New South Wales planning laws are under review following the state government’s green paper released at the weekend. Under the newly proposed laws, planning approvals will be shifted to the front end of future developments, allowing the community a bigger say in the size and location of a development. However individuals and communities would lose the right to oppose what developments will be allowed. The proposed amendments include three new land definitions. The fundamental changes are aimed at boosting future housing developments in NSW but could see other states employ similar reforms, with Victoria already proposing modifications to its planning zones last week. The government will provide a detailed white paper later this year.
Real Estate industry figures
Prime retail areas in Sydney and Melbourne are among the ten most expensive retail rents in the world, according to CBRE research. Sydney rents dipped 14.7 per cent in the first quarter to $11,560 per square metre. Melbourne rents rose 20.8 per cent to $8700 sqm as demand from international retailers rose for top end locations. Hong Kong and New York rents were ranked as the highest.
House prices will retreat for at least another year according to the latest quarterly survey by National Australia Bank. The last three months showed national house prices slid 2 per cent with a 0.7 per cent decline in house prices expected in the next year. In contrast, average rents Australia wide have continued to rise but half as fast as they were in the first quarter this year. April to June has shown 0.4 per cent growth.
Land sales have improved slightly in the March quarter according to the HIA-RP Data residential land report. Lot sales rose 6.8 per cent in the quarter. Most capital cities saw increases however experts say more quarters of growth are needed before determining substantial change. The news follows figures released last week that indicate Australia’s construction sector contracted for the 25th consecutive month.
HIA has also stated new home building is the weakest sector of the economy. New housing start figures for the 2012 financial year are expected to fall for the seventh time in nine years, revisiting levels last experienced during the GFC.
Australian Property Monitors has posted the results of auction clearance rates across Australia’s capital cities at the weekend. Sydney recorded a 56 per cent clearance rate from 205 properties for auction, Melbourne 55 per cent from 233 properties, Brisbane 42 per cent from 29 properties and Adelaide 37 per cent from 23 reported auctions.
Australian hotels and resorts have become attractive assets for Asian investors. According to the latest data from Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Asian buyers have accounted for more than 90 per cent of acquisitions made in the year to date with about $1.1 billion worth of hotels and resorts traded.
Thakral Holdings Group (ASX:THG) has again rejected Canadian asset manager Brookfield Office Properties bid of $0.70 per share, claiming it undervalues the property investment company.
Engineering company UGL Limited (ASX:UGL) has won $350 million worth of contracts across its global property services business.
Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund (ASX:HDF) has backed a $1.23 billion takeover bid from Pipeline Partners Australia. The energy infrastructure company is also being pursued by pipeline operator, APA Group (ASX:APA).
Australia’s second largest landholder, Australian Agricultural Company Limited (ASX:AAC) has received a $1 million boost from Dick Smith. The entrepreneur and aviator has invested in the company, in an effort to show support for Australian agricultural land and to extend his campaign against foreign ownership.