Earlier this month the Victorian Government moved to abolish stamp duty for first home buyers for purchases below $600,000, in an effort to help around 25,000 Victorians find their first home.
Chinese migrants have re-emerged as a major buying force in Melbourne's top end housing market, despite the Chinese government's crackdown on money leaving the country.
Imagine flicking through properties on your phone. Let's say you're laid back in your Eames chair, surrounded by your Qing Dynasty porcelain, sipping your Five Star Maotai and indulging in a bout of WeChat surfing.
Sydney property investors are abandoning hip inner suburbs like Alexandria, Redfern and Erskineville for similar locations in Melbourne where new apartments are up to 40 per cent cheaper.
Buyers had little choice but to hike up their budgets at many Melbourne auctions at the weekend as sought-after property types soared to new price levels.
While the "work report" receives scant attention compared to America's State of the Union or our federal budget, it is arguably far more important for Australians.
Every time Jo Buckle and her husband walked past the bluestone Fitzroy house, around the corner from where they lived for the past 17 years, they said it would their ideal home if it came on the market.
Despite house prices continuing to rise in Australia, Sydney slipped from second to 11th and Melbourne from sixth to 12th on the Wealth Report's 2016 ranking of luxury residential property price growth after both cities recording weaker annual growth compared with other luxury residential markets.
But what really drives residential property markets? How does the Australian property market function and what contributes to the ups and downs of the sector ?
Over the month to date Melbourne home values have gained 0.7 per cent, while Brisbane and Adelaide have also increased, CoreLogic said.
Sydney and Melbourne led a surge in auction clearance rates, despite record numbers of listings, as buyers who missed out late last year competed with a new wave of buyers.
Australia is the world's top destination for millionaires, beating the United States for the second straight year, according to New World Wealth.
A restriction on immigration is a restriction on economic prosperity – much like increased taxation.
The three busiest suburbs for auctions nationally will all be in Melbourne: Reservoir in the northern suburbs with 28, followed by Bayside St Kilda (26) and Elwood (20), consultancy CoreLogic says.
For the 60 newly arrived residents, this waterside tutorial in all things Australia, extended to the differences between the two rugby codes and how to reply if ever offered a "cuppa".
Australia's resurgent exports could push its currency to US80¢ and even beyond, Deutsche Bank's chief economist Adam Boyton reckons.
When the world’s super rich want to bed down in London, they look no further than One Hyde Park. Labelled the world’s most expensive residential block, this address boasts a list of ultra luxury amenities and an exclusive list of tenants to match.
Well-heeled buyers battled hard for $4 million-plus trophy homes at the weekend, while most auctions of low and mid-priced properties also attracted hefty competition.
But here is what the city’s rental picture actually looks like: rents are at record highs and rising faster than incomes, the number of vacant properties is shrinking and properties defined as “affordable” to those on low incomes are disappearing.
Single-fronted cottages in good locations, warehouse apartments, older-style flats and detached homes on blocks with redevelopment potential all did well at weekend auctions.
The clearance rate in Sydney hit 84.8 per cent while Melbourne's rate reached 75.4 per cent, according to Corelogic's preliminary tally. Domain's numbers were similar at 84 per cent for Sydney and 79 per cent for Melbourne.
Sydney and Melbourne apartment asking prices also rose 8.5 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively.
Sydney posted a 1 per cent rise in dwelling values while Melbourne rose 0.8 per cent. Every other capital city, except for Darwin, recorded rises resulting in an overall combined capital states 0.7 per cent growth.
According to CBRE’s latest Retail MarketView, Victoria continues to lead the Australian retail leasing market into 2017 with year-on-year growth, while the rest of the market generally remains stable.
Property developer Jeff Xu is cashing in and selling the five-star Sheraton Melbourne Hotel his Golden Age Group completed three years ago on Little Collins Street.
The 174-room hotel opened in early 2014 and marked the return of the Sheraton brand to Melbourne after an absence of nearly a decade. Based on other recent hotel transactions, market observers anticipated a price of between $130 million and $140 million.
The Sheraton Melbourne formed part of a 32-level mixed-used development by Golden Age Group. The developer recently purchased Grocon's neighbouring 85 Spring Street apartment project for $75 million while construction has started on another Golden Age Melbourne high-rise project, Collins House on Collins Street.
Japan's Daisho will buy the hotel component of Cbus Property's Collins Street development in Melbourne in a $220 million deal.
The $1.25 billion mixed-use project comprises two towers linked by a skybridge in a dramatic design which has earned it a popular moniker as the "Pantscraper".
Collins Arch, as it is more formally known, includes a hotel component of 294 rooms across 15 levels as well 205 apartments and 49,000sq m of office space. The hotel will be operated as a W Hotel.
The cost of buying land to build a new house in Melbourne's outer suburbs surged 12.4 per cent last year to accompany a double-digit rise in existing house prices, according to figures compiled by project marketers red23.
Melbourne house prices surged 15 per cent, according to CoreLogic and more than 10 per cent, according to Fairfax-owned Domain.
Australians have a unique set of business etiquette rules in comparison with other business cultures.
For example, we don't mind the use of profanity in the office. We might be laid back, but being late is uncool. We prefer chit chat to start a business meeting and we socialise after work — a lot.
And while it may be second nature to partake in these rituals for those of us who are none the wiser, some of these conventions can be surprising to foreigners when they begin working in Australia.
At 132 metres above Adelaide, the highest residences in the city have been unveiled ahead of commencement of sales in the landmark Realm Adelaide building.
The development was designed by architectural practice Elenberg Fraser and will feature 320 one, two, three and four bedroom apartments, across 40 levels, as well as two separate and exclusive world-class wellness and entertainment retreats modelled on the best hotels internationally.
