Abigroup Wins Department of Defence Contract

LEND Lease arm Abigroup has won a major government contract.

Details of a media statement released today is below:

Abigroup has won a national Defence contract to prepare RAAF airbases around Australia to receive the air force’s next generation of fighter jets.

Read more

NIMBYs Might Win Fight Against Major Brunswick Proposal, Melbourne

THE Moreland City Council and developers are battling against the clock to get a contentious Brunswick project out of the ground before mid-2012, when the permit expires, and resident concerns regarding the proposal must then be heard.

The 284 – 294 Albert Street block was the subject of a dispute last June when Brisbane-based owner Citimark proposed a $100 million apartment compound with three towers rising between 10 and 14-levels (impression, right).

Citimark relied on a development overlay introduced in 1994 and specifically for the construction of a supermarket, next door, to bypass third-party appeal rights for its major proposal.

Read more

Move Over Simcity, New Internet-Based Property Development Game Arrives

REAL estate hobbyists will be able to play the part of a property entrepreneur, as part of a new internet-based computer game set to hit the market soon.

Property Mogul will allow players to acquire, sell and manage properties to build a portfolio. Players start with $1 million, and can utilize real estate agent help to advice on game based purchasers. Agents will be represented with an online avatar.

“Property Mogul is an entertaining and interactive game where players buy, sell and manage real estate, allowing them to apply real life principles to achieve virtual property tycoon status,” said Century 21 Australia chairman and owner Charles Tarbey. The agency has developed the game with Engaging Communications.

Read more

Charter Hall Disposes of $34.65 Million in Assets

CHARTER Hall today announced its Diversified Property Fund (DPF) has contracted to sell Spinifex House at 46 – 50 Kings Park Road (pictured, right), West Perth to a private syndicator for $28.25 million, or $6900 per square metre.

The sale price reflects a premium price of 6.3 per cent to the assets June 30, 2011 value.

Charter Hall has also sold a smaller office building at 22 – 28 Compark Circuit, in the south-east Melbourne suburb of Mulgrave. This asset sold for $6.4 million to an owner occupier.

Read more

Google Updates its Australian Street View Images

ONLINE real estate voyeurs may notice Australia’s capital cities looking greener, cleaner and generally more attractive.

After some 18 months touring roads in cars with roof-mounted cameras, and then blurring the scenes it recorded for privacy, internet-based business Google this week replaced much of the Australian imagery it uses for its Maps and Street View technologies (a UK Google Street image capturing a drunk man, pictured, right).

Google’s much anticipated upgrade – the first major improvement to the Street View service introduced here in August 2008 – affects capital cities, coast and country towns.

Read more

Land Sales Plummeting: HIA, RP Data

LAND sales have plummeted over 40 per cent, nationally, according to new research issued by the Housing Industry Association.

The group expects the residential construction sector to “remain in the doldrums” until at least December. It describes 2011 as the worst stretch for land sales in about a decade.

A joint report by RP Data and HIA, and reported in the AFR, found the number of residential land sales had dropped for the sixth consecutive quarter in March 2011.

Read more

ABS Figures Show First Home Buyer Market Collapsing

NEW figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show 60,000 fewer first home buyers entered the mortgage market for the year to May.

This reflects a drop of 5000 loans a month, and comes despite the low interest rate environment.

The ABS says rising costs of living, and interest rates, are factors negatively affecting sentiment in the market.

Read more

Ritziest Suburbs Fall Hardest Since GFC Peak: RP Data-Rismark

AFTER what has been a largely bleak economic backdrop, the country’s most affordable suburbs are performing better than its ritziest.

According to research group RP Data-Rismark, exclusive suburbs including Mosman Park in Perth and Hunters Hill in Sydney (pictured, right) have reported drastic median price drops of more than 30 per cent since “the peak”, which it deems to be August 2008 (about six months after when many agents say the downturn started in the large Sydney and Melbourne markets).

Read more

Coalition Leads Investigation Into Recent Offshore Farm Investment

TONY Abbott is leading an investigation into foreign ownership of Australian property particularly farms), after a wave of complaints from agents and farmers that the current rules for offshore investors is resulting in much of the country being sold unbeknownst to the Foreign Investment Review Board.

The federal coalition announced the decision on Thursday (June 20) after calls from the Liberals, Nationals and the Greens for new rules to curb farm purchasers by offshore investors.

The Australian newspaper has recently reported a swag of foreign investors quietly snapping up major Australian properties. Buyers include China’s largest coal producer Shenhua and the Qatar  government.

Read more

Occupancy Levels Dip Across Most Australian States: ABS

NATURAL disasters in key markets, a strong $A encouraging Australians to travel overseas, and prospective visitors seeking cheaper destinations, have contributed to a slowdown in the country’s tourist accommodation sector.

