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Hot Property: Biggest headlines from the week that was

13 August 2020 Grace Ormsby
Canberra

Businesses are beginning their rebound post-COVID-19 despite Victoria’s second wave of infections, while brokers have gotten a glimpse of what their new best interests duty to consumers will look like: Here are the biggest property stories from this week.

Welcome to REB’s weekly round-up of the headline stories and news that’s important not only for the real estate sector, but also for the state of property in Australia more broadly.

To compile this list, not only are we taking a look at the week’s most read stories and the news that matters to you, but we are also curating it to include stories from our sister brands that could have an impact on the Australian property landscape.  

1. High-end partnership set to service the Shire

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Danny Fox and Jed Wood are launching Fox & Wood in Sydney’s south, with a statement announcing the independent agency’s launch detailing a commitment to “high-end, client-centric service”.

The new business venture is a product of the Eview Group model, with the group’s CEO calling out Fox & Wood as a “modern and daring brand”.

2. How is Melbourne property faring during the COVID-19 lockdown?

Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria have not noticeably impacted on house prices yet.

“Melbourne housing values have dropped by 1.1 per cent, the numbers of owner-occupiers had increased in demand by 0.5 [of a percentage point] and demand from investors has dropped by 0.3 [of a percentage point],” a Herron Todd White monthly property report said.

“Melbourne CBD high-rise apartments in the city and fringe areas will suffer the largest price fall as a result of the coronavirus.”

3. Why are some capitals outperforming others?

CoreLogic’s head of research, Eliza Owen, has pointed to a number of factors, both health and economic, which are driving different segments in different directions.

She pointed out that even with government support of around $18 billion a month, cities where labour markets are more impacted are also likely to underperform, as will those with more significant exposure to overseas migration as a source of housing demand.

4. Century 21 joins the remote agent revolution

Century 21 has revealed its C21 IGNITE model, which introduces “a new, fully supported model for high-performing real estate agents to operate their own business without the need for a traditional office shopfront”.

While remote work is not a new concept for the industry, the Century 21 concept offers up “the strength of its consumer-facing brand which similar offerings cannot match”.  

5. Successful agent opens own agency

RE/MAX has announced it is expanding its operations into Maryborough, Queensland, with real estate agent Rachel Ellis starting her own agency.

“Maryborough offers something special,” she said. “The city still has its heritage but is growing, changing… moving forward, and I want to be part of it, building a team that shares my values, my passion for real estate and my commitment to this community.”

6. Changing market trend sees investors leave their comfort zone

MCG Quantity Surveyors director Mike Mortlock believes this is a time of change, with investors now buying, on average, around 300km away from home.

“The idea of wandering too far from your ‘locality of comfort’ frightened investors in the past, so an average distance of 293 kilometres is substantial…. Just 6.9 per cent of Australia-based investors bought within their home suburb. I’d suggest this is a dramatic drop from the proportion we’d have seen 10 or 20 years ago.”

7. Bank ceases lending to high DTI borrowers

Effective immediately, BOQ will cease lending to home loan applicants with a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio — total debts divided by gross income — exceeding 8. It will also cease processing applications from non-PAYG borrowers with a DTI ratio greater than 6.

8. Turnaround times bounce across big four

According to Momentum Intelligence’s latest Broker Pulse statistics, ANZ continues to trail the pack, with its turnaround times increasing for the fifth consecutive month, from an average of 26 business days in June to 27 business days as at 31 July.

CBA and Westpac Group recorded the sharpest monthly increases, up by an average of three business days to nine business days and 14 business days, respectively, while NAB’s turnaround times increased from an average of nine business days in June to 10 business days.

9. How should Melbourne agents handle stage 4 restrictions?

Agents are being advised to follow New Zealand’s template, as the country was able to experience a real estate boom post-stage 4 lockdowns.

10. Franchise group unveils EAP

A boutique franchise group has launched a new Employee Assistance Program to help with staff wellbeing.

OBrien Real Estate has rolled out EAP Assist, a complimentary and confidential counselling service that provides staff with support in both their professional and personal lives. Common issues include workplace conflicts like bullying as well as personal issues such as depression, anxiety, gambling and domestic violence.

Hot Property: Biggest headlines from the week that was
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