The Sunshine Coast Continues To Mature

It’s no secret that the Sunshine Coast continues to advance at a rapid rate. On the doorstep of Asia and the Pacific Rim, it is not only a local and national destination, but an international one as well. Its Gross Regional Product has almost doubled over the last decade to AUD $16 billion. With a current population of 317,000, it has developed into Australia’s ninth largest metropolitan area whilst at the same time balancing this growth and retaining its’ natural beauty, clean air, and small-town charm. Mountain Creek, recently designated as the Sunshine Coast’s most family-friendly suburb, sits at the geographical centre of all that it offers.

Mountain Creek School ZoneMountain Creek Named Coast’s Most Family-Friendly Suburb…Respected local publication My Weekly Preview recently announced the results of a study by CoreLogic research, commissioned by Aussie Home Loans, proclaiming Mountain Creek as the Sunshine Coast’s most family-friendly suburb. Their findings were based on statistical analysis, including a percentage of family households of 55%, an upper 25% house value of $662, 027, a lower 25% house value of $535,420, average land area of 596m2 and 233 sales in 2017. Undoubtedly the prestigious Mountain Creek school catchment and proximity to community amenities, shopping, transport and beaches only adds weight to the raw data. Strong demand for rental properties across the whole Sunshine Coast, coupled with Mountain Creek’s popularity, point to significant opportunities for robust rental returns for local investors. Whilst many families would love to buy into the Mountain Creek dream, the economic reality is that a large proportion will look to rent first, with the added benefit for investors being that renters often become buyers in the long term.

Maroochydore’s New CBD To Deliver Significant Economic Benefits…According to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, “Maroochydore’s new city centre will cement the Sunshine Coast as one of Queensland’s, and Australia’s, best performing regional economies”. Situated within a ten-minute drive of Mountain Creek, it will feature prime commercial office space, exclusive retail, public plazas, community facilities, dining and entertainment, waterways and parks, residential apartments, a premium hotel and convention and exhibition facilities. World-class innovative design will set the Maroochydore CBD apart from other regional cities, and many State capitals. Highlights include:

  • A CBD-scale underground waste collection system, an Australian first.
  • Smart-city technology featuring a high-speed, high-quality underground fibre optic network that will enable free WI-FI, Smart Signage travel information to pedestrians and Smartphone apps to assist in parking.
  • Clean energy for all council infrastructure, including community facilities and lighting, provided by Australia’s fifth largest solar farm.
  • Priority for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport with plans for the future provision of passenger and light rail into the city heart.

Developments In Mooloolaba And Alexandra Headland…The beach resorts of Mooloolaba and Alexandra Headland, within 5-10 minutes’ drive of Mountain Creek, continue to progress at pace. At Mooloolaba, a proposed development that encompasses a supermarket, shopping centre, hotel, bar, indoor sport and recreation complex and aged care facility will include 700 much needed council controlled car parking spaces, plus another 300 attached to the residential component. In Alexandra Headland, council has approved an application for a massive development of 318 two-bedroom units on land owned by the Uniting Church.

Harmony And Aura…South of Mountain Creek, two master-planned residential developments are set to house a large proportion of the Sunshine Coast’s future population growth. Harmony, otherwise known as Palmview, will feature a grand linear park the length of 10 footBike trailball fields, 60 kilometres of biking and hiking trails, and will house 17,000 new residents over the next 15 to 20 years. Aura will feature a 90ha city centre, 200 kilometres of biking and hiking trails and a South Bank-style parkland, known as People’s Place. It will lead to the construction of homes for 50,000 residents and target the creation of 20,000 direct jobs. Although both estates will unquestionably be high quality in their own right, and will lead to economic opportunities for Mountain Creek locals, their location and huge scale will further highlight the advantages of the central positioning of Mountain Creek and its sense of community.

Other Major Infrastructure…

  • Plans are being developed to deliver a proposed light rail system by 2025, linking Caloundra, Kawana, Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland and the Maroochydore CBD.
  • Designated an International Airport in 2016, funding and approval has been secured for the Sunshine Coast Airport to commence a $347 million expansion to have a new runway operating in 2020 to enable direct flights from Asia and the Western Pacific.
  • Sunshine Coast Council plans to link Maroochydore directly to global communications systems in Asia, the Pacific and the United States via a proposed undersea broadband cable by 2020, estimated to bring $700 million to the Sunshine Coast economy every year.
  • The University of the Sunshine Coast is Australia’s fastest growing University.
  • The Sunshine Coast University Hospital is a $1.8 billion investment providing 4,600 jobs.

