Kitchen Tips

Kitchens are one of the most important rooms in any apartment or home. Buyers have developed a keen eye for the details and quality finishes and they are on the lookout for: open plan island units, lots of storage (benchtop clutter is a no go), quality and durable benchtops, some imagination when it comes to colours (not just white), quality appliances and that includes the new generation of coffee machines and steam ovens and finally good lighting with some flair.

Stamp Duty

Here’s an interesting perspective on stamp duty. Have the vendor pay it not the buyer? From the UK that’s a reform being suggested, stamp duty paid as a seller’s tax rather than a buyer’s tax. The idea is suggested as a possible way to give first time buyers some advantage.

Like most Australian states first time buyers get stamp duty relief. Under the recently announced UK policy, from November 2017, first time buyers spending £300,000 or less are free of duty. First-time buyers between £300,000 and £500,000 pay no stamp duty on the first £300,000. However, the measures have apparently only had limited success hence the idea of vendors paying!

Beds the New Must Have

Forget that expensive European sofa or handcrafted Australian model, the latest must-have for aspiring home decorators is a great bed. A bed that could well cost more than some new cars! Sleep is important for every aspect of our wellbeing. Beds and are suddenly our number one home furniture purchase. Move over that expensive German brand oven.

Retailers report that people are willing to consider paying more for their bed than their sofa, and in some cases, their car. If you live to be 75 you’ll spend around 9,200 days in bed. Spending more on a bed looks like a good investment. Just a few years ago it was difficult to spend more than $3,000-$4,000 for a bed, but today you can easily spend $25,000 to $50,000 or even more.

Multi-Generations

Multi-generational living is becoming more common in countries like the UK, USA and Australia. This has not always been the case, but as a result of ageing populations and higher housing and cost of living pressures the trend is spreading.

There are in some areas (including NSW) planning incentives for granny flats and some builders are adding independent self-contained accommodation. Studio apartments built alongside townhouse, a sort of ‘mews’ development are becoming popular. While there’s also more demand for 3-bedroom apartments and dual-key apartments, if not yet common place.

Investor Back-Lash

It’s still a mystery why regulators have over the past few months chosen to take a dim view of property investors, driving many from the market. In many ways, this looks motivated by factors beyond the pure pros and cons of a free-market economy.

Early signs are that this policy, together with very tough restrictions on off-shore buyers, may well lead to less supply. A result that may well inflate both prices and rents. This has been the impact in the UK where there has also been investor retreat from the market. Locally however the policy may be under review.

Incentives

Over the next 3-6 months we are going to see a lot more incentives coming into the housing market as developers seek buyers for new projects and housing estates. Incentives should not be seen as a signal that the market is in any sort of trouble. Almost every market is at some point driven with incentives from expensive cars to airfares. Incentives are a legitimate marketing tool. Good news for some buyers and well considered by the developers.