Ten Million Homes

According to the ABS Australia is fast heading towards a total dwelling inventory of 10 million. While the combined value of residential dwellings in Australia was $6.8 trillion at the end of the September quarter 2017, rising $14.8 billion over the quarter. The mean price of residential dwellings fell $1,200 to $681,100 and the number of residential dwellings rose by 40,200 to 9,954,100 in the September quarter 2017 and today that figure’s sure to be 10 million plus.

Should We Build Another Opera House

Australia and Sydney are in the midst of an infrastructure boom with many projects under construction and more projects on the drawing board. Each will generate economic benefits and hopefully make everyday life better. When we think of the benefits to a city from new infrastructure should we be planning another Sydney Opera house? Not a direct copy but a similar cultural facility. There are some compelling arguments for this idea. Here’s a few; the Opera House was in 1973 at a modest cost of $102 million, today it attracts 8.2 million visitors. That’s’ more than the 7 million visitors to the Eiffel Tower. While in Bilbao the Guggenheim Museum, now attracts some 1.32 million visitors and increased visits to the town by 4000%. Hobart’s MONA super-charged annual visitor numbers to Tasmania past the 1 million mark for the first time in 2013. What might another project with the vision of the Opera House do for Sydney?

Funding Affordable Housing – Bond Aggregator

A key to the development of more affordable housing on a large scale is cheaper funding outside of the current government funding model. The Affordable Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) is designed to aggregate and source funds from the bond market at lower interest, for long-term loans which not-for-profit community housing providers (CHPs) who then develop housing for lower income households can access. The idea is relatively simple and transparent; with reduced impact of debt on government budgets. Several other countries like the UK and Switzerland already do this.

CHPs can deliver properties rented at very competitive rates or sell properties with a form of shared equity. The AHFC aims to raise $50–$200 million and more, from specific sources on long-term low-yield bonds. A positive step that will benefit governments, CHP clients and create more development activity.

Surfing at Olympic Park

Bondi and Manly take note. Plans for an open water surf beach at Sydney Olympic Park have today been approved clearing the way for the development of a $24 million wave park. Wave parks are not a new concept and this proposal will deliver world class surfing to Sydney’s west some 25km from the ocean. A big feature, unlike the open ocean will be the ability to create different swell conditions, perfect for beginners or experienced board riders. The facility will have two surf breaks, lagoon-side recreation, toddler pool, adventure playground, mini half pipe skate ramp and climbing wall. The park has been designed to encourage non-car transport and the use of current and future public transport. One other welcome touch is the creation of a surf academy with teaching and training facilities.

Less Sea-Change more Me-Change

Evenings at the local RSL, a stroll along the beach and a game of bowls these are ideas that no longer appeal to retirees. The sea-change or tree-change idyll has given away to the me-change as retirees (although how you define that age is a tough question these days) make it clear they want to stay and live in the heart of the city where all the action is. As more of us will live to 100 and be fit and healthy and are typically active there is more demand for stimulation that comes from urban living and the trend is driving demand for apartments located in the CBD of nearby. The trend is also driving demand for high-end apartments which is transforming areas like Sydney’s Double Bay. The myth of older buyers making a move to the country or seaside is fast fading and people wish to stay in the same locality they have lived in for many years. Vibrant cities are attractive places and they add interest and spice. Developers are responding to the growing demand for city and near-city locations, Randwick for example is another area where older buyers are attracted because of the soon to be finished light-rail connections to the CBD.

Airbnb Expands Beyond Private Homes

Airbnb has helped an army of homeowners and investors unlock additional income from their properties and that’s despite the occasional hiccup with local councils or strata managers. Now Airbnb is evolving beyond single properties. There will always be demand to rent a spare room or someone’s apartment or house, but Airbnb is evolving and looks set to favour property owners with greater resources. This includes buildings purpose built for ‘home-sharing’ run by master hosts who will take care of maintenance and cleaning. Owners and tenants would be able to share their properties for a set number of nights a year. It’s a trend yet to be seen locally but is an example of the increased maturity of Airbnb.