Expect a rush of buyers in Sydney this weekend as they race to take advantage of stamp duty concessions expiring on June 30. The existing NSW home builder’s bonus gives full stamp duty exemption for new homes up to $600,000. There’s concern that a period of low demand will follow, as buyers hold out for a new grant to be launched in October.
And housing starts tumbled in the first quarter to the lowest level in more than a decade. Dwelling commencements fell 12.6 per cent to just over 30,000 reports the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Furthermore, the NSW government has announced the formation of a new organisation, Urbangrowth NSW. The body will have the power to acquire land, bring together the private sector and government departments as well as co-ordinate infrastructure delivery. The organisation is charged with fast-tracking housing construction in NSW.
And the level of residential vacancies plateaued in May, staying at a vacancy rate of 1.8 per cent, a national total of just over 50,000 vacancies. SQM Research reports year-on-year vacancies have increased 0.2 per cent since May 2011. Brisbane, Darwin and Hobart were the only cities to record a monthly change, dropping slightly by 0.1 per cent. No vacancy rates increased for any of the capital cities month-on-month. Melbourne recorded the highest vacancy rate at 3.1 per cent. Managing director Louis Christopher says, for many months now, vacancies across most of the country have remained very low, ensuring that competition is fierce between prospective tenants, particularly at the affordable end of the market. He sees no relief on that front, other than in Melbourne where there is still many more dwellings coming onto the market this year.