A soft week leads to soft prices
Two public holidays last week took a bite out of national property markets. Sydney managed a 0.3 percent fall in values for the week -- though they’re still up 5.1 per cent for the year. Melbourne fell 0.6 per cent while Perth and Adelaide rose 0.6 per cent. Perth remains down 0.6 per cent for the year, while Adelaide is up 3.3 per cent. Brisbane rose 0.2 per cent last week.
The overall market was flat on low volume -- just 859 auctions on Saturday around the capitals for an average clearance rate of 64 per cent. Sydney held 344 auctions over the weekend for a 75 percent clearance rate, while Perth held only 12 auctions over the weekend, posting a 91 per cent clearance rate. Read the entire story here.

Self managed superannuation funds increasingly being used to buy property
ATO statistics showed a new high of 509,992 superfunds in June 2013, growing at an average of almost 30,000 new funds a year since 2010. There are now just shy of one million people who are SMSF members. While these funds were once favoured predominantly by wealthy baby boomers, discount SMSF set-up providers have been serving younger Australians on average incomes. And those funds are increasingly being used to buy property as rental income, as the restrictions on their use in the real estate market decrease. Read the entire story here.

Property Council of Australia has a new chief with an eye on tax reform
An industry body representing some of the biggest landlords in Australia – the Property Council of Australia – appointed Ken Morrison to replace chief executive Peter Verwer. Morrison served at the PCA for 16 years before leaving for the Tourism and Transport Forum a year ago.   Sunday, he expressed concern about taxation in the property sector under the current government.  “When governments are cash-strapped, they tend to see the property sector as a milch cow.” Read the rest of the story here.

Sydney Morning Herald: Banks should be lowering mortgage rates.
Clancy Yeats writes. “Banks' average wholesale debt costs peaked some time in the past couple of years, and are clearly heading down. There have been other factors pushing up costs, especially increased competition for deposits, but this, too, has been easing in recent months. Senior bankers acknowledge these trends and analysts conclude bank funding costs are falling. Yet how many lenders have passed on this funding windfall to all their customers through deep reductions in interest rates?” Read the entire story here.