Crowned by two double storey penthouses boasting four bedrooms each, among the largest ever designed by Elenberg Fraser, Realm Adelaide aims to bring the first five-star hotel-like living experience to the city.
One of the country's biggest private developers, Metro Property Development, has negotiated a $90 million senior loan with Hong Kong-based hedge fund OCP Asia to fund the construction of an apartment tower in Brisbane.
Metro's deal with OCP comes as the major banks pull back from lending into the Brisbane apartment market – both for construction and to retail buyers – over concerns of oversupply, forcing developers to source more expensive funding.
Sydney hotel operators and owners were the big winners from the strong tourism market in 2016, according to year-end figures from research consultants STR.
But room rates fell sharply in Perth and Brisbane while Adelaide hotels saw a flat performance, highlighting a two-paced market that may diverge even further in 2017 with a new wave of supply coming on board.
In Sydney, average daily room rates rose $10, or 4.5 per cent, to $221 a night with the city also maintaining the highest occupancy rate at just over 85 per cent.
Busy private developer Mario Salvo has gained control of one of the largest developments approved so far in Melbourne's emerging Fishermans Bend precinct, acquiring a one hectare site for about $40 million. The Salvo Property Group is buying a Johnson Street site, which has approval for close to 1300 apartments across four towers, from another private player, Bill McNee.
Australian property agents are gearing up for a busier Chinese property buying spree this year when Chinese New Year holidays kick in on Saturday, a survey by Chinese property portal Juwai.com has found.
Of the agents surveyed 52 per cent said they had more inquiries from Chinese travellers interested in buying Australian real estate compared to last year, an encouraging finding given that increased forex and capital controls in China and lack of funding in Australia had already slowed down the number of Chinese transactions in the past year by up to 50 per cent.
Top restaurateurs are flocking to Melbourne's most popular city dining precinct, Flinders Lane in the city centre, putting pressure on rents.
The famous late-night laneway, which runs parallel to and feeds off the Paris-end of Collins Street, is home to the city's trendiest dining establishments and retail boutiques from Spring Street at the top all the way down to Elizabeth Street.
An offshore Chinese investor group has set a new yield benchmark for Victorian large format retail centres after paying $14.88 million for the Sunbury Showrooms on the outskirts of Melbourne.
The showrooms, which were offloaded by private developer and builder H. Troon, sold on a yield of 6.5 per cent, which selling agents CBRE said was a record for the sector. It surpassed the $35 million sale last year of ASX-listed Phileo's Rocklea Homemaker centre in Bendigo on a yield of 7.7 per cent to Harvey Norman.
Singapore's three-year decline in home prices could see relief this year as foreign investors who have been turned off by Hong Kong's move to increase the stamp duty for overseas buyers look elsewhere.
All the major international real estate agencies are expecting the slide in Singapore house prices to final end this year.
Desmond Sim, head of research for Singapore and south-east Asia at CBRE, said Singapore house prices were approaching their trough, with a forecast price move of flat to minus 2 per cent. Savills forecasts Singapore prices will rise 1 per cent on average this year.
It triggered countless headlines. The "Beyonce" building – the 79-level residential tower planned for Melbourne's Spencer Street – grabbed the world's attention when its curvaceous computer-generated image was unveiled to the world in 2015.
But at the sod-turning of the 780-apartment tower, officially known as Premier Tower, the man developing it made one significant admission.
Koh Wee Meng, the executive chairman of Singapore-listed Fragrance Group, is not a Beyonce fan.
Chinese developers roared back into Melbourne in the final five months of 2016, snapping up three-quarters of development sites as they shrugged off concerns about apartment oversupply, tougher planning rules and higher property taxes.
Real estate agent CBRE said 75 per cent of the 45 Melbourne development sites they transacted between August and December were sold to mainland Chinese buyers.
The tourism-led economic resurgence is set to continue this year with latest figures showing Asia's infatuation with Australia shows no sign of abating.
With Chinese New Year approaching later this month, the fast-growing and wealthy Chinese middle class is also propelling China towards becoming Australia's number one tourism market, only just behind New Zealand.
Pointcorp has announced the settlement of 130 of its 140 Vida apartments on the river in Brisbane’s West End, dismissing talk of oversupply and settlement risk in the apartment market.
The riverfront apartments in West End are marketed as ‘inspired’ featuring architecture and interiors by Cottee Parker. The $105 million project was financed by BankWest and Thakral Capital Australia (TCAP).
Released in October 2016, Vida is one of the first major new developments in the city to be released since 2008 that specifically targets owner-occupiers. The Cottee Parker-designed development will feature 148 one, two and three bedroom apartments, and premium five bedroom-plus study penthouses across two 12-level buildings on Buchanan Street.
Sometimes it pays to be in round two. Like with the Shacky, a Melbourne-designed and made Tiny House that is taking the country, or Airbnb at least, by storm. The initial Shacky was crowd-funded, and took up temporary residence on a farm in the Otways from June until September last year, with people able to experience life in the little house through Airbnb. But guests’ feedback was taken very seriously.
“We monitored the experience of our guests really closely,” says Shacky director Joep Pennartz. “We saw it as a market testing: do people want to stay in a Shacky at all? On top of that we really wanted to improve on the design of the house, and the experience,” he says.
The Australian dollar spiked higher overnight as the greenback swooned and the local currency may have enough upward momentum to carry it to US78¢, according to ANZ. It didn't hurt that iron ore continued to edge higher too, retaking the $US80 a tonne level.
