oc | Tuesday 21st January

Young Homebuyers Issues & Solutions

Bidding is strong everywhere. Volcano Auction (6 Bidders), Heidelberg, 128 Hawdon,

Volcano Auction (6 Bidders), Heidelberg, 128 Hawdon, Gordon Hope, $1,975,000



James Market Summary

  • The Market is beginning its wind down into the traditional July Winter break. Look at our forward auction stock graphs to the right – most are beginning to shut up shop.
  • Bidderman was down today, however stock quality has also noticeably eased this month.
  • More pass-ins than we have seen for a while, which is partially a symptom of stock quality, but equally a response to vendor expectation v market
  • Still 81% of the 27 Auctions we attended had 2-6 bidders – that is super, super solid as far as market strength goes.
  • Overall what do we read into today – not much. The market has been hammered psychologically by the media discussions (no blame there – we need to have these discussions) and has still produced solid results on lower stock quality after a long weekend.
  • By the way welcome back to James Market News (this week and next week are Bumper Issues). Enjoy our special on Young Homebuyers spread over the next two weeks. Then Marketnews breaks for July school holidays; James Buyer Advocates is still open for buying clients.

Inside James this week

A Little Gem on Agent Quoting. Involved in a number of auctions today, but lets focus on the $2m segment as it matches up to the graphic we produced below on March 23rd.

  • The three auctions we bid on at $2m today were, Heidelberg (Grant Leonard), Armadale (Mark Wridgway) and Clifton Hill (Roland Paterson). One was a big home, one a smaller home and the third a townhouse – all different home types.
  • You maybe interested to know that the quotes were $1.3m plus, $1.5m plus and $1.5m plus.
  • Each or these auctions were Volcanoes (4 or more bidders).
  • They we all “on the market” at around 10% over their quote.
  • However the final results finished up being $1,975,000, $2,170,000 and just over $2,000,000 (undisclosed).

Are the agents underquoting? Legally no, as they were all on the market around 10% over their quote (Consumer Affairs accepted standard deviation). Was this all a surprise? Not really. The agents would say that’s the market and they have done there job well – we would agree.

  • But isn’t it amazing that the results were consistently between 33% and 50% above the quote.
  • And isn’t it even more amazing when you compare these results to the James Market Graphic below we produced March 23rd with three different agents in three different suburbs, earlier in the year which were also consistently 33% to 50% above agent quote.
  • These were randomly selected that we were bidding on. 6 agents – 6 suburbs – 6 home types – 2 different months.
  • What an amazing coincidence hey!!!
March 23rd Auctions @ $2m which we bid almost identically to the $2m June 13  auctions we bid on. 6 agents, 6 suburbs, 6 different properties and 6 were volcanoes finishing between 33% and 50% above agent quote. What a coincidence hey!

March 23rd Auctions @ $2m which we bid on. Almost identical to the $2m June 13 auctions we bid on. 6 different agents, 6 different suburbs, 6 different properties and all 6 were volcanoes finishing between 33% and 50% above agent quote. These were two different weekends. What an eerie coincidence hey!

In life we are told everything is different – but in life there are three certainties. Death, Taxes and Agent Quoting.


15 Rowell Avenue, Camberwell, (Glen Coutinho, RT Edgar), Undisclosed above $5,251,000, After auction, 2 bidders

39 Lambeth Avenue, Armadale, (Justin Long, Marshall White), $4,660,000, Under hammer, 4 bidders

27 Summerhill Road, Brighton East, (Rob Strickland, Marshall White), $3,980,000, Under hammer, 4 bidders

For James auction reports – click here


128 Hawdon Street, Heidelberg, (Gordon Hope, Nelson Alexander), $1,975,000, Under hammer, 6 bidders

6 Lewes Drive, Malvern East, (Daniel Wheeler, Marshall White), $2,500,000, Under hammer, 5 bidders

21 Rostrevor Parade, Mont Albert North, (Patrick Dennis, Jellis Craig), $2,010,000, Under hammer, 4 bidders

 For James auction reports – click here


43 Victoria Street, Sandringham, $3,550,000, Passed In, 1 bidder

4 Derril Avenue, Malvern, $3,480,000, Passed In, 2 bidders

302 Beaconsfield Parade, Middle Park, $2,900,000, Passed In, 0 bidders

For James auction reports – click here

39 Lambeth Armadale, Justin Long, Volcano with 4, Under the Hammer, $4,660,000

39 Lambeth Armadale, Justin Long, Volcano with 4, Under the Hammer, $4,660,000

Issues and Solutions for Young People

Today’s James Market Insight is the first of two parts on Issues and Solutions facing young homebuyers in Melbourne. This week we cover the issues. Next week we cover the solutions.

