Secret auction for​ ​$1.3 million Millers Point ​property
At more than $12,000 per square metre, the $1.3 million terrace on Kent Street in the heart of the planned Barangaroo redevelopment district is a prime parcel. But it's also controversial: the previous tenants were 293 social housing residents, the last of which paid $80 a week to live there. The Government Property NSW ordered the agents involved to remain quiet during the sale after complaints from evicted tenants. The media has been barred from the auction, as has anyone who did not register in advance. Read the full story here.
Mortgage Choice banks big in the quarter
Mortgage Choice set a record net profit for the broker, growing 18.6% to $18.7 million on a loan book of $47.4 billion. $12.2
​billion in housing loan approvals for the year on the back of a booming real estate market led CEO Michael Russell to a very positive outlook. Gross commissions – the bread and butter of the brokerage business – grew 8 per cent for the year. The firm averages a rate of 0.633 per cent on the value of the mortgages it delivers, plus trailing commissions. But the broker has negotiated different rates with different firms. At the top end, Bankwest and Macquarie pay 0.7 per cent, while big firms like Westpac or ANZ can escape with 0.5 per cent.

RBA at wits' end on stimulus
There's nowhere left for Glenn Stevens to go. The governor of the Reserve ​Bank told the economics standing committee Wednesday that rate cuts have done all they can to stimulate the economy … implying that legislators may have to take matters into their own hands. Stevens ruled out limits on bank lending on mortgages, though he hopes to invoke the “animal spirits” of the business community to expand commercial borrowing and investment. Interest rates have done the desired work to spur housing construction – and the jobs that brings – but haven't managed to lower the value of the Australian dollar to stimulate the resources sector, nor have they encouraged businesses to borrow at the rate real estate investors have been doing so. Read the full story here.
More reason not to bother with bank lending limits: the IMF says they don't work
International Monetary Fund released a report this week examining whether caps on debt-to-income or loan-to-value ratios, bank lending limits or currency controls prevent market crashes. And the answer appears to be no. The moves do not appear to reduce systemic risks while creating trouble with financial cycles, according to the report. “In particular, in as much as macro-prudential policies affect resource allocations, they may affect economic activity and growth and/or possibly limit (efficient) financial sector development,” the authors wrote. Advanced countries seem to have better economic results than others when controlling borrower debt limits, the study also noted, but some evidence emerged that a package of macro-prudential policies in emerging markets can be successful. Read the full story here.
Perth-area real estate agent fined for ignoring superior bid
The State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia fine​d a real estate agent $3​,500 after an investigation revealed he failed to inform his client of a higher offer on a sale – one that would have cut his commission in half. Dane Stephen Rawlings had two offers for a client's Warnbro property, of $410,000 and $400,000, both subject to finance. Rawlings would have had to split the commission on the higher offer, but instead told the bidder that it had been rejected for an all-cash offer while failing to present the offer at all to the client. Read the full story here