Mining areas suffer biggest housing price losses
Areas linked to mining and natural resources have suffered some of the biggest losses in the housing market according to new data. The report from CoreLogic RP Data shows that Western Australia and Queensland had the biggest losses and across Australia 1 in 11 homes was sold for less than it was bought for. However nearly 1 in 3 homes sold for more than twice its purchase price with Sydney and Melbourne among the top performing cities. For homes that were bought before the financial crisis, 47.5 per cent had more than doubled their value at the time of sale, compared with just 4.1 per cent for those homes purchased after 2008.
Perth rents drop
An increased supply of rental properties in Perth has led to a further drop in rents. Figures for December show a $10 drop in median rent to $440 with the vacancy rate hitting 4.2 per cent (around 6,300 properties). Real Estate Institute of Western Australia president David Airey told Sky News that a vacancy rate of 3 per cent was more usual. Apartments and villas have seen the largest drop in rents. The population growth in WA has slowed to the lowest rate in almost a decade.
Aussies are saving the spare cash from cheaper petrol says ANZ
The steep drop in oil prices has been good news for consumers as petrol prices have fallen but it seems that Australians are choosing to bank the savings rather than spend them. The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index has risen just 0.3 per cent in the week ending 11th January following a 2.4 per cent rise the week before. ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan commented: “Subdued levels of confidence, combined with soft retail sales in November and mixed anecdotes about December sales, suggest that households may be saving rather than spending the real income boost from lower petrol prices. We expect a turnaround in the labour market is the key to an improvement in confidence.”
Real estate agents face fines for alleged under-quoting
Two real estate agents from Sydney face fines of up to $22,000 if they are found guilty of under-quoting property prices. The alleged activity by the agents involves giving buyers information that houses were valued at lower than their market prices. If they are found guilty they could be fined thousands of dollars and lose their licence to practice. The investigation by NSW Department of Fair Trading could make the first prosecutions under the  Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 for a decade.