Finance advice
Should there be financial penalties on unoccupied dwellings?

Should there be financial penalties on unoccupied dwellings?

By Douglas Driscoll

The high level of developments in Sydney have presented a smorgasbord of choice for offshore buyers, given non-residents can only purchase new or off-the-plan properties.

I believe that a percentage of dwellings within all new developments should be sold to Australian residents and even further, a percentage or better incentive to first home buyers. I am thrilled to see property developers taking note and introducing initiatives to help first home buyers, and make property buying more attractive. Mirvac recently announced it will offer 60 of its most affordable apartments at its new development in Sydney Olympic Park exclusively to first home buyers, as well as allow them to purchase with a five per cent deposit[1].

While first home buyers are struggling to get their foot on the ladder, second- and third-time buyers are often overlooked as they are also finding it hard to take the next step up on the ladder with the current level of competition amongst non-resident buyers, particularly given Sydney now has more suburbs with properties at a median value of $2 million than it has suburbs with properties under a median value of $600,000[2].

While residents struggle to purchase, offshore buyers have properties lying dormant. Investors don’t get capital gains tax concessions if the property is uninhabited for more than 12 months, which is a good start, but what about non-residents? I think the government should introduce significant financial penalties or inordinate property taxes for any property owned by a non-resident that is known to be empty for more than 12 months – to put unoccupied properties back on the market for residents to purchase or rent.

Holiday homes aren’t the problem here, because quite often they are located in regional areas outside of our metropolitan cities most affected by the affordability crisis: Sydney, Melbourne and, to a less extent, Brisbane. Offshore buyers purchase property in our metropolitan areas because they are perceived as high growth areas, but also because we have the highest living space per capita than anywhere else in the world.

We are an appealing and desirable location for many reasons, but the fact that we have larger homes certainly represents good value to foreign investors. On average, an Australian home has 89 square metres of floor space, while a country like China has about 33 square metres of space[3], for example. While Australia clearly doesn’t have the same population size as China, Sydney is quickly growing, with an estimated population size of almost 10 million expected by 2036. To meet this, we will need more than 700,000 new dwellings and detached dwellings are going to become a rarity because Sydney can’t grow too much more outwards without improved infrastructure to make commuting to central business districts achievable. Currently, the only way forward is upwards.

Recent data from CoreLogic revealed investor mortgage demand is showing no signs of cooling, with the value of monthly investor mortgage lending in NSW higher than any other part of Australia, at $6.8 billion (in December 2016). When you look at this on a national level, NSW accounts for half (49.6 per cent) of all investor mortgage finance[4]. Such a strong level of investor interest in Sydney is pushing up the price of our dwellings and it’s time for government intervention to reduce this.

I’m certainly not against foreign investment or property investment as a whole, but I do believe it has led to the market becoming hugely out of kilter, causing a multitude of social and economic issues. We need a thorough review on this because the social divide will only continue to grow. Almost $7 trillion of our entire economy is related to real estate, and while I acknowledge that foreign and local investment has played a pivotal role, it shouldn’t be at the expense of the everyday Australian. It should remain the right of all Australians to acquire property as part of a wealth creation strategy, but not at the detriment of owner-occupiers; so property investment might need to be reined in with new regulation and restrictions. I truly don’t believe we would be so deep in a housing affordability crisis if we had this under control.

Elsewhere in the world, there is mounting pressure on other governments to tackle housing affordability. The UK is seeing an almost vigilante-type movement in the Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians, who are attempting to take matters into their own hands because they believe the government is idly sitting back.

[1] News Corp, 2017.
[2] CoreLogic, 2017.
[3] Rate City, 2014.
[4] CoreLogic, 2017.

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About the Blogger

Douglas Driscoll

Douglas Driscoll

Douglas Driscoll is CEO of Starr Partners; winners of the Innovation category at the recent Australian Real Estate Awards. Originally from the UK, Douglas is widely regarded as one of the industry’s preeminent thought leaders, and is lauded for his dynamic and pioneering approach.

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podcast

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Purchasing their first property 15 years ago with the intention of creating a property portfolio which would see them comfortably supported during their retirement, Max and Jeanette Schudeboom now have a portfolio of 13 properties.

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Max and Jeanette joins  host Phil Tarrant to discuss their property journey, compare the Australian market to Max’s home town of Holland, and share their plans to maintain the size of their portfolio.

The pair also unpack how they manage and finance their portfolio, discuss the process they go through when choosing where to invest, and share the tips learned from 15 years as property investors.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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AREAS MENTIONED:

Castle Hill
Point Cook
Elizabeth East
Huntfield Heights
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Albury
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Penrith
Braemar
Morayfield
Melbourne
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Edens Landing

 

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Property investors are now able to identify and bid on auctions remotely using a new live-streaming functionality launched by Gavl.

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Called “Request an Auction”, the new functionality enables users to watch and bid on any Sydney or Melbourne auction remotely.

Through Gavl, prospective buyers are now able to register to bid on their preferred auction. The platform will obtain permission from the listing agent and confirm within 48 hours.

Vendors can also request to have their auctions broadcast to a larger buyer audience.

Co-founder Joel Smith said that auctions streamed on Gavl attract 47 per cent more viewers than traditional ones.

He said that Request an Auction will be valuable for remote buyers.

“Buyers are able to have Gavl attend any auction they nominate, so they will never have to miss out on an opportunity due to logistical complications in physically attending the auction.

“Vendors, too, have the opportunity to directly book an auction with us, so they can open up their event to buyers all around the world. With more potential buyers, they’re giving their property the chance to receive more bids and maximise their sales result.”

Mr Smith said that prior to the Request an Auction app, buyers were limited to what they could achieve through the Gavl technology.

Gavl is a live-streaming and bidding platform for real estate auctions.

Mr Smith said that it has streamed more than 6,000 auctions, which have achieved 3.5 million views from 50 countries.

Gavl’s Request an Auction function is currently being offered in Melbourne and Sydney only.

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Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding
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Having to split her time between Hong Kong and her original base of Sydney has not slowed Julia Tita’s goal of building a high-performance Australian property portfolio. Instead the resulting alterations to her strategy have positively impacted her investing success.

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Having recently purchased her 6th property, Julia joins host Tim Neary to discuss her journey, share her ups and downs over the years, and reveal her thoughts on why some properties are better than others.

Julia also explains why she no longer makes a move without the help of a buyer’s agent, why working with a strong team of specialists is extremely important and discloses her long-term property ambitions.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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AREAS MENTIONED:

Eagleby
Charters Towers
Townsville
Brisbane
Paddington
Sydney
Orange
Melbourne 
Glen Iris
Bondi

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How a move to Hong Kong impacted Julia’s Australian property goals

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