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 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.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Little Black Book of Scams

The ACCC has just released a brand new edition of its very popular The little black book of scams.

The little black book of scams highlights a variety of popular scams that regularly target Australian consumers and small business in areas such as fake lotteries, internet shopping, mobile phones, online banking, employment and investment opportunities. It also offers consumers tips on how to protect themselves from scams, what they can do to minimise damage if they do get scammed and how they can report a scam.

Scams do not discriminate; they target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels. There is a scam out there for everyone. The little black book of scams has been designed to be appealing and accessible to a broad range of people–younger people; older people; families; and business people alike. It is colourful and engaging and the information is clearly set out so you can find what you are looking for.

Stay one step ahead of the scammers. Read The little black book of scams get the low-down on scams which target you! You can also check out Scamwatch

You can download a free pdf of The little black book of scams clicking on the link.


Love That Place: Social Networking meets Real Estate

Love That Place, which just launched earlier this month, is a social network designed to let users search, discuss, rate and register interest in property, whether it's for sale or not.

Property owners begin by creating a page and uploading photos of their place—simply to gather feedback and advice, or to test the market and see what other people think. Members of the site can leave comments or send private messages (forums are coming soon), and admirers of a particular property can even send a virtual "door-knock" to see if the owner would consider selling.

If the owner is interested, the two parties can negotiate privately or through a facilitated process with an agent. Both casual users and serious investors and developers can use Love That Place, with services tailored accordingly. Membership options range from a free, standard option that covers listing up to 3 properties, all the way up to a "property guru" level that's AUD 249 per year for up to 300 properties.

Love That Place is definitely more of a social network than the other real estate 3.0 sites we've covered, with its features for conversation and networking. But the basic premise is the same: Even property owners who aren't actively trying to sell their homes can often be convinced to sell when the offer is right. It's a matter of facilitating intentions, and it's a new approach to selling property around the globe. Those in real estate: Don't delay too long!


Australian's Repossessed: Foreclosures on the Rise

Foreclosures in New South Wales set to rise to a record this year after the central bank increased rates twice in the past two months to a 12-year high.

Banks are in the middle of their third mortgage rate increase this year and that's pushing more Australian families out of their homes.

Mortgage payments are increasing at least 2 1/2 times faster than household incomes. Lenders including Commonwealth of Australia Bank Ltd. and National Australia Bank Ltd., the nation's biggest, have raised loan rates three times this year, boosting the average monthly mortgage payment by more than the average annual increase in wages.

We're only now really starting to see a situation where defaults arise because people aren't able to meet their payments.

The Reserve Bank of Australia last week increased its benchmark borrowing cost for the fourth time in seven months to 7.25 percent to cool inflation that grew at its fastest pace in 16 years in the fourth quarter.

Banks are charging more as the global credit crunch raises funding costs after investors fled debt markets, as fewer residential mortgages are being granted after funding costs are increasing in the wake of the U.S. subprime market's collapse.

Global financial turbulence and the peculiar exposure of the Australian financial system which is heavily dependent on foreign markets for funding, and this leads to the banks having to charge more.

A situation in Sydney's West recently saw one mortgage holder owed A$600,000 and received bids of no more than A$330,000 when his property went to auction.The seller had previously refinanced, adding more debt to the A$475,000 or so he borrowed to buy the house. Some people are just walking away from their properties: the equity's halved in many cases.

Housing affordability dropped to the lowest in at least 33 years in December, as average disposable incomes stayed below the amount needed to qualify for the median home loan for the fifth- straight quarter, according to an index compiled by the Housing Industry Association and the Commonwealth Bank.

Repossessions in New South Wales rose 1.6 percent to 5,454 last year, according to figures from the state's Supreme Court. Victorian repossessions increased to 2,720 in the year to June 30 and have tripled in the past four years, according to the state government.

