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With Britain’s vote to exit the EU and all the uncertainty that surrounded our own Federal Election this month, there’s a lot of volatility in our financial markets and our property markets have slowed.

As predicted by most market forecasters, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to keep the official cash rate on hold at 1.75% once again at its July meeting. The RBA has indicated that it’s waiting for more information before deciding if further cuts to the cash rate will be necessary.

However, an Aussie dollar that’s strengthening against other currencies in light of global market volatility, combined with a lower than expected national inflation rate would seem to suggest that further rate cuts may be on the horizon. Whilst some analysts are speculating the cash rate could go as low as 1%, others believe a rate cut in August to 1.5% could see the end of the RBA’s easing bias in 2016.

It is usual for property markets to slow somewhat at this time of year, and the Federal Election also caused a reduction in the number of auctions held at the start of this month. For the week ending Sunday 03 July, there were only 850 auctions scheduled nationally, which is a significant drop since the same time last month when there were 1960 scheduled auctions.

Auction clearance rates also registered a significant drop in most markets. Queensland held 68 scheduled auctions with a very low clearance rate of just 36%. Western Australia held 30 scheduled auctions with a clearance rate of 38%, ACT held only 27 scheduled auctions with a clearance rate of 54%. NT was also low in activity, with just 9 scheduled auctions and a clearance rate of 22%.

The larger markets performed a little better however. Victoria had 270 auctions with a clearance rate of 67%, NSW had 365 scheduled auctions with a clearance rate of 78% and South Australia had 70 scheduled auctions with a clearance rate of 62%.

During June, average home values didn’t show much movement at all. Sydney’s home values increased by just 1.15% and Hobart’s home values increased by 1.81%. Melbourne showed a marginal rise in home values of just 0.77%, Brisbane/Gold Coast also had a marginal increase of 0.11%. All other markets showed marginal declines, with Darwin showing the most significant decrease in home values at -1.55%, Adelaide following with a decrease of -1.27%, Canberra next with a decrease of -1.11%, Perth showing a decrease of -0.79% and Brisbane showing a home value decrease of -0.11%.

Following the RBA’s decision to cut the cash rate in May, lenders have improved their interest rates for owner-occupier, property investment and commercial property buyers. Interest rates are very competitive and with the property market finally showing signs of slowing down for winter, lenders are offering some great deals to stimulate more business – so please call us today.

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Here’s some great end of financial year budget ideas for home buyers.

Getting your budget under control and your finances in order is absolutely essential to anyone looking to apply for a home loan, but it’s particularly important for first home buyers about to take the first step on the property ladder. Now the end of financial year has arrived and you’re getting all your paperwork together for your tax return, why not take stock of your financial situation and plan your budget for the year ahead at the same time? Here’s a few things to consider if you’re looking to get financially fit for a home loan application in the new financial year.

Reassess your budget and get serious about your savings.

When you apply for a home loan, particularly as a first home buyer, it is important to have a thorough understanding of your financial situation and good savings habits. Lenders will want to see an established history of regular savings before they will give you their best rate on a home loan and for this reason, you should take a realistic look at your spending habits and create yourself a budget to ensure your savings will grow at a steady rate.

Work out how much deposit you’ll need and set yourself a savings target.

If you set yourself a savings target, you may find it will be much easier to stick to your budget. To set your target, first you’ll need to work out how much you need for your deposit. The amount of deposit you will need will depend on the cost of the property you want to buy, but if you have an idea of the kind of property you want to purchase you’ll be able to set a goal. It’s recommended that you have a deposit of at least 5% of the purchase price, however if you can possibly save 20% of the purchase price you’ll avoid paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

Make an accurate assessment of any debts and ongoing expenses.

Lenders assess your creditworthiness on the amount of money you already owe, your ability to repay your debts and your capacity to take on more debt. Paying down any credit card debts or personal loans prior to applying for your home loan will improve your borrowing capacity and give you the best chance of loan approval when you apply.

Even if you don’t have any debt on your credit cards, lenders take into consideration the credit limit on your credit cards and count this as potential debt. So if you have several credit cards, it may be a good idea to cancel some of them now if you are planning on applying for a home loan in the next financial year.

If you have a lot of debts, think about consolidating them.

If you take stock of your debts and realise you won’t be able to pay them all off anytime soon, it’s a good idea to look at ways to reduce your interest liability. Credit cards, store cards, short-term personal loans and cash advances all carry high interest rates and this can make them quite difficult to pay down. Getting your finances in order may mean it’s time to consolidate your debts.