Still the focus was on President-elect Donald Trump who disappointed investors by not specifically highlighting his pro-growth agenda during his first news conference since winning the November 8 election.
Tasmania's growing appeal as a top tourism destination is bearing investment fruits, with the US hotel chain Hyatt to open its first hotel in Hobart in 2019.
Hobart was the top-performing hotel market in 2016, recording revenue per available room (revPAR) growth of 12.2 per cent last year, according to analysts STR.
The Apple Isle as a whole has enjoyed a strong resurgence, with tourism spending rising 9 per cent to over $2 billion in FY16 and a record 224,000 overseas visitors heading there to enjoy its food, wine and natural attractions over this period.
Australia's booming hotel sector is set for a massive injection of fresh supply this year with new hotels to open in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth.
Some of this new supply will put downward pressure on daily room rates and occupancy levels in weaker markets such as Brisbane and Perth. But in Sydney and Melbourne, where occupancies are near 90 per cent at the luxury end, expectations are for new supply to be more than matched by demand.
ASX-listed Real estate website realestate.com.au (REA Group) has made a foray into India after agreeing to buy 14.7 per cent of Indian real estate digital platform PropTiger for $67.9 million.
PropTiger, the only group in India which offers a full range of online and offline property services such as virtual viewing, site visits, legal and financial diligence, operates proptiger.com, Makaan.com and newly acquired site, Housing.com.
The three digital property portals take the top three spots in the Indian digital real estate market.
The pipes are calling. Fat pipes that is.
A private internet network known as SABRENet set up more than a decade ago by three universities to connect researchers and enable them to send big files to each other was ahead of its time. Has one of the answers to the painful economic transition of South Australia been sitting there all along?
There are moments when the stresses of work or sitting in peak hour traffic get too much and the dreams of escaping to an early retirement in the bush or by the ocean start to seem vaguely real and attainable. In fact, they can become economically viable.
Such are the pressures on city dwellers – financial, emotional, practical – that AFR Weekend has decided to test the dream of early retirement by setting detailed criteria to pinpoint 10 of the best places to retire young and still have some money in the back pocket to live life well and take the annual trip to Europe.
It started in Queenstown with a marathon. In 2014 Sydneysiders Chris and Jamie Seymour were running a race in the southern New Zealand town when they found themselves buying a plot of land to build a house.
It wasn't an accidental purchase – the couple chose the site 15 minutes outside of Queenstown after looking at areas such as the NSW central coast – but the fast-rising NZ housing market made them decide to build on it sooner than they had anticipated.
The Australian dollar hit a three-week high on Thursday following the US Federal Reserve's minutes, even flirting with the US73¢ mark, but the move may prove temporary.
A key part of the reason for the overnight advance was a slight easing in the US dollar, which followed mixed interpretations of the latest US Federal Reserve meeting minutes. At their December meeting, policymakers debated the potential for a faster pace of interest rate increases depending on what tax and spending measures are implemented by President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress.
Australian-made Chinese property website Juwai.com has firmed up a partnership with China's largest internet and social media group, Tencent, to launch a new global real estate website for Chinese web users.
The new site, haiwai.house.qq.com, is an international property channel hosted on Tencent's powerful social media application QQ. It also uses Tencent's other popular social media application Wechat to advertise the listings on the site.
Together, QQ and Wechat have 800 million users. Tencent is worth $225 billion.
Australia's east coast-centric housing boom will roll on in 2017 but could become unstuck in 2018, according to SQM Research founder Louis Christopher, arguably the country's most accurate forecaster.
New rules that prohibit mainland Chinese residents from converting yuan into foreign currencies for overseas property purchases are unlikely to derail the rising interest in purchasing overseas homes -- nor have a meaningful impact on foreign home transactions, according to experts.
While the curbs may deter some buyers, market watchers say investors will continue to find ways around the controls amid rising demand for offshore real estate.
Home prices defied forecasts they would stagnate in 2016 to grow more than they did during the "boom" year of 2015, according to year-end figures from property research firm CoreLogic.
Dwelling prices rose 15.46 per cent in Sydney while Melbourne had a rise of 13.68 per cent. Even the much-maligned Hobart and Canberra housing markets posted strong gains, rising 11.24 per cent and 9.29 per cent respectively.
A Singapore-listed company chaired by Brunei's Prince Abdul Qawi, has sold a seven-story university building in the Melbourne city centre for $34.2 million to the Poulakis family, the founders of luxury fashion retailer Harrolds.
The end-of-year sale demonstrated just how much land values have surged in the Melbourne CBD in the past two years. KLW Holdings acquired the building at a land rate of $26,368 per square metre and on a yield of 5.3 per cent in October 2014. They sold it at $38,212 per sq m on a yield of 3.97 per cent.
It may not hit the boomtime peaks of 2013, but a survey of property analysts shows most are predicting solid growth in the price of houses in 2017. It's a different story for apartments, and indeed for all property in "gloomtime" cities Perth and Darwin where analysts have consistently predicted more price falls.
But if you're in a house in Sydney or Melbourne, you can rest easy. After four strong years in which prices in Sydney and Melbourne grew by 67 per cent and 46 per cent respectively, according to research house CoreLogic, it seems we haven't reached the end of the run just yet.
"We literally had our biggest week this year in numbers and value in mid December," said buyer's agent Simon Cohen of Sydney firm Cohen Handler.
"I think the market will remain pretty strong."
The property sector has broadly embraced new standards set for Victorian apartments aimed at ensuring high-rise units have sufficient access to light, air and storage.
The new rules, foreshadowed by the state government in August, have now been finalised and will take effect from next March.
