Building levy increase dents affordability
Homes in Western Australia are to be hit by an extra cost as the state government increases the building levy by 52 per cent. The move has been dismissed as nothing more than a “cash grab at the expense of first home buyers” by the Housing Industry Association. The new fees will come into effect from July 1 and will rise from 0.09 per cent of the work being carried out to 0.137 per cent. This, says the government, will amount to less than $100 in most cases. A $350,000 home would trigger a fee of $165 for example.

Commerce minister Michael Mischin said the additional cost would allow for a reformed system giving more transparency and faster access to information. However executive director of the HIA John Gelavis says it’s not about a single tax increase: “While the government will argue that in dollar terms, this is a minor increase, when piled on top of the never ending list of taxes and charges on new homes, it is another blow to housing affordability in the state. As is often the case with housing, it will be another ‘tax on a tax’, with stamp duty and GST on top.” The association says that all the taxes and charges added together amount to 41 per cent of the cost of a newly built home in Perth.
Sources: The West Australian, HIA

Sydney population on target to hit 5 million, Perth growing faster
Sydney is set to become Australia’s first city with a population of 5 million. New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in 2013-14 there was a net increase of 84,200 people, taking the total to 4.8 million. Melbourne is also growing swiftly and added more people than any other capital with an extra 95,700 people taking the total to 4.4 million. For pace of growth though Perth beats all capitals with 2.5 per cent growth to bring the city to 2 million. Adelaide’s population increased by 1 per cent in 2013-14 with only Hobart (0.6 per cent) having a slower rate of population growth; Darwin and Melbourne both increased by 2.2 per cent; Brisbane was up 1.7 per cent; Canberra grew by 1.2 per cent. Capital city growth was responsible for almost 80 per cent of Australia's population growth in 2013-14, with much of this growth occurring in outer suburban areas and inner cities.
Source: ABS

Harry Potter actor decides on a longer spell in Toorak
Daniel Radcliffe has taken his apartment in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak off the market. After trying to find a buyer willing to pay $2.5 million for the 98B St George’s Road home the actor has decided to keep it as part of a growing property portfolio. Radcliffe’s parents bought the home in 2005 and he became the legal owner of the home in 2007 when he turned 18. He has used it when he’s been in Australia but has chosen not to rent it out in between visits, even though that could bring him $1,000 a week.
Source: The Domain Group