Luxury Real Estate for Sale Around the World

At the forefront of luxury real estate marketing, the proud the recipients of two awards from the esteemed Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate The World’s Most Outstanding Luxury Agency Under 2 Years Old (Outstanding Rookie 2008) and Best Luxury Real Estate Brand (2009), Marquette Turner Luxury Homes is the home for your property search including luxury homes, resorts, developments, apartments, condos, villas, mansions, penthouses and islands throughout the world.

We focus on assisting high-net-worth individuals to achieve the most appropriate exposure in marketing their luxury properties via the luxury lifestyle magazine-style website MarquetteTurner.com and in assisting aspirational investors find their ideal property.

We have forged partnerships with developers, real estate agents and vendors throughout the world and are proud to present to you an exceptional showcase luxury homes for sale or rent throughout the world.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Scrooge: Will the RBA Lift Rates Before Christmas?

Homeowners could yet face a pre-Christmas interest rate rise from commercial banks, after evidence they are in their strongest market position for nearly a decade.

While the funding squeeze on wholesale money markets has forced non-bank lenders to lift their prices, banks, with their large deposit bases, have been keeping prices low in an attempt to steal customers.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the strategy has paid off, with the market share of banks, by value of loans extended, rising to 84.9 per cent in October, the highest in seven years.

As banks continue to hold regular weekly internal meetings to set their standard variable mortgage rates - which so far have remained unaffected by the credit squeeze - some economists think a move before Christmas is likely.

The chief economist at Deutsche Bank, Tony Meer, said banks were likely to put rates up by between 10 to 15 percentage points above the official rise in interest rates last month.

An economist at JP Morgan, Helen Kevans, is tipping a rise of between 10 to 25 percentage points above movements by the Reserve Bank.

"It is becoming increasingly likely that major Australian banks will attempt to alleviate the current pressure on their spreads by passing on the significant rise in funding costs to borrowers," she said.

The prospect of higher rates, along with the official rise last month, has already deterred some new borrowers.

And even if the RBA keeps rates on hold before Christmas, they could still spoil the New Year by increasing them before 31 December. Marquette Turner believe the latter to be more likely


How to Have a Hassle-Free Christmas

Entertaining friends and family during the festive season is a lot of work.

Aside from the planning that goes into a festive event, post-party cleanup can be a full-time job. If you feel the holiday tension, you aren’t alone: Nearly half of Australians report experiencing stress during the holidays, according to a Gallup survey.

Help keep your Christmas hassle-free with Marquette Turner's time-saving party-preparation and clean-up tips:

House Guests:
Resist the temptation to wait on out-of-town guests hand and foot. As the host, you need to relax and enjoy the spirit of the season and the cheer that comes with houseguests.

When your houseguests offer to help with meals, graciously say “yes” and allow them to prepare their favorite side dish or dessert. Take them up on offers to help set the table or clean dishes. This offers extra time to catch up with your guests while you’re all in the kitchen and dining area contributing to a great celebration.

Highlight your home’s best assets:
Instead of tirelessly trying to make every room of your home spotless, concentrate on the areas where guests will spend the most time.

Focus on the bathroom:
Your guests will likely visit this room before they head home. Pay attention to little details like refilling soap dishes and having fresh hand towels.

Have a solid plan:
When creating a guest list, consider your options ahead of time. Buffet-style meals are easier for larger groups, while you can better host a sit-down dinner with six or fewer guests.

The holiday feast is not a time to try out an all-new recipe. The key to being a less stressed hostess is building your menu around foods you are comfortable making.

Cook ahead:
Make dishes in advance of the big celebration to cut down on the time spent in the kitchen when your guests arrive. Many hors d’oeuvres, desserts and side dishes can be made and frozen until ready to serve.

Control mishaps:
A good host handles disasters with grace. Do not fear the dreaded gravy stains on the white linens or the cranberry sauce spilled on grandma’s white blouse. Use the internet to find the quick solution.

Good luck and happy holidays!