The Victorian approach differs from that taken in Sydney, which has set minimum sizes for apartments, including 50 square metres for one-bedroom apartments and 70 sq m for two-bedders.
Adelaide’s skyline will rise to new heights with the approval of the Elenberg Fraser-designed building Realm Adelaide.
The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure this week approved Realm Adelaide to rise 132 metres and span 40 levels.
Realm in fact took out the honour for the city’s highest homes.
Two neighbouring shops in Melbourne’s inner north, held by the same family for more than 50 years, have been sold to two separate offshore investors on sub-3.5 per cent yields.
The shops, at 382 and 384 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North, were sold in consecutive auctions by CBRE’s Melbourne Strip Retail Investments team, for $1.56 million and $1,665,000 respectively.
Listing agent Rorey James said both results were in excess of the reserve price, but more impressive were the yields.
Hurstville, 16 kilometres south-west of the CBD, occupies a unique spot on Sydney's demographic map.
With more than half of its residents reporting Chinese ancestry, it is the only suburb across all of NSW where one community of non-English migrants outnumbers everyone else combined.
Based on figures from the last census, 52.5 per cent of Hurstville's population reported their heritage as Chinese. Other suburbs came close – Burwood (41 per cent), Eastwood (36.5 per cent) and Haymarket (36 per cent) – but none tipped the scales past halfway.
After obtaining a permit to build one of suburban Melbourne’s tallest towers, the owner of a central Box Hill development site has sold it for a price thought to be in excess of $16 million.
Private developer Grocon has found another developer to take over its upmarket residential project on Melbourne's Spring Street into the market, with a deal looming at near $75 million.
In September Grocon, controlled by property scion Daniel Grollo, appointed CBRE's Mark Wizel, Lewis Tong and Josh Rutman to market the site after persistent approaches by local and offshore parties keen to get control of permitted sites in the Melbourne CBD.
The project has approval for about 225 apartments after Grocon trimmed a 44-level proposal to 39 levels and reduced the number of apartments when it was initially refused a permit.
New apartments in Melbourne's CBD and fringe suburbs are likely to rise in price as constraints on site availability and tighter planning rules limit new supply, says Colliers Victorian head of residential Tim Storey.
The development industry's ability to self-correct, by pushing out project timelines and in some cases withdrawing projects, was another reason prices were less likely to fall as new stock completes, Mr Storey said.
It might only be the initial hoarding and very early branding concepts, but for Queenslanders the first plans for Queens Wharf signals the start of a new era.
The new Queens Wharf lodgement includes advertising plans alongside a detailed, staged demolition management plan for four non-Heritage buildings, bracing for Heritage buildings (retention works), installation of vibration monitoring equipment to the fabric of certain heritage buildings and dilapidation reports.
Initial advertising concept and placements with plans for ‘monitoring equipment and hoarding’ covers Queens Wharf Road, William Street, Mary Street, George Street, Margaret Street, and Elizabeth and Alice Streets. The Minister for Economic Development Queensland acknowledged receipt of the plans on 2 December, 2016.
In a sign of the times, a Macau casino king has emerged as the buyer for energy giant's ExxonMobil's $160 million headquarters in Melbourne's Southbank.
Mr Loi Keong Kuong, the owner of the Rio Casino in Macau, is understood to be the buyer of the prominent waterside office tower.
The casino king has made a series of recent property investments in Singapore and has been a bidder on other Melbourne assets.
Sportswear giant Adidas has leased the retail property at 148 Rundle Mall for a flagship store in Adelaide CBD.
The 467-square-metre store has a glazed eight-metre frontage to Rundle Mall, double-height ceilings on the ground floor and rear loading access from Porters Lane.
The launch of the adidas' Adelaide branch follows openings in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane earlier this year.
Colliers International's Ben Laycock and local investor Castenada negotiated the deal for The Zorich Group on a lease term of five years with options.
Sydney's skyline will get a new 60-level tower after Star Entertainment Group chose architects FJMT to design a new six-star hotel and apartments complex for its Pyrmont site.
The $500 million tower marks the return to the NSW capital of Marriott's premium Ritz-Carlton brand and is part of a wider $1 billion renovation that Sydney's incumbent casino is making as it gears up to compete with rival Crown's planned 71-storey tower across Darling Harbour at Barangaroo.
FJMT's design, chosen out of a competition that pitted it against local rival BVN and UK-based Grimshaw Architects, is for a building that is slim at the base and tapers outward at the top. Local sandstone, out of which much of 19th-century Sydney was built, will feature in the base of the building and will "feather up" - or fade out - out as the tower rises.
Giant Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, a major shareholder in Virgin Australia, has snapped up the Aitken Hill conference centre in Melbourne's north for around $120 million.
The 69-hectare site, with 6000 sq m of conferencing facilities and 124 hotel rooms near Melbourne Airport was offered with the potential to add a seven-hectare retirement village and a 630-lot residential estate on undeveloped portions of the picturesque estate.
Its sale to HNA Group is the latest in a string of Melbourne land acquisitions by Chinese companies, who are turning their attentions to the greenfield market as demand for inner city Melbourne apartments slows.
Chinese property heavyweight Dahua Group has outmuscled local developers to snap up a billion-dollar land pipeline in a buying spree that has handed a wealthy family, a syndicate of landowners and two young property players a $347 million windfall.
Dahua Group's purchase of three large land parcels in Point Cook in Melbourne's west for $347 million mirrors a year-long buying spree in Sydney's south-west that had the Shanghai-based group spend more than $400 million on a three growth area sites in Bardia and Menangle Park.
An empty suburban block in Melbourne's blue-chip inner suburb of South Yarra sold on the weekend for $2.75 million, or nearly twice its sale price from about 12 months ago.