According to new research issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, occupancy in the hotel, motel and serviced apartment sector has dropped in many states, with the lowest rate (51.8 per cent) reported in the Northern Territory.

Tasmania performed best with an occupancy rate of 72.5 per cent in the March quarter. It was followed by the ACT (70.4 per cent) and NSW (67.8 per cent).

Read more

Stockland Pays $22 Million For Three Retirement Villages

STOCKLAND has paid $22 million for three retirement villages.

The complexes were offloaded by Retirement Villages Group (RVG)), a struggling unlisted retirement fund run by the FKP Property Group and Macquarie Bank.

The portfolio acquisition adds 376 to the number of independent units offered by Stockland. Combined with serviced apartments, it now manages a total of 7403 dwellings.

Read more

Major Industrial Leases Signed: Perth, Sydney, Melbourne

THREE major industrial deals have been signed in major Australian cities.

In Perth, K-Craft Builders has agreed to lease 1800 square metres of space previously leased to Alloy Haulage, at 36 Banksia Street in Welshpool. The lease was struck at a gross face rent (pre incentives) of about $93 per square metre.

K-Craft has been headquartered at Welshpool for 30 years, and is expanding. Colliers International brokered the deal.

Read more

Record Number of New Zealanders Move to Australia in May: Statistics NZ

A RECORD number of New Zealanders are moving to Australia.

According to Statistics New Zealand, 3300 New Zealanders moved to Australia in May – and that figure is net (meaning it cancels out those who are relocating the other way).

The Christchurch earthquakes and aftershocks, as well as a weak economy, is driving the trend. Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city and did have a population of 300,000.


Read more

Results of Renters Survey Suggests More Flexibility Required

RENTERS want landlords to pay them greater respect, and they want to be able to customise their homes, according to a recent survey by online group rent.com.au.

The survey also rated as top renter concerns: the ability to own a pet, hang artwork and photos, work on gardens, or enjoy better quality kitchens. Renters also called for home-inspection times that are outside of business hours, and for more time to inspect homes, so as to “get a feel”.

The survey, reported in various press, does not disclose the number of survey respondents. However the issues have presented for decades to landlords.

Interestingly the survey raised an issue of advertised rents often differing from prices given during inspections.

Read more

Despite Warnings, Offshore Investors Continue to Buy Australian Agricultural Land

DESPITE warnings from Queensland independent Bob Katter, overseas investors are continuing to snap up Australian agriculture land.

This time, the Swedish National Pension Fund is teaming with US institutional investor TIAA-CREF, making a commitment to invest more in Australia.

Through its Westchester Group, TIAA-CREF already controls 180,000 hectares of cropping country. The “TIAA” refers to the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, which took an 85 per cent controlling interest in Westchester Group late last year.

Read more

Offshore Developers Leasing Australian Offices

RECRUITMENT firms say foreign developers that have been snapping up Australian assets are actively in the office market for lease.

Groups looking to establish or expand Australian operations include Asian broker and fund manager CLSA, global sovereign funds such as the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Government of Singapore Corporation and South Korea’s Investment Corporation.

LaSalle Investment Management and the US-based pramerica Real Estate Investors are also looking for space, according to the AFR.

Read more

Qatari Government Buys More Rural Australian Property

HASSAD – the agricultural arm of the Qatari government – is in negotiations to buy five properties in western Victoria, in a deal reportedly worth $45 million.

The portfolio will bring the value of Australian assets purchased by the overseas group in the past twelve months to over $100 million.

Hassad is said to be considering purchasing another major property in NSW from one of the Victorian vendors.

Read more

Address and Secrets of Channel Nine’s The Block Revealed in Council Documents

BEHIND the scenes, Channel Nine has been busy lodging applications to effectively rebuild the quartet of neighbouring terraces that are the subject of heavily marketed TV show The Block, which airs from June 20.

Nine agreed to buy the four rundown single-storey homes at 37-43 Cameron Street for $3.6 million soon after they hit the market last year. Settlement occurred in February, at about the same time new planning applications were lodged (and subsequently approved) by the City of Yarra council.

Eleven months ago, the terraces were offered for sale with an adjoining 446 square metre parcel of land (addressed 31 – 35 Cameron Street) which Nine is currently using to store materials and machinery.

Read more

April Building Approvals Rise in Parts, Fall in Parts, Generally Steady Overall

THE Australian Bureau of Statistics today released official building approval numbers.

They show the number of dwellings approved nationally fell by 1.3 per cent in April, after rising 8.6 per cent in March (seasonally adjusted).

Victoria held about steady, while New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania recorded major drops. By comparison, South Australia and Queensland reported notable rises.

Read more