Simon Turner, Marquette Turner

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Real Estate Cartels: Part 2

A cartel is a coalition of political or special-interest groups having a common cause, as to encourage the passage of a certain law.

In Australian real estate the cartel is indeed alive and well. I posed the question in part one - "how has this situation been allowed to happen"?

The answer to the overarching problem has two origins:

1. The different guidelines governing real estate in every State and Territory
2. The different level of training required to be an agent in every State and Territory

The formation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 gave the States the power to regulate real estate. The States made little if any effort to pass uniform laws governing the industry and as a result we have a mish mash of requirements across the country. There is the Office of Fair Trading in NSW which is charged with the responsibility of looking after real estate agents in NSW.

There are equivalent bodies in every State and Territory and co-operation between these departments seems limited at best. Therefore the laws under which agents operate and the training required for real estate have been vastly different across the country since Federation. Bringing the States and Territories together and gaining agreement for a National system has been impossible to achieve.

Like any industry lobby groups act to alter decisions in favour of themselves. Each State has a Real Estate Institute and there is also a National Body. The Real Estate Institute of NSW has always been a major advisory body to the NSW Government when decisions have been made to alter the requirements of real estate agents or the real estate industry.

The Real Estate Institute of NSW like any organisation relies on the money it receives from memberships from real estate agents and other related bodies and as such it would unwise of them to get offside with a large number of agents by pushing for reforms which would revolutionise the industry - reforms which might be unpopular with their paying members and thus reduce the amount of money received in the form of annual memberships. Even worse would be to get a major franchise chain like LJ Hooker or Ray White offside as the risk to membership monies would be all too great.

So in understanding who is acting to advise and lobby the Office of Fair Trading and other Government bodies we start to see the cracks start to appear in the assurance of the integrity of any advice. It is also important to note that the Real Estate Institute in each State is a major training organisation, making considerable money from providing training courses like the Certificate of Registration and the Real Estate Licensing programs.

Would it be in the interest of these bodies to advise the Government in every State and Territory to form a national system? By doing so each State and Territory Body would be unnecessary and in doing so they would all be out of a job. Would it be in their interest to advise the Government to increase the educational standard of real estate entrance to Bachelor level, thus reducing their training revenues and moving education across to Universities?

As we begin to pull the process apart it becomes very apparent that the entire advisory system has self interest at heart and changing the status quo will be extremely difficult indeed. It takes just one person to start a revolution and as we continue to examine and expose the real estate cartel next week we will look more closely at the influence of the large franchise chains and existing real estate agents in maintaining the status quo. In doing so a National Forum in 2008 may be possible and true change as part of the "Education Revolution" might be just around the corner.

Michael Marquette
michael@marquetteturner.com.au

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Marquette Turner Launches "Home-Page"

Marquette Turner is extremely excited to launch "Home-Page", a service allowing EVERY SINGLE property listing to have it's very own website.

Managing Director Michael Marquette said yesterday that "in keeping with our philosophy of providing an individual and personalised experience at all times, and with our constant pursuance of improving the technology with which our business operates, Home-Page is to property listings what our ground-breaking Concierge service is to people."

With immediate effect ALL vendor's and landlord's properties will be presented using a Home-Page, as well as the traditional internet marketing services. This will allow their properties to stand-alone in all their glory, and for prospective purchasers and tenants to fully appreciate the property online.

Another reason for you to enjoy our company!

Click here to see the very first Home-Page property.

Simon Turner

How To Get On The Property Ladder

THE HARD FACTS

  • More than a third of a family's income goes to mortgage (In NSW it is 38%)
  • Affordability has dropped in every state except Tasmania
  • NSW is the most expensive state, ACT has the least affordability
In Sydney, with almost 40% of the household income going towards housing it is little wonder that there is any money left for anything else after living expenses are met (food, utilities, schooling etc).

Additionally, credit card debt is increasing hand-in-hand with the increase in the cost of living.

