developments are often on the outskirts of cities and not in central locations. Furthermore, if it is in a new suburb there may not be established facilities – or even a community- for several years to come.

In new estates, owners may also have to put up with noise from ongoing construction work for years to come.

Less character and space

Another common downside is that some new builds can be a bit “cookie cutter” and lack the character and originality of an older build. Furthermore when you build new, you won’t have the established gardens and landscaping you’ll find in an established property, if that’s something that is important to you.

While the floor plan and design of new homes may be constantly improving, the size of the land they are on is decreasing. New houses are typically now built on smaller lots than they used to be, due to rising land prices. This in turn generally means smaller rooms and backyards.

The hidden costs and uncertainty

And while there may be cost savings, those building new properties often find there are hidden costs which they may not have accounted for. This could be associated site costs, landscaping or paying for extras that are not in their builder’s list of standard inclusions.

There’s also a lack of certainly which can add stress and an element of risk to a new home build. As there is no property to physically inspect, the buyer must place all their trust in the property plans and builder and they may not know exactly what they’re getting until it is complete.

building new houseDownsides for investment

Finally, in terms of investment potential, there can be some significant drawbacks buyers and investors should consider. If it’s not in a central location, this could lower the value of the property.

Furthermore there mightn’t be as good potential for capital growth in a new build. In an older or established home, you can often generate more capital growth by making a few updates and renovations, which can give owners notable returns. In a new development however, where all other buildings are of a similar standard and no updates are required, this gain can be hard to create.

There are pros and cons to each approach and buyers should carefully weigh up both options when deciding what the best choice is for them.

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Spread between investors and first-home buyers at historic high Cameron Kusher Investors have historically outweighed first-home buyers, but the spread in market participation has never been this wide.

Over recent years, the level of investor participation in the national housing market has hit historic high levels and at the same time, housing finance commitments to owner occupier first time buyers has shrunk. As an example, January 2017 housing finance data shows that based on the total value of housing finance commitments, a record-low 7.1% of commitments were to owner occupier first home buyers while 39.0% of the value of all commitments were to investors.

The above chart looks at the proportion of the total value of housing finance commitments going to owner occupier first home buyers and investors nationally. As the level of lending to investors has increased over recent years it has done so at the expense of owner occupier first home buyers. Except for briefly in 1992, investors have consistently outweighed owner occupier first home buyers in terms of housing finance demand. The only time first home buyer lending has got close to that of investors was in 2008 and 2009 during the financial crisis. At that time, investors were fearful and first home buyers were receiving substantial stimulus from the Federal Government which led to heightened housing demand to those that don’t already own property.

It is a similar story surrounding first home buyer activity being much lower than that of investors across the individual states and territories. Furthermore, in 2008 and 2009 the combination of stimulus and investor caution resulted in a lift of first home buyer activity at the expense of investors. The data here has been paired between housing finance and lending finance data. We have multiplied the average first home buyer loan size by their number of loans to determine the value of first home buyer loans and taken the investor loan data from lending finance. Note that the following figures include refinances.

In January 2017, an historic low 3.4% of all housing finance commitments in New South Wales were to owner occupier first home buyers compared to 46.9% of total lending to investors.  The 46.9% of housing finance commitments to investors was their highest level since July 2015.

Victoria investors accounted for 37.5% of the total value of housing finance commitments in January 2017 compared to 7.7% of the total value to owner occupier first home buyers.  The level of activity from first home buyers is currently at an historic low level while investor participation is sitting at levels not seen since July 2015.

Owner occupier first home buyers are more active in Queensland than they are in New South Wales or Victoria however, they still only accounted for 10.8% of the value of housing commitments in January 2017 compared to investors accounting for 31.6%.  Housing affordability has not deteriorated in Queensland to the extent it has in New South Wales and Victoria however, first home buyers continue to be well and truly outnumbered by investors.

In January 2017, owner occupier first home buyers in South Australia accounted for 6.9% of the value of housing finance commitments compared to investors accounting for 30.1%.

Owner occupier first home buyers in Western Australia accounted for 14.3% of the total value of housing finance commitments in January 2017 compared to investors that accounted for 27.3%.  Dwelling values are falling across most regions of the state and investor borrowing still far outweighs first home buyers. You would think that falling prices would scare investors away from purchasing and create an opportunity for first home buyers but that hasn’t really occurred in Western Australia over the past few years.

In January 2017, owner occupier first home buyers in Tasmania accounted for 10.3% of total housing finance commitments compared to investors that accounted for 27.6%.  The proportion of lending to investors in Tasmania is at its highest level since April 2015.

