Auctions sail on at pace this weekend
About 1,267 auctions are scheduled across the nation’s capitals this weekend, up from 1,180 in the comparable weekend last year according to RP Data. Volume will drop to 450 in Sydney from last week’s 580 auctions, while rising to 590 in Melbourne. Clearance rates have been falling, largely attributable to a sharp drop in Melbourne’s clearance rates. The number of listings overall have been up for the winter, with an uncharacteristic rise in prices following a decline in May. The auction market has been on pace to return higher growth to property than even last year despite the May swoon. Read the full story here.

An “urban wasteland” reborn in Sydney… under corporate direction?
NSW Premier Mike Baird is coming under some fire after announcing that Sydney’s publicly-owned foreshore will be redeveloped by UrbanGrowth NSW, a private firm catering to private sector development. The area in question, 80 hectares and 5.5 kilometres of inner harbour frontage, is described both as one of the most prized areas for development in the city and an urban wasteland of disused industrial property. Officially, the area must remain in public ownership. But UrbanGrowth NSW specialises in overcoming barriers to private investment. The goal will be to convert the area to housing, retail, tourism, commercial and recreational use, as well as retaining some maritime activities. Any development will have to overcome community apprehension about denying the public’s input into the plan, or wiping out history in the name of density and development. Read the full story here.

First-time homebuyers get a grant. Why not last-time homebuyers?
Home affordability isn’t just a problem for young families. Given a recent survey showing more than a third of baby boomer-generation Australians have financial insecurities, Petra Sprekos, general manager of, said an affordable housing grant for retirement generation buyers could be considered. Baby boomers remain the nation’s most prosperous generation, but almost 38 per cent of baby boomers believe they won’t have enough money to fund their retirement, the claims. A reduction in stamp duty may be an alternative policy. Alas, Western Australia and other states have actually been reducing the threshold at which stamp duty applies. Read the full story here.

Any Port (Pirie) in a storm …
South Australia may not be growing at the pace of metropolises like Sydney and Melbourne, but bright spots still burn, like the Port Pirie real estate scene. Real Estate Institute of South Australia president Ted Piteo named Port Pirie as one of the top three suburbs in the State, along with Mount Gambier and Victor Harbor. A 2.78 per cent rate of growth over a year was enough to earn the spot. Port Pirie’s economy has been intimately tied to a lead smelter which is now changing to a poly-metallic processing and recovery facility. The jump in the median house prices appears tied to this industrial change.  Read the full story here.

Property of the week: a dank dwelling in Rozelle for $425,000 ... or $3 million
It’s a familiar-enough story in today’s market: a rundown, white ant-infested semi on Victoria Road sells for $1 million. Only, this one didn’t sell. Not for a million. Not for three, though apparently that was the demand. The twist this time is that the government owns the house, which sits in the middle of a development row with accusations of skullduggery. The government bought the cottage in 2009 to be used for a metro station at Rozelle, only to kill the plan shortly after. League legend Benny Elias and his then business partner Ian Wright approached corrupt former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid to use the land as access to parking for their planned redevelopment of the nearby Balmain Leagues Club. Only … that fell through too, in no small part because the government refused to part with the property, despite crazy bids of up to $1 million. Read the full story here.

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