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Hot Property: The biggest property headlines from the week 27-31 July 2020

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The weekly round-up of the biggest news stories from across Momentum Media’s property titles for the week ending 31 July.

Welcome to The Adviser’s weekly round-up of the stories that are getting big reads across Momentum Media’s property titles: The Adviser, Mortgage Business, Real Estate Business, Smart Property Investment and nestegg.

We hope it helps inform you of the biggest issues shaping the mortgage and property markets.

 

Westpac to onshore jobs to improve processing lags

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The major bank will onshore 1,000 jobs following “challenging conditions for home lending processing and call centres”.

Westpac has acknowledged that its response rates have been “too slow” following the “surge in demand for customer assistance at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

 

NSW temporarily extends stamp duty relief for FHBs

The NSW government has announced that it will scrap transfer duty (stamp duty) for first home buyers purchasing newly built homes under $800,000 and increase the limit to which concessions apply.

Previously, the state government waived transfer duty for owner-occupiers buying their first home if it was under $650,000.

As of 1 August 2020, the duty-free limit will be extended to $800,000 for FHBs if they purchase newly built houses (not existing homes).

The upper limit for transfer duty concessions will also increase to cover new homes worth less than $1 million. 

 

Major bank introduces new serviceability probe  

Brokers will now be required to document their clients’ post-retirement mortgage repayment plans – NAB has updated its credit policy as part of its commitment to “lending responsibly”.

After identifying their clients’ planned retirement age, brokers will be required to assess the borrower’s repayment strategy based on specific metrics set out by NAB, which determine the level of “enquiry, supporting documents and verification required to satisfy the policy”.

 

ACT launches HomeBuilder registration process

The ACT government has launched a two-step process for those wishing to access the new HomeBuilder grants, as more states begin opening applications.

Tasmania was the first state to announce that it had commenced accepting applications for the HomeBuilder grants, with South Australia and Western Australia also now accepting applications. 

ACT has now announced its process for application.

NSW, Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory are not yet accepting applications, but the governments have stated that HomeBuilder applications will need to be lodged via an online portal on their respective revenue office sites in due course.

 

Rent prices to soar as undersupply sets in

Research conducted by Propertyology’s head of research, Simon Pressley, has shown that only four out of 52 major Australian cities and towns had a residential vacancy rate of 3 per cent or higher as at the end of June 2020 – showing COVID-19 is the only thing keeping rents low right now.

Generally speaking, a market with a balanced supply has a vacancy rate between 2 and 3 per cent.

 

3 tax errors made by property investors

BMT Tax Depreciation CEO Bradley Beer said, “Property investors can claim sizeable tax deductions for the natural wear and tear that occurs to a building and its fixtures and fittings over time. These deductions are known as property depreciation.”

The three major mistakes people make? Getting the depreciation category wrong, assuming depreciation on older categories can’t be claimed, and overlooking deductions.

 

What it takes to be a top agent amid COVID-19

Despite the landscape changing, old-fashioned customer service still remains a winning strategy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, agent Darren Davis has explained.

With over 25 years of experience in customer service, and a passion for helping his clients, Mr Davis’ exceptional customer focus and in-depth market knowledge are what has led him to a very successful career in the real estate industry, he revealed to REB.

 

Harcourts names heavyweights to NSW/ACT team

Harcourts Group Australia CEO Marcus Williams has indicated that Mahan Shishineh will be chief executive officer of the NSW/ACT support team, while Babette Coutanche will move into the role of property management operations manager of the same group.

The appointments signify Harcourts’ commitment to “strengthening the value delivered into the franchise offices from our corporate team on both a national and state-based level”.

 

Professionals adds 5 new offices

The network has added new agencies in NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. The move sees Professionals add to its network even further, currently holding over 230 agencies under its banner.

Professionals Group Australia CEO David Crombie said the network’s growth, particularly over COVID-19, solidifies the brand’s attractiveness: “Professionals Group Australia continues to grow its agency network, aided by its unique membership model that features a flat-fee structure.”

 

For more analysis and insight into these stories, tune in to Momentum Media’s new live talk show on Facebook, What’s Making Headlines, featuring Momentum Media’s executive editor - real estate, Phillip Tarrant, and business coach and Real Estate Gym trainer Tom Panos on Thursday afternoons.

Hot Property: The biggest property headlines from the week 27-31 July 2020
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