Christmas Special! What happened in 2015 and what's in store for 2016

Join the team for our Christmas Special as we look forward to 2016 and have a look back on some of our favourite stories from 2015. Listen now!

georgia brown viv kelly andrew scott podcast spi

In this episode we talk about the top property investment news stories of 2015 and discuss whether 'hotspot' stories are just a waste of time. 

Looking back on the year that was, we ponder whether pet owners really do make better tenants and reveal that the ATO is targeting property investors (again!) 

Our resident quiz master Georgia also puts the team under the spotlight to find out how much they really know, or don’t, about property in Australia!

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In each episode, the Smart Property Investment team and its special guests will break down what's happening in the world of property investment, how it affects everyday property investors and how they can take advantage of it.

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Andy Scott: Hello! It's The Smart Property Investment Show Christmas Special! Coming up in this episode, it's the Ghost of Christmas Past, as we look back on 2015. It's the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come as we look forward to 2016, and it's the Ghost of Christmas Present as we find out if we really know anything about property. All this and more in this episode of The Smart Property Investment Show.

Hello and welcome to The Smart Property Investment Show, where we speculate, meditate and pontificate on all things property investment. My name is Andy Scott, I'm an investor and the publisher here at Smart Property Investment. But it's all changed this week, Mister Phil Tarrant is not joining us. Phil is not here, it's Santa's busiest time of year. Coincidence? I'll let you guys be the judge of that.

This week instead I've got lots of other special guests and when I say guests I mean plural, I have literally what seems like the entire editorial team of Smart Property Investment sitting in the room with me. First up, Ms Vivienne Kelly. Hello Vivienne!

Vivienne Kelly: Hi Andy.

Andy Scott: Hello. You're the editor of the title. How long have you... Look, I'm suggesting that you've got a choice to be here but let's be honest, it's an illusion, you're here because I told you you had to be here. How long have you been working with us on the title?

Vivienne Kelly: Well I am currently tied to the chair, but I have been with you guys for over four years now.

Andy Scott: Long time, and still going strong. I like it. I've also got our editorial assistant, Georgia Brown. Hello Georgia, how are you today?

Georgia Brown: Hi Andy, I'm great! Pretty excited that the festive season is upon us.

Andy Scott: So you should be, I'd just like you to confirm to everyone that you're not tied to the chair.

Georgia Brown: I'm not at all.

Andy Scott: Good.

Georgia Brown: I'm very willing to be here.

Andy Scott: Good, see that's the sort of attitude and enthusiasm I want, Vivienne. We're also joined by Alex Whitlock. Alex is an investor, Alex is also my boss so I'll be very polite to him. Alex, thanks for joining us today, how are you?

Alex Whitlock: Very good, Andy. Thanks for having me here.

Andy Scott: Not at all, mate. Look, just to give people a bit of a background, obviously you're a property investor yourself. You've been investing in property in Australia for 10, 15 years now?

Alex Whitlock: No, about 20 years now. Yes, got the bug when I was living in Hong Kong. I was doing business with some developers, I was actually selling advertising to them and I ended up reading the editorial they ran with their advertising to the extent where one day I went in to sell them an advert and I ended up buying a property off them. There you go, you see, salesmen: the easiest people to sell to.

Andy Scott: That is very true. Salesmen are the easiest people to sell to. However, enough of that yacking. Look, to business, people, there's a reason why we are all crammed into the recording room here at Sterling Towers and that is because it's The Smart Property Investment Christmas Special which I am super excited about. Without further ado, kick things off, Viv, obviously you've been overlooking I guess what our audience have been excited by in the last 12 months. What sort of things have stood out for you?

Vivienne Kelly: Our biggest news stories this year, Andy, were always about suburbs that are going to take off, boom, soar in value, become hotspots and ultimately deliver investors solid capital gains.

Whenever we run stories like these, the feedback I get from readers is split about three ways. There are those who love it and feel a sense of vindication because "Yes, I've already bought there, and now the media's talking about it, it's definitely going to go nuts". Then there are those who want to know how the experts or research houses decided on these suburbs so they can apply these metrics and methods to their own investigations. Then of course, there are those who get in touch to tell us these suburbs are definitely not going to take off, we're completely bonkers and we've really missed the mark.

So our most read news story of this year was 21 New South Wales suburbs set to boom, which came off the back of Fast 50 Boom Suburbs report. This came towards the beginning of the year and is just compiled on the premise that whatever happens in the overall market, smart investors know they can prosper and succeed in all market conditions, and that one was the one that people were really talking about.

Andy Scott: You know I love a boom suburb, you know I love a hotspot story. It's possibly one of my favourite things in the property investment sphere. Alex, obviously you bought a lot of property over the times, and it's something I do ask everyone who comes on who's an investor. Do you pay any attention at all to hotspot stories, or are you like me, you just love them because they're like the Kardashian of property stories?

Alex Whitlock: I think everyone loves a hotspot story, don't they? You like to see what the experts are picking for the next boom. I think the reality is that over the years I have bought in – the first property I bought was simply because I was recommended by a developer. You know what? I made very good money on that property, it was where they were selling, it was in Southbank in Melbourne. You know, that area has had its booms and its busts but over the years, I think time is a great leveller with property investment and you know what, it was an off-the-plan property. Would I buy off-the-plan again? No, I wouldn't, but I made good money. More recently, we have used a buyer's agent, so we've used their skills and market knowledge to invest in some of the upcoming suburbs in western Sydney and they've been very potent investments.

Andy Scott: I'm with you, I mean I do take the mick quite a bit about loving hotspots and booms and I think they're great because I think they're good to illustrate that market shift and move, absolutely, but as I pointed out before now, if an idiot like me is talking about it then all the good buying has probably gone and that sort of things. What about yourself? Viv, anything else that has been paying attention to you?

Vivienne Kelly: The other big one this year, unsurprisingly, was mining towns and I think that's been the case for many years in the past and will continue to be the case in many years to come. In November I was chatting to BIS Shrapnel's director and chief economist Frank Gelber and he said that the collapse of mining towns hasn't even begun and I know that you guys have talked about this before but all year we've run stories on the worst-performing mining towns and mining towns crashing but we do continue to get contacted by people as well who say that they did actually do very well out of mining towns, so as much as everyone loves to read about the doom and gloom, I'm not really sure where all these investors who are completely stuffed, stranded and stuck actually are.

Andy Scott: I was going to say because – you hear that spoken about so much and we were talking about it a couple of weeks ago and we had Steve Waters on the show here, that people are in trouble in those areas, a lot of people have lost a lot of money. You’d have though, certainly someone in your role, from an editorial perspective, would get these calls and letters and emails and stuff coming in saying "Yeah, I want to share my story". I mean, do you think these stories aren't there or do you think people are just like "I totally don't want to share my story because it's really really hurt me and I'll look like an absolute idiot".

Vivienne Kelly: I think they must exist in some capacity because the fact is people did buy those properties and there isn't anyone that's buying them in any great volume now. I don't know, maybe it's not as dramatic as it seems because I get a lot of press releases about mining towns collapsing and a lot of figures demonstrating that that might be the case, but barely anyone who's actually in that situation does reach out to us and contact us, so they're either hiding or they're riding it out and hoping that things turn around.

Andy Scott: What about you, Alex, would you ever 'fess up to a broad media organisation that you made a silly mistake about something?

Alex Whitlock: Absolutely. Why not?

It's interesting you talk about mining towns, I think for me it's so speculative. Even at the beginning of the boom, you know there's going to be a bust. The reason why I started investing in property in the first place is because I was always keen on investing and I dabbled in the share market in the early days and lost every single time and I realised quite quickly that speculation, short-term speculation wasn't something I was any good at. I think the great thing with property is, you can make mistakes, as long as you don't go for he fast and quick and easy dollar, I think you can afford to make mistakes and they can be levelled out. There will be some experts that will disagree with me but I think for mere mortals such as myself, you can be forgiven your mistakes as long as you don't make a glaring mistake in a mining town.

Andy Scott: I think you've hit on something there that's very true. I think one of property’s greatest strengths is what puts off a lot of people from doing it, and that's that sensible smart property investment, if you will, is generally pretty unspectacular. It's not about speculation, it's not about going in an area that "Brilliant, it's going to double in price in six months." It's a pretty slow and steady gain and I think if you have that plan and you recognise that that's what it's going to be and it's going to take you 10, 15 years to get there, I think people are really comfortable with that.

I've spoken with someone who, we were having a conversation, they'd recently got their property, they'd had some quite nice equity gains on it and they'd used that to invest in another property and one of the people in the conversation wasn't an investor and they said "So, you haven't made any money at all then, you just owe the banks more money", and the concept of going "Well, yeah, I suppose technically that's happening but it's also against now two assets that that person owns and haven't had to put any more money in" is a much better position to be in.

We were talking a few weeks ago, you know 85 per cent of people only own one property and think that's probably part of that as well, that it's not really a speculation investment, it's a slow and steady as she goes and you've got to have a plan to do it.

Alex Whitlock: I think the reason why people only own one property is because they figure that having a property in their overall investment portfolio makes sense, sort of a diversification strategy if you will.

I think something happens. I think you've got two kinds of people, I think you've got people who have property in their blood and can't wait to get stuck in and get very excited by it. You've then got people who kind of accidentally bump into property. I think once you've made that first investment something changes in all of us though, you do get that sense of a very tangible investment when you're buying bricks and mortar versus paper assets. I think also, to make the transition from being a one-property investor to being a portfolio owner is really starting to get an idea of what your overall goals are.

Now, I mean everyone wants to make money when they're investing, but I think with property, I think having a strategy where you're looking to build equity over a period of years, whether you want to sort of refinance and start to spread that out or whether you want to have a single property that's well-bought in an area that's going to grow and give you good return. One way or the other, I think that you take that long-term view and you see opportunities as the equity builds up.

Andy Scott: I'm with you.

I want to move things along a bit, probably because I think there's a really important question that we do need to talk about that doesn't really get spoken about and I know certain media organisations swerve from it but today we're going to address it.

Quite simply, Alex, dog or a cat man?

Alex Whitlock: I'm a dog man.

Andy Scott: Vivienne, dog or a cat person?

Vivienne Kelly: Cats. All about the cats.

Andy Scott: "Cats" she says with a maniacal crazy cat lady grin. Georgia, cat or dog?

Georgia Brown: 100 per cent dogs.

Andy Scott: 100 per cent dogs. Actually that's quite good to know because...

Alex Whitlock: You're a bit of both, aren't you, Andy? Swing both ways.

Andy Scott: I legitimately like to go both ways. That's exactly right. I have a cat and a dog. They are both furry idiots.

However, this story that took my attention, and I like it probably because I like pets, is something that got an awful lot of social shares as you'd expect, it was quite early in the year but it's a story about dog owners making better tenants. I know Alex, you live in your own…

Alex Whitlock: I do, I've rent for years and years and years…

Andy Scott: Viv, you rent, don't you?

Vivienne Kelly: I do.

Alex Whitlock: I would have to say that the landlord of our previous place would probably disagree as my dogs tore up the lawn and it had to be completely relaid but there you go, that's another story.

Andy Scott: I blame the owners in that situation. You rent as well, don't you?

Georgia Brown: Yeah, I'm a renter.

Andy Scott: Yeah, I'm a renter as well. Do you think, with your renting hats on guys, as a tenant – because, look, obviously as an investor you really want a tenant that will stay with you and whenever you put the rent up they'll keep paying the rent and everybody's happy and it's a nice easy thing for you. Do you think something like having pets and stuff, do investors need to take more into account of what tenants want to keep them there or do you think tenants just like to complain a bit and as soon as they find somewhere nicer, six months, 12 months, eight months down the track they're just going to move there anyway? I guess, do investors need to have any sort of consideration about their tenants?

Alex Whitlock: As a landlord, I do not care whether my tenants have pets or not. It's not an issue for me. I think one of the benefits if you do have a dog owner or a cat owner, because there are a lot of landlords that won't accept pets, I think you have a stable tenant. I think in terms of putting up reasonable rent increases they are more likely to be more balanced in their decisions of whether they're going to stay or go, because it's harder for them to get other accommodation where the landlord will accept pets. So I think I'm happy for pets.

Andy Scott: What about yourself, Viv? Are you currently with pet?

Vivienne Kelly: I am currently without pet. My pet is at mum and dad's house because it is not allowed in my current residence and it would make a huge difference to me. I would stay longer, I would pay more, I would be more flexible. I'd be much much less likely to move if I could have my cat with me.

Alex Whitlock: It means a lot to you, yeah.

Andy Scott: You really love your cat, yeah?

Vivienne Kelly: I don't know if I've made that clear.

Andy Scott: Yeah, I noticed that in the fact that you wouldn't choose a property where the cat could join you, so interesting definition of love, I suppose. What about yourself, Georgia? Have you got any pets? Obviously you're a dog person, but…

Georgia Brown: I'm a dog person but I don't have any pets.

Andy Scott: Is that because you're not allowed where you're renting?

Georgia Brown: I'm not sure, I'm actually just allergic to animals, which is really sad.

Andy Scott: Oh no, that is sad.

Georgia Brown: But, I do have a few friends who have animals and they do tend to find it hard to find a place that they like that will also accept their pets. So I agree with what they guys have said about tenants staying longer in the property if they're allowed to have their pets because it's just too difficult. Once you find a place that will have your pet, you don't want to think about having to look again.

Alex Whitlock: I think also you're going to have, I suspect, vacancy rates rising as you've got so many investors in the market place and I think as a landlord if you can have a point of difference for your property in a lot of similar properties along the same area, if you're prepared to take pets, that could be what can help to keep your price point high and ensure that you've got somebody in the property.

Andy Scott: I suppose as an investor and a tenant I like to wear two hats on that and I just think about how, if I think that my landlord is not necessarily completely caring about my welfare but not completely dismissive, I don't feel like a tenant, I feel like I own the place that I live in. That gives me a greater sense of responsibility to look after it and I know I do things on it that I know I should probably call the landlord about to get it all fixed up but you know what, it'll take me 10 minutes to do it, it's quicker to do it anyway and I don't mind doing it because I like living here and I've lived here for a while, in that regard.

Another story to move things along that I saw – I love this, and the reason I love this story is because it's pretty much the same story that comes out every year, pretty much comes out at exactly the same time of year and pretty much instigates the same panic through investors every time it comes up.

This is from the ATO. The ATO's PR team, they know their market, I'll tell you that much, because I suspect we're not the only group of investors that gets this sort of press release. It's literally identikit saying "ATO is going to put spotlight on…" and then it's "insert investment group". It's on property investors, so they were looking out for property investors this year, as they were last year and the year before and the year before. This year they changed their focus a bit and spoke about holiday lets.

As an investor, Alex, have you ever thought of looking at holiday units or holiday seasonal places that are going to be, you know, yields are going to be sky-high one month and then non-existent the next?

Alex Whitlock: Yeah, I did as a matter of fact. I had a bit of a scan at investing in property in the snow. Anyone who goes down to Perisher or Thredbo knows in the peak season you're talking three, four, five grand a month for accommodation if you're actually in the vicinity of the snow and then it's bugger all when the snow's all melted. I decided not to go for that because, at the end of the day, the motivation was really thinking we can go down there and pay nothing for a couple of weeks. I think at the end of the day, as an investor, I felt more comfortable putting my money into a property that was going to have a regular tenant and just sit there and do its thing. I think you can get good investments in those kind of areas, I think you can also get your fingers burnt.

Andy Scott: What about yourself, Viv? Do you get many people communicating, writing and talking about these sort of holiday units, or specifically have you noticed there are certain seasonal things that seem to come up that are flavour of the month? The ATO's release comes out around tax time so I guess that's why people think about it. Is there anything that you notice that's quite seasonal as property investors that we all like to read at exactly the same time of year?

Vivienne Kelly: I think we go through phases with certain locations, particularly lately I've been noticing that everyone wants to talk about the Gold Coast and I don't think it's a coincidence that we're heading into school holidays, heading into summer, and suddenly there's a lot of experts, developers and armchair experts saying that the Gold Coast is bouncing back and it's crazy and now's the time to get in there. If you can't get in there, get into the Sunshine Coast. If you can't get in there, try the New South Wales south coast. I think it's no coincidence that all of these places have the word "coast" in them and we're heading into the most fun, most sunny months of the year. It is a theme that's emerged every year since I've been here, that's for sure.

Andy Scott: Do you think that's something as well that taps into…We had Sam Saggers in from Positive Real Estate a couple of weeks ago, I know you interviewed him as well, he was talking about mining towns and the boom of mining towns and how it's gone and how there's always another excitement wagon for investors or the newsmakers of property investors to attach themselves to. Do you think there's possibly an element of that with this as well, that there's nothing else, so great, coastal towns will do, holiday towns will do, and we're back on again?

Vivienne Kelly: Probably. When I spoke to Sam Saggers, he was saying that there isn't really a mining town equivalent for people to latch onto anymore in terms of fast gains and quick cash and high yields, so I think if there are investors out there who are looking for that kind of location, in summer it's very easy to get swept up in the idea of a holiday location where families will overpay during the holiday season and you'll make great money. But I think it's important to remember that it is summer and these locations might not be as exciting and as fulfilling come June, July.

Andy Scott: Talking of being exciting and fulfilling, you couldn't have written a better segue if you tried there, I think, because as you guys might know sitting in this room, but you guys may not know out there listening is that one of the things that Georgia does for us is she does our weekly quiz. That comes out every week, every Friday on Smart Property Investment, we push out over our social channels as well. Georgia, have you enjoyed doing the quiz for everybody?

Georgia Brown: I have. I've really enjoyed doing the quizzes.

Andy Scott: What's the best quiz that you did, do you think?

Georgia Brown: That's a hard one. I really enjoyed doing the celebrity homes. That was an interesting one.

Andy Scott: Was that because it helped broaden people's education about property investment or just because you sticky beaked celebs' homes?

Georgia Brown: A bit of both. Does that work?

Andy Scott: You've swerved but there's nothing wrong with that. What about the worst one?

Georgia Brown: The worst one?

Andy Scott: In terms of scores.

Georgia Brown: Do you mean the least good one?

Andy Scott: The least good one, if you prefer it like that. You're such a pedant, I didn't know this about you. I've seen some of the scores come in and some of them are shocking, and I've done some of the tests as well and I know some of them are shocking. What's the worst one you've done, do you think, because obviously you don't set these things for people to fail and do miserably at it, I hope, but which one did you think people would get better on that just was appalling?

Georgia Brown: I think maybe the median prices one.

Andy Scott: The median prices one.

Georgia Brown: Yeah. A lot of people found that very difficult.

Andy Scott: Okay. And you've prepared a quiz for us today, haven't you? This is to find out how much we actually know and how much we're a bunch of blaggers that get experts in to talk about it.

Alex Whitlock: Can I sit out of this one?

Andy Scott:No, you can't. Everybody's in, I'm afraid. I've kept this secret from everybody. So I've told Georgia that she had to do a quiz, I haven't seen the answers either, which I suspect is going to be pretty apparent from the answers that I give, but Georgia, tell us what the quiz is and tell us how this is going to work. This was such a bad idea, but go on, go for it.

Georgia Brown: Okay, I know Vivienne is probably the most excited about this quiz. It's the most searched suburbs on our data pages.

Andy Scott: Over what period?

Georgia Brown: Over the year.

Andy Scott: Over the year. Brilliant. Start.

Georgia Brown: Okay. What I need from you is, we'll go around and you've got to pick a number between one and six, and I'll allocate your question to you.

Andy Scott:Okay.

Georgia Brown: Andy.

Andy Scott: I'm going first, am I?

Georgia Brown: Yeah. What number?

Andy Scott: I'll say number three. Number three. Lucky three.

Georgia Brown: Alex.

Alex Whitlock: It's got to be number six.

Georgia Brown: Vivienne?

Vivienne Kelly: Alex just stole my number, so I guess I'll have to go with number one.

Alex Whitlock: I knew I was right.

Georgia Brown: Alright. We'll go around one more time, we've got six questions here, so Andy? Another number?

Andy Scott: What numbers have gone?

Georgia Brown: Well what we have left is five, four and two.

Andy Scott: Five, four and two. I'll go with number two.

Alex Whitlock: Five. Which one do you want, Viv?

Vivienne Kelly: Alex, you've managed to do it again and take my choice, so I guess I'll have whatever is left.

Georgia Brown: Alright.

I'm going to start off with question one which is for Vivienne. I'm very happy that the first question is for Viv. You got New South Wales, so I think that's probably a good one. This is the top five, so the top five most searched suburbs in New South Wales. I'm going to do you a favour and let you know what number five, four and three were. Number five was Moss Vale, number four, Abbotsford, number three was Campbelltown. So I want you to tell me, out of, I'll give them to you, but you have to tell me how they placed, out of Austral and Sydney. Which was the most searched suburb in New South Wales, in 2015?

Vivienne Kelly: I'm going to go with Sydney purely on the basis that perhaps people weren't sure exactly what they were searching for and they just typed in Sydney to see what happens.

Georgia Brown: You were right.

Andy Scott: That's such a gimme question. Such a gimme question.

Vivienne Kelly: That's why you pick number one, Andy.

Andy Scott: Yeah, with hindsight.

Alex Whitlock: Hang on a second, you said that I took your number, can we swap that? Or is it too late?

Georgia Brown: Maybe I, should I award Alex your point?

Vivienne Kelly: Definitely not.

Georgia Brown: Okay.

Vivienne Kelly: He took my numbers, I didn't take his.

Andy Scott: Okay, just so we're clear. Everyone's got two questions each.

Georgia Brown: Yeah.

Andy Scott: Basically the question is going to be a 50/50?

Georgia Brown: Yeah.

Andy Scott: Okay, so the monkey testers you need to get at least 50 per cent.

Georgia Brown: Yeah, so Viv, you're on track.

Andy Scott: On track for being a monkey.

Vivienne Kelly: I am a winner.

Andy Scott: All right, next.

Georgia Brown: The second question, Andy, this is your one.

Andy Scott: Yes.

Georgia Brown: Victoria.

Andy Scott: Oh no.

Georgia Brown: Number five was Chelsea Heights, number four was Bentleigh, three, Footscray. Out of Mount Waverley and Melbourne, what was number one?

Andy Scott: Out of Mount Waverley and Melbourne?

Vivienne Kelly: You're just going to steal my logic.

Andy Scott: Pretty much. I'm going to have to say Melbourne, just on the basis of what Viv said.

Georgia Brown: You are correct.

Andy Scott: Yes!

Georgia Brown: All right, so the pressure's on, Alex. I might mix it up, you had number three but I want to give Alex a shot before anyone gets another point, so I'm going to jump to number six. Queensland.

Alex Whitlock: Bring it on.

Georgia Brown: All right, so number five, Springfield, four, Logan Central, three, Beenleigh. Then out of Toowoomba and Tennyson Moorooka, what was the most searched suburb in Queensland?

Alex Whitlock: I'm going to go for Toowoomba.

Georgia Brown: That's correct.

Andy Scott: Yes! We know stuff.

Georgia Brown: Impressive, team. Very impressive.

Alex Whitlock: I know my stuff.

Andy Scott: We know stuff. Let's bring this home, 100 per cent.

Georgia Brown: All right, Vivienne, your turn again. South Australia.

Vivienne Kelly: Oh dear.

Georgia Brown: Feeling confident?

Vivienne Kelly: No. I just hope that the answer is Adelaide.

Georgia Brown: The fifth most searched suburb in South Australia was Hawthorn, then Blyth was number four, three was Oakbank, and out of Highgate and Milang, so Adelaide's not even in there, Viv, probably don't choose Adelaide. Which was the most searched, Highgate or Milang?

Vivienne Kelly: I'm going to go with Highgate and say that if it's wrong I've thrown the competition because my bosses are in the room.

Georgia Brown: It's your lucky day because you got it right.

Vivienne Kelly: Yes.

Georgia Brown: That's 100 per cent for you, Viv.

Andy Scott: Nice.

Alex Whitlock: 100 per cent for all of us so far.

Andy Scott: Technically. Technically.

Georgia Brown: All right, so Andy, Western Australia.

Alex Whitlock: Your favourite.

Andy Scott: Do it. I do love the west coast. Coast with the most.

Georgia Brown: Number five, Spearwood, four, Scarborough, three, Perth.

Andy Scott: Oh, damn.

Georgia Brown: Out of Forrestfield and South Perth, what was the most searched?

Andy Scott: South Perth.

Georgia Brown: South Perth. Are you sure you didn't look at the answers? You did give me this sheet.

Andy Scott: No, but it was the only one that had Perth in the title, so that's why I picked it.

Georgia Brown: Alright.

Andy Scott: Did I get it right?

Georgia Brown: Yeah, you got it right.

Andy Scott: Yes!

Georgia Brown: South Perth. Number one. All right.

Alex Whitlock: The pressure is on.

Andy Scott: The pressure is on.

Georgia Brown: Alex, you get a bit of a different question for this last one. It's the top states, so I'll give you the fifth, fourth and third top most searched suburbs, sorry, most searched states on our data pages, which were South Australia, number five, Western Australia, number four, Queensland at number 3, so out of Victoria and New South Wales, what was the most searched state?

Alex Whitlock: Over the last 12 months, is this?

Georgia Brown: Yes. In 2015.

Alex Whitlock: I'm going to go for New South Wales.

Georgia Brown: New South Wales. I am very impressed. That is 100 per cent. I think that's the highest score on any of my quizzes.

Andy Scott: Yes! Go team.

Georgia Brown: Certainly for Andy.

Andy Scott: Well, anything over 50 per cent was going to be my new personal best so I'm pretty impressed with that. Impressed that you put the quiz together, I'm more impressed that we managed not to stuff it up publicly. All this stuff, guys, you're going to be putting this up, because obviously you're reading the list of the most data searches that we had on the data pages on, this is going to be up on the site as well so people can actually pour through this in a bit more detail and have a look at the suburbs that we had?

Vivienne Kelly: Yeah, definitely. Our data pages continue to get a lot of traffic and people go there to get all the latest information on what's happening in all the suburbs across the country so it'll be interesting to see what your fellow investors have been looking at throughout the year.

Andy Scott: Absolutely, absolutely. Enough of looking back on where we've been. 2016, 'tis nearly upon us. I want to know what sort of predictions you guys might have either about property, about areas, about things that may affect property investment or just anything in particular. Who wants to kick me off with a prediction?

Vivienne Kelly: I'll kick you off, Andy. I think that in 2016 it's going to be much the same as 2015 from my perspective, I think, everyone's going to keep talking about this property bubble. We're going to continue to speculate where the negative gearing is going to be phased out and certain people are going to continue to panic that the growth we're having is unsustainable and at the same time, smart savvy investors will just continue doing what they're doing, put their heads down, buy and continue to succeed. I don't think it will be nearly as dramatic as many people would have us believe.

Andy Scott: When you say people, you mean the people in the media who write stories about property?

Vivienne Kelly: No, I mean the people who send me releases who I then write about.

Andy Scott: Oh, okay. Gotcha, that makes sense. Alex, what about yourself?

Alex Whitlock: I think you're going to see vacancy rates spiking in certain areas, which means that investors are probably going to have to realign what they think they are going to get in their rentals but, as Vivienne said, I've watched this market now, the Australian market as a whole for probably about 20 years, there has always been talk of there being a property bubble. There have been some corrections in prices over the last 10 years in certain markets, there's never been the blood on the streets as been predicted so I think, as Viv says, smart investors will continue to buy in areas that are going to deliver long-term results. Some people are going to come unstuck because they make bad decisions like trying to make a quick buck in the mining towns, but life will carry on.

Andy Scott: Georgia? Any thoughts?

Georgia Brown: I think I'm going to throw in a silly prediction here, and that is that people are going to get bored of talking about the property bubble.

Vivienne Kelly: That is outrageous.

Alex Whitlock: Never. They love it.

Andy Scott: If you had said hotspots then I literally would have walked you out of this room right now, I tell you that, but that's okay. No, I don't like the property bubble. I think it's stupid, to be honest. People do need to be concerned about responsibly investing and what they do and wild speculation with certain sums of money that’s involved in property investment is not something I'd counsel anyone to do but, yeah, I think there's a lot of hogwash.

Alex Whitlock: Let's just get one thing straight on the property bubble. For there to be a bubble there has to be a vast oversupply in most instances and supply continues to be tight in most markets, very very tight in some markets and I think that increased migration, which goes on year after year, yes, property in Australia is expensive, on an emotional level it's tough to afford. The younger generation coming through are quite rightly worried about being able to afford to buy property but the reality is, there has to be an oversupply for there to be a true bubble and for there to be an eventual crash in prices and that isn't going to happen.

Andy Scott: Cool. Good stuff, guys. Well, that's about it…

Alex Whitlock: Hang on, hang on a second. We need your prediction.

Andy Scott: That's very true. I tried to get away with that, didn't I? Well luckily I've kept one in my back pocket just for this eventuality. It's something that we spoke about a couple of weeks ago on the show and I think it's inevitable. The banks never miss a trick to be able to scrape more cash out of Australians. The battlers or the rich and I think that's only going to continue. I think they've pretty much let the cat out of the bag about decoupling from the RBA and I think we are going to see rates go up from banks regardless of what the RBA do and out of step with the RBA as well. The reality is I just think the cost of money for investors is going to get more expensive next year. Pure and simple. Not panic stations, but more expensive. We're at the lowest rates have ever been in this country, so by definition you've got to expect that to go north at some point and I think 2016 will be the year it happens.

Alex Whitlock: A cynic might say that the banks will be lending less so therefore to get a better return on what they've already lent, if you bump rates up you're going to get more money coming in through the door.

Andy Scott: Yeah, possibly, but you know, banks like to lend money, it's their main breadwinner, isn't it? That's what I think will happen. I saw you all, thinking I didn't have a prediction, well I did have a prediction, so there we go.

That pretty much wraps it up for this week, guys. Thanks for coming in and filling me up a spot because Phil let me down, cheers Phil. It just remains for me to say, Alex, thanks for coming and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and say goodbye.

Alex Whitlock: Thank you, Andy.

Andy Scott: Didn't wish anyone a Merry Christmas. Scrooge. Vivienne?

Vivienne Kelly: Merry Christmas, everyone.

Andy Scott: And?

Vivienne Kelly: Happy New Year?

Andy Scott: Well, and goodbye. Your ability to follow instructions is terrible. Georgia.

Georgia Brown: Merry Christmas and goodbye, everyone.

Andy Scott: You guys want to watch your backs on this one, she's gunning for all your jobs. Just remains for me as well is to say thanks for listening to us in 2015, obviously 2016 we will be doing more of the same. We'll be putting newsletters out and everything over the Christmas break so you can continue to check on everything that's important for smart property investors on, you know the address by now, Of course, anything you want to talk to me about, about property in general or this podcast, just write to me at [email protected]. Other than that, it just remains for me to say Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and thanks for stopping by. Goodbye guys.


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