FHB Getting Older

As if getting older is not enough of a mindset, older first home buyers can face hurdles getting a home loan. Something to keep in mind as demographics indicate the ageing of Australia’s first home buyer population. According to published figures, the average age of first time buyers rose from 27 in the early 1990s to 29 in the early 2000s. In December 2017, this average had risen further to 31. With higher home prices at times delaying entry into the market for Sydney and Melbourne FHB buyers, the figures are likely to be higher than the national average. While age is not a direct limit to loan access, some lenders are hesitant when dealing with older borrowers.

Interest Rates

At its May meeting The Reserve Bank has again left the official cash rate on hold at 1.50% for its 17th consecutive meeting. The result was predicted and continues our run of record low rates. The Reserve Bank board remains on the sidelines with the economy showing both positive and negative trends. On the plus side we have strong business conditions and employment, rising non-mining investment, and strong global growth. On the downside we have low inflation and wages growth, risks around the outlook for consumer spending, slowing Sydney and Melbourne property markets and stricter bank lending standards that do not indicate a rate rise. While a generally moderated housing market pressure to increase rates has diminished.

Modular Construction

Recently a new six storey boutique apartment building in Lower Manhattan was topped out in just six days. The building is now Manhattan’s first luxury condo to be built using quick-build modular construction. The building features just five full floor 2 bedrrom apartments. The building features a 24 hour virtual doorman and a landscaped roof deck. The apartments are expected to sell starting at US$2.1 million.

City of Sydney Strata Skills 101 Workshops

The City of Sydney is organizing a series workshops focused on apartment living. There’s an ever increasing number of Sydney residents living in apartments and these workshops look like good value. According to the COS approximately 75% of residences within the City of Sydney live in apartments, that’s over 5 times the national average. Not everyone is used to high-density living and if you’re new to apartment living, these workshops have been designed to provide helpful tips and strategies. Topics range from the role and responsibilities of Strata Committees to living with pets in apartments. Full workshop details are published on the City of Sydney Web site.

World’s First Lab for Planning Cities Opens in Sydney

Yesterday’s opening of UNSW Sydney’s City Analytics Lab, is the world’s first laboratory dedicated to improving collaboration and information sharing among agencies responsible for planning and designing smarter, more liveable future cities. The Lab will use interactive technology, big data, visualisation, virtual reality and planning models to support an interdisciplinary approach to decision making for city planning and policy making. The lab has been designed to help government and industry in the planning of more liveable, productive, sustainable and resilient cities. The new facility comes as the Federal Government is rolling out a $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.

Sydney Metro West

Following upon Victoria’s move to boost infrastructure spending, the Federal and NSW Budgets are expected to also increase their infrastructure spending and the Sydney West Metro is one project that deserves attention. The corridor between Western Sydney and the Sydney CBD is expecting an extra 420,000 residents over the next 20 years and more than 300,000 jobs by 2036. Currently the T1 Western Line moves around 40,000 people in the morning peak and is operating at 135% of seating capacity. With a 50% increase expected between 2011 and 2031 there’s a need for urgent action. If this does not happen growth may well be hamstrung in key areas including Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park, The Bays precinct and Sydney CBD.