We have set up a website specifically for young people here at James Hope

We at James have started to do something about young people, although we have been acting for young people in an indirect manner for many years now (through parental purchasing – our largest segment)


Young People You Can Buy A Home – It Takes a Mindset (and some help)

A number of young (and the not so young) homebuyers will have stopped looking for their dream home in the last few weeks.

This could be a bad situation (for them).

In fact it could well have been a completely counterproductive action if at any stage, in the future, they want to own a family home.

I bought my first home in 1985. Since then I have bought over a 1000 homes and never have I once purchased a home by not giving it my all.

Waiting never works

Never have I seen a friend or a client be in a better position by waiting out of the market for any length of time. Please don’t confuse this statement with passing on buying the wrong home and then continuing to look for the right one.

There are good and bad homes for each and every one of us. Don’t rush (there is no rush, even now). However you won’t find the good homes by not looking.

A number of younger buyers will have been turned off by media talk, Facebook interactions and discussions at work or home.

There is a lot of talk that we are in a bubble and by implication the bubble will burst, home prices will drop dramatically and will miraculously appear.

We at James do not see that – not over the longer term anyway, not unless the population changes dramatically.

To stop the home search, to give up, to lose focus is WRONG, an untruth , a false perception IF your longer term happiness is tied to being in a family situation where you, or you and your partner control your destiny – eg you live in your own home.

Markets will continue to rise in the longer term

  1. No easing of the market will assist you to any noticeable degree. We did see the effects of the worst financial markets correction since the Great Depression in 2008, the market has bounced back and now much farther ahead than it was in 2007, 2008 or 2009. If you are viewing a home over a “lifetime” investment horizon, there will be bumps, but it will be a strong long term proposition.
  2. Over time the market will/must continue to rise whilst there is population growth. It’s simple and Infrastructure Australia* released their report two weeks ago and in it they have projected a 45% increase in population in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth over the next 15 years.  If that isn’t reassurance of continuing property demand, I don’t know what is. 
  3. The government cannot and will not “save” you, the young homebuyers. The only thing that will “save” you, the young homebuyer, is you (and if you are lucky – good parents).

So, Mr. Hockey might have been clumsy in his words, but his message had some truth.

Perhaps I am being generous, but one of the more helpful statements this last week seemed to be the most controversial.

If you want to buy a good home, get a job that pays. This, in my opinion, was one of the few accurate and helpful comments of this last week – if buying a good home is your main priority.

BUT please, there is more to this than getting a good job. A number of young doctors feel they can’t buy their first home and they have what society deems is a good job.

As a young home buyer, please don’t get caught up in the minutiae or the politics.

Mr Hockey’s statement is a helpful pointer if you take it as meaning:

  1. Take Action yourself
  2. Get the Resources you need to get a home

You as young home buyers need to act and take it upon yourselves to control your own destiny.

Theories do not put a roof over your head – Practical Solutions Do

House Affordability is a theoretical problem.

Effective House Buying is a practical solution.

Your choice as a young homebuyer is to be caught up in the problems – good dinner party chatter or caught up in the solutions, which will put a roof over your family’s head and more importantly build long term security for your family.

First the problems and then we put the VIOLIN away and discuss solutions.

1. Negative Gearers

As a young home buyer you face negative gearers (AND super funds AND other investment vehicles as well).

If you are looking at an $800,000 home and you are competing against a negative gearer, then a negative gearer can borrow all the money they need and can pay well over $2,000,000 for that same $800,000 home and it will still COST LESS to service than what it would for you pay for your mortgage, even assuming you had a 20% deposit.