The new Rudd government promises action, and Marquette Turner remain hopeful that their election promises of first home-owner saving’s schemes are just the tip of the iceberg of a myriad of plans to improve housing affordability.

In the short-term, however, here are some suggestions to help you improve your chances of buying a property.



WHAT TO DO


Rent and Invest.

If renting, don’t wipe investing from the equation. You CAN do both! While rents have also gone up over the last year, the rise has not been anywhere near as steep as increase in mortgage payments (due to increasing interest rates) and rising property prices.


Renting can save you money in the short term so use the savings, no matter how small, to:



a) pay off any credit card debt (as the interest on this is likely to be far higher than any savings account can offer)

b) invest the money in an internet savings account (around 7.25% currently). Do not leave in a standard bank account as the interest returned to you is barely worth the cost of a stamp.

c) for those with more confidence, the stock market is returning almost double such saving’s account: on average 14% this year. Money invested in the stock market can quickly be withdrawn (i.e. is liquid) and can be used for the down payment of a mortgage.

d) some of you may even be in a position to consider to investing in a cheaper city to the one you're renting in.



Budget and spend carefully.
In times like this it is especially important to keep a budget and spend wisely. The more you save now, the more can save and invest meaning that your money is working for you now so that when affordable opportunities present themselves later you will be ready.



Move back in with your parents.

If this is still an option, don’t dismiss it. Rather than pay rent to a stranger – help out the parents by providing an extra income source for them.


Move.

Yes, the major cities in Australia are expensive. So move to a smaller city that is growing. Both cities are relatively cheaper and jobs are available. While this is probably the most difficult option, it may be the best long term solution for finding that affordable dream house.





Keep looking.
Despite high prices there will always be a potential bargain out there if you are willing to compromise a bit. The big thing when buying is Location, Location, and Location. Look for old houses which with some renovation. This could be the affordable option you were looking for.


Don’t Stop Researching

Whilst housing affordability may be at its worse, one’s ability to research and make sound investment decisions is probably the best it has ever been. Use the internet to educate yourself on processes, ideas and trends. Marquette Turner's blog's can provide you with useful insights, regardless of your experience, intentions, or available funds.


Maybe things are looking up after all! Good luck.

Simon Turner

What Women Want: Guess Who Makes the Investment Decisions!

A survey by Suncorp Metway has uncovered that women make most of the big decisions when it comes to investing in property.

A staggering 85 per cent of all purchasing decisions are influenced by a female despite the findings that most women are ignored during the purchasing process.

Real estate agents and mortgage lenders seem to think that women who come along are just there to support their partner meaning that they are treated fairly poorly.


Quite simply, anyone ignores a woman at their peril, as they can make or break a transaction. And reversely, any woman that finds she is being ignored or that the agent is looking to her husband for approval can also potentially use this to their advantage. She can be silently but deadly, her moves poorly followed.


The investigation also showed that women tend to research more when it comes to buying, meaning they’re more likely to find a good balance between their head and their heart.

They are most interested in features of the property, such as living areas, number and size of bedrooms, kitchen appliances, and off-street parking with the ultimate deciding factors being the size of the block or house, overall aesthetics and proximity to amenities.

Simon Turner

The Hit List: Latest Buyer Trends

HOME buyers are looking for fewer but bigger rooms, a bedroom with a view and the latest in technology. Not to mention a great location and water tanks!

The trend is for fewer but larger rooms, and while the formal dining room went out of fashion a long time ago, spare bedrooms and the third bathroom are the next to be crossed off the home buyer's shopping list.
A master bedroom with a view is the ultimate desire. And while it doesn't have to be on another floor, there does have to be a bit of distance between it and other bedrooms. The ensuite must have plenty of room, where owners can sit in the bath and see outside. And, despite current water restrictions, they like to have a spa.

Home theatres are still on the "must have" list but now we also want plasma or LCD screens throughout the house: in nearly every nook and cranny, including in the kitchen, bedroom, near the pool and even in the bathroom.