The actual number of mortgage defaults may be four times the repossession figures, which only include seizures and sales approved by the Supreme Courts of New South Wales and Victoria.

Rising borrowing costs are pushing more families into housing stress, with some 1.1 million Australians paying more than 30 percent of their income in rent or home-loan costs. In fact, Australians are paying the second-highest mortgage rates in the developed world.

Simon Turner

Layman's Terms: Low Doc & No Doc Finance Explained

These types of loans are generally suited to small business & self employed. Specifically these loans have been designed for borrowers who may not be able or do not want to substantiate their income for a variety of reasons.

Lenders of these loans require an applicant to evidence business activity, currently the primary test for most lenders is an ABN for 2 years & GST registration. In the absence of a full set of recent financials other substantiation may include letters from Accountants, BAS statements, proceeds from sale of assets & other business documents to support this business activity status.

There are some lenders operating in this space that do accept a lower set of criteria. Of course it makes more sense for investors to have access to a wider range of lenders, so our advice is to try and conform to the main level of lenders’ expectations.

Another important aspect to these types of loans involves mortgage insurance. In the Australian market today most of these types of loans are insured by a mortgage insurer. Depending upon the specific arrangements between the lender & the mortgage insurer these institutions cover all or part of the lenders risk in the event of a loan defaulting. In some cases the lender will absorb this fee generally up to certain Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) or loan value thresholds.

Relative to the number of products & lenders in the market there are very few mortgage insurers, in fact currently only 2 mortgage insurers dominate the Australian market place. It is these bodies that set many of the parameters, rules & guidelines for the finance industry including lenders at the higher LVR (where mortgage insurance is applicable) end of the finance market. Some of the major elements that are impacted by mortgage insurers include: security type, location (post code), maximum LVR & maximum lending amount.

Obviously these measures are used to minimize the risk & the extent of potential loss. Let’s face it lenders first aspect in lending money is “not to lose any money”. They do this by lending on assets that are not likely to go down in value & to lending to individuals & entities that have the capacity to repay their money!

Simon Turner

Thursday, March 6, 2008

7 DAYS: a Longtime in Politics, but a Lifetime in Real Estate

Seven days is a long time in politics and a lifetime in real estate. After I wrote last weeks’ article on “The Death of Real Estate As We Know It” we have seen the very public demise of three franchised offices in North West Metropolitan Sydney. The issues were all just a little close to home and I am gob smacked to see how Raine and Horne Corporation have dealt with the situation. If I were a Raine and Horne Franchisee at least I would now be aware of the “process” and “support levels” that I could expect if the worst were to happen. Angus Raine’s comments regarding the collapse should send a shudder down the spine of every Franchisee – it should be a shudder that lasts for hours, maybe days, maybe weeks and for some longer. A shudder that should see smart operators exit the brand sooner than later.

Marquette Turner Directors have been in contact with staff from Raine and Horne in all three offices and the collapse has brought forward the release of our “Marquette Turner Licensee Program”. We have been very loud and clear about the pending disaster that current franchised models are facing and have spent hundreds of hours planning and are now releasing our solution to what is a critical situation. Marquette Turner Corporation is the result of thousands of hours of planning, travelling around the globe as well as around every State and Territory in Australia to see what the real estate world was doing. What were the best bits? What were the worst bits? How can both start-up and current operators maximize their incomes? The old fashioned franchised model just doesn’t maximize incomes for franchisee’s, and certainly doesn't for their Licensed employees. There are limited protections in place which really assist franchisees when the chips are down. I will release the exact detail of our brand new, innovative “Licencee Agreements” in next weeks’ E Mag.

For anyone interested in real estate there will be a information evenings in both Newcastle and Sydney in April, 2007. We will release the exact times of each once suitable venues have been confirmed. We are extremely excited that we have been able to take care of the “cost” of setting up a licensee as once approved by the Board you will not be forced into wasting money on a shop front, getting a receptionist etc. You can work from home (or out of your boot). Our aim is simple – have the best agents possible representing our brand, who are committed to the brand, aren't burdened with huge overheads, continual training and most of all the positive growth of each other. In doing so we are confident of creating many other income producing opportunities for every licensee as we work tirelessly to produce a better and better brand.

