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WA tops house building chart
Western Australia has once again topped a bi-annual chart of Australian house building. The Housing Scorecard is compiled by the Housing Industry Association and uses contemporary and historical data to measure house building strength against 14 key indicators. “Western Australia has once again topped the rankings, remaining the strongest residential building market in the country by a healthy margin, ahead of the Northern Territory and New South Wales. There is daylight between the three strongest states and the rest of the pack," said Geordan Murray, HIA Economist. ACT slipped from 4th to 6th in the league with multi-unit developments particularly weak there although detached houses activity is also slower. The figures also show some recovery for Queensland’s building activity although it is still weak. Geordan Murray concludes: “Overall, the Scorecard shows that WA and NSW have caught up to Victoria in terms of historically high levels of new home building activity. However, activity in these states no longer appears to be rising. At this point in time, future growth hinges on the capacity of the Queensland market to sustain the recovery.”

Could the Murray Inquiry add extra costs to homes?
While few would argue against the principle of strengthening Australia’s banks to the point that they can’t fail during any further financial crises, there are concerns that David Murray's Financial System Inquiry could have an effect on home loan repayments. Some of the measures may mean that banks are compelled to pass on additional costs to borrowers while others could make investment in property an issue for those who use pension savings to do so; this could have an effect on first time buyers who may not be able to benefit from parents’ investing in property using retirement funds. Real Estate Institute of Australia’s CEO Amanda Lynch says: “The recommendations around capital holding could result in further costs to borrowers and we are particularly concerned about first home buyers who are already at record low numbers as well as adding pressure to the establishment of new housing. With first home buyers finding it increasingly difficult to enter the housing market and home ownership in Australia declining after four decades of stable levels, housing affordability is an issue that is at the forefront of our priorities.”
 
Singapore is largest foreign property investor in Asia Pacific
The popular misconception is that Chinese investors are the most prolific buyers of foreign real estate but that seems not to be the case. Figures from JLL show that investors in Singapore are the largest international buyers of property, especially with the city-state’s own market weaker. Singaporeans spent AU$58 billion on Australian property in the last two years and there is a growing interest. Economic conditions are making Australian real estate highly attractive to Singapore’s wealthy investors although it is tending to be smaller firms that are most interested currently as the larger ones are seeking investment further afield.

 

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