Blog contributions are provided exclusively from Luxury Real Estate members throughout the world.
OTTAWA – February 15th, 2011 – National resale housing activity climbed further in January 2011, according to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
Seasonally adjusted national home sales activity rose 4.5 percent in January 2011 compared to the previous month, reaching the highest level since April 2010. Led by Vancouver and Toronto, seasonally adjusted sales activity posted monthly gains in more than half of all local Canadian markets in January. National sales activity has improved steadily since last summer, and now stands almost 25 percent above the low point reached in July 2010.
We anticipated the recent announcement of tighter mortgage regulations, which will come into effect this March, would pull forward sales activity into the first quarter of 2011, particularly in some of Canada’s more expensive housing markets,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “The sharp rise in sales activity in Toronto following the announcement provides early evidence confirming this,” said Klump. More: http://creanews.ca/
Whistler/Pemberton also anticipate the recent announcement of tighter mortgage regulations, which will come into effect this March, would pull forward sales activity into the first quarter of 2011, connected to Vancouver’s more expensive housing markets. Take advantage of Whistler/Pemberton’s Buyers Market!
Whistler, BC, CANADA
Why Whistler over any other Canadian Ski Resort?
“Whistler has fantastic Olympics related infrastructure, like Callaghan Valley, the sliding centre, the road, and Whistler is positioned to recover stronger than any other ski destination in the world. And those benefits mean a better place to visit and to consider living full time or retiring. Regional volumes are strong and visitors from Asia-Pacific and Australia are a "bright shining light," with the number of Australian visitors alone up "in the triple digits plus new markets like China and India are emerging.”
Located in the spectacular Coast Mountains of British Columbia, and just two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler is Canada’s premier, year-round destination (Very important for destination travelers and for any investor to achieve high occupancy rates all year- round).
Consistently ranked the number one mountain resort in North America, Whistler features two majestic mountains, epic skiing and snowboarding conditions, four championship golf courses, more than 200 shops, 90 restaurants and bars, accommodations galore, hiking trails, spas and arguably the best mountain bike park in the world. In short, Whistler has everything you will ever need to have the time of your life—and so much more. More: http://www.whistler.com.
About the Author:
My name is Ursula Morel and I moved from Germany to Canada in 1978 and have lived in Whistler, British Columbia since 1983. I have chosen Whistler because of its beauty, the mountains, lakes and climate. I am fluent in English, French and German and, as a result, I have numerous international clients and assist them in any of their real estate needs at www.seatoskypremierproperties.com.
I worked during the Olympics with the Austrian Media Crew at the Sliding center and again found my passion and desire in our infinite possibilities on our 8,171 acres of ski-able terrain. Every Wednesday I pass on the experience of a lifetime to any guest coming to our Mountains as I am a part of Whistler Blackcomb Volunteer Mountain Host Program:
Come and ski with me- I would love to be your Mountain Host.
By the way, our tours are complementary….
See you on the slopes!
About Sea to Sky Premier Properties—Christie's
#4370 Lorimer Road Suite 334B
Whistler BC, V0N 1B4
Ursula is a member of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing as a CLHMS, achievement of the Million Dollar Guild, recognized as an "exceptional agent" in the Wall Street Journal and Barron's and is on the Board of Regents for “Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate". She is fluent in English, French and German.
Courtesy of Justin Davies with Space Real Estate
Cottesloe, Western Australia, offers the perfect combination of beaches, Norfork Island pines and a Western Suburbs lifestyle.
With Perth's most popular beach, Cottesloe is notorious for its splendid ocean views, inviting restaurants and cafes, village lifestyle and festive events.
Cottesloe is home to over 7,000 relatively affluent residents from a range of social and cultural backgrounds spread across an area of 4 square kilometers. The suburb is defined by a balance of heritage and modern properties.
Always appreciated by both locals and visitors, Cottesloe offers swimming, fishing, snorkeling, picnic areas, walking and cycling paths, cafes and restaurants.
For lovers of sea breezes, spectacular sunsets and outstanding food, Cottesloe is unquestionably the place to be.
To explore your real estate options in Cottesloe, please feel free to visit Space Real Estate at http://www.spacerealty.com.au .
I had the pleasure of meeting with the team from Marquette Turner Luxury Homes on a recent vacation to New Zealand and Australia. Michael Marquette, Simon Turner and Christine Watson were gracious hosts in Sydney, Australia. I always enjoy meeting with members around the world, and do so as often as possibly. It’s great to hear that they are doing business with so many other LRE members, many of whom they have connected with through the Luxury Lounge. Marquette Turner Luxury Homes has built an impressive reputation throughout the LRE network, and especially in their local community. It’s fantastic to be a part of their success.
