New Year. New Home. New scheme.

*This article first appeared in the February 2020 Midland Express.

First-home buyers will need to move fast to benefit from a new federal government guarantee scheme.

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme began on January 1 and allows first-home buyers to get a loan with a 5 percent deposit, rather than the standard 20 percent. The government will then guarantee the remaining 15 percent – effectively allowing buyers to avoid taking out lenders mortgage insurance.

But there is a catch. Just 10,000 loans will be approved each financial year.

It’s important to clarify the guarantee is not a cash payment to the first-time buyer. Rather, it’s like a promise from the government to the buyer’s home loan lender that if the buyer fails to repay their home loan, the government will pay the lender the guaranteed amount (15 percent balance based on a 5 percent deposit).

The guarantee of 10,000 loans each year to first home buyers is on a first-in, best-dressed basis, and only applies to owner-occupied loans with principal and interest repayments.

Applicants will be subject to eligibility criteria, including having taxable incomes up to $125,000 a year for singles and up to $200,000 a year for couples, as well as dwelling price thresholds.

The scheme – which also involves 25 non-major lenders whose guaranteed loans will be rolled out from 1 February. Only two of the big banks, NAB and Commonwealth are currently offering the loans.

All lenders have committed not to charge eligible customers higher interest rates than equivalent customers outside of the scheme, and many will be offering other incentives.

With applications coming in thick and fast, and the scheme being essentially a lottery it is advisable that if you are eligible and interested that you get on board as soon as possible.

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Buying before Christmas could be the best gift you give yourself

*this article first appeared in the December 2019 Midland Express

Many real estate agents close between the Christmas New Year period. It’s also a time of year where families are preoccupied with school holidays, Christmas celebrations and impending trips. Predictably, property sales start to slow down.

However, for the savvy property seller or buyer, there can be golden opportunities in the lead-up to Christmas. Many of buyers are picking up the pace of their property hunt because while most people are out celebrating and enjoying the festive season and not searching for property, the hunters have a greater opportunity to grab a bargain.

One of the advantages of buying in December is that some sellers might wish to wrap up a deal before the end of year. This might mean they are more open to offers, especially if you can move quickly and settle early. This can lead to a better price for the buyer and peace of mind for the seller moving into the new year. Another potential advantage for buyers is that there can be an opportunity to pick up residual stock, as other buyers drop out of the market.

By this point in the year, many buyers are likely to be experiencing buyer fatigue. They’ve likely been looking at property after property since at least spring and can become frustrated. This can work for or against the seller. Some buyers will end up withdrawing from the market, meaning there will be fewer potential buyers.

Many vendors are reluctant to compete with new stock that comes onto the market in the new year so the opportunity to sell before Christmas is another motivating factor.

There are more advantages then disadvantages for buyers and sellers during the December period, but the greatest opportunity lies in transitioning into a new year (and decade!) without the concerns that come with buying and selling

Richard Branson once said, “When you find yourself on the side of the majority, then you’re on the wrong side”. This is especially true of buying property at Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

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Why is the Kyneton market so strong?

*This article was originally published in the November 2019 Midland Express

If you live in Central Victoria, it won’t come as a surprise to you that the property market remains buoyant.

Over the decade, an influx of tree-changers and retiree downsizers have steadily moved into the area. With promises of a more affordable home, an engaging community lifestyle and proximity to Melbourne’s CBD, Kyneton has seen unprecedented growth over the last couple of years.

Prices in Kyneton have risen 12.7 per cent in over a year with median house prices sitting at $580,000 (the national median is around $485,00). The previous year saw a growth of 8.2 per cent.

While the demand for properties in Kyneton remaining high and with limited stock within the local township area for both sale and rent being available, agents are finding interest in areas like Malmsbury, Trentham and Taradale is becoming common.

But it isn’t just first home buyers moving into the community. A sophisticated creative class and professional community, along with couples and individuals who are at the end of their working careers who support the strength of the property market.

Rentals continue to be in hot demand in and around the Macedon Ranges. Tourists and weekenders who delight in the prospect of a move to the country often seek a rental opportunity to “try before they buy”. Add to that a burgeoning seasonal workforce requiring accommodation while working for agribusiness and livestock producers, the rental yield for investors is fantastic to say the least.

With limited stock and land releases in and around Kyneton, and the continued demand for housing, the Kyneton market does not look to be cooling any time soon.

Life in the country sure is sweet, but maybe more so for those considering a sale.

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The good news for Kyneton with the falling property prices

*this article first appeared in the Midland Express in February 2019

If you have been anywhere near print news or digital media lately, you are sure to have been exposed to stories about the falling house prices in Australia, with Victoria forecast to be the hardest hit.

We are told that house prices are falling, and mortgage interest rates are rising, so anyone doing anything with property are likely scratching their heads and wondering what it means for them.

The good news is that it seems that Kyneton and the Macedon Ranges are one of the few regions in Victoria that is and will continue to experience buoyancy and growth.

Property data firm CoreLogic’s latest Pain & Gain report showed that every house or unit sold in the September quarter of 2018 within the Macedon Ranges made a profit, bucking a state-wide trend of tumbling prices.

So what makes Kyneton and the Macedon Ranges in particular seemingly bulletproof from a nationwide plummet in house prices?

Regional country areas like Kyneton, Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong are still experiencing considerable growth, in part to still affordable stock and access to metropolitan areas. The outperforming of the Melbourne market is also due to the value for money buyers get in regional areas – larger homes, larger plots of land and more cost-effective living.

As a regional town, Kyneton offers a sophisticated culture unlike any other. Events like the Lost Trades Fair and The Kyneton Music Festival not only attract tourists and day-trippers but appeal to individuals buying in the area who seek out a like-minded community of creatives and culture makers.

Growing communities also mean a fresh opportunity. With the relative affordability of housing compared to metro areas, low crime and access to infrastructure means the demand for stock will increase. The potential in this region is continuing to reveal itself, particularly for those in the market to buy or sell.

In short, don’t worry about the market downturn if you are thinking of selling in Kyneton



Thinking about selling in late 2019? Time to start planning now

*this article previously appeared in the January 2019 Midland express


So, you’re thinking about selling your home in 2019? That’s great but as a seller, it’s a good idea to think strategically about your sale and plan well in advance.

Why? The factors around the sale of your house are not always in your control.

Firstly, it is important to speak to a property professional to help you understand how to sell your house and understand some of the factors that might lead to a slower sale.

Some of the key factors to consider today are:

The average property price in your area.

If your home is comparable to other houses in your area in terms of size and amenity, you will have a good indication of what price point you might land at.

What is the national trend

House prices are cooling across the country and there are predictions for a house price drop over 2019. However in regional areas such as the Macedon Ranges and surrounds, there has been consistent growth in the market. Property prices vary within each market.

An upcoming Federal Election

Any changes to capital gains tax or negative gearing can have flow on effects across the market. Understanding these impacts and timing your sale around this may have benefits.

Changes to lending criteria

As a result of the ongoing Banking Royal Commission, the tightening of lending criteria has had a direct affect on property investors securing home loans or obtaining the loan amount they would like to secure. However, loosening of these initial changes is also a possibility in 2019, which would have a positive effect on buyers and sellers.

The Time of Year

If you’re unsure on the best time to sell in 2019, it’s a good idea to talk to a local real estate professional for advice.

 The most important aspect of considering a sale is also your own personal circumstances. Homes require attention and management, and without that space to work on your most important asset, an optimal sale price may not even be possible