Author Archives: Terry Hansen

office

What are the benefits of getting home loan pre-approval?

Buying a property often takes a lot of forethought and planning and for many the first step will be figuring out how much they can borrow from the bank. 

Luckily, there are plenty of online mortgage calculators that can help you get a rough idea of what you can spend and the lender you want to use. 

Once you’ve figured out your preferred lender it’s well worth heading to them for a chat and arranging for pre-approval to set you off on your home buying journey. 

What is pre-approval?

Getting pre-approval for a home loan is when a lender agrees, in principle, to lend you a certain amount of money based on the information that you provide. 

It’s important to keep in mind that pre-approval isn’t final approval, as this can’t be given until your lender has all of the details at hand. In particular, the lender will want to assess and value the property you eventually purchase to see whether the price you offered is a fair price for it and you haven’t overpaid.

But in most cases the pre-approval amount you are offered is generally what the bank will be comfortable lending to you, giving you a fair degree of confidence when you go to start making offers on properties. 

Reasons to get pre-approval

Lets you know how much you can afford – You can start your property hunt without having pre-approval in place, however knowing what you can afford can help you narrow down your property search quicker. This will help you save time as you will be less likely to look at properties that are out of your price range. 

May add strength to an offer – If a seller has multiple offers to consider they may look more favourably on one that has pre-approval in place as it may give them more confidence that the buyer is financially capable of paying for the home. 

Almost essential for auctions – There’s no cooling off period if you purchase a property at auction so you’re going to want to make sure you’re prepared. Having pre-approval can give you more confidence when bidding under the hammer. 

Can help you act quicker – Obtaining a home loan can be a lengthy process due to a lot of the identity and financial checks that need to take place. Having pre-approval can help speed up the final application process, meaning you won’t be left sweating when you do make an offer and are hoping your approval gets through on time. 

Overall, organising pre-approval can be beneficial and arm you with confidence when you’re looking to buy a home. It’s always a good idea to do your own research however and to speak to a financial professional to get the best advice for your particular situation.

suburbs

Australian property values hit new 17-year record

Australian property prices have finished the financial year 13.5 per cent higher – the highest annual growth rate that has been seen since the market was winding down from the residential housing boom of 2004. 

According to the CoreLogic home value index, property prices were up by 1.9 per cent for June, with each of the capital cities seeing an increase in values ranging from a 3.0 per cent rise in Hobart to a smaller 0.2 per cent lift in Perth. Property values in Sydney were up by 2.6 per cent for the month. 

Over the past year houses have outperformed units by more than double with a 15.6 per cent rise seen in the housing market, compared to a relatively small 6.8 per cent increase for units. 

CoreLogic Head of Research for Australia, Eliza Owen said there were a number of factors driving housing demand through the first half of 2021, before the recent COVID outbreaks emerged across the country.

“In May, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 per cent, and the underutilisation rate fell to 12.5 per cent, the lowest level since February 2013. Consumer confidence remained elevated through June, although down from the recent April highs. 

“Elevated savings accumulated through COVID-restrictions last year, along with a more confident consumer sector, has encouraged consumption of larger goods, such as housing. This has all occurred against a back-drop of continued low mortgage rates, which is one of the most significant demand drivers.” 

In addition to the above, relatively low advertised housing stock has contributed to a strong sense of urgency amongst homebuyers. 

However while demand for property remains strong there are some signs that the current market frenzy is starting to slow down. 

A loss of momentum in housing prices is most evident across Perth and Darwin, however Ms Owen noted that there may be a slightly different supply-demand dynamic in these cities compared to the other capital cities and regions.

Softer growth rates are emerging at the ‘high end’ of the market for the combined capital cities though, which could be evidence that the heat is coming out of the market. 

According to Ms Owen “This easing in the pace of growth at the top end of the market is another clear sign of a shift in momentum. 

“The rest of the market tends to follow movements at the high end, and this is the first time in nine months that the high-tier growth rate has not accelerated.”

