Weekend property market ramping up before the winter slowdown
More than 2000 properties in Sydney will go to auction in May. This weekend alone 589 properties are listed in Sydney, with more than 800 properties scheduled in the each of the two following weekends. Nationwide, about 2400 properties will go under the hammer this week. Victoria leads the listing league table with 1081 properties for auction this week, New South Wales has 850, Queensland has 293, South Australia has 125, Western Australia has 40, ACT has 29, Tasmania, 12 and the Northern Territory, has 11 properties scheduled for auction. Clearance rates have hovered just under 80 percent in Sydney with slight declines over the last few weeks so it will be interesting to see whether demand can keep up with the flood of stock. Read the full story here.

Financial chiefs call for new laws limiting commission payments for property investments in SMSFs
High commissions of 4 to 8 per cent for advisers recommending off-plan residential apartments as investments for self-managed super funds have led to a call for limits to the practice. Broadly, financial managers worry that the commission incentives may lead SMSFs to over-concentrate a portfolio, using all their fund as collateral for investment property. Developers are trying to blame mortgage brokers and financial advisers for ‘demanding’ fat comissions  Read the full story here.

Abbott budget may encourage negative gearing as a tax strategy
High-income earners may move compensation from salary to fringe benefits to minimize the impact of the $180,000 threshold for tax increases. But other opportunities to consider  include negatively gearing investments, like residential and commercial property, says CPA Australia head of policy Paul Drum. The debt levy has been touted as a means to raise over $3Bn to help fill government coffers, but given that we are already a nation of property investors, it may be that the levy helps increase the amount of negatively geared investors there are in the nation. Read the full story here.

Education budget cuts will impact home affordability for young graduates
Graduates’ education debt will double under the federal government’s higher education reforms, which experts suggest may stifle young workers’ ability to save for a deposit. Average student debt was about $20,000, but the new system with higher interest rates would likely double that. The changes raise questions about whether home prices will fall with the decreased demand, or rise as graduates initiate inflation with demands for higher salaries to compensate for higher costs. Read the full story here.

NAB expects Queensland home prices to complete post-GFC rebound within next 12 months                   
National Australia Bank executive Anthony Waldron told attendees at a Convention this week that Queensland prices and Brisbane dwelling values had been lagging the market, but that the bank’s outlook there had been scaled up with expected growth of 6 per cent over the next 12 months. He also said more than half of all home loans booked in Australia – including those of his own bank – now came from mortgage brokers. Read the full story here.

Suburb of Hay in NSW top price gainer for the quarter
While home prices have generally been levelling off of late, a few pockets of Australia have experienced stunning growth. According to RPD, the top performer in the country in the three months to February was Hay, in New South Wales with a median home price increase of 34.7 per cent. Hay’s performance is a rebound after a poor year.  Stepney, near Adelaide, rose 28.5 per cent during the period, while Muchea in WA rose about 27.7 per cent. Read the full story here.

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