Capital city prices charge forth

Real Estate

Australian capital city home prices have risen more than five per cent in the past year, with the Sydney and Perth property markets leading the charge. Home prices across the eight state and territory capitals rose 5.3 per cent in the 12 months to August, according to the RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index. Perth experienced the biggest increase during the year, with home prices up more than nine per cent, while Sydney's were up seven per cent. Hobart fared the worst, with prices down 1.1 per cent over the year. Quarterly highlights were a tale of two cities, with Sydney and Hobart featuring at opposite ends of the scale. Sydney was the strongest performer during the past three months, with prices up 5.4 per cent in that period. Hobart meanwhile was the weakest, experiencing a 2.1 per cent decline. Sydney also notched the highest median dwelling price, of $587 thousand, while Hobart was noted as the most affordable city, with a median dwelling price of $289 thousand.
According to RP Data, Sydney's property market heads into spring in the best shape in years, highlighted by the sale of the first 159 apartments at Barangaroo at last weekend’s early morning launch. The total value of Barangaroo sales on the weekend was in excess of $300 million, and the jewel in the crown had to be the four-bedroom penthouse, gobbled up by an Australian expat living in Geneva for $10.5 million.
The research firm says the figures all confirm that Sydney was the best performing city in Australia, and also the the most expensive. The Harbour city is tipped to record growth of about 10 per cent for the year, bolstered further by yet another booming weekend under the auction hammer, in which Sydney recorded its highest clearance rate of the year at 84 per cent, the highest of the year and one of the highest ever recorded for the city.
Real Estate figures
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says building approvals increased 10.8 per cent to 14,304 in July, exceeding the expectations of analysts. The result is up from 12,778 approvals in June, and well ahead of Bloomberg economist estimates of a 4 per cent rise. Over the year to July, building approvals are up 28.3 per cent.  
Australian auction results
Looking at this week’s auction results across Australian capital cities - Sydney recorded a 84 per cent clearance rate from 398 properties for auction, Melbourne cleared 72 per cent from 325 properties, Brisbane had a 46 per cent clearance rate from 22 properties listed and Adelaide cleared 68 per cent from 18 reported auctions.  
Commercial property sector
RHG Limited (ASX:RHG) has unanimously accepted the Resimac Syndicate's sweetened takeover offer, which values the target at almost $153 million. RHG says the syndicate will acquire all shares in RHG for cash consideration of 49.5 cents per share. The offer was higher than the rival Pepper proposal and provides more value certainty for shareholders, RHG says. Earlier this week, Resimac sweetened its takeover bid for RHG again in a bid to ward off a rival bid by Pepper. 
Mirvac Group (ASX:MGR) has appointed former Goodman Fielder Limited (ASX:GFF) and CSR Limited (ASX:CSR) CFO Shane Gannon as its own CFO, a role it has had some hiccups filling over the past 12 months, following the departure of the long serving Justin Mitchell last July, followed by Greg Dyer who pulled the plug after just 8 months in the role. CEO Susan Lloyd Hurwitz appears confident about the latest recruit. Hurwitz says Mr Gannon has successfully managed corporate finance and capital management functions and has overseen extensive corporate restructuring and several corporate transactions. 
Residential developer Peet Limited (ASX:PPC) reported a significant drop in its full year net profit of $200 thousand, from $5.4 million last year. The decline was attributed to a $13.3 million writedown on some of the groups Queensland and Victorian properties as well as costs from its 86 per cent acquisition of CIC Australia. Excluding impairments and costs, Peet’s operating profits were $15.2 million, at the upper end of guidance. Managing Director Brendan Gore says the group’s fiscal 2014 focus will be on another $100 million in debt reduction.

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