NAB revamps broker commissions; Foreign investment stats? Don't ask the ABS

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NAB changes commission structure to attract more mortgage brokers
National Australia Bank wants more brokers pushing mortgages, and will start paying a 15 basis point trailing commission in the first loan year to get them. NAB doesn’t pay trailing commissions like that today, and plans to cut trailing commissions in the sixth year of a loan. The move may match rivals, but it also flies in the face of regulator warnings about banks playing games with compensation to goose short-term results in a fiercely-competitive mortgage environment. By shortening the commission pipeline, NAB might attract more commission sales but risks having brokers water down eligibility requirements to get a sale. Read the full story here.
WA agents union pushing for penalty rates for weekend and after-hours work
The Australian Property Services Association – a union of real estate agents recently granted the right to represent workers in Western Australia – wants a change away from commission-based compensation for its agents if agencies fail to register through its contract compliance system at $180 per agent. WA has not been willing to negotiate the matter – the only state refusing. If the state continues to hold out, APSA may advocate for doing away with commissions nationally. Read the full story here.
Government statisticians really have no idea how much foreign investment actually occurs
ABS officials told a House of Representatives inquiry on Wednesday that they have to read newspapers and trade magazines to find figures for foreign investment in residential property because their own sources aren’t any better. Paul Mahoney, an ABS assistant statistician, described the practice as “a bit hit and miss". Some foreign purchases can be concealed, while others simply aren’t obvious. The rising cost of residential property has left first-time buyers shut out of the market and looking for a scapegoat. But academic researchers have been reporting that the level of foreign investment remains in line with previous periods – and that the apparent rise of the wealthy Chinese buyer actually reflects a shift in the market, with less capital coming into Australia from Europe and the U.S. and more from Asia. Read the full story here.
The complexities of buying overseas property using a SMSF
SMSF managers have been dipping their toes gingerly in the property markets. Real estate only comprises about 15 per cent of SMSF investments – only about three per cent in residential real estate. One may assume that foreign property purchases would be an even smaller subset of that slice, largely because buying any offshore investment can be challenging within the SMSF rules. The test for in-house assets can be hard to hurdle, since in many cases foreign countries require that property be held by a company or similar vehicle in the foreign country. Just as Australians have been up in arms about foreign investors, so too do other nations monitor and regulate foreign asset purchasing. In some cases, a local has to hold the deed to the property, which creates a complicated and fraught investment risk. Read the full story here.
Fly in, fly out living arrangements get their own website
Need a flatmate? How about one that’s never there? A new website started in Perth – FIFO Housemate – aims to connect FIFO workers with rooms for rent. FIFO worker Chris Del Borrello, 25, teamed up with his brother Daniel, 27, to launch the site this month after finding Gumtree’s FIFO search a bit bodgy. The room-for-rent ads are free and the market is very narrowly targeted to FIFO workers, particularly those on a 457-visa who may find it difficult to secure housing with no rental references. Between 50,000 and 60,000 FIFO workers live and work in Western Australia. Read the full story here.

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