Northern Territory investors accounted for 38.8% of the value of all housing finance commitments in January 2017 compared to owner occupier first home buyers who accounted for 8.3%. Despite the fact that dwelling values are falling across most of the Northern Territory, fist home buyer volumes remain low and investors remain quite active. This is probably due to the fact that in Darwin in particular, the population tends to be more transient than in other parts of the country.

Across the Australian Capital Territory in January 2017, 9.1% of the total value of housing finance commitments was to owner occupier first home buyers compared to 35.5% to investors.

The national and individual state and territory data shows that historically the only way to substantially boost first home buyer participation has been at the expense of investors, as occurred in 2008/09. At the time this didn’t occur through a policy specifically targeted at slowing investor demand it happened more so organically due to significant first home buyer stimulus and investor fears at the time. Keep in mind that these policy choices also led to, in certain areas, a substantial increase in dwelling values.

Including in 2008/09, investors have consistently outweighed owner occupier first home buyers in terms of new mortgage borrowing. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone given that most investors already have a residential property asset and many of which use at least a portion of the equity in that asset to fund the investment. First home buyers don’t have the existing foothold in the housing market and are always going to find it difficult to compete with borrowers that already have assets and equity.

Unfortunately the ABS does not publish data on the number of loans to investors so we can’t see a true picture of loans written rather just the value lent. Keep I mind that investors that already own homes generally have the ability to borrow more than first home buyers and in-turn may typically take out larger loans than first home buyers.

Based on the data is seems that the way to get more first home buyers entering into the market is to do it at the expense of investors. If you can increase purchasing by first home buyers there will be, at least initially, less demand for rental accommodation. Longer-term though, the population grows and people age so deterring investment may have greater repercussions for the housing market. Keep in mind though that heightened housing market activity from first home buyers that don’t own housing assets and have no housing equity may actually create more instability in the housing market.

There is no easy fix to encourage higher levels of housing market participation from first home buyers but the data indicates a heightened level of activity from this market segment is most likely to occur via a reduction in demand from the investor segment. While people that don’t already own homes may see this as a great solution we should be cautious as it may have larger long-term effects on housing supply and housing market stability. I don’t believe that the balance between first home buyers and investors is currently right and we should look at ways to cool some of the market’s current investment exuberance but we should also be cautious about encouraging excess demand from first home buyers who may find it more difficult to repay mortgages once interest rates start to increase.

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Vacancy rates for new Inner Brisbane apartments remained tight at 2.3 per cent over the December quarter 2016, according to new research released by Urbis.

The Urbis Inner Brisbane Apartment Rental Review found that new developments are out-performing older, established projects with lower levels of amenity.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) reported a higher vacancy rate of 3.6 per cent for the total Inner Brisbane rental market over the same period.

Urbis Associate Director of Property Economics and Research Paul Riga said that the indicative vacancy rate of 2.3 per cent for new apartments is a slight increase on the September quarter 2016, which recorded 2.2 per cent.

“Given that 2016 has seen the highest number of new apartments to ever settle within Inner Brisbane, this is a positive result,” Mr Riga said.

The report, which surveyed 23 projects containing over 4,000 apartments, found that close to 50 per cent of renters in the new projects had moved from Middle and Outer precincts of Brisbane, and increased choice, competitive rents and desirable locations were driving renters’ movements.

The Middle Ring (5-20km) and Brisbane Local Government Authority recorded vacancy rates of 3.3 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively (REIQ).

“These vacancy rates are expected to rise as the trend for new apartments attracting residents from the outer areas into Inner Brisbane continues,” Mr Riga said.

While vacancy remained tight, the competitive nature of the Inner Brisbane apartment market drove softening rents over the December quarter, resulting in a decrease in average rental yields.

Building managers also reported that new buildings were taking longer to reach full occupancy.  

However, well-located, high-quality buildings with strong amenity are largely unaffected, recording little rental price decreases and have seen minimal ‘renter churn’ – with renters happy to stay on despite new projects available around them.

According to the report, there were indications the inner Brisbane apartment rental market had begun to self-regulate.

Positive absorption of new apartment rentals was already evident through the 24 per cent increase in bond lodgements for the December quarter, compared to the same period 12 months prior, based on Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) data.

The growth in bond lodgement is expected to continue over the next 12 months, boding well with a declining level of new apartment supply coming to the market. Additional research from Urbis indicated that new projects launching were significantly down on this time last year.

“The continued decrease in future apartment supply will give the rental market time to absorb new apartments,” Mr Riga said.

