Faster and steadier in 2010 – but watch out for those banana peels!

Twelve months ago in our final edition of Virtual Realty News for 2008 I wrote – “The first six months of 2009 will be hard (not necessarily harder) and I believe the next six months will see a mild rebound leading to much stronger property markets!” As it turned out this prediction was one hundred per cent correct and in June 2009 we posted $63,000,000 in sales – the rest (just like that edition) is now history. Despite an avalanche of doomsday prophecies (and there were plenty) the missing link for the prophets was that they simply underestimated the power of the Internet and smart business models.

Every day, we spend an intoxicating amount of time in front of a computer – reading, writing and communicating. Just weeks prior to our final edition in 2008 I wrote – “I have said it before and I stand by my previous comments that in the recession of the early 1990’s there was no Internet and no electronic information highway that today, has played a dominant role in the recovery process.” Once informed, the decision making process is activated – the dominance of online during the global financial crisis is now a legacy that will continue to grow and dominate.

Some would suggest that it was a stimulus package but I would argue that those prophets would not know the difference between ‘Word’ and ‘Outlook’. Politicians make a habit of wording their outlook differently, based (more often) on spamming the minds of the electorate with nonsense.


The hive of activity as the Boxing Day – Sydney to Hobart race is fast approaching

So what are our predictions for the Mosman property market in 2010? Don’t worry if you blink, as it won’t be moving that fast although we see strong signs of renewed confidence. Housing prices will increase but we see no need to panic because we see upward growth in property values – that is growth (not boom). The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced this week that lending for the construction of new homes rose dramatically in October increasing by 5.7 per cent. New home loans have now officially increased in 13 of the last 14 months – population explosion?

Certainly this argument is greatly assisted by the sale of a Perth mansion this week for a new Australian record of $57.500 million dollars. RP Data wrote on its blog this week – “The improvement in equities markets and business conditions has prompted many top end buyers to venture back into the market. For a while there were many bargains to be had – premium housing markets took the biggest value dive of any sector around the country in 2008 and now seeing the biggest jump. Values in the top end are now once again at record levels, having risen 2.4 per cent higher than the previous peak recorded back in February 2008. On an annual basis many of these premium suburbs have recorded some of the largest falls in median house prices however, it is clear with confidence returning many areas are set to bounce back or already doing so.”

Politicians and banks will provide great fodder for Virtual Realty News in 2010.

It has already started with this week’s Westpac “banana debacle” when it stupidly sent customers an email justifying its recent interest rate hike. Its rationale was to compare Westpac as the business selling banana smoothies – too much egg nog I thought, so have a look.

Maybe this graph presents a more accurate positioning from the “Bananas in Pyjamas” who must think all their customers are in a slumber with no Internet access.


Fort Fumble – Federal Government

Fascinated by spending other people’s money (tax payers) whilst consumed with the belief that Australia still requires its stimulus package, The Emperor (Kevin Rudd) is currently holidaying in northern Europe. His preferred mode of transport has been letting him down – given Air Force One has ongoing mechanical problems – much like our economy.

Co-pilot Wayne Swan needs to masticate more, because his ears keep popping. As was pointed out in Letters to the Editor, this week in The Daily Telegraph. “Treasurer Wayne Swan fools no one with his ongoing bleating about banks raising interest rates much more than the Reserve Bank. What’s he doing to restore the competitive pressures that have collapsed in the financial services sector under his brief watch? While the Government discriminates against smaller financial institutions in its guarantees for wholesale funding, his utterances are simply deceptive posturing.” The co-pilot did approve the acquisition of St George bank to Westpac so have a banana smoothie on the house.

The Mad Monk is waiting in the wings although that too, may be an aborted takeoff with plenty of Liberals in the hanger. Malcolm Turnbull will probably head back to merchant banking where approval ratings will improve considerably.

Fort Crumble – NSW Government

Where does one start – the most incompetent governing body in Australia’s history – the ‘violent crumble’ of all governments?

Robert Gottliebsen recently wrote on Business SpectatorWe’re scaring off housing investors. Governments, whether they be in Canberra or in the states, often pass legislation without ever understanding its consequences.” He is referring to our housing crisis and talking about property investor taxes. “This means that if you hold an average investment property in Sydney and this pushes you over the $376,000 land tax limit, it makes no sense to invest in another. The annual holding cost figures look roughly like this: land tax 1.6 per cent; rates/water 1.0 per cent; mortgage interest 7.00 per cent plus; and maintenance/agent 1.0 per cent. That’s represents total costs of 10.6 per cent of your investment.” Rents will go through the roof over the next twenty four months.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading an article this week in The Daily TelegraphNSW leads economic rebound. “NSW is leading the national economic recovery with forecasts of a miraculous turnaround in growth figures in the coming year. The State’s Budget is also expected to return to surplus a year earlier than expected, with a $872 million surplus expected in 2010 – 2011.” Technically it was broke well before the global financial crisis although this did not restrict the excitement of newly elected Premier Kristina “doodle dandy” Keneally “who has absolutely no tertiary qualifications” from shrieking (with accent) that the NSW Budget was “back in the black”. Oh dear!

No doubt “doodle dandy” would have been suitably impressed to learn that Nathan “no strings attached” Rees, brilliantly negotiated the sale of our three Manly JetCats that cost NSW taxpayers $3 million – with the purchaser flogging them off shore for more millions. Nathan “no strings” out, and Kristina “doodle dandy” in – so much to look forward to next year.

It has been our absolute pleasure delivering Virtual Realty News to your inbox each week and we are now into our tenth year (never missed an edition). I remain very confident that in 2010 we will be the very first Australian real estate agency to break the magic $1 billion in subscriber sales – currently at $887,154,220.

Special thanks to the aerial photographic gymnast of the sky Tim Mooney for his amazing photographs – a weekly highlight (for us) to explore his vast library of photography.

We thank you for your patronage. Defamation suits have been interesting and engaging (it’s just that I am an advocate for freedom of speech). The audit of our books by The Office of State Revenue was a highlight which re-inforced the fact that Virtual Realty News keeps annoying Forts Fumble and Crumble.

We will return to your inbox in late – January 2010 and go (weekly) all the way through to December 2010. It’s a tough job – but somebody has to do it!

Merry Christmas and have a brilliant, happy and prosperous New Year.

Cheers ^__^

For this week’s recorded Mosman real estate, Cremorne real estate, Cremorne Point real estate, Neutral Bay real estate and Cammeray real estate sales