What we have seen this week is a shocking display of the failure of what was and still is the typical business model of a real estate office. The scary thing is that there are thousands of offices around Australia which are all set up in the same way and anyone of them may be the next to fall. The inefficient business models that current franchises operate within have taken little except email and word processing from the Information Revolution. The internet has changed the way we live forever but the same people who insist on expensive Newspaper Advertisements (at the vendor’s expense of course) – portraying it as extremely effective in achieving the highest sale price (Studies show that property ads are more effective in getting more business for real estate agents than they are in actually selling properties – National Association of Realtors) are also the people with the biggest stake in keeping things just as they are – inefficient, antiquated . My prediction: We have not seen the tip of the iceberg!


Michael Marquette

The Battle for Tenant's (plus some good news)

NEW renters have been locked out of some of Sydney's most sought-after suburbs as real estate agents report that they have no properties for lease. This is certainly the case for Marquette Turner.

It has not been uncommon to see upwards of 50 people competing for properties in the city, inner-west, eastern suburbs and the lower North Shore. Occasionally that figure surpasses 100. There are so few places available that applications are being thrust into agents' hands even when people are dissatisfied with the property on offer. Bidding wars are frequently bumping up asking prices, and keen home hunters are giving three to six months' rent in advance.

The President of the Real Estate Institute of NSW, Steve Martin, said the vacancy rate in Sydney last month was 1.2 per cent, the lowest January figure in at least five years.

"People are literally lining up to inspect rental accommodation," Mr Martin said. "And subsequently what's happening is they are looking at the competition they've got and they are filling out application forms and offering in excess of what the asking rental is just to secure rental accommodation."

The lack of properties is putting the squeeze on potential tenants, literally, with agents forced to separate interested parties into groups so they can fit into small, inner-city apartments. Viewing times are also being extended to cope with the huge demand.

Prospective tenants will be pleased to know that not al hope has gone. Marquette Turner will have available a 2 bedroom apartment in Surry Hills from 10 March.

CLICK HERE to view more

Contact: Michael Marquette

Mobile: 0433 170 170

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Kylie Minogue Puts French Island Up For Sale

Pop princess Kylie Minogue is selling her holiday house on French Island in South Australia.

The 221 acre property, including a lavishly renovated four-bedroom home is where she sought refuge after breast cancer surgery in 2005.

The four-bedroom property on French Island, a two-hour boat trip from her Melbourne hometown, is expected to go for $2 million Australian ($1.8 million US dollars). She has has spent close to $1 million on the retreat, including planting 1,000 trees.

French Island has no piped water, electricity or gas. It is served by a ferry that runs services to the mainland.

Some Gloom but NOT all Doom: Australia's Outlook

Home buyers have been squeezed by rising property prices and a string of interest rate hikes, and this is having a knock-on effect to tenants too.

So could the property bubble burst? That is now a real possibility. The 0.25 per cent rate rise of this week will push more Australian families into housing stress, and whilst many will cope many will not. This will force many to sell up, many for whatever they can get.

That trend is already evident in the outer suburbs of many Australian cities, particularly Sydney. So property prices, in some suburbs, might well fall further in the months ahead.

Is it all gloomy though? Another rate rise could attract a flood of hot money into this country.
Australia’s interest rates are already substantially higher than those in America, Japan and many other countries.

So foreign investors are likely to find relatively safe, interest only, investments very attractive indeed. This will, once again, strengthen the $A, which will help to ease inflationary pressures in Australia. But this will be relatively slow.
None of this, though, will help sustain property prices, particularly in the outer suburbs.

One factor might, however, and that is a strong migration program.