Negotiating 101

Hopefully you’ve done your research and chosen a top quality agent, so you’ll be going into the negotiation phase of selling your home with an expert. Your agent will use his or her excellent negotiating skills and detailed knowledge of the current market, local area and particular features of your home to drive up your sale price and get you the best result. Given you may have never sold a property before, or only ever do this once every 10 years, it’s great to have that negotiating expert in your corner. Image result for NEGOTIATING IMAGES

AUCTION NEGOTIATIONS

If you’re going to auction, your agent may bring pre-auction offers to you. Of course, you can accept pre-auction offers anytime before auction day, but as your agent will most likely advise, an early offer really has to be outstanding to convince you to accept. Otherwise, you may as well see what open market competition will do for your sale price at auction. If your home does not reach your reserve price at market, then your agent will then negotiate with the top bidders, and any other interested buyers in the same way as private sale negotiations below.

PRIVATE SALE NEGOTIATIONS

If you’re selling your property privately with a fixed price, your agent will bring all buyer offers to you for consideration. Here are 5 top negotiating tips and strategies to help you sift through the offers, and get to the price you really want!

Get it in writing…Buyers may give your agent a verbal offer, but as they say, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. So if a buyer is serious, get them to commit to their offer in writing, and sign some form of agreement with a deposit. That way you can separate the talk from the walk.

First in, best considered…It may be tempting to dismiss the first offer you get out of hand, because it’s not exactly the price you’re looking for. But this could be the most interested buyer in your home, as they’ve already been shopping around and know your home is “the one”. Good offers usually do come early when your property is fresh on the market, so be sure to consider these first offers carefully with your agent and negotiate seriously, because you may not get that price again.

Everything’s negotiable…It’s not just about the sale price either. You may be able to get closer to the price you want by being flexible on other terms. Does the buyer desperately neeImage result for NEGOTIATING IMAGESd a longer settlement, prefer 5% deposit, or want your fabulous outdoor furniture thrown in as part of the sale? A bit of give and take on your side may get you the price  you want, with terms that suit both parties.

Meet in the middle…The simplest negotiating strategy of all, but often it works. Being prepared to compromise on the price and/or terms and meet somewhere in between could be a win-win for both you and the buyer. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of it and refuse to budge, but by giving a little on your side, you could encourage the buyer to move closer to your dream price, instead of walking away.

Know when to move onIf a sale does fall through and a buyer walks away for whatever reason, it can be tough to let go of that price as a seller. Perhaps they couldn’t get a loan, sell their own home, or they saw something they liked better? Whatever the reason, it was not meant to be, so discuss the options with your agent, move on and focus on the sale that will go through this time.

 

 

 

                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

GUTTER MAINTENANCE – Why is this important?

shutterstock_213280627_slider-765x318Industry standards recommend gutters should be serviced at least once or twice per year.  With all the crazy weather we are having and with storm season approaching we suggest a proactive approach to gutter care and maintenance. Obviously, the frequency of service should be assessed on a case by case basis depending on varying factors such as the property’s proximity to trees and falling debris, the time of year and wind and weather conditions.

If in the event of damage to a property, many insurance companies will not ‘pay out’ if the property shows signs of lack of preventative maintenance, including gutters.  Your property is of course one of your greatest financial assets so we want to ensure that your property is properly maintained.

Rather than be reactive to the possibility of an incident, as managing agents we care about our client’s properties and suggest a proactive approach. We advise regular gutter maintenance to help:

  • Prolong the life of your gutters
  • Removes sludge, grime and leafy debris that can cause blockages
  • Remove rust causing debris from your gutters
  • Eliminate the change of water build-up and serious damage to your ceiling and building structures due to blocked gutters
  • Reduce breeding areas for pests, vermin and insects, especially disease carrying mosquitoes
  • Save time and money overall
  • Prevent the risk of liability issues due to the risk of a fall
  • Reduce the risk of mould

Using a qualified experienced and licenced contractor can keep a record of all scheduled maintenance for insurance purposes and provide you with before and after photo’s along with a free roof and gutter report.

** Information provided by Gutter-Vac

COMPLYING WITH THE FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES (DOMESTIC SMOKE ALARMS) AMENDMENT ACT 2016

The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 (QLD), commenced on 1 January 2017 and imposes additional obligations on property owners/managers with regards to the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms at domestic dwellings.