Visit www.corelogic.com.au to see further figures from June’s home value index.

shop

NSW and Penrith governments offer COVID support for businesses

There’s no doubt that the current lockdown in Sydney is proving to be a tough one for many businesses, but some may be able to get relief from new support being offered by our state and local governments. 

The NSW Government is offering up a major new grants package along with changes to the Dine and Discover program with the aim of helping small businesses in the state that have been impacted by current COVID-19 restrictions.

The package will include grants of between $5000 and $10,000 for small businesses, along with payroll tax deferrals for all employers. The grants can be used for business expenses such as rent, utilities and wages.

Different grant amounts will be available depending on the decline in turnover experienced during the restrictions – $10,000 for a 70 per cent decline, $7000 for a 50 per cent decline and $5000 for a 30 per cent decline.

The payments will be made available by July 19.

In addition to the grants package there will be an extension of the Dine & Discover program to 31 August, and the ability for people to use Dine & Discover vouchers for takeaway delivered directly to their home by the venue itself.

Further information on the COVID-19 support grants – 

The grants will be divided into two streams:

1. Small Business COVID-19 Support Grant. Available to businesses and sole traders with a turnover of more than $75,000 per annum but below the NSW Government 2020 21 payroll tax threshold of $1,200,000 as at 1 July 2020.

These businesses must have fewer than 20 full time equivalent employees and an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in New South Wales or be able to demonstrate they are physically located and primarily operating in New South Wales. 

Full criteria will be available in coming days on the Service NSW website.

2. Hospitality and Tourism COVID-19 Support Grant. Available to tourism or hospitality businesses that have a turnover of more than $75,000 and an annual Australian wages bill of below $10 million, as at 1 July 2020.

These businesses must have an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in New South Wales or be able to demonstrate they are physically located and primarily operating in New South Wales. 

Full criteria will be available in coming days on the Service NSW website.

Business support from Penrith Council 

Penrith City Council will also be stepping in to provide some financial relief for cafes and restaurants in the Penrith and St Marys CBD’s.

According to Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown OAM, Penrith Council will be waiving footpath dining fees for the next four weeks for cafes and restaurants that can now only provide take-away services.

“The hospitality sector feels the impact of the stay at home orders far more than most, as the community is instructed to not leave their homes except for essential shopping.

“These businesses are a vital part of our local economy and are collectively a big employer within our community.

“Council is unwavering in its support for local business as we look to ease the burden brought on by the restrictions,” Cr McKeown said.

For further information contact Penrith City Council.

house

St Marys is seeing a surge in first home buyer demand

Property prices might be rising, but that hasn’t been deterring first home buyers with lending increasing dramatically for the group over the first four months of this year. 

According to data from the National Bank of Australia (NAB), lending to first home buyers surged by 67 per cent in the period between January and April 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, and was also up by 9 per cent when compared to the final four months of 2020. 

“The level of first homebuyer activity has been like nothing we’ve seen in a generation,” NAB executive of home ownership Andy Kerr said in news.com.au.

“Record low interest rates and government incentives continue to support demand and it’s been great to hear stories of some customers purchasing their first home earlier than expected. However, we also recognise rising house prices are creating a challenge for some Australians as supply levels remain below average.”

Where have first home buyers been buying?

With affordability becoming an issue, many first home buyers have been heading to middle and outer ring suburbs, although some are turning to inner-city apartment markets too. 

In Sydney specifically, suburbs such as Rhodes, Maroubra, Darlinghurst, Surrey Hills and Acacia Gardens have seen a significant uptick in first home buyer lending, as has St Marys where there was a 45 per cent increase in lending in the first four months of this year when compared to September to December last year. 

The suburbs of Parramatta, Rockdale, Lane Cove and Caringbah were also popular among first home buyers. 

It’s clear the west of Sydney has become a popular choice for many first home buyers, likely due to better affordability, combined with the fact that many workers now have the ability to work from home which means they don’t need to make their way into the Sydney CBD.