But half the auctions in neighbouring Toorak, which has been a recent favourite with local and overseas buyers, were passed in, having failed to find a buyer at poorly attended sales, according to agents.
Rising interest rates, a slowing economy and concerns about affordability are sending mixed messages to buyers and sellers for the year's final two weekends of auctions in Melbourne and Sydney, the nation's leading real estate markets.
On that longed-for day when I unexpectedly inherit a lavish tropical retreat from a long-forgotten relative, my first command to my assembled army of servants will be to ensure that my swimming pool is always be heated to 30 degrees.
This, I have discovered, is the perfect water temperature for days when the mercury soars towards the 40 degree mark: cool enough to refresh you, but warm enough not to send shivers through your body when plunge in.
Hong Kong developer stocks have gone from being the top performers to the worst, slammed by home price curbs and the expectation of rate hikes following Donald Trump's win in the US presidential election.
Developers surged 11 per cent in the first 10 months of the year to rank as the best performers in that period and helped steer Hong Kong's benchmark index to its peak in September. That reversed in November as developers slumped 6.6 per cent, leading the pack of losers on the Hang Seng Index. Sun Hung Kai Properties and New World Development. are among stocks that plunged 10 per cent or more last month.
China's government is planning to introduce new restrictions on foreign investment deals in a bid to stem capital outflows, a move that will be felt across the globe as Chinese companies have been on a buying spree this year.
While Beijing will still support outbound investments that fit with the operations of a company and their international expansion plans, it will take a tougher stance on financial investments, according to Xu Hongcai, deputy chief economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, a government think-tank.
"We will strengthen investigations and checks on big investments," Mr Xu told the Australian Financial Review.
A STATE-of-the-art redevelopment is being served up to make the home of the Australian Open the best grand slam venue in the world.
Features of Melbourne’s tennis precinct include a new public piazza, sunken show court, function centre and eastern entrance.
A new court to seat 5000 fans will be built between Rod Laver and Hisense arenas as part of the next phase of the Melbourne Park expansion.
The government will today outline plans to shake up the way it delivers services via technology, opening up as much as $560 million for spending with startups and smaller technology companies.
The moves come as part of a much-anticipated taskforce into government ICT procurement, which will be launched by Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor at an InnovationAus conference in Canberra.
At the event Mr Taylor will release a discussion paper and call for private sector submissions into opening up the government's $5.6 billion annual tech budget to innovative smaller companies that have previously been excluded from doing business with government departments.
Developers will be allowed to build taller apartment towers in Melbourne's CBD as long as they provide "public amenities" including office space as the city council seeks to maintain the city's commercial core.
Melbourne's move to control CBD development comes as Sydney also pushes back against a takeover of the central city by a flood of high-rise apartment towers.
Danni Addison, chief executive of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, a lobby group, said the new rules for the Melbourne CBD were "a very blunt tool" but had enough flexibility "to negotiate outcomes on a site by site basis".
Hashching, a website for home buyers to choose mortgage brokers, has built the first fully-digital process for home loan verification in Australia, which would allow banks to comply with strict regulations for identifying clients without having to send them to a branch.
This weekend, Hashching, which has processed $2.6 billion of mortgages since launching 15 months ago, will begin the pilot for a biometric identity verification service allowing brokers on its platform to satisfy strict "know your client" (KYC) banking regulations by asking a customer on a video call to hold up a proof of identity to the camera on their computer or mobile phone.
Across the banking industry, KYC verification for mortgages – designed to prevent money laundering by criminals – is still conducted with in-person meetings; customers either have to travel into a branch or receive a visit from a bank or broker representative. This delays the process and can be intrusive.
Expats have named Melbourne as the best city to live and work in the world.
More than 14,000 people from nearly 200 countries took part in InterNations Expat Insider 2016 survey, voting in Australia's second biggest city Melbourne as the favorite location for expats.
'Not only are expats apparently happier in Melbourne, but they are more satisfied with their personal finances,' Vera Grossman from InterNations told Escape.
Two three-level penthouses costing $20,000 a night will be the crown jewels in the Halim Group’s $350 million redevelopment of the 133-year-old Hotel Windsor into Melbourne’s first six-star hotel.
One of these will be a massive 745 square metre presidential penthouse, which will sit atop the new glitzy 26-storey tower that will be built behind the existing heritage building on Spring Street.
The addition of the new tower, part of a $200 million building contract for Obayashi Corporation and Built, will add almost 100 rooms to the grand, but crumbling hotel, taking the number of suites to 279.
How amazing will this be???
Richard Branson has unveiled the prototype of his new supersonic jet, and to say it'll 'really fly' is an understatement!
The billionaire's Virgin company has got together with an American start up company called Boom to build a fleet of supersonic jets which could reach speeds of up to 2335km/h and potentially shave NINE HOURS off a Sydney to Los Angeles trip.
The first lots in a new housing estate in Melbourne's south-east that claims to be the country's most energy and water efficient will be offered for sale this month by Villawood Properties and South East Water.
The private developer and state utility have collaborated on Aquarevo, a $260 million project that will transform a 42-hectare decommissioned water purification plant in Lyndhurst, about 35 kilometres from the city, into a 460-lot development.
Each house built on the estate will use rainwater and high-quality recycled sewerage water to reduce demand for drinking water by up to 70 per cent – the equivalent of 1.2 million showers – while energy consumption will be reduced through solar panelling on the roof.