The argument that negative gearing and super funds increase rentals is true, but its also BALONEY for you because with SMART BABY BOOMER INVESTORS it increases rentals at the cost of young home buyers buying a home.

So lets get rid of negative gearing, super funds OK. 

Maybe, but please not in a hurry, without thinking it through.

We buy a number of homes for parents who have been reading our blogs for the last decade. If the government or the opposition got rid of negative gearing, then in many cases, all they would be doing, is making it easier for overseas buyers to purchase the stock that you are hoping will be freed up for younger people.

I have teenage and I need the firepower negative gearing gives me to maintain and buy homes against overseas buyers. I represent many parents and they need the firepower negative gearing gives them to maintain and buy homes against overseas investors.

So do you really think the government is going to alienate the baby boomers. In theory yes, but in practice, I’m not so sure. They may water down negative gearing. However, as you can see from the above maths watering down will have limited effect, as the gap is so great.

Many parents need negative gearing or super funds to compete against Chinese buyers and other overseas buyers and are doing so right now. We know as we are buying for parents.

If the government removed negative gearing, super funds they could suffer a tremendous backlash from many people (with resources) because they would take away a significant tool in competing on the international stage for buying Inner Melbourne Homes for their children.

Possible Solution Number 1 – we will be discussing in depth next week – Get your parents involved NOW.

If we were talking to Grade 6’s about home buying, the main message we would be telling them is get Mum and Dad out there now looking for a good home for you to rent off them when you’re 30. Of course I would be adding in make sure Mum and Dad know the difference between a good and a bad family home to buy for you.

If you cant beat them, join them. Maybe DON’T hate negative gearing, USE IT.

PROPERTY ORPHANS (no helpful parents) STILL want and need negative gearing, otherwise you will get beaten up by OTHER BUYERS.

Here are some clues (but please talk to us about what to buy, most apartments ARE NOT the things to negative gear).

Possible Solution Number Two: Buy a GOOD home NOW and negative gear with a tenant, then move in when you can afford it.

Possible Solution Number Three: Bit more adventurous – buy a GOOD home and get a friend to buy a GOOD home and use negative gearing, possibly with a solicitor and a formal/informal agreement to live in each other’s homes. Your main purpose is not to avoid tax; your main purpose is to provide shelter, to afford a home. The lessening of your tax allows you to compete against other local and overseas buyers. I would still get some legal advice on this type of set up, just in case.

BUT please this is not the whole solution in itself. This is part thereof, of you taking charge and getting negative gearing to help you, not hurt you.

More on this in next week’s James Market News.

2. Overseas Buyers

If not Chinese buyers, then Indian buyers, Brazilian buyers, and Indonesian buyers and so on will be competing on the homes you want to buy.

Overseas buying is unlikely to stop in a hurry as all political parties want population growth and they want it from rich overseas people.

Whether that is right or wrong is not for us to say – but Overseas bidding particularly from China dominates the Inner Melbourne Market – even where Chinese people are not bidding.

Overseas buyers have more money to spend on an $800,000 home than you, particularly while the A$ is as it is.

Lets say in 2010 you as a young person decided to save for a deposit on a then $700,000 home. You were looking to save $140,000 deposit. During this time the main issue IS NOT that your $700,000 has gone to $800,000 or $900,000 but that the Australian dollar has dropped and you are in an international market.

The couple in Beijing who were also saving in 2010, but were saving in US dollars have now effectively $210,000 AUS as a deposit and can fund a $1,000,000 purchase simply because of the exchange rate changes. A 50% drop in the AUS $ vs. US$ in the last 5 years.

So for that $700,000 home now worth $800,000 the overseas buyers could bid to $1,000,000 with the same savings since 2010 as you.


That’s only one part of the equation, there are many Chinese and other international who don’t need to borrow – they are $800,000 to $8,000,000 cash buyers. As we said recently there are over 2,000,000 millionaire Chinese looking for homes.

We at James Buyer Advocates know that because we act for local and international families.

Let’s stop Overseas Buyers from taking our kids homes is the under the breath comment at many dinner parties.