Technology continues to affect our homes and it is also now important to buyers that their home has a wireless connection so they can work from home, throughout the home without having to compete with the rest of the family for cable access.
When it comes to looking into the crystal ball to see what will be the most desirable asset of your home in the future, the location remains the ultimate key.
Schools in particular, shopping centres, public transport, parks and lifestyle conveniences such as, cafes, restaurants and gyms are all desirable aspects.
From most buyers' viewpoint, the really important features for the location of their home are that the neighbourhood is safe, close to schools, medical services and shops, and also close to their workplace or to reliable public transport.

The aesthetic characteristics of a suburb or street also rank high on most homebuyers' list of desirable features.
A recent survey by Archicentre asked home buyers about what feature they would place above others. Almost 80 per cent said a water tank for gardening while 14 per cent said a spa in the en-suite and 6 per cent went for the large plasma screen.

Sustainable housing practices, such as rainwater tanks, are becoming more popular across the board given that water restrictions are unlikely to disappear in the near future.

Simon Turner

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Interest Rates Remain Unchanged

Yesterday morning the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced that the official cash rate will remain at 6.75%.

The renewed volatility of international financial markets, concerns about the US economy and uncertainty about the likely path of fiscal policy and labour costs here in Australia are acceptable reasons for delaying any further rate hike.

The RBA Board warned, however, that rates may rise early in the new year, due to its concern about the outlook for inflation

Recent information continues to indicate strength in demand and output in Australia, with the economy having relatively little surplus capacity. Inflation on a year ended basis, as measured by the CPI and underlying measures, is likely to be above 3 per cent in the first half of 2008, and to decline somewhat thereafter. Simon Turner

Property Vs Shares: And The Winner Is...?

I was talking to a friend in the last week who has just purchased a great 1 bedroom apartment in Surry Hills. I visited him there just after he moved in and while showing me around asked the BIG question - which is a better investment for me, shares or property? The question took me back a little as he had just purchased his first home and yet still felt uncertain enough to ask the question. We then sat down and discussed what it had cost him to purchase his first home.

He had $50,000 to invest and he could have chosen property or shares. The property cycle and share trading cycles over the last 100 years or so have shown study after study that similar returns are achieved in the long run by investing in either area. Property prices typically double every 7-10 years depending on where you are in the country and share prices tend the same way over a similar period. The issue for the person with $50,000 to invest is gearing.

Gearing is what I believe makes the big difference for the average long term investor. Given that no stamp duty is payable up to $500,000 for a first home buyer, combined with the first home owner's grant there is an immediate incentive of up to $30,000 approximately. The big deal is financial institutions of all types will lend you up to 100% of the purchase price of property and most will lend at or above 90% LVR (Loan to Value Ratio). What this means is that you can take advantage of the capital growth of a property worth $500,000 with no stamp duty payable and legal and mortgage fees all paid with the first home owner's grant. At an LVR of 90% you would owe $450,000 to the lender and the property should be worth around $1 million in 7 to 10 years following on from past trends.

This sort of capital gain would simply not be possible for those investing in shares without significant security such as existing property or other assets. Few if any financial institutions would lend at such a high LVR to anyone purchasing shares and therefore I have to say that property comes out on top well and truly for the average Australian. Of course we have seen some huge success stories with people making millions from shares and it would be unwise to ignore shares as part of your total investment portfolio when you have the means to do so. Shares are cheap and easy to trade and if traded well can return enormous sums of money. The winner for the average Australian starting out their financial life in 2007 is property! Michael Marquette

Education Revolution: School Visit Update

Last week each of us at Marquette Turner committed ourselves to visiting one Public and one Private School within the week. We are awaiting confirmation of the times from the schools and will let you know more as soon as we can. Michael Marquette

Buy Low to Make Big: How To Find a Bargain

Finding a bargain property, one that is being sold well-below its worth or potential worth, is not as easy as riding a bike or watching T.V. Not that it is that difficult either, but the task of getting a good deal on an investment property can at times be cumbersome.