So what are the changes…The changes are many and significant:

  • From 31 December 2016, smoke alarms must be replaced within ten years of their manufacture date or if they fail when routinely tested.
  • From 1 January 2017, only photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014 can be installed whenever a smoke alarm is replaced or a new one installed.
  • All smoke alarms must operate when tested and they must be interconnected to every other smoke alarm installed in the dwelling.
  • In respect to existing dwellings, the Regulation amends the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 and requires each storey with at least one bedroom to have a smoke alarm installed on or near the ceiling in each bedroom. If one or more of the bedrooms are connected by a door to a hallway, a smoke alarm must also be installed in the hallway. In dwellings where a hallway does not connect by a door to the bedrooms, a smoke alarm is required in a location between the bedroom and the remainder of the dwelling.
  • Additionally, for each storey of a dwelling which does not have bedrooms, a smoke alarm must be installed on or near the ceiling in the area of the stairway or otherwise inside the dwelling provided it is installed on a path of travel to an exit outside the dwelling.
  • All smoke alarms must now be either hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply or powered by a non-removable battery with a 10 year battery life.
  • In respect to dwellings where an application for a building approval is made after 31 December 2016 and the building work is a substantial renovation, the Regulation amends the Building Regulation 2006. For these dwellings, a smoke alarm must be installed on or near the ceiling in each bedroom of the dwelling or part of the dwelling and must be hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply.

So when do these changes take effect?…Notably, the Act imposes different time frames for compliance.

The Act will apply to domestic dwellings where an application for a building development approval is made after 31 December 2016 and the building work is a substantial renovation. The Act defines a substantial renovation as one undertaken pursuant to a building development approval for “alterations to an existing building or structure” and the alterations (or any structural alterations approved or completed in the previous three years) exceed more than half of the volume of the existing building or structure. Essentially, this type of dwelling is a new or substantially renovated property.

The Act will come into effect from 31 December 2021 for an existing dwelling in circumstances where a contract of sale is entered into or a new General Tenancy Agreement is entered into or an existing one renewed.

The final phase of the provisions will be applicable within 10 years, whereby all owner-occupied private dwellings must comply with the Act by 31 December 2026.

A failure to comply with the new legislation could result in a fine up to $609.50.

For more information visit the website: http://www.fire.qld.gov.au

* Sourced from the REIQ

NEW TAX RULES FOR ALL PROPERTIES WITH A SALE VALUE $750,000 AND ABOVE

From 1 July 2017, new tax rules will apply on any property transaction where the market value of the property is $750,000 and above. Although the new laws are aimed at foreign residents, real estate agents must be aware that these new laws also impact Australian residents selling properties above this value.

Australian resident seller/s, if you are looking to sell your property and you consider its market value to be $750,000 or more then you should apply for a clearance certificate from the ATO as soon as practicable to avoid 12.5 per cent of the purchase price being withheld at settlement.

If you are unsure about the ultimate purchase price but there is some prospect that it may sell for $750,000 or above (for example, it is being sold at auction and the purchase price is unknown or it is being sold by expression of interest) you should apply for a clearance certificate from the ATO as soon as practicable to avoid 12.5 per cent of the purchase price being withheld at settlement

How do Australian residents obtain a clearance certificate…A seller who is an Australian resident can obtain a clearance certificate by making an application on ato.gov.au/FRCGW (hyper link). If the seller is automatically assessed as an Australian resident, a clearance certificate will be issued within days of the application however, the process may take longer for more complex applications.

When does the clearance certificate have to be given?…Australian resident sellers must give the clearance certificate to the purchaser on or before settlement occurs to avoid the buyers’ solicitor withholding 12.5 per cent of the purchase price.

What if the seller is a foreign person?…Where the seller is a ‘foreign person’, the purchaser must retain 12.5 per cent of the purchase price and pay that to the ATO at settlement, unless the seller provides a valid “Variation Notice’ in which case the purchaser must remit the amount stated in the notice.

When will the new laws apply?…The new laws will apply to sale contracts (for $750,000 and above) entered into on or after 1 July 2017.

What types of properties do these rules apply to?…All property including, vacant land, residential property, commercial property, strata title and community titles schemes.

Foreign resident sellers…If the purchase price is $750,000 or above and the seller is a foreign resident, you should advise them that 12.5 per cent of the purchase price will be withheld at settlement by the purchaser and provided to the ATO.

Will the REIQ amend its contracts?…Yes, all REIQ property sales contracts (residential and commercial) will be amended to include provisions which reflect the above new tax rules.

