Agents spit the dummy over price hikes; forming own network
Century 21 agents and others appear to have taken news of’s listing rate increases for suburban property rather poorly. Describing the move as “gouging", they piled into a closed room yesterday and will emerge with a new competing listing service. The group – and we have no specific names of who is in and who isn’t – may amalgamate other smaller competitors under a new name. Read the full story here.
Culture seminars to help lure Chinese buyers
Even as parliament weighs the effect of foreign investment on the Australian economy, China’s wealthiest man is scouting property for a major development deal. Meanwhile, real estate broker Ray White has started Chinese culture seminars for its team in a bid to win more foreign investor interest in its properties. In a case of classic market segmentation, they’ve found that some Chinese buyers have stronger interest in properties that would be less desirable to the domestic market. “The houses they are likely to buy are not the kind that the local Australian’s are likely to buy ... (like) a $600,000 condo opposite Doncaster Westfield,” said Wayne Tseng, a consultant brought in by Ray White for cultural training. Some of the tips: black and white photos can be associated with death or tombstones, kitchens in the middle of the house may undesirably trap strong aromas from Chinese cooking and the number four has bad feng shui. Read the full story here.
Most property sales last quarter were profitable
Only about one property sale in 10 lost money for the seller for the first quarter of the year, according to RP Data. In Sydney, it’s closer to one in 33. The average loss – for those who lost anything – was $60,544, far outweighed by the average profit on profit making sales of $225,088. While the figures are down from last year, the regional variation shows how much the weakness in the mining industry plays out. About one sale in seven in Hobart went for a loss. Read the full story here.
Inner Brisbane unit construction booming
Developers want to get a boatload of apartments built fast in Brisbane, ahead of an expected sales boom. At least six projects have sold out ahead of schedule and 40 to 45 new apartment projects are expected to be ready for sale in the second half of 2014. Developers want to be creative to meet demand, with increasing interest in mixed-use projects. But with 5500 units to absorb once the construction is done, however, the question to ask is whether developers are racing to meet demand … or to not be left standing empty when the music stops. Sales in the first quarter dropped 37 per cent, despite tight stock. Read the full story here.

(Fire) sale of the week... but where did they put the pole?
Previously a $3.05 million home on a 662sq m block had been a Victorian fire station in Sydney’s Leichhardt suburb. Last week it set a new suburb price record. Five bidders fought over the four-bedroom house, with 100 spectators. The home had also been an army drill hall during the First World War and was converted later to a residence by an importer of French furniture.