Lies, lies and more lies – it seems to be the way many agents and brokers “trick” their way into listing property. Promise the arrival of the “cashed up” international buyer who will overpay for your home and the listing is yours!
So who can actually buy property in Australia and who decides? The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is the body with the power to decide who can and who cannot purchase homes in Australia. The rules are vague and difficult to understand but I will summarize their view.
Foreign investment in Australia is desirable only if it does not put upward pressure on property prices. In fact it states just this on their website. So when the next real estate agent promises to find an international buyer who will pay well over the odds you know that he or she isn’t familiar with what the Australian Government will and will not allow.
Australian and New Zealand citizens, permanent resident visa holders and temporary resident visa holders awaiting permanent residency are allowed to purchase property in Australia without approval from the FIRB. Outside of that very small, narrow group of people approval is required in almost every case with the exception of:
1. A vacant block of land to build a house
2. A vacant block of land to build multiple dwellings
3. A new dwelling (less than 12 months old)
4. A redevelopment site
5. An established (second hand) property which is for Australian based employees for companies already operating in Australia.
So if you have digested that you might be thinking about selling your existing home (more than 12 months old) to an international buyer as a holiday house, weekender or to use when they are in Australia as their residence. If you are thinking this you have one big problem – they will require approval from the FIRB which in all likelihood they will not receive.
So in summary if you are looking to sell your home and it is older than 12 months old you need to be cautious about claims that international buyers are in abundance. The FIRB can take up to 30 days to approve an application from an international buyer which is longer than most Auction programs. There are plenty of hoops to jump through for any prospective purchaser and there is no guarantee that approval will be granted.
If you are a property developer and selling new product (less than 12 months old) you are in the box seat and can avoid issues with FIRB approval. I hope this helps to make international buying in Australia a little easier to understand. I also hope it assists vendors in sifting through fact from fiction when dealing with agents and brokers. Marquette Turner Luxury Homes specialize in the marketing and sale of property to an international audience. International selling is an extremely specialized field and to ensure you have are dealing with experts be sure to contact either myself or any other member of the team who will be delighted to work with you on the sale of your home.
If you are still intrigued on Foreign Ownership Rules in Australia you can visit the FIRB site HERE
Housing affordability creates a number of trends, one of which, according to a recent study by the Housing Industry Association and RP Data, is that lot sizes have been decreasing over the last decade.
Unsurprisingly, the most expensive state in the country - New South Wales - has the smallest average lot size at just 662 square metres. Tasmania has the largest at 1171 square metres.
The 20 Smallest Average Lot Sizes (By Local Government Authority)
The 20 Largest Average Lot Sizes (By Local Government Authority)
It’s the question asked in good and bad times – where should you buy to make the most of your investment? I promised last week that I’d reveal my best picks in Sydney and I will do my best to make it easy for you to choose a great home, whatever your budget.
There are many ways to determine the right property for you and also gain the most in terms of growth or yield, but where do you start?
Although this might sound crazy the first thing you need to do is determine how much you can truly afford and lock the interest rate in. This gives you certainty in what can be unforgiving territory. There are plenty of people who have borrowed their maximum amount and are being burned by prices which have come down from their peak. My advice is borrow only 80% of what the bank is prepared to lend you – it gives you an inbuilt margin of safety.
There will also be some weighing up to do in deciding if yield or growth is important for you. I would also choose a suburb which offers both as the home may not always be your primary residence or if it’s an investment you may want to move in at a later time. Always look for infrastructure like trains, buses, schools, road quality and hospitals. They generally lift the desirability of a suburb which can only benefit you as time goes on.
Look for things which increase ambience like the number of trees in a suburb. If a suburb looks great to you it generally will to others. If something is on a noisy freeway there are many people that will be put off so use your common sense and if in doubt ask friends and family their opinion or call someone at Marquette Turner Luxury Homes – we are always happy to offer a helping hand.
The biggest lesson in making money from property that I have learned is that you really do make your money when you buy. In other words if you overpay for the home initially you are really playing endless catch up and you stifle the full benefit of the purchase. If you remember this lesson you will choose a property to buy where prices have dropped and have plenty of upside while balancing growth and yield in making the decision.
