Sharp rise in mortgage delinquencies; property spruikers issued warning

Mortgage delinquencies rise unexpectedly in Victoria
Delinquency rates around Australia have been uncharacteristically low for years, but are beginning to creep up in Victoria, Fitch Ratings noted in a report this week. Victoria’s rate rose by 17 basis points for the quarter ended in March, to 1.37 per cent. It’s also the only state with a rising delinquency rate over the last 12 months. Hume City, Victoria has the nation’s highest 30-day delinquency rate of 2.99 per cent. Four of the top five suburbs for arrearages are in Victoria, with rising rates concentrated in the outer northern and outer west regions of Melbourne. Read the full story here.
Property spruikers face the rising wrath of regulators
Scream buy at suckers (er, investors) all day long … but don’t break the law. Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria sent letters to dozens of spruikers recently, warning them that their “free seminars” using high-pressure sales tactics to entice customers must abide by Australian Consumer Law. Fifteen property spruikers in particular have come under scrutiny, with consumer advocates worried about the pyramid-scheme-like “education programs” some spruikers have been pushing, selling spruiker franchises of sorts to students, to set up rent-to-buy and vendor-finance property deals with people farther down the chain. The emergence of self-managed superannuation funds as a property investment tool may be drawing more attention to spruikers, given the legal and ethical ramifications. Read the full story here.
Melbourne leads the nation in housing construction approvals
Melbourne’s at the top of the Housing Industry Association survey of construction permit data throughout the country, with more than $385 million worth of property on tap for construction. South Morang, near Melbourne, comes second with $277 million worth of construction approved. New dwelling construction approval rose to 162,000 through 2012-2013. By the HIA’s estimation, comparing construction permit activity with population growth, the ACT is the “hottest” market in Australia. Crace, near the ACT, increased population by 58.1 per cent through 2012-2013 and approved $112 million worth of new construction. Read the full story here.
Sydney suburb of Kirkham latest addition to million-dollar club
The median house price for Kirkham, in Sydney’s southwest, has risen to $1.06 million, making it a million-dollar suburb. It’s the effect of a 15.5 per cent rise in values over the last year. At least two dozen suburbs in Sydney’s inner west and more than 100 across the metropolitan area now have median values over $1 million, including Annandale, Rhodes and Five Dock. The number of million-dollar suburbs increased 34 percent last year. Read the full story here.
Australia Post to replace West Melbourne call center with mixed-use development
The postal service is moving its staff to new offices, leaving its Rosslyn Street call centre in West Melbourne open to a redevelopment with 501 units of housing, in a mixed-use village of five apartment towers between six and 19 storeys to cover the 9200-square-metre site bordered by Rosslyn, Adderley and Dudley streets. The design includes a public ''piazza'' along Rosslyn Street and would be one of the largest projects in the northern part of the city if approved. Density may be a concern of the council and nearby residents, along with a relatively small amount of parking. Read the full story here.