Median house price hits $1 million in Sydney
House prices in Sydney have this week reached a significant milestone; hitting a median asking price of $1 million for the first time. Data revealed by SQM Research shows that asking prices increased by more than $10,000 in just a week as sellers took the opportunity to cash in on a hot market. Across the rest of the country the rise was a more moderate $6,400 to a median of $755,100. SQM believes that asking prices will continue to rise, perhaps by as much as 12 per cent next year with no immediate likelihood that interest rates will rise.

Australian cities will fall behind Asian competitors without a plan
A long term vision is needed for our cities to ensure they keep up with regional competitors. That’s the view of David Pitchford, chief executive of Urban Growth NSW. He was addressing the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce property lunch and said that it’s important that our major cities work out how they will look in the long term. Pitchford is currently overseeing the redevelopment of 160 hectares of Sydney’s inner-city but says that there is no metropolitan plan with a clear vision. One of the areas he is keen to tackle is transport and criticised the federal government’s commitment to roads when trains offer better efficiency and productivity.

Australian homeowners feeling more confident
Aussies are feeling more confident about the economy and their own finances this month; the second month in a row that consumer sentiment has increased. The Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank index rose by 1.9 per cent, more than twice as much as it did in October. Housing features highly on the list of important purchases with the proportion of respondents agreeing that it’s a good time to buy a dwelling rising by 3.1 per cent this month.

Apartment developers pay premium prices for convertible office sites
Such is the demand for apartments in many Australian cities that developers are prepared to pay above the market price for commercial sites with the potential for converting. Writing in The Australian Frank Gelber, chief economist for BIS Shrapnel, says that this is great news for commercial property owners but he doesn’t think the trend will last and commercial prices will drop back again. For apartment buyers it means a new supply of homes in prime city center locations and increasingly in suburbs.