Consolidating your debts means rolling all your debts into one, usually using a loan that has a lower interest rate. If you have quite a few expensive debts it may be possible to roll these into your home loan if you have one, or perhaps a personal loan that carries a lower interest rate overall. This may save you a great deal of money on interest payments, which is money you could use to pay off your debts faster. It could also allow you to spread your repayments over time, making them more affordable. If you want to be eligible to apply for a home loan in the next financial year, consolidating your debts sooner rather than later may be a good idea.

The end of financial year is a great time to get your finances in order and you never know, you may get a tax refund that could really give a boost to your savings efforts for a deposit for your home! Remember, we’re here to help you get your finances under control so you can save your deposit and get into your new home sooner. If you’re planning on applying for a home loan in the next financial year, don’t hesitate to give us a call today.

June
With wild storms threatening to disrupt property markets all around the country, winter has set in but activity hasn’t cooled!

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) met for its June meeting last week and decided to keep the official cash rate on hold at 1.75%. With low inflation rates and the Aussie dollar creeping higher, forecasters are predicting that the next rate cut may come as soon as August.

Despite a wild start to winter in many capital cities, property markets have been performing well around the country. For the week ending Sunday 05 June, there were 1960 scheduled auctions. Victoria had the highest number of auctions with 959 achieving a clearance rate of 71%. NSW held 654 auctions which achieved a clearance rate of 77%.

During May, home value growth was strong across all capital cities except for Perth where home values fell by 2.65%. Sydney home values increased by 3.09%, Melbourne 1.63%, Brisbane/Gold Coast 0.21%, Adelaide 0.08%, Darwin 0.74%, Canberra 2.49% and Hobart 2.16%.

Following the RBA’s decision to cut the cash rate last month, lenders have cut interest rates on home loan products across the board. Call us now to check your rate on your existing home loan, or to switch to a fixed rate product. We can also access some amazing rates if you are a first home buyer, next home buyer, property investor or are just looking to refinance – so please call us today.

Buying your first investment property can be a bold step to a more prosperous and secure future. But it can also pose risks. The Successful Investor’s Michael Sloan outlines five strategies to help you take the right path.

Give me the main points

  • Most investors use equity from their home for their deposit – but leave yourself wriggle room.
  • Hire a quantity surveyor to work out a depreciation schedule for your property.
  • Understand the difference between positive cash flow and negative gearing.
  • Do your research. Then do some more.
  • House or apartment? No right or wrong answer here – just more homework!

Buying your first investment property can be exhilarating (if a little stressful). When done well, property investing can create long-term wealth for you and your family.

Here are five strategies to consider when you’re starting out. Tactics to help you avoid the mistakes so many novice investors make. Read on!

My 5 Essential Investment Property Tips

1. Equity

Most people use equity from their home to help buy their first investment property. They then use the equity from both their home and investment property to buy their next property. This makes owning a portfolio of properties easier over time.

For this strategy to work, it’s important to understand how equity works and get an idea where you stand. It’s also important not to over-extend yourself. It’s risky—and ill-advised—to max out your equity if it leaves you in a financially vulnerable position (i.e. with no ‘buffer’ in an emergency).

2. Depreciation

Generous tax breaks—including depreciation—ensure your investment property is mostly paid for by the tenant and tax savings. To maximise your potential tax deductions—and savings—engage a professional quantity surveyor to give you a depreciation schedule. It’s not a job for your accountant.

3. Negative gearing and positive cash flow

Negative gearing means you pay money towards the property each year since the cost of the property exceeds the income of the property. Positive cash flow, on the other hand, sees you make money from the property each year (i.e. total expenditure—taking into account all costs—is less than total income, including tax breaks). Not knowing how much a property will cost you each week before you buy is a mistake many property investors make.

Make sure you understand how negative gearing works. It’s the most popular way to start investing in property, but you must be able to ‘top up’ funds each month towards the property. In time, each property will become positive cash flow and you won’t have to contribute additional funds.

4. Investment property research

It’s important to get the basics of property investing right. Happily, if you do your research it’s hard to go too far wrong. Always buy in sought-after locations, close to public transport with easy access to decent schools and amenities. This means you should find good tenants without difficulty.

Also don’t make the mistake of only looking in the suburb where you live (or imagine you might want to live). You can buy anywhere in Australia, so don’t restrict yourself to the house around the corner.

It’s also wise to diversify your portfolio. Once you buy in one location, it can be tempting to buy again in the same place. However, that approach concentrates your risk—it’s best to diversify.