So with that in mind here are my picks in Sydney. In the houses under $500,000 I can’t go past suburbs like Lakemba and Roselands. Substantial discounts are available, vacancy is very low and prospects for growth are good. These suburbs and their surrounds have not been hit as hard as western Sydney which I would continue to avoid, especially the land release suburbs which have not performed well.
In the housing bracket between $500,000 and $1,000,000 I just can’t go past terraces in parts of Surry Hills, Redfern and Darlington. These suburbs have plenty of great buys and Redfern and Darlington have growth upside. I like the Eastern suburbs – rental demand is high, infrastructure is good and whether you buy renovated or unrenovated properties you can win.
In the $1-$3 million range I really like Eastern Suburbs. The big choice here is between the East, The Lower North Shore and the Northern Beaches. I am very keen on Woollahra, Paddington, Waverley, Queens Park and Randwick. The suburbs close to Centennial Park are brilliant and have experienced price reductions of between 14 and 20%.
Anyone looking for their Palace over the $3 million mark has plenty of options and given that prices have decreased you will do very well in almost every Luxury harbour or beachside location. Next week I will look at the smart apartment buys in both Sydney and Melbourne.
4 Bedrooms, 3 Bedrooms, 2 Parking
This magnificent property is on an elevated, 1200sm block overlooking a peaceful lagoon, the beach and ocean to the east and there are wonderful mountain views to the mountain range in the west. Its address is one of the most prestigious on the Coffs’ coast. It is a private enclave, yet only 100 metres to the beach and short drive to the business centre of town.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL
When the owners of this spectacular, contemporary Balinese pavilion house and gardens came to build, they decided to create the kind of open, tropical home that the Coffs coast lifestyle and weather would welcome ….. in keeping with the almost year round sun and capturing the soft breezes off the sea.
Well known designer, Steve Abrahams, worked alongside the vendors to make their ideas a reality.
FACTS, FIGURES & FEATURES
The house and gardens open out from a gateway, flanked by Balinese light carvings. Inside is an entertaining and dining pavilion alongside a deep, wet edge plunge pool. Look towards the main house and the frangipanis and tranquillity ponds on either side of the under cover reception pavilion give some idea of what is in store. All pavilions are of oiled hardwood timber. Turn your head and be surprised to see the waves breaking onto the beach in the distance.
Enter the main house. The entrance sitting room or guest reception area with its plantation shutters, rosewood timber windows and tung oiled black butt flooring leads to everything a kitchen should be. Stainless steel benches. A white marble “work island”. Rivulet glass and jarrah cabinets. Everywhere you look you will find quality, including the Ilve and Miele appliances, a true walk-in pantry, plenty of storage and stainless steel ceiling fans throughout all the living rooms.
An interior dining pavilion leads off the kitchen area and this is totally surrounded by wooden shutters – either to darken the room for candle light or to open the room to the natural light, breezes and the views.
To the left of the reception area is a sitting room and television room; just as elegant. On this level is a guest powder room and toilet with hand made flooring of tiles with cut and polished glass flecks in prime colours. Down a couple of steps is the immaculate laundry and a study or office. A further door leads to the larger than usual 2 vehicle security garage.
The house has excellent natural lighting and great air flow throughout, due to the placement of windows and louvre windowing. On this level are a number of no-maintenance Balinese-style courtyards, a drying area, the water purifier, a vegetable and herb garden and the orchard with limes, lemons, figs and other fruits.
Turn right upstairs to the master bedroom “suite” overlooking outdoor living and entertaining terrace and gardens, the pool and views over the ocean and the mountains. Once again, great air flow is assured in the bedroom and its private and separate lounging pavilion, the only walls being hardwood shutters. There is a large en suite and roomy walk-in wardrobe. White, silk embroidered curtains billow and fall with the breeze. Off this bedroom is a private, natural stone tiled courtyard featuring a single, mature frangipani.
Along the passageway are 3 more queen size bedrooms with built-in wardrobes and these share a luxurious full bathroom of jarrah and white ceramic bath, basins and toilet.
- Distinctive style and quality everywhere
- Glorious ocean and mountain views
- 100 metres to swimming beach
- 10 minutes to Coffs Harbour business centre
- Large wet edge swimming/plunge pool
- Plantation shutter al fresco dining pavilion
- Tranquility ponds and secret gardens
- Guest reception room with sitting area
- 1 King bedroom “suite” and 3 queen bedrooms
- Frangipani courtyard from main bedroom
- Plantation shutter lounge from main bedroom
- Rosewood, marble and stainless steel kitchen
- Ilve and Miele kitchen with a truly walk in pantry
- Natural light and breezes using plantation shutters
- Built in wall television
- 2 bathrooms and separate guest powder room
- Larger than 2 vehicle security garaging
- From silk embroidered curtains to woven blinds
Offers invited from $2.8 million AUD
Recently two of the directors Jock Langley and Robert Vickers-Willis returned from Hong Kong meeting expatriates and building new relationships with migration companies.