Listing volumes have been remarkably shallow this spring; we’re at levels one might expect in a depressed market in which little is selling, so everyone is sitting on the sidelines. But the circumstances are at the other end of the scale in Sydney and Melbourne: auction clearance rates are regularly posting over 80 per cent, sometimes half-a-dozen bidders are fighting hard for a modest single-fronted cottage in a less fashionable suburb and the winner is paying $100,000 more than the recorded price of comparable properties sold just 12 months before.
I’m not sure conditions could be better for a prospective vendor. Nevertheless, it seems four years of a rising market have exhausted the pool, and we may have to wait until autumn 2017 before numbers are replenished.
Billionaire developer Lang Walker and the South Australian government have passed a key hurdle in their $900 million plan to redevelop Adelaide's Festival Plaza. On Thursday the Development Assessment Commission of South Australia recommended approval for Walker Corporation's plan for a $500 million office tower, with retail and parking, on the site.
But longer term the threat of a trade war between the US and China could see interest in Australia’s homes go either way, warned AMP chief economist Shane Oliver.
Overnight Ken Jacobs, of Christie’s International, fielded email inquiries on prestige homes from a few buyers based on the east and west coast of the US.
The NSW government is building a new $250 million Sydney Fish Market and replacing the old building in Pyrmont with a new mixed use residential development.
The new 35,000 sq m market – double the size of the current property – will be built on an adjacent site to the market, which is leased to building materials manufacturer Hanson.
Hanson's lease ends at the end of the year but the NSW transformation arm UrbanGrowth, which is undertaking the project as part of its Bays Precinct project, said it would extend the lease by another 12 months until construction begins around 2018.
The new market will have 15,500 sq m of seafood retail space – compared with the current 6582 sq m – and outdoor dining for 3000 patrons as well as a possible rooftop bar.
A $305 MILLION redevelopment will transform the city’s convention and exhibition centre into the nation’s biggest and boost the Victorian economy.
Anew space at South Wharf will bring the centre’s total size to more than 70,000sq m, while a 331-room hotel and multi-deck carpark will also feature in the development.
The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, which includes “Jeff’s Shed”, presently generates an estimated $960 million for the state economy every year, but this is expected to rise to $1.5 billion by 2026.
AUTOMATIC self-driving cars, which will be seen on the streets in Melbourne in the coming decades, could be sabotaged and used as weapon by terrorists.
Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Ramzi Jabbour warned smartcars being developed by companies such as Google could be exploited by criminals, including extremists, to wreak havoc.
Police fear terrorists could get a driverless car, pack it with explosives, pre-program it, then days later from the other side of the world use a computer to activate the vehicle along a course to a specific target.
DESIGNED as a “piece of sculpture to be lived in” this Chippendale home — or artwork — has just been crowned Australia’s best house.
The warehouse turned four storey home has won the top honour at the National Architecture Awards, The Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture.
Jon Clements, Jury Chair of the National Architecture Awards, said the property, named Indigo Slam, “challenges ideas about living among art and the associated aspects of public and private entertaining”.
Landlords in Adelaide are in an enviable position as rental vacancies dropped for the second consecutive month, down to a low of 1.23% according to the Real Estate Institute of SA (REISA).
The vacancy rate in the city and North Adelaide fell to 1.21% for the month of August, down from 2.21% in July.
REISA president Robin Turner said “quality properties” were renting quickly, and investor interest had also stepped up a notch.
“It seems spring fever is hitting all sectors of the market at the moment, with rental demand increasing even before spring started,” Turner said.
As $1 million begins to mean less and less in Melbourne real estate, a fresh batch of postcodes are poised to make seven-figures the new suburb standard.
Several outer eastern suburbs, as well as two inner north-western pockets, are the latest to edge into the high $900,000 median house price range, the September House Price report from Domain Group shows.
Blackburn North and South will soon join Blackburn proper in the million-dollar club, alongside neighbour Burwood East, if house price growth continues on its current trajectory.
New research revealed that parking spaces and pools are no longer the biggest considerations when purchasing a new home.
First homebuyers are now placing fast broadband connections higher up on their list of key priorities when it comes to making purchasing decisions.
The NBN Ready Homes report revealed when searching for a new property, the majority (80 per cent) of Aussie house hunters rate a good broadband service as a major factor in their decision making process.
The boom is back, with Sydney’s property prices on the rise. While the median house price has hit a new high at $1,068,303, price growth doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone.
With plenty of home hunters scouting out Sydney suburbs, if you’re a property owner who is dreaming of a lifestyle change, escape to the country or simply ready to cash out, now might be your time to sell.
The "cowboy" developers who knocked down the 157-year old Corkman Irish Pub on the Melbourne city fringe without a permit now face fines of more than $2 million – double the original estimate – after they allegedly dumped waste containing asbestos on another development site they own in the city's west.
The massive growth in China’s middle class has been a godsend for the Australian wine industry, with exports jumping 51% in the last year to $474 million, making it the top export market by value for the first time.
The rise of China is no more apparent than in the fact that just a decade ago, sales there were worth just $27 million.
Wine Australia’s Export Report, released today, reveal double digital growth for local exporters in the 12 months to 30 September 2016, up 10% to a total value of $2.17 billion.
Australia's transition towards more part-time work continued last month, as a plunge in full-time work was offset by more casual hiring.
The jobless rate fell to 5.6 per cent from an upwardly-revised 5.7 per cent in August, which was previously reported at 5.6 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.
Singapore investor Straits Real Estate has sold a William Street tower in central Melbourne for around $170 million, after acquiring it only a year ago for $125 million.
The extraordinary deal, negotiated quietly off-market, adds more than a third to the value of the 26-storey tower at 114 William Street since its acquisition from Kyko Group last August.