Infrastructure improvements and exciting new developments are also likely to be appealing for a lot of buyers, and as the west prepares to welcome the first flight from the Western Sydney International Airport in 2026, there’s little doubt that this side of Sydney is going to remain popular for some time. 

airport (1)

What Western Sydney’s International Airport will look like

Western Sydney Airport has recently unveiled the final design of the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport’s passenger terminal at Badgerys Creek, giving everyone an insight into what flying from Australia’s newest airport will look like. 

Western Sydney Airport CEO Simon Hickey said every aspect of the design has brought together world’s best practice to create a terminal that will offer passengers and airlines an experience unrivalled among airports in the country. 

“This will be Australia’s best airport terminal, unlike anything seen before in this country,” Mr Hickey said. 

“It sets a new benchmark for what Australians will expect when they fly.” 

Sustainability considerations are said to be front and centre of the design, and the region’s rich Aboriginal heritage has also had a strong influence. 

The terminal precinct’s forecourt is also reportedly set to become a destination in its own right, with gardens featuring local native plants and areas that could be used for local produce markets, festivals and community events. 

Most importantly for frequent flyers though, the terminal will be easy to navigate, which coupled with great customer service will ensure passengers have a first-class and stress-free airport experience. 

“Flying from Western Sydney International will be fast, easy and seamless,” Mr Hickey said. 

“For airlines, our terminal will be all about operational efficiency and reliability, providing an environment where passengers arrive at the aircraft feeling relaxed and ready to fly.”  

The new airport will open up numerous opportunities for the Western Sydney region, with local businesses encouraged to start thinking about how an international air hub on their doorstep might be able to enhance their business operations. 

Terminal construction alone is expected to create more than 1400 direct jobs, and thousands more indirect jobs will be created through flow-on benefits to suppliers and the local economy. 

This is in addition to the jobs created by the project’s earthworks, runway construction and other civil and building works across the massive 1780-hectare site. 

Construction on the terminal is set to begin at the end of this year, with international and domestic passenger services and air cargo operations on track to begin in late 2026.

open house

What are the restrictions for auctions and open homes this weekend?

If you plan on going to an open home or an auction in Greater Sydney this weekend you can expect them to look a little different than usual in a bid to tackle the city’s evolving COVID situation.

While there have been stay-at-home orders issued for the City of Sydney, Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra local government areas specifically, other areas of Greater Sydney will still have to comply with restrictions such as social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Providing there are no major changes to the restrictions that have already been set out, in person property inspections and auctions can take place over the next 7 days under the one person per 4sqm density rule. Keep in mind that children count towards the capacity limit. 

Masks will also be mandatory at all inspections, as they are currently required to be worn indoors in all non-residential settings. 

Agents will be required to have COVID safe measures in place including the availability of hand sanitizer and record keeping. 

Attendees at property inspections and auctions should also remember to practise social distancing, keep up good hand hygiene and not attend if they are experiencing any COVID symptoms. 

It’s also important to note that the stay-at-home orders issued for parts of inner-city Sydney apply to those that live or work in those areas, so there may be a lot of people unable to attend open homes and property auctions across the broader Greater Sydney region this weekend. 

For this reason there is a chance that some agents will decide to postpone auctions or hold them online so that those who have been in those inner-city areas can still take part. 

Many of us are now used to the evolving restrictions brought on by COVID outbreaks, but if you have any questions or concerns about attending an open home or auction this weekend then it’s best to get in contact with the listing agent of the property in question. 

For the most current information about restrictions across Greater Sydney it is also worth visiting www.nsw.gov.au/rules/greater-sydney

real estate

$25k first-home owner grants on the cards for NSW

First-home owners in NSW may soon be able to get a little extra help entering the property market with the state government unveiling plans to offer up $25,000 grants.

The proposal would see grants replace the existing stamp duty concessions available to first-home buyers, in a bid to make home ownership more accessible.