Western Australia and Queensland are still keen to attract more migrants. The two big resource States still need many more people to fill the gaps in their workforces. Those shortfalls are restricting development, in those places. But neither New South Wales or Victoria are likely to benefit much from that.

High house prices are already forcing people out of Sydney, and the current slowdown, in the manufacturing sector is likely to limit job opportunities in Victoria and South Australia.

So while the outlook is gloomy for some, it's not all doom.

Simon Turner

Asian Expats Vote For The World's Most Liveable Cities

Asian expatriates have ranked Singapore as the best place to live in the world for its safe and clean environment, while Europeans chose Copenhagen, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Asian expats chose Singapore over Hong Kong (15th place) and Shanghai (78th place) and placed Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra as well as two Japanese cities Kobe and Yokohama in their top ten list of favourite locations, said ECA International, a human resource consultancy for multinationals.

Lee Quane, general manager of ECA International, said that Singapore’s solid infrastructure, low crime rate and clean air made it a favourable place to live. ‘While Hong Kong has seen an improvement in some categories, such as personal security, air pollution remains the biggest cause for its lower rankings relative to Singapore,’ he said in a statement. Singapore is competing with Hong Kong as a location for banking and financial services.

For locations in China and India, Shanghai and Chennai (138th place out of a total of 300 locations) came in top for Asian expats, said the annual survey.

European expats ranked Copenhagen as their top choice to live in the world. They placed three Swiss cities - Geneva, Basel and Bern - and three German cities - Dusseldorf, Bonn and Munich - in their top ten.

East European cities such as Bratislava and Bucharest have made improvements in this year’s survey because of advances in security, housing and health, the survey said.

European expats rated Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, as their 20th choice and Romania’s capital of Bucharest in 14th place.

In the Middle East, Manama, the capital of Bahrain, ranked top in the region along with Dubai and Muscat. Baghdad, in last place globally, lost marks for poor security, the survey said.

Top 10 best locations in the world for Asian expats
1. Singapore - Singapore
2. Australia - Sydney
3. Japan - Kobe
4. Australia - Melbourne
5. Denmark - Copenhagen
6. Australia - Canberra
7. Canada - Vancouver
8. Japan - Yokohama
9. New Zealand - Wellington
10. Ireland - Dublin

Source : Business Times - 4 Mar 2008

Sydney: A Tale of Two Cities?

Sydney is home to Australia's sharpest divide between rich and poor.

The harbourside suburb of Milsons Point was rated Australia's most advantaged and Claymore in the south-west the most disadvantaged in a new study by sociologist Scott Baum, based on 2006 Census data. Associate Professor Baum said the study, for Brisbane's Griffith University Urban Research Program, was not just based on real estate prices or household incomes.

It included a number of factors, including participation in the labour market, public housing, whether or not they spoke English well, the number of single parents and the number of elderly people in the suburb who required help on a daily basis.

"It's interesting that Sydney, the most global city and the one that is supposedly pulled along by the global economy, is also the most polarised," Prof Baum said.

"So, in a large sense, you've got this feeling that some suburbs have more in common with places in New York and London than they do with suburbs in their own city. "In Sydney's case, it really is a tale of two cities."

Researchers drew on the Census data to compare and overlay several indicators of disadvantage to come up with a rating, with "band one" being the poorest or most deprived and "band six" the wealthiest or least deprived.

Melbourne was rated the most liveable city, with its worst deprivation in the suburban industrial heartland of Broadmeadows and Sunshine.

East Melbourne and newly-gentrified inner urban areas of Docklands were least disadvantaged.
"While not suffering the extreme polarisation of Sydney, economic spin-offs (in Melbourne) ... don't flow evenly across the metropolitan area," Prof Baum said.

Neither Brisbane nor Perth had a band one area of highest deprivation, but Brisbane's outer suburbs of Inala and Logan Central were rated as band two, along with Perth's Karawara and Crawley.