**sourced from the REIQ

 

Housing Affordability & Investment Properties…WHAT’S COMING 2017 – 2018

Access to Super for First Home Deposits Individuals will be able to make voluntary contributions to superannuation of up to $15,000 per year and $30,000 in total, to be withdrawn subsequently for a first home deposit. The contributions can be made from 1 July 2017 and must be made within an individual’s existing contribution caps. From 1 July 2018, an individual will be able to withdraw these contributions and their associated deemed earnings for a first home deposit. The withdrawals will be taxed at an individual’s marginal tax rate, less a 30% tax offset. Couples saving for a first-home deposit can access this measure and double the benefit.

Super Contributions from Downsizing – Individuals aged 65 or over can contribute up to $300,000 from the proceeds of the sale of their home as a non-concessional contribution into superannuation, from 1 July 2018.

Travel Deductions Limited – Deductions for travel expenses related to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent for a residential rental property will be disallowed from 1 July 2017.

Plant and Equipment Deductions Limited – Plant and equipment depreciation deductions will be limited to outlays actually incurred by investors in residential real estate properties from 1 July 2017.

CGT Discount Increased – Subject to various conditions, the Capital Gains Tax discount for Australian resident individuals investing in qualifying affordable housing will be increased from 50% to 60% from 1 January 2018.

Negative Gearing Despite pre-Budget speculation, the negative gearing rules remain unchanged.

** Information provided by: Australian Taxation Reporter **

 

Finance Health Check for Investors

Have you noticed of late significant increases in the interest rates you are paying on your loans?

focus-interest-ratesIf you have, it is due to the governing body for the banks (APRA) directing them to build their cash reserves. It may be time to look at one of the non major lenders.

With increases in investment interest rates and new restrictions on interest only loans, it is becoming tougher to borrow for investment.

In today’s climate of rate rises and banks lower borrowing tolerances it is now even more important to engage the services of a professional mortgage broker and not rely on any one bank for a solution.

Competition among banks has never been greater with large variations in home loan products, interest rates and lending policies.

Some banks will not lend at all to purchase investment properties.

Releasing the equity in your current property or finding the benefits you may be entitled to with different banks could be found by exploring your options with a professional broker. They could find opportunities to help advance your portfolio or streamline your current lending you may not even be aware of.

With the lending markets constantly changing it makes sense to re-evaluate your loans from time to time.

A discussion with a professional mortgage broker who could assist you with all important loan structuring, product selection and interest rates may enhance the performance of your property investment.

If you would like a free no obligation appointment to discuss your circumstances please don’t hesitate to call Tim Hansen from Your Property Finance (YPF Group) on 0413 305 900.

**Written by Tim Hansen, Senior Finance Broker for YPF Group**

Depreciation Schedules on Investment Properties

DID YOU KNOW… Only around 20% of Investors have a tax depreciation schedule done on their investment property, which means the remaining 80% are missing out on substantial ATO Tax Depreciation benefits.

Some frequently asked questions about Depreciation Schedules…

  1. So how does a depreciation schedule help me?

Simple. A depreciation schedule will help you pay less tax. The amount the depreciation schedule says you claim effectively reduces your taxable income.

  1. Is my property too old to claim depreciation?

The simple answer is NO. If your residential property was built after July 1985 you will be able to claim both Building Allowance and Plant and Equipment. If construction on your property commenced prior to this date, you can only claim depreciation on Plant and Equipment. But it will still be worthwhile.

  1. Shouldn’t my accountant prepare this report?

If your residential property was built after 1985 your accountant is not allowed to estimate the construction costs. Tax Ruling 97/25 issue by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has identified that only a fully qualified quantity surveyor brings the appropriate education, experience and training to provide reliable figures upon which to base a property tax depreciation schedule.

  1. Will you need to inspect my property?

The Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) Code of Practice stipulates that site inspections are necessary to satisfy ATO requirements.  A trained Quantity Surveyor will ensure all depreciable items are noted and photographed. This guarantees you won’t miss out on any deductions. The documentation can then be used as evidence in the event of an audit.

  1. My property is renovated. Can I still claim?

Yes. You will need to report how much you spent on renovations. This is an ATO obligation. If the previous owner completed the renovations you are STILL entitled to claim depreciation. In either case, where the cost of renovation is unknown, a Quantity Surveyor has been identified by the ATO as appropriately qualified to make that estimation.

  1. How much will my depreciation schedule cost?

John Willats from Homesure charges a one-off fee of $550 (GST inclusive) which is fully deductible and reports display 10 years of claim.

  1. I bought my property 3 years ago. Can I still make a claim?

Yes you can. Your accountant can amend your previous tax returns up to two years back. There are some exceptions, so contact your tax agent or the ATO for clarification.

**Information supplied by Realestate.com.au