The grant is part of a wider set of measures put forward in the Treasury’s NSW Property Tax Proposal progress paper, another of which is to give homebuyers the option of either paying stamp duty or an annual property tax based on their land value and property use.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said in the progress paper that the reforms could see 300,000 more residents become homeowners.

“Making home ownership a reality for more of our people is an indispensable part of lifting living standards across NSW,” the treasurer said.

“Those are two fundamental motivations for proposing a once in a generation reform to the property tax system: taking our economy up another gear, and improving home ownership for NSW residents, particularly younger generations.”

Encouraging first-home buyers into the property market is a key part of the reforms, with the paper noting that buyers are entering the property market at a later stage in life.

From 1995-96 to 2017-18 the average age of a first-home buyer has increased from 33 to 35 years. Over the past two decades the share of first-home buyers aged under 35 has declined from 69% to 55%.

First-home buyers have been facing an increasingly tough time breaking into the property market as property prices rise. It’s hoped that a switch to an annual land tax over stamp duty would help ease the upfront cost of purchasing a home for all first home buyers, not just those purchasing lower priced properties.

A lift in the first-home buyer grant would also be a step in helping government concessions keep pace with growing property prices.

At present the NSW Government offers a $10,000 grant for those who build or buy a first home worth up to $750,000. A full stamp duty concession is also available for first-home buyers purchasing a home up to the value of $650,000, with partial concessions available for properties worth up to $800,000.

It’s unclear when the proposed reforms might come into effect, however the state government is asking for feedback on the NSW Property Tax Proposal progress paper until July 30.

Feedback on the document can be sent to TaxReformTaskforce@treasury.nsw.gov.au.

bank

How to purchase a home without a 20 per cent deposit

Saving for a home deposit is no easy task, and as property prices rise it’s not getting any easier.

A Finder analysis of CoreLogic data has found that homebuyers in almost every Australian capital city need to save at least $100,000 if they want to be able to purchase a median priced home with a 20 per cent deposit.

The only city that was the exception was Darwin, however even there a 20 per cent deposit equated to more than $95,000.

The hardest capital city to purchase in was of course Sydney where homebuyers need to save almost $200,000 to get a 20 per cent deposit together to purchase a median priced property.

Saving this amount of cash to be able to enter the home market is very challenging, and it can take homebuyers years and years to accomplish, in which time property prices might continue to climb.

But if you want to get into the market without having saved the full 20 per cent deposit, there are some options:

Pay LMI

The most obvious way to get into the property market without having saved up a full deposit is to take advantage of lenders mortgage insurance (LMI). This is a one-off premium added to your home loan that can allow you to get into the property market with a deposit of as little as 5 per cent.

A lot of people try to avoid LMI, and with good reasons, but it’s not all bad.

It’s true that it does add a substantial cost to buying a home which can add up to thousands, but it can also help you secure a property much quicker than you would have been able to otherwise.

In some cases you might even find that property prices climb so fast that LMI costs eventually become insignificant compared to the capital growth you have benefited from.

Utilise the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme

Of course if you’re a first-home buyer you might be able to pay a smaller deposit and avoid LMI by taking advantage of the Federal Government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme.

Those who take up the scheme can use a deposit of as little as 5 per cent, with the government backing the rest. It’s a great option for those struggling to save for a full 20 per cent deposit, however there are price caps and other restrictions that may limit what you can purchase.

There are also only so many places available in the scheme each year so you’ll want to be quick to take advantage of it. You can find out more at www.nhfic.gov.au/what-we-do/fhlds/.

Ask a guarantor

If you have a small deposit and really want to avoid LMI then you could ask your parents if they are willing to go guarantor on your loan.

A guarantor loan works by using the equity of the guarantor as extra security on your home loan, allowing you to avoid LMI.

The guarantor doesn’t need to make any repayments, however if you are unable to meet repayments then the lender will turn to them.

This could be a good option if you have trusting parents (or a friend or family member) who are willing to help you get onto the property ladder.

For further advice though it’s well worth having a chat to a lender or a trusted financial adviser.

airplane

NSW Government commits more than $1 billion towards Western Sydney Aerotropolis

Work on Western Sydney’s highly anticipated aerotropolis is set to begin before the end of this year with the state government committing $1.15 billion towards the project.

The funding will be used to transform what is now essentially paddocks and grassland into a world-class city precinct, which is to be known as Bradfield after legendary engineer John Bradfield.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the aerotropolis will become a ‘thriving global city centre’ that will eventually support up to 17,600 highly skilled jobs.

“This is another exciting step forward in realising the Government’s vision for this city-building project,” Ms Berejiklian said.

More than $900,000 of the funding will be used to enable works to establish, remediate and allow site access to about 100 hectares of land. It will also help to create a key Indo-Pacific economic hub, unleashing international investment in advanced manufacturing, aerospace and defence, agri-business, pharma, freight and logistics, health and education.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet described Bradfield City as the “next jewel in Sydney’s crown” that will unlock economic opportunities, particularly for Western Sydney.

“The pandemic has shown us the importance of investing in our own backyard and this investment will create a precinct that will be home to businesses and industries that will create jobs not just today, but into the future as well,” he said.

NSW Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Minister Stuart Ayres said there is also funding to establish the First Building in the Bradfield City Centre and for a four-year pilot of the New Education and Training Model (NETM).

“The government has committed $138.2 million for the First Building which includes a $24.9 million high-tech facility which will house $22.9 million worth of shared-use equipment for research institutions and industry to collaborate,” Mr Ayres said.

“The NETM is a new model of tertiary education aimed at helping advanced industries access skilled labour. We are dedicating $37.4 million to the program over five years to provide more than 7,000 courses for almost 3,000 students.”

The state government estimates the funding will help create 200,000 new jobs across the Western Parkland City.

Once complete, Bradfield will be roughly 60 per cent of the size of Sydney’s original CBD. It will be located near the future Western Sydney International airport, which is due to open in 2026.

spring selling

Should you wait until spring to sell?

The property market has been booming, but despite this many sellers have been wondering if they should hold out on selling their property until the ‘spring rush”.

While it’s true that the Australian property market normally experiences a seasonal slowdown in the cooler months, this can actually sometimes work in the seller’s favour. 

Look at your local market

If your local market is like much of the rest of Australia then chances are it’s a sellers market right now. 

While it’s true that buyer activity can wane somewhat during the colder weather, there’s a lot of strong fundamentals in place right now, such as crazy low interest rates, that aren’t going anywhere over winter. 

In fact, there are a lot of buyers with FOMO who will be checking real estate listings daily until they find the home they want, regardless of what the weather is doing. 

There’s even a chance that demand will ramp up further over winter as there will undoubtedly be some sellers who choose to hold off until spring because they think it’s a better time of year to present their property, meaning that buyers may find themselves with even less housing stock to choose from than there has been in previous months, where property stock has been relatively low as is. 

This means that if your home is one of the few homes available for sale then you may be able to attract a premium price tag. 

Do you need to sell quickly?

If you have the time to pick and choose when you sell then you might want to wait until spring to give yourself time to get your property ready and looking its best, but if you want or need to sell right now then there’s no reason to wait. 

Timing the market can be important, but what’s more important when selling is things like property presentation and having a smart marketing campaign. It’s also crucial to have a knowledgeable real estate agent in your corner to give you helpful advice that will help you get the most out of your property. 

The risk of waiting 

A lot of things can happen between now and spring and while it does look like the property market will remain strong in the months ahead, there’s also a chance that there could be a shift in buyer sentiment that could see property demand slow down.

The recent lockdowns in Melbourne are a good example. While they haven’t put a significant dampener on the local property market, they have shown that we are still living in a pandemic and we don’t know exactly what the future holds. 

Right now however there are a lot of reasons why it’s a good time to get into the property market, including strong consumer sentiment, high buyer demand and fantastic sales results. 

So, if you’re ready and wanting to sell your property then there’s no time like the present.