Having worked in more discerning markets we feel it is important to look outside the square and attract different buyers to the residential market place.
This has born fruit with our agency being a Finalist in the recent Age REIV Awards for
• Residential Marketing Campaign Budget $2,000 - $10,000
• Residential Marketing Campaign Budget in excess of $10,000
We are also please to advise that we were awarded First Prize in The Classified Display
The Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia decided to reduce the cash rate target by 100 basis points to 4.25 per cent at its monetary policy meeting on 2nd December 2008.
The Australian economy has been more resilient than other advanced economies.
With confidence affected by the financial turbulence and a very negative media, it is likely to see demand for housing purchases remain subdued in the near future.
With inflation expected to fall, we will probably see further interest rate cuts in the near future. Given the current economic climate, strong employment will ensure property prices will not drop significantly as they have in the UK, USA and EU.
It was almost like you went to put the kettle on during the ad break and everything changed with the Australian Dollar: one minute we’re pushing (almost) the 1 AUD for 1 USD and within a few months the AUD is struggling to buy 60 cents US.
Not being an economist, and learning on the run as no doubt many of us are in these historical economic times, I put this question to a friend of mine that I’ve grown up with that now works in the City of London. He’s a bit of a whizz and obviously a busy man, so I really appreciated his answers in layman’s terms, and am glad he’s allowed me to share them with you. Here’s his explanation:
The USD is benefiting from several themes, I will list them:
1) There is a perception that the US is further down the road in this crisis (ie. real estate markets have fallen more dramatically) and they have unveiled a more comprehensive suite of policy measures to deal with their problems than other countries have thus far needed to, Australia included. This has enhanced the USD status as a “safe haven” currency. There is the perception that the rest of the world is now slowing down faster than the US, and so this is encouraging US investors to repatriate foreign investments into USD.
2) Central banks around the world are cutting rates aggressively, and so the interest rate differential between other currencies and USD is narrowing, this increases the relative attractiveness of the USD.
3) The unwinding of “carry” trades (this is where credit is borrowed from central banks with low interest rates and invested in other economies that are higher). Over the past year/18months some investors have borrowed in USD at low interest rates, to invest in AUD at higher rates, and so earning the 4% or 5% interest differential between the two currencies. This money flow was one of the reasons behind a 30% increase in the AUD vs the USD over this period. As volatility in financial markets increased, these investors have unwound these trades and subsequently sold AUD to buy USD.
4) The linkage of the AUD to commodities has not helped it in recent weeks, as all commodities have sold off on expectation of a rapidly slowing economy.
So there you go. Economies are ultimately a huge web of tangled and complicated interests, involve complex strategies and vary in their proclivity to risk. We clearly can’t be expected to understand every single facet with great understanding, particularly when many of the best brains in the world couldn’t.
I do hope, however, we’ve given you a few little tips that mean your “flapping in the wind” a little less. And of course, there’s certainly a need in the world for Wise Guys!
Australia has topped an index of the world’s most prosperous nations, with economic stability and high quality of life putting it over the edge.
The index, produced by Dubai-based investment group Legatum, measured 104 nations against levels of wealth, quality of life, and life satisfaction.
Australia tops the list, with Austria and Finland rounding out the top three. Legatum claims Australia reached first place in part due to its strong economic performance.
“(Australia) has reinvented itself as a wealthy, service-oriented economy with good scores on live-ability indicators, including health, charitable giving and effective governance,” the group says.
“Strong norms or civic participation, robust health, and plenty of leisure time contribute to the high live-ability ranking.”
Australia ranks highly in good governance, education, high incomes and active community culture, but ranks lower in avoiding dependency on exports, moderate climate and investment through competitive markets.
Germany, the United States and Singapore all ranked in the top 10, but Mali, Zambia and Yemen were dropped to the very bottom of the list. The new for Australians and those that are aware of just how good it is to be part of the great nation is confirmation of what we have all known for many years.
Michael Marquette is the Director of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes in Sydney, Australia. Established by Michael Marquette and Simon Turner, the Agency is at the forefront of Luxury real estate in Australia.
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