5. A house or an apartment?

This is a whole topic all by itself—and one without a straightforward answer. Both can perform well for you. It’s important to buy what suits your budget and cash flow, and the type of property that’s popular in its area.

A single-fronted terrace in inner-city Melbourne may be great for capital growth, but it can cost you $300 a week after tax. Cash flow demands like this get people into financial trouble, and it’s out of reach for the average Aussie investor. Only buy what you can afford. This will not only help keep you safe, but may mean you can buy more properties in the future.

This article originally published here.

The State Government has again pledged its commitment to the exciting and visionary Ocean Reef Marina project, agreeing to sign a new joint Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Joondalup.

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard was told of the news on Friday (20 May) during a visit to the marina site with local members Ocean Reef MLA Albert Jacob and Joondalup MLA Jan Norberger.

The MOU announcement coincided with news that the State Government has also allocated $500,000 to the project as part of its 2016-17 Budget.

The MOU is a formal agreement that acknowledges a strategic alliance and the shared commitment of the City and the State Government as joint landowners of the site in bringing the Ocean Reef Marina project to fruition.

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said the MOU was a vital step in a long process as the City could not deliver a project of this size and complexity on its own.

“This document will set out the roles of the City and the State Government and how we will work together to resolve ongoing issues, recognising that a collaborative approach is needed to develop the marina,” he said.

The Mayor said the extra funding would enable the City to continue the planning phase of this complex and multi-faceted project.

The City is currently progressing the environmental and planning approvals for the Ocean Reef Marina via an amendment to the Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS) boundary and a Public Environmental Review of the marine based components.

Mayor Pickard said the State Government’s financial contribution would enable the City to complete the outstanding tasks required for these processes, as well as finalise the Ocean Reef Marina Structure Plan.

“It will also allow the City to undertake any additional environmental work as required by the relevant agencies, respond to submissions arising from the public advertising of the PER, MRS Amendment and Structure Plan, and continue our extensive liaison with key stakeholders,” he said.

“The City has been custodian of the Ocean Reef Marina and championed this project for a considerable amount of time and committed significant resources.

“The environmental and planning approvals process currently underway is complex and challenging, with some 35 different environmental and planning studies or investigations being undertaken in recent times.

“This considerable body of work represents a financial investment of approximately $2.6 million, and whilst there is still some way to go, the funding from the State Government is timely.

“It is anticipated that the MRS Amendment, the PER and the Structure Plan will be advertised for public comment in the latter half of 2016, subject to agreement by the relevant State Government approval agencies.”

In October 2015 the City requested the State Government to take over as proponent of the project, mindful that it does not have the capacity and resources to build the Ocean Reef Marina on its own and would need the State Government or a public/private partnership to develop the facility.

“The City is preparing a structure plan in collaboration with the Department of Planning in its pursuit to obtain the necessary planning approvals that would ensure the desired urban outcomes of the Ocean Reef Marina concept plan,” Mayor Pickard said.

“Moving forward the City aims to work with the State Government to determine how the project is best progressed to construction stage.

“As land owners, the City would still like to be actively involved in the decision making process and work collaboratively with all stakeholders to produce an approved, financially viable, and publicly supported project that is delivered in accordance with community expectations.

“I can assure all of our residents and ratepayers that the City remains extremely determined to see the Ocean Reef Marina come to fruition.”

The Ocean Reef Marina project includes approximately 750 boat pens/stackers, boat ramps and boat trailer parking, hotel/short stay accommodation, residential apartments and single lots, food and beverage outlets, retail and service commercial, public open space and community amenities, an Internal beach, sea sports club and sea rescue facilities.

FAST FACTS

2016 – City receives funding from State Government in 2016-17 Budget to continue approval processes. State Government agrees to sign another Memorandum of Understanding with the City.

2015 – City calls on State Government to become the proponent of Ocean Reef Marina project.

2014 – Initiation of the Metropolitan Region Scheme boundary amendment by the Western Australian Planning Commission.

Environmental Protection Authority determined to assess the marine based components (under section 38 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986) via a Public Environmental Review.

2013 – Submission to the Western Australian Planning Commission of a request to amend the Metropolitan Region Scheme boundary.

2012- Signing of the Ocean Reef Marina Memorandum of Understanding with the State Government.

2011 – An amended concept plan was endorsed by Council as the basis for the preparation of the Local Structure Plan for the development.

2009 – Concept plan seven endorsed by Council for community consultation. Received 95.6% support from the almost 12,000 respondents who made submissions.

2007- Ocean Reef Marina Committee, Government Steering Committee and Community Reference Group established.


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Copyright 2016