Auction market returns to pre-holiday levels

RP Data shows 2431 properties scheduled for auction, with Victoria leading at 966, followed closely by New South Wales with 862 properties. Queensland posts 381 properties for auction, 113 in South Australia, 43 in Western Australia, 40 in the ACT, 16 in Tasmania and 10 in the Northern Territory. Read the full story here.

Number of million-dollar homes on the market in Brisbane doubles in a year
A massive surge since the start of the year caused the number of homes in Brisbane priced at more than $1 million at auction to double, according to RP Data, from 839 at the start of January to 1408 at the end of April. Last year’s most expensive sale in Brisbane was a $7.5M waterfront property in Hawthorne, just 3km from the CBD.  Read the full story here.

Brisbane luxury apartment market on fire
The luxury apartment market appears to be benefiting from Brisbane’s real estate boom after languishing for years. Sunland’s 40-level tower Abian complex, with Turkish baths and gold leaf hand-applied to its public spaces, is nearing sell-out point with an average price of $1.6m. Premium units in Brisbane are up 4.5 per cent year over year since February. Read the full story here.

Build up, not out
Lobbyists for property developers are using PricewaterhouseCoopers research to back their calls for a relaxation of Sydney’s “Out of date” planning rules. "For Sydney to remain as Australia's number one city we need to plan for doubling the height of our skyscrapers by 2050," said Chris Johnson, CEO of the Urban Taskforce talking to AAP.
"Sydney is being held back by out-of-date planning rules that set the underside of Sydney Tower, designed in the 1970s, as the cap on height for new buildings.
The group are hoping to double the heights of the harbour city’s skyscrapers by 2050. Read the full story here.
3 bedroom, 1 bath highset timber home: price from $250,000 … to $5 million?
Reporters took a photograph of the same house to agents across the country to see how it might sell in different areas. Victoria’s Frankston North set the low mark of $250,000 while it might fetch $5 million – as a tear-down – on Victoria’s tony Brighton waterfront. The exercise showed significant sensitivity to location, with a 100-metre difference in Brisbane worth $100,000 in value. Read the full story here.

How to spot a home drug lab
After a series of residential drug manufacturing busts this week, Terri Scheer Insurance executive manager Carolyn Parrella offered tips for property owners looking for ways to keep their properties from becoming drug labs. Among the highlights: conduct regular property inspections, look for windows that are constantly covered or sealed, tampering with electricity metres and weird pipes coming out of the building. Read the full story here.

Australia’s cheapest town is Broken Hill in New South Wales
Broken Hill, the outback mining town of 18,000 five and a half hours driving from Adelaide, has a median house price of about $150,000, making it the most affordable regional suburb in Australia. With a vacancy rate of less than 2 per cent, investors have discovered the Silver City, as have some first-time homebuyers looking for a way to build equity at an achievable price. Read the full story here.

Interest rates can’t save property now
 The RBA has lost its power to use interest rates to cool Australian property speculation according to Kelvin Tay  the Regional Chief Investment Officer at UBS.  Speaking at a Sydney lunch, Tay told listeners to avoid buying long-dated sovereign bonds, buy US and international equities and that the RBA should steer clear of using interest rates to curb speculation in real estate. “Australia has had a spate of robust capital city housing data in recent months, but Chinese buyers have been pushing prices up.”

"Rate hikes will now be an ineffective tool to push down property prices and that is why UBS does not think the RBA should do it."

Tay’s advice to the government was to follow Hong Kong’s example and to tax people who buy and sell investment properties. Advice that will be music to the ATO’s ears, given their report earlier this week showing the $8Bn losses claimed by negative gearing landlords in 2011-2012.