In the brief list below, four methods for finding and grabbing that good deal are explained, and although the descriptive nature of the list is brief, it will give you just enough to ignite your thought.

1.) Distressed sellers – These are people who are eager to sell due to personal reasons, such as changing jobs, upsizing or downsizing, family issues.

2.) Vacant Properties – Here’s a simply one: drive around an area and look for homes that have tall grass and a crummy exterior. You can then go to the Land Titles office to search for the owner, get in contact with them and see if they are open to an offer being made. Often it is a case of the owner not having the time, means or inclination to renovate the property, which is a prime opportunity for someone with all three! Win-Win is the best!

3.) University Towns - Here there are often an abundance of rentals and a plentiful stock of professors and students to rent the properties. In these areas, there are always landlords wanting out of the game for various reasons. Not only can you get a property that is already a rental, but often you can buy them with a tenant under lease, lessening the risk of an upfront vacancy. Usually these properties are priced around their actual value, but the bargain is the fact that they usually demand a higher-than-average rent because of the continuous demand for housing.

4.) Repossessions – Homes that have been repossessed by banks due to mortgage defaults will almost certainly be auctioned by a real estate agent, and clearly advertised. Simply search the internet, or ask agent’s to keep you informed of any upcoming repossessions.

Whilst these options may seem somewhat unconventional, remember that you generally make money when you buy a property rather than when you sell. Good luck. Simon Turner

Bleak House

It is widely known that houses prices in Australia, particularly Sydney are becoming increasingly unaffordable to an increasing number of the population. Higher interest rates have begun to limit the extent to which demand for housing can be financed. Rates have risen six times in just a short space of time.

Given that household debt now exceeds approximately 150% of disposable income (a historical high), and that the mortgage interest burden stands at 20% of gross income (up from 11% in 2003), even if demand were strong enough to continue to push up house prices, the recent credit crunch has reduced the funds available to potential house buyers as lenders have reined in borrowing.

Increased mortgage repayments are set to deal current homeowners a further blow.
Given the current credit squeeze and sup-prime mortgage crisis in the US, Australian banks will feel the pinch.

From a consumer’s point of view, this will mean that there will be few attractive offers from banks to refinance for a better deal. Indeed, many lenders have tightened their lending criteria as a result of the problems in the US subprime mortgage sector.

These trends will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of defaults in Australia —although it is unlikely that there will be a surge in defaults to the extent witnessed in the US, where many subprime mortgage holders are being hit by higher "reset" repayment rates.

Faced with higher mortgage repayments, Australian homeowners will be in less of a position to release their equity to purchase additional homes. Simon Turner

Australia's Mortgage Blackspots

NSW home owners are the most stressed, and WA by far the least, according to a new study by Fitch Ratings, with home owners in south-west Sydney are by far the most likely in the country to miss more than one mortgage payment.

The Sydney suburb of Guildford topped the list, with 5.65% of mortgagees there missing more than one mortgage repayment. The NSW areas of Granville, Wetherill Park, Cessnock, Belmore, Greenacre and Punchbowl take up the next six spots on the list, all with payment default rates of between 4.63% and 4.91%.

Fitch managing director Ben McCarthy states that “This report, for the first time, confirms the anecdotal evidence that south-west Sydney is the most stressed part of the country in terms of residential mortgages. In south-west Sydney, mortgages that have missed more than one payment at 30 September were almost twice that of the national average.” Simon Turner

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Latest Market Round-up

The latest figures just released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the month of October, reveal the following:

· Growth in retail sales revenue dropped to just 0.2% in October
· New dwelling approvals also disappointed in October, although the 2.8% decline followed on from an unusually strong 6.8% jump in September.
· The volatile apartments sector was behind the fall, dropping 5.5% after a 17.8% hike in September.
· But in good news for the housing sector, new private house finance increased 0.9%, a result that Westpac economics says points to an “unambiguous upturn” in the broader housing sector.

Simon Turner