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The QBCC, the body responsible for issuing pool safety certificates, has issued an urgent statement (5pm 17/3/17) affecting all sales agents who are seeking pool safety certificates:

The QBCC, the body responsible for issuing pool safety certificates, has issued an urgent statement (5pm 17/3/17) affecting all sales agents who are seeking pool safety certificates:

The Pool Safety Register is offline

  • Queensland’s Pool Safety Register, administered by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), is currently off-line and will be all this weekend.
  • This affects the issuing of pool safety certificates, which are needed for property settlements.
  • Unfortunately these sites must remain offline this weekend, as IT teams continue to work to rectify the issues affecting these systems.
  • The QBCC apologises for the unavailability of the system and the impact this is causing.
  • As such, real estate agents are strongly recommended to be mindful of this when discussing contract conditions and settlement dates as well as other details with vendors and purchasers.
  • Pool safety certificates should be sought early in the transaction rather than leaving it to the last minute, just before settlement takes place.
  • If this systems outage affects property settlements, the QBCC is encouraging parties to seek advice from their legal representative or real estate agent regarding possible solutions to this issue.
  • Real estate agents and other parties may wish to print a screen shot of QBCC’s website which details this outage, for future reference.
  • Further updates about the system will be available on QBCC’s website and social media on Monday.

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Housing affordability crisis is about house prices. Not rents. #ausbiz

Housing affordability crisis is about house prices. Not rents.
By LF Economics On March 14, 2017 0 Comment

Australia has a gigantic housing bubble, fuelled by two decades of reckless debt issuances by our deregulated, yet highly protected, banking and financial system. Indeed, the latest international data from the Bank of International Settlements demonstrates Australia has the world’s second-highly household debt to GDP ratio and third-highest household debt service ratio.

Much noise has been made by federal and state government politicians about the housing crisis, but much of it is just plain laughable and a sad indictment of how thoroughly captured they are. Remember, we are taught that young and aspiring home owners are just being lazy, spending their incomes on smashed avocado toast and booze.

 Instead, leading government politicians have told potential FHBs that they should get a better job that pays more, move to regional areas, get better, wealthier parents and just stop whining. Manufacturing these absurd fabrications is apparently a lot easier than doing anything of real value.

 The housing affordability crisis caused by sky-high prices is focused in the market for owner-occupation, not for renting. Looking back over the last two decades, it is clear house price growth has outstripped household income by a long way, but household incomes have generally matched, if not outpaced, rental price growth. Melbourne is a clear example.
Household income growth outstripping rent growth is the last thing one would expect in a housing affordability crisis. Indeed, the rent to income ratio has fallen in the capital cities since it peaked in 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis. This suggests there is an adequate supply of housing. Melbourne, for instance, has experienced the largest real, quality-adjusted housing price growth of all. Yet during that period from 1996 to today, there has been more than enough dwellings built to house the population, given growth and demographic change.

Despite Sydney and Melbourne having some of the world’s most expensive housing prices, the banking and financial system is continuing to lend at rates above household income growth. This is facilitated by highly questionable lending standards, parental guarantees, interest-only loans, investors using unrealised capital gains in the current property portfolio as a deposit for acquiring the next property and so on.

  Instead of attempting to increase demand for housing, government should be looking at ways to curb speculation to lower house prices. The problem with restricting demand, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, however, is that economic growth will take a big hit.

 There is an alternate solution to solving the housing bubble without causing an economic downturn. It would require the combination of flat price growth – held in check with stringent macroprudential controls – and strong nominal wage growth over the next decade. Unfortunately, forward guidance suggests this macroeconomic cocktail is all but impossible. The regulators have no interest in implementing strong prudential controls that ‘will’ take speculation out of the housing market and nominal wage growth is the lowest since WW2 and still falling.

 With the federal and state governments intentionally doing nothing to address the housing bubble, they have cornered the Australian economy and held society to ransom to save their own political skins in an attempt to ensure that existing speculative property investors and our banking system reaps the rewards of taking excessive risks in the mortgage market. This explains the laughable housing policies now coming into play, especially in Victoria. Shared equity schemes, doubling of the FHOB and stamp duty discounts and exemptions all serve to inflate prices.

  It is important for young, aspiring home owners to remember the government is more interested in them borrowing more than they should to purchase their homes compared to taking on a much smaller loan. Why does the government want this? Simply put, to ensure existing homeowners and investors don’t feel the brunt of declining land prices and banks don’t go bust.

 This is Australia’s primary housing policy: inflate prices by any means possible, further enslaving new buyers with obscene levels of debt for the benefit of bankers and existing landowners. It is an outrageous set of circumstances politicians, bankers and landowners have forced the economy into. But they are clearly not willing to do anything else given the obvious problems that arise if they do take real action to arrest price inflation. Removing the hassle from sales and rentals

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