Interest rates have an impact as clearance rates hit 6-year high
CoreLogic RP Data says that auction clearance rates hit a 6-year high over the weekend with a weighted average of 78.3 per cent. Spokesman Robert Larocca said it was the highest level since September 2009 when 79.7 per cent was achieved nationally. He said lower interest rates were certainly making an impact on the housing market. In Sydney the clearance rate hit 85.1 per cent, in Melbourne it was 77.8 per cent, Canberra achieved 73.3 per cent and Adelaide cleared 72.9 per cent. Brisbane was some way behind, but improved on the previous week, with 57.1 per cent while Perth’s figure was 41.7 per cent.
Source: News Corp Australia Network

Hockey challenged on TV over negative gearing
Treasurer Joe Hockey was challenged on TV show Q & A on Monday night by economist John Daley. The Grattan Institute head asked the treasurer why he hasn’t abolished negative gearing and was told that it might increase rents. Hockey said that Bob Hawke had scrapped the tax concession in the 1980s and claimed that it pushed rents higher, punishing those who could not afford to buy their own homes. Daley said that the idea that abolishing negative gearing would increase rent was based on what happened in Sydney; that, he said, was perhaps due to lack of supply.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Real estate agency will take responsibility on valuations if proven
BresicWhitney, the real estate agency that has been served with a court summons by Fair Trading NSW, says if the claims against it are proven then it will take full responsibility. Fair Trading NSW alleges that the agency underquoted on two properties in Sydney that were sold last year. Director Shannan Whitney says that it takes the claims very seriously and if they are proved to be true the firm will “address the issue and how we work to ensure we are within the guidelines.” The Domain Group reports that Mr Whitney says that he believes underquoting has been ongoing in the industry for some time but says he is confident that the agency is addressing “the pain points in the buyer and consumer experience.”
Source: Domain Group

ARPA executives to face questions on rise in investor loans
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority is to be grilled this Friday in Canberra by the House of Representatives economics committee and is expected to be asked to explain the rise in investor mortgages. In November at a similar hearing the agency said it had boosted its monitoring of investor home loans but figures show there has been an increase in the numbers.
Source: The Australian