TV Review of Byron Baes
Check out this hilarious review of Byron Baes by Margaret Pomeranz. In case you missed it on Charly Pickering’s Weekly on ABC. This Netflix series documenting the ups and downs of a group of Byron Bay influencers is a show people love to hate. I did a piece on it a couple of issues ago and you can see my take on the TV extravaganza here.
Post Flood Rebuilding
Anyone interested in the future of Lismore CBD would enjoy watching this short video. It follows someone who is responsible for rebuilding many of the Lismore CBD buildings and making them waterproof. Mullumbimby should be looking at this as well.
If you are interested in the outcome for Mullum – the NSW Independent Flood Inquiry has been extended. There will be a meeting at Mullumbimby RSL on Monday 6 June, 10.30 – 12.30. You will need to register to attend and you can do that here. It will be live-streamed if you can’t go in person. Register here for a place.
I have highlighted this podcast before. The elephant in the Room is a property commentary by two people who are pretty good at their info. One is a Buyers Agent and the other is a mortgage broker. The first part of this episode looks at the potential of Ballina, then it moves on to whether prices will be affected by flooding. So this one is worth a listen.
What’s in the news?
These two articles zero in on current matters of interest in the real estate market. The first story is an ABC online article explaining the frustration of underbidders who go through the trouble and cost of due diligence only to find that quoted range was way below the final sale price. Agents say it is just what happens in a frenzied market. Buyers say it is a calculated ploy to get people hooked into a listing or an auction to get competitive bidding. Both are correct.
If you think you have been the victim of an underquoting agent, there is only one thing you can do. Ask to see the listing agreement between the agent and the vendor. If the price the agent is saying they can get is more than 10% higher than what the agent was advertising the range to be, then you have a case and take it to the ombudsman.
The second article is about the slowing in some areas of auction clearance rates. This could herald a slowdown in the market – or it could not. This article may not be able to be open to all readers. Basically, CoreLogic data is showing auction clearance rates declining over recent weeks. Last week the clearance rate slumped to 74 per cent, a reasonably high rate by historical standards, but well below the 90 per cent rate recorded earlier this year.
How to Vote?
We have an excellent voting system, which is mainly free of influence and fraud. However, preferential voting is more complex than first past the post. Also in these local council elections, we are asked to elect a Mayor and the full Council so there are two ballots.
The mayoral voting ballot is fairly simple and best to number your choice in order of preference. Best to do at least four. If you vote for just one and your candidate is eliminated your preference will not be counted.
The vote for Councillors is a bit more complicated in that you can vote above, or below, the line. Voting above the line means that you will accept the preferences of the Group or Party for which you vote #1.
Voting below the line is for those who want to select candidates individually and have their own order of preference. You need to number at least four or your vote will be invalid, but best to number as many as you can be bothered to. Also, your vote will be invalid if you vote above AND below the line on the same ballot card.
To make it simple, let’s say you are voting for the Mark Swivel Team. Not that I am biased in any way and am just picking a candidate randomly. In the Mayoral ballot, you would put a #1 beside SWIVEL Mark in the bottom box. Then you would number PUGH Asren, LYON Michael, CLARKE Bruce 2,3 and 4 or any order you like. If you want to vote below the line, choose Group d #1, Groupo f #2, Group E #3 and Group G #4.
BTW, as a Covid restriction, polling booths are not allowed to hand out How To Vote Cards this time. There are polling booth supporters outside to help you with your choice but they cannot give you an HTV card. You can take a picture of the QI code and use that inside. If you wish to follow the Mark Swivel Team HTV, the QI link is below.
Happy voting and enjoy your sausage.
Get Those Rentals Legal
When I first moved here in the mid-80s most houses and studios were not DA approved. Over the years that has quickly been changing as more and more city buyers have purchased using city solicitors and conveyancers.
It is a good idea for landowners to build studios and granny flats as much as possible. There is a housing emergency and it looks like the powers that be are either incapable or unwilling to do anything about it. Therefore the private sector (you and me) need to do as much as we can to help. If you did not see the Four Corners programme on this issue, try to see it on ABC IView.
Lots of things have moved on from the 80s. It is now imperative for owners to have any rental properties legal. I plan to go into the details of this issue in a later blog as it is wickedly complex. In this shire, there are many hundreds of residents living in unapproved rentals. It is a major source of affordable housing and I wish we could just turn away from compliance as we have done in the past. But there are legal, liability, insurance and economic storm clouds brewing over this so be warned and do your best to be DA approved. There are valid reasons why real estate agents no longer want to lease unapproved dwellings.
The MST Campaign Launch and Art Auction
What has been missing from Around The Traps are the many Meet The Candidates events. All were swept away by COVID and the election itself was postponed. It is now happening on December 4th and I implore any readers who are not registered to vote to do so. You just have to google vote and follow the prompts to the Australian Electoral Commissions Website.
Tonight, November 2nd, the official launch of the Mark Swivel Team is on at the Byron Theatre. If you are interested in attending go to the MST website and book a ticket if still available. It will be a good show with Lisa Hunt and Joel Salom performing.
The following week, November 9th will be the fundraiser auction. Many standout local artists have donated work and will receive 50% of the proceeds back as a way of supporting our struggling arts community. Supporters can also buy a Supporter Pack that includes a corflute and a t-shirt for $100. There is also the accompanying article here that gives you an overview of the candidate field. Get involved – it’s called democracy!.
I Spy Koalas
We are in the middle of koala mating season. This means they are more mobile and out there to be spotted. Bushwalkers and rural landowners could benefit from this new app. The NSW Government has launched a new app – I Spy Koala.
The app allows community members to record their sightings of koalas in the wild. App users can enter information about the location and condition of the koala, as well as photos and other information. Better information about koalas leads to better koala conservation and better planning decisions.
Holiday Letting Changes
I have probably posted more stories about Holiday Letting and Airbnb than any other issue over the years. Maybe this latest development will help settle it but somehow I doubt it. The new STRA planning policy framework has been introduced and the NSW Gov wants all STHL owners to register their properties. If you are a host and share a house with guests then not much will change. If you rent out a fully self-contained house you will be restricted to 180 days in each year in which you can rent. Byron council, especially interim mayor, Michael Lyons, wants to restrict this even further to 90 days. Most people in the industry doubt that the state gov will allow an exception for Byron Shire. Also, there is a discussion about how it would be policed and even if it is fully legal. Read the full regs below in the link.
Changing Lending Rules
From November, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), has made a simple, but significant change to the lending rules for banks. It is an effort to slow down the overheated property market. Good in theory, but again, will probably have unintended and negative consequences.
Borrowers seeking housing finance will now need to demonstrate that they are able to meet higher repayments when interest rates are assessed at least 3 per cent higher than the actual loan interest rate. This assessed rate, also called the buffