Author Archives: Terry Hansen

airplane

Chance to shape the future of Western Sydney Aerotropolis

Initial plans for the Western Sydney Aerotropolis have been released, providing a blueprint for how land at the 11,200-hectare site will be used.

The draft Western Sydney Aerotropolis Plan outlines the long-term vision for the region around the airport, with plans for it to be divided into ten precincts that will allow for flexible land uses, including agribusiness, commercial, residential, advanced industries, and research and development.

Six of these precincts will be the focus of initial zoning changes, with hopes that these will be completed by mid-2020.

The Agribusiness, Badgerys Creek and Mamre Road precincts have been identified as offering the most potential and will be “brought forward as initial precincts to help create early employment opportunities and better coordinate infrastructure planning” the report says.

The aerotropolis provides a massive opportunity for western Sydney and as such it’s critical that planning is done right and that the local community gets the opportunity to provide their feedback.

Once complete, the aerotropolis is set to be a 24/7 economic hub that will contribute to significant job growth in Western Sydney in industries such as defence and aerospace, advanced manufacturing, technology, agribusiness, health, education, research and tourism.

The new city will also provide vibrant urban centres and be surrounded by large regional parks and an expansive network of green and blue corridors. It’s set to be a true city of the future and will reshape the Western Sydney we know today.

The draft planning documents for the Western Sydney Aerotropolis will be on exhibition until 28 February 2020.

You can find them by clicking here.

flipping property

Property prices showing no signs of slowing down

The Australia property market continues to move at a breakneck speed, with CoreLogic data showing that prices were up again in November.

This is the fifth month in a row we’ve seen an increase in property prices, after a two-year downturn. 

Property prices went up 1.7 per cent over November, which is the biggest monthly gain that has been seen since 2003.

Sydney and Melbourne led the price surge, with values up by 2.7 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively for the month. 

A massive turnaround for Sydney

 It’s hard to fathom that at the start of 2019 Sydney was experiencing one of the worst downturns in history, and now it’s seeing some of the strongest gains in decades.

Sydney’s median house price was up by 3.1 per cent in November, bringing the median value up to $956,249.

The median unit value was up by 1.8 per cent to $736,530.

The latest boost in property prices have brought Sydney dwellings up by 1.6 per cent over the past 12 months, however they are still 8 per cent lower than they where at their peak.

There are a number of factors contributing to the growth, namely low interest rates and looser credit conditions. A low level of housing stock may also be contributing to a sense of urgency in the market.

As new housing stock comes into the market after the Christmas break we may see property price growth start to calm down. However there’s also a very real possibility that there will be more interest rate cuts next year, which could add to property demand.

So whether the price growth we are seeing now can be sustained for much longer still remains to be seen.

new-year

Rates remain on hold for December… but what will 2020 bring?

The RBA left the official cash rate on hold at its last meeting of the year, at the record low rate of just 0.75 per cent.

Interest rates have dropped significantly this year, with three cuts of 25 basis points in June, July and October.

There’s little doubt that this monetary easing has contributed to rising activity in the property market, with CoreLogic ‘s November data showing 5 months of consecutive growth since interest rates were first cut, which is quite remarkable considering the property market at the time was in a state of serious decline.

Will we see rate cuts in 2020?

There are some predictions floating around that the official cash rate could go as low as 0.25 per cent in 2020, however at present the RBA appears happy with the current rate.

According to RBA Governor Philip Lowe, the Australian economy appears to have “reached a gentle tipping point” at the second half of last year and there is improved sentiment looking ahead.

“The low level of interest rates, recent tax cuts, ongoing spending on infrastructure, the upswing in housing prices and a brighter outlook for the resources sector should all support growth.”

There are factors that could lead to further cuts though.

Things aren’t looking so bright for the outlook of consumption, with only modest increases in household disposable income. There is also uncertainty around the effects of the drought and the evolution of the housing construction cycle.

It can take time for the effects of monetary policy to kick in, so it may take a little longer for current interest rate levels to boost household disposable income and therefore increase household spending.

All in all though interest rates look set to remain low for quite some time and there seems little chance that we will see them go up at least.

Governor Lowe has stated that the RBA is “prepared to ease monetary policy further if needed to support sustainable growth in the economy”, so we will have to wait to see what the economy does in 2020.

At just 0.75 per cent, the RBA only has so many more rate cuts up its sleeves before it might have to resort to other methods to stimulate the economy.

photography

Are you one of the Faces of St Marys?

Photographers and artists are joining forces with St Marys residents, commuters and shop owners to celebrate the diverse group of faces and stories that make up the area.

Faces of St Marys is a unique street photography project that comes from Fusion Western Sydney, in collaboration with photography students from the Nepean Arts and Design Centre, Kingswood TAFE and Sydney Trains.

The aim of the project is to build a sense of connection and pride in St Marys by capturing the faces that make up its fabric. Images will mainly be focused around the northern end of Queen Street, the Fusion Café and the St Marys railway station and bus terminal precinct.

The Faces of St Marys project is set to spark a conversation between its participants, partners, artists, and local people.

The project kicked off in early November and will culminate in a launch and exhibitions in June 2020.

Free photography workshops

If you want to be part of the Faces of St Marys project and learn skills in street photography, you can sign up to a free community workshop being held on Tuesday 10 December from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm in the Fusion Café, located on the corner of Queen & Station Streets in St Marys.

To register for the workshop and find out more about the Faces of St Marys project simply contact judy.tweeddale@fusion.org.au or phone 8805 5900.

Fusion Western Sydney Music Night

Another exciting event being hosted by Fusion this month is their music night, being held on Thursday 12 December from 7pm.

Those who have a song to share will have a chance to showcase their musical talents, whether it’s vocal or instrumental.

Spots are limited though so if you’re interested then you should message Fusion through their Facebook page at Fusion Western Sydney ASAP.

Feature guest artist, Fusion Cafe’s very own, Bewar Khoshnow will be there on the night.

Tickets are $10 at the door and will raise funds for Fusion Youth Uluru Pilgrimage 2020.

For more information on what is happening at Fusion go to www.fusionwesternsydney.org.au.

sydney

Are we months away from another housing boom?

The property market has made a dramatic comeback these past few months and if price growth doesn’t slow down we could be seeing new record values being set in just a few month’s time.

An analysis from CoreLogic has revealed that if the current rate of growth continues then national dwelling values could reach a new record high within just six months.

Data from CoreLogic’s Home Value Index shows that as it stands, national dwelling values were 5.7 per cent below their peak at the end of October.

Values have been rising quickly at 2.9 per cent over the last quarter though (or almost 1 per cent a month), meaning it would only take approximately 6 months of similar growth for the market to eclipse any losses experienced from the downturn.

Sydney recovery slightly slower than elsewhere

The Melbourne property market is predicted to be the first city to see a full market recovery, however Sydney shouldn’t be too far behind.

Sydney saw more dramatic falls during the downturn, so has more to gain, but it still is on track to see a full recovery within 6 months, or around April next year.

“Housing values are trending higher rapidly, up 5.0 per cent over the past three months, however the correction was more substantial across Sydney, with housing values falling by 14.9 per cent from peak to trough, “ said CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless.

Sydney dwelling values were still 10.4 per cent below their 2017 peak at the end of October.

A rise in housing values could be a double-edged sword – while it’s great news for those who are already in the property market, it does make it harder for first home buyers to break into it.

Nobody has a crystal ball though, so we will have to wait and see what’s in store for the property market over the coming months. Watch this space.

boxing day

Tips to help you sell by Christmas

There’s just over 3 weeks until Santa pays us all a visit, meaning time is running out for those who want to secure a property sale by Christmas Day.

If your property is currently on the market and you don’t want its sale hanging over your head during the holidays then there are some things you can do to help speed the process along.

Keep up the presentation

‘Tis the season for decorating and entertaining, but don’t let that get in the way of presenting your property at its very best while it’s on the market.

A few yuletide decorations, such as a tree and a wreath, might help add a bit of warmth and festivity to your property but make sure not to go overboard.

The same rules apply for presentation over Christmas as at any other time of year – keep the clutter at bay and make sure every inch of the property looks clean and tidy.

Think like a buyer

You need to take an honest look at your property and ask yourself what would make it appealing in the eyes of a buyer.

Get a trusted friend, or your agent, to walk around your property with you and point out anything that might be concerning to a buyer so that you can make any necessary repairs or fixes.

Conversely, you’ll also want to hear the unique drawcards about your property so you can amp these features up in your home staging.

Be ready at a moment’s notice

People are busy at this time of year so you might get prospective buyers trying to squeeze in a property viewing with very little notice.

If you’re at work and won’t make it home in time to do the dishes or put your clothes away then you may be hesitant about letting a buyer through.

Don’t be caught off-guard. Keep on top of chores so your property is always ready for a viewing and be open to letting buyers through – you never know who will be the one to make an offer.

Chat to your agent

If you have concerns about the time it’s taking to sell your property then it’s important that you discuss this with your agent and get some feedback about what you can do to speed the selling process along.

You may need to look at changing your selling strategy or you may simply need to be a little bit patient while you wait for the right offer to come along.

tiger

Western Sydney’s Zoo will open its doors next week!

Expect the west to get wilder next week as Sydney Zoo has announced they will be opening their doors to the public on Saturday 7 December.

The highly anticipated attraction, located in Bungarribee near the Great Western Highway, will be home to more than 2000 individual animals. There will be exotic creatures such as lions, cheetahs, hyenas, apes and zebras, as well as popular Australian wildlife such as koalas, kangaroos and emus.

Sydney Zoo will also be home to an aquarium and the country’s largest reptile and nocturnal house where over 40 species of reptiles and another 20 species of nocturnal animals will live. This will give visitors the chance to see venomous snakes up close, as well as giant grasshoppers and ghost bats.

Western Sydney’s new zoo is expected to rival the best in the world. It has been designed to give visitors a safari-like experience with boardwalks, hidden barriers and no cages, and it will be wheelchair and pram-friendly.

It will also have a focus on conservation, participating in education and breeding programs for endangered species. The staff will work with the local Darug people to offer experiences that will help visitors learn about local Aboriginal history.

Everything you need to know:

Where: Sydney Zoo is located at 700 Great Western Highway, Bungarribee

Cost: Full price adult’s tickets are $39.99, concession tickets are $29.99 and children up to 15 are $19.99. Discounts are available for family ticket purchases.

There is also the option to sign up for annual memberships, which will get you unlimited zoo access and discounts.

Website: For further information and to pre-purchase tickets you can head to the zoo’s website – https://sydneyzoo.com.

swim

Inflatable pools need fences too

It may not be summertime yet but the heat has definitely arrived in western Sydney and that means people are spending more time by the pool.

If you plan on spending time playing in the water, it’s important that you ensure you know the regulations surrounding swimming pool fences.

Penrith Council has put out a reminder to residents to ensure that all pools – including inflatable pools – are properly fenced off.

According to Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler OAM, inflatable pools are a cheap option for staying cool but can be a source of tragedy too.

“If you think you don’t need to fence off an inflatable pool or a swim spa, you’re wrong.

“Portable and inflatable pools have the same drowning risk as permanent pools and many of them need to be fenced off,” he said.

Home pools, including portable and inflatable pools that hold 30cm of water or more, need to be properly fenced with a self-closing and self-latching gate.

Nothing beats active adult supervision, but having a fence and a working gate adds another layer of protection for little people that may want to wander off towards the pool.

“Many people don’t realise when they buy one of these inflatable pools that it is illegal to have an unfenced pool in a backyard; this is not only to simply obey the law, but to make sure family members and their play mates are safe,” Cr Fowler said.

On the spot fines of $550 can be issued if a gate of a pool is found propped open or is there is an unfenced portable or inflatable pool.

To find out further information on pool safety requirements visit https://penrith.city/pools or call council on 4732 7897.

lights

Strategies to activate night time trade in St Marys

St Marys is likely to see a number of changes in the coming years that will help breath new life into the town centre’s night time economy.

According to an article in the Western Weekender, Penrith Council is looking at initiating a number of strategies to help attract people to Queen Street after dark.

An audit and study of the area found that St Marys has a lot going for it being that it’s an established centre, has fantastic and friendly businesses and there are excellent transport links, however foot traffic in the area seems to slow down once the sun sets.

Council’s Place Manager Jeni Pollard said there is a safety stigma “holding St Marys back”, which tends to be one of the biggest issues for the area. Lack of shop parking, early closing times and lack of night time events are some other challenges for the area.

The firm that conducted the audit and study has suggested that council look to encourage longer opening hours for businesses, increase surveillance and security, and utilise empty shop fronts as pop up art galleries, restaurants or music venues.

A defined night time activity space that is well lit and can be set up for outdoor entertainment has also been recommended, as well as offering greater shop diversity such as small bars, ice cream shops, more restaurants and outdoor dining.

A regular event such as an eat street market was another idea proposed to help draw in a night time crowd.

St Marys on the move

St Marys is an area earmarked for massive residential and commercial growth in the coming years, particularly as it’s set to be linked directly to the Western Sydney Airport through the North South Rail Link.

Being in a prime position to take advantage of growth, it is little wonder the council is looking at opportunities that will further enhance the area.

Penrith Council is reportedly looking to utilise a portion of the St Marys Town Centre Corporation’s $600,000 surplus to activate some of the key opportunities suggested.

In the meantime however there are already night events worth visiting St Marys for such as the St Marys Open Mic Nights and there will be events taking place in in November and December to celebrate the Christmas season.

 

Sources: westernweekender.com.au

www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au

outer western sydney real estate

How affordable is housing compared to 10 years ago?

After experiencing two years of property price declines we are starting to see the market bounce back, with predictions that we could see peak levels again in 2020.

While this probably comes as good news for those that own a home, escalating property prices does bring up the concern of housing affordability, however new research has found that it is actually easier to buy a home now than it was 10 years ago.

According to the latest ANZ-CoreLogic Housing Affordability report, the national median dwelling value has risen by 3% annually in the last 10 years, up from $382,650 to $516,710.

At the same time we have seen household incomes rise slightly faster, up 3.1% annually, from $59,020 to $79,872. Households have also been able to enjoy lower mortgage rates, with the average rate dropping from 5.1% to 4.1%.

The report found that the proportion of income needed to repay an 80% loan-to-value mortgage was 34.4% in June 2019, which is the lowest it’s been since 2004.

However, it’s not the same story everywhere…

Some cities are less affordable

Unsurprisingly, some cities have seen property prices outpacing wage growth.

Most notable is Sydney, where the median property value has gone up by 5.5% per annum, while household income has only seen a 3.3% per annum rise.

Households in Sydney need to allocate 43.7% of their income to service a home loan, compared to 37.7% ten years ago.

Believe it or not though, when mortgage rates reached around 9% in early 2008, a whopping 54.2% of household income was needed to make mortgage payments.

Sydney homeowners have been getting a reprieve of late thanks to the downturn and low interest rates, but the divergence in dwelling values and household incomes makes Sydney the nation’s least affordable housing market.

How to combat affordability?

In a think piece in The Real Estate Conversation, CoreLogic’s head of research Tim Lawless suggested taking a look at supply and demand, as well as tax reforms, to improve the nation’s affordability.

“On the supply side, ensuring infrastructure programs, land release and town planning policies are keeping pace with population growth is important. On the demand side, population growth drives housing demand, as do stimulus measures such as first home buyer grants and tax concessions,” Lawless said.

Lawless also believes people should be encouraged to move to more affordable areas through incentivising jobs growth and providing infrastructure improvements.

“Removing stamp duty would also help to improve housing affordability and housing mobility by lowering the transactional costs associated with purchasing a home,” he said.

The full Housing Affordability report can be downloaded by clicking here.