OK how? The FIRB Act (designed to limit Overseas Investment) is as effective as Airline security – meaning if people want to do it, then they will do it – if they have been allowed to get to the threshold stage.

And besides that, will stopping overseas buyers actually help or hurt you in your quest for a good home in Inner Melbourne close to transport, shops, work, friends and schools?

Think about it, Overseas Buying has positives.

Chinese buying saved Melbourne property in 2009 from experiencing what almost every other country experienced – a significant and sustained property downturn.

Do you really want to stop Chinese buyers? Do you want a 20 year flattish property market like Japan – which has zero population growth and zero immigration?

And its not just the money – Chinese families have a lot to offer us through their older and more modern cultures.

Maybe we want to be like Japan and shut our borders or Canada who has partially shut them to Chinese buyers.

As a community we will all have to make that decision through our politicians.

I’m not so sure any total lockdown is the way to go. Perhaps a focus into regional areas may be a better alternative – maybe not – it needs discussion and then action, rather than knee jerk reactions.

What is true is Overseas bidding particularly from China dominates the Inner Melbourne Market – even where Chinese people are not bidding.

However we have had Chinese buying for 40 years, just never at this level of intensity.

But can you and your children wait? They may have gone from 6 to 16, or 16 to 26, or 26 to 36 while discussions are happening and your children need a home sooner than that.

3. Real Estate Agents and Buyer Advocates

Agents and advocates are ruining it for young people by pushing the prices up.

Good selling agents do push prices up and bad buyer advocates can hurt young homebuyers with their incompetence. But the real truth is us agents/advocates are not that good – we can’t control markets.

It’s demand and supply that controls markets.

Demand is from population, with wealthy immigration being the main driver; and supply is very restricted on most Inner Melbourne Homes with good position and good land.

So while agents are often their own worst enemy (with regards to their quoting and some tactics), they are not the reason why young homebuyers can’t buy a home to live in.

If we stopped everything

Ok, so lets say in your perfect world we’ve got rid of the Chinese buyers, got rid of the Negative gearers, banned Super Funds from buying homes, stopped immigration and yada yada yada.

Where would that leave you – does that mean you can automatically buy a home much more easily?

Not necessarily.

4. Wounded Underbidders.

Have you been to auctions in the Inner North for instance – you know the single-fronters in need of a reno – the ones you can almost afford?

Are you just competing against negative gearers, super funders and families from Asia?

Well no – you are also competing against WOUNDED UNDERBIDDERS – that is other buyers who have bid before. They have come from Inner Melbourne organic population increases via Inner Melbourne births and Australian intra-migration from Outer Melbourne and Regional wealthier homebuyers wanting to be closer to schools and infrastructure that works.

NOW they are better resourced than you.  By better resourced we mean they:

  1. Have a clearer focus
  2. Have a buyer advocate or other property professional
  3. Have done greater research and so on – eg they may have a more competitive interest rate – every dollar counts!


If the government or the army or the media or …….. were somehow able to:

  • Stop the Overseas Buyers coming
  • Stop negative gearing and super funds and ….
  • Stop other locals competing against you

and all the while:

  • Kept the economy buoyant
  • So you can keep a job and
  • Kept the developers actually building in a negative economic environment.

Where would you be?

Do you really want to buy you first home in Whoop Whoop West and live in a country with a 20 year property market like Japan – which gave you almost no hope of a few good property moves that saw you end up in – near schools in a nice home for not much else than three good decisions?

Me personally – I want a gently rising market for my children. And I want them to learn how to use The Rising Melbourne Market to their advantage.

Don’t give up – don’t whine about negative gearing and Chinese buyers, learn to deal with them and get into the property mix.

But please get into the property mix sooner rather than later.

Because once you are in, then if you make good decisions and buy well, the market will work for you.

Example: We have bought for families who have moved from $480,000 in Albert Park in 2000 to $880,000 in Sandy in 2005 to $2,000,000 in Bayside in 2015 all with manageable changeover costs. Look at the number $480,000 – isn’t that what you have now?

How do you do that, how do you use this market to your advantage?