The deal was brokered by Colliers International's Nick Rathgeber and Leigh Melbourne, who did not respond to requests for comment.
Victoria's population has hit 6 million, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.
ABS acting Director of Demography Phil Browning said that in the year ending 31 March 2016, Victoria grew by 1.9 per cent, adding an extra 114,900 people to the population.
"This is the fastest population growth for Victoria since 2009 and is well above Australia's growth rate of 1.4 per cent. New South Wales was the next fastest state, increasing by 1.4 per cent. Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory were not far behind, with both growing at 1.3 per cent," said Mr Browning.
Catalina Blandon didn't like the American dream, so she boarded a plane to Melbourne.
The Colombian had done her research, and knew the weather was going to be unpredictable. She had also read that there were a lot of koalas and kangaroos and that the residents were friendlier than Sydneysiders.
She initially thought she would only stay for six months to study English, but the 27-year-old has remained in Melbourne for three years and now calls it home.
Ms Blandon, who is completing a business diploma at a private college, is among about 175,000 international students who are bolstering the state's economy.
The first two weeks of spring have put more of a step into house price growth in Sydney and Melbourne, CoreLogic figures show.
Halfway into September, the data provider's daily home value index shows a 5.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth in Sydney home values - up from the 3.9 per cent at the end of August - and a 5.1 per cent quarterly increase in Melbourne, up from 3.4 per cent.
CoreLogic's figures as of September 14 also showed an improvement in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The Queensland and SA capitals turned positive, while the pace of decline in Perth slowed.
Our generation – GenNBN – will be more connected than ever before.
This will pay huge dividends in health, education and entertainment... to name just a few. And it will create exciting economic opportunities for everyone.
In the next three years, nbn is on track to put Australia ahead of the world for high speed, universal broadband access.
A majority of Chinese tourists plan to maintain or increase their travel spending this year despite the economic slowdown in China and Australia remains the top destination on their wish list, a new survey shows.
Chinese travellers tightened their belts over the year to May due to the slowing economy at home, on average spending 17 per cent less per day than the previous year, the 2016 Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor survey shows.
But that's set to rebound in the next year.
Ninety two per cent of Chinese globetrotters plan to increase or maintain travel spending, and one third of the 3,000 Chinese residents surveyed plan to fork out extra cash to venture abroad.
"While China's gross domestic product had been slowing for three years, China's outbound tourism had registered double that growth rate for each of those years," the report found.
China is the top global spender on tourism, and only five per cent of its nearly 1.4 billion citizens currently hold a passport, the survey said.
Melbourne's rental squeeze is forcing more tenants to offer extra rent, with some bidding as much as $100 a week on top of asking prices.
About one in five tenants offered to pay more than the advertised rent, with half of those tenants being successful, Consumer Affairs Victoria's rental experience report reveals.
With the vacancy rate dropping from 1.9 per cent over the year to 1.6 per cent in July, according to Domain Group data, tenants would expect face higher competition.
Some tenants also offer more rent to negate considerations such as pets or a single income.
Lending by Australia's biggest four banks for apartment developments stalled in the three months to June as they cut back on exposure to the rapidly growing sector.
Loans by ANZ, Westpac, NAB and CBA and their subsidiaries for commercial-scale residential construction stood at $26.5 billion in the second quarter, unchanged from March, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority figures this week showed.
The quarterly halt, after a year in which lending by Australia's majors for apartment construction jumped nearly 14 per cent, was a welcome sign that banks were limiting their exposure to a sector that is already at risk of oversupply, with approvals still rising, UBS analyst Jonathan Mott wrote in a note on Friday.
Sydney and Melbourne house prices have surged again in August, driving housing affordability in the two cities to an all-time low.
Sydney prices were up 1.5 per cent, while Melbourne prices grew 1.4 per cent over the month. Overall, the combined capital market house prices rose 1.1 per cent, Corelogic August Home Value Index shows.
Year on year, Sydney's price growth of 9.4 per cent has surpassed the 9 per cent higher end of price growths predicted by experts earlier on in the year. Melbourne is on 9.1 per cent.
Despite my acrophobia I have fallen for the charms of the 19th floor.
Everyone has that one friend who is scared of heights, and in the case of my extended circle, I am that friend.
Recently, while on a weekend road trip, my friends and I began driving up a hill to Arthur’s Seat outside of Melbourne; not exactly Everest, but still steep enough for me to imagine the car flipping over backwards like something out of a Hanna Barbera cartoon and plummeting over the edge of the road.
Australia's booming housing market has once again head-faked the central bank, which is losing credibility every time it cuts on claims the world's dearest residential property prices are nothing to worry about.
In rationalising its decision to reduce the cash rate to 1.5 per cent in August, the Reserve Bank of Australia alleged that "the likelihood of lower interest rates exacerbating risks in the housing market has diminished".
Stephanie Hogan is gearing up again. She and partner Ben have tried – and failed – to buy a family house in Bayside Melbourne five times since March when Hogan sold her two-bedroom unit in Richmond.
Competition has been fierce over a winter in which stock levels all but dried up
"When we started looking, there were a lot more properties and we were more picky," she says. "But in winter there was nothing on the market."
Organic infant formula maker Bellamy's Australia has more than tripled its full year profit to $38.3 million.
The company's revenue for the 12 months to June 30 climbed 95 per cent to $244.6 million as sales from China and Hong Kong surged 331 per cent to $62.1 million. Australian sales rose 67 per cent to $178.6 million.
A price increase in Australian in December 2015 helped Bellamy's boost its gross profit margin from 32.9 per cent in 2015 to 45.7 per cent.
The company declared a final dividend of 7.8¢ was declared, up 173 per cent on the prior year.
A surprisingly large surge in part-time work saw the jobless rate match the lowest level in almost three years last month, but most analysts warned there are still signs of weakness in the labour market.
In what is the biggest increase in four month, employment gained 26,200, or more than twice what was forecast, from June, when it rose by a revised 10,800 jobs, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.
The jobless rate edged down to 5.7 per cent from 5.8 per cent, equalling the lowest since September 2013. Economists had tipped an unchanged rate at 5.8 per cent.
Better-than-anticipated jobs data supports those who argue the economy doesn't need any more official Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate cuts.
Melbourne's house prices have hit a new record median of $740,995 after almost four years of growth, and there are no signs of relief for house hunters this year.
House prices grew 1.5 per cent in the June quarter, bringing the annual rate to 7.4 per cent – the highest of all capital cities, according to Domain Group's House Price Report, released on Thursday.
The unit median price also grew 3.5 per cent over the June quarter, but just 2.7 per cent annually, to $450,933.
Adelaide will open its first vertical high school in 2019, joining a wave of similar inner-city developments in Sydney and Melbourne.
The $100 million state government project will be built on a site neighbouring the University of South Australia and the Botanical Gardens, on the northern fringe of the CBD.
The new school will rise up six levels across two buildings and will cater for 1250 students with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Construction is due to start in December.
A change in ranking methodology has vaulted two more universities into the global top 100, giving Australia a record six institutions in education's most prestigious list.
Monash University and the University of Sydney were the big winners, going from outside the top 100 to 79th and 82nd place respectively in the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released on Monday,
The University of Queensland cemented its position as the most rapid improver among Australia's top universities by lifting to 55th place from 77th last year. It is now beginning to challenge Australia's most highly ranked institution, the University of Melbourne, which is at 40th place.
Victoria has stopped short of imposing minimum unit sizes as it introduces new apartment standards to improve high rise amenity and access to air and light.
The Victorian approach, outlined by state planning minister Richard Wynne, differs from Sydney, which has set minimum sizes for apartments, including 50 square metres for one-bedroom apartments and 70 sq m for two-bedders.
Instead, the new Victorian controls, still in draft, require that apartments have enough daylight and ventilation, and set out energy and waste efficiency requirements and noise minimisation measures.
There are a couple of surprises in the top 10 Brisbane suburbs for million dollar sales this year.
Brisbane's top suburbs for million-dollar-plus sales have been revealed, and Bulimba has been named as No.1.
The latest data from Domain, which based the numbers on million-dollar-plus sales recorded so far this year, showed 67 properties worth $1 million or more had been sold in Bulimba.
New Farm came in a close second to Bulimba, but suburbs in Brisbane's eastern corridor dominated the top 10 and included Hawthorne, Coorparoo, Camp Hill and Carindale.
Place Bulimba agent Chris Rice said the figures reflected a recent groundswell of interest in Bulimba, particularly from buyers across the river.
A Sydney house bought for $3.85 million two years ago sold for $5.15 million on Saturday as strong demand again outstripped measly supply in weekend auctions.
The auction of the four-bedroom home in the non-peninsula section of Hunters Hill set a local record. Nowhere is the supply crunch more apparent than in Sydney, where the volume of properties on the market is down 29 per cent over the 12 months to the end of July.
A lack of stock and the location of 35 Bonnefin Road in the non-peninsula part of Hunters Hill were key factors, with the home selling for $750,000 above reserve.
"It's a relatively affordable price for that side of Hunters Hill for a waterfront home," said Savills agent Adam Ross, who sold the house in conjunction with Bresic Whitney's Nicholas McEvoy. "The bigger prices tend to be pulled on the peninsula. This a record for the non-peninsula side."
The expansion of the tech sector is making a mark in Melbourne’s CBD office market, where the vacancy rate fell to 7 per cent in the last six months.
Improving from 7.8 per cent, Melbourne has the second-lowest vacancy rate among the major markets.
In recent deals social media giant Facebook took close to 1000 square metres in Docklands, filling the last remaining space in Cbus Property’s 720 Bourke Street.
Persistently low inflation will force the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut rates twice more in 2017 to 1 per cent, with "the possibility of unconventional monetary policy thereafter", National Australia Bank chief economist Alan Oster says.
"With inflation forecasts still very low and the RBA showing its hand as a committed 'inflation targeter', it is seemingly less worried than we thought about using up some of its valuable remaining monetary policy ammunition, the case for further cuts from the RBA appears to be mounting," Mr Oster said in a note on Tuesday.
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The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut the official cash rate to an unprecedented 1.5 per cent to maintain downward pressure on the currency and spur sluggish inflation and business investment.
As was forecast by most analysts, the board lowered the cash rate by 0.25 of a percentage point from 1.75 per cent on Tuesday.
Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens said in a statement that "the likelihood of lower interest rates exacerbating risks in the housing market has diminished".
Victorians were the lucky recipients of a 22.4 per cent rise in the total value of their properties over the past two years and, over a 10-year period, the homes of a select few have trebled, according to the state's Valuer-General.
Every two years the valuer-general takes a snapshot of property values across the state, which are then used by local governments to calculate rates and land taxes.
The Gold Coast residential market is well on the mend after $33 million in prestige homes sold in the past week and foreign buyer inquiries doubled in the past three months.
While the city's recovery had been in motion since the start of the year – after it was flattened by the global financial crisis in 2008 – it received another surge of activity in recent weeks.
A week ago businesswoman Mara Spong sold the decadent mansion at 57-59 The Corso, on the Isle of Capri, to Australian residents and business owners Hongbo Li and Liyan Song for $15.5 million.