The Four Solution Keys

  1. Good Plan
  2. Good Professional Assistance – James Buyer Advocates or others
  3. Good Processes
  4. Good Decisions

Next week at Jamesmarketnews.com.au and Jameshope.com.au we investigate in depth, real practical solutions for young people buying homes.

Next week we will discuss:

  1. Good Plan
  2. Good Professional Assistance – James Buyer Advocates
  3. Good Processes
  4. Good Decisions

Its all about NOW plus the LONGER TERM, not just the NOW.

James Credentials

Now for young people and by that we mean anybody under say 45, this article may appear lacking in empathy. All I can say is I have teenage children and I totally, totally share the concerns re home affordability, BUT………… I share my/our credentials to be able to say what we are saying.

  1. My family has bought two of the needed three homes for our children and we are still paying off those mortgages, just as many other families are. We have used negative gearing. We needed it.
    Our children are 20,16 and 14. I/we have significant fears that if we had not been working towards this goal our children would have had significant housing problems that would impact negatively on their lives (and that still may happen).
  2. Our family and James Buyer Advocates has been substantial supporters since 2006 of Hanover’s for the Homeless Private Rental Brokerage programme. The work of Hanover has allowed us to see first hand the hundreds and hundreds of families who sleep rough every night because they cannot afford decent housing.
  3. I am a professional buyer advocate, have bought over a 1000 homes and see the current housing affordability situation affecting not only young first homebuyers, but many other people as well. The only generation that has done well from all this is the baby boomers (my generation). In my humble opinion, we as a generation, need to do a hellava lot more in giving back in a meaningful way to help those that follow us; rather than leave some sort of scorched landscape as we depart planet Earth (sorry about the soapbox)

Reference: * http://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/policy-publications/publications/files/Australian-Infrastructure-Audit-Key-Findings.pdf

words experts graphicAgents-June-13_2015

Younger Agent Survey: What is your longer term advice for younger buyers trying to get into this market?

Chris Hassall (Buxton, Bentleigh):

The best advice for young buyers trying to buy into the market is to consider off the plan. I remember when I first got into the market I bought an apartment in Elwood off the plan. I was finding it hard to buy at auction with all the competition and extra stamp duty payments. When I bought off the plan I saved stamp duty and also knew it was a fixed price; no auction competition that pushed up prices to silly levels. Also, if you buy at today’s prices, and it takes 12-18 months for the property to be build it may go up in that time. Seven years ago, I bought for $425K and it was worth $600K when it was finished. This helped me get ahead for the next purchase back then.

Editor Note: We do not edit or delete agent comments and Chris is an excellent agent. However we at James, do not support buying off the plan for young people. 

Rick Daniel (Nelson Alexander, Fitzroy):

The advice I share with clients is no different to the strategy I apply myself – focus on land with value adding opportunities. It’s unlikely that your first property is going to be your last, so don’t wait for the perfect home cause there’s every chance you’ll miss another market. Be strict on the position, orientation and size of the land rather than what the house looks like in its current form. One needs to always remember that your principle place of residence is your largest tax-free asset so try to find a property where you can improve and build as much capital as possible. If your preference is an apartment, townhouse or unit, limit your search to boutique/smaller blocks and older-style buildings where you can still add value.

 Zali Reynolds (Marshall White, Hawthorn):

I feel that younger buyers tend to have unrealistic expectations of what they can afford and tend to hold off buying until they find the ‘perfect house’. There is no ‘perfect house’ so my advice would be to look for the best location you can afford and something with great bones and a good floorplan. Walls can be painted, tiles replaced and floors polished. Location is key. Look for proximity to transport, schools, shops and parklands. It is also good to pay attention to the condition and style of other houses in the street. Other well-maintained or renovated homes in the street lift the overall feel of the location and will appeal to other buyers if you decide to resell down the track.

Halli Moore (Buxton, Brighton):

My advice is to select an area that offers good growth potential. Target properties that offer potential to value add over time. Make sure that whatever you decide to purchase, you can afford the repayments. Interest rates will not always be the same so you need to be able to factor the “what if”. Can you afford the repayments if rates start to increase? What happens if property prices go down, how will that impact on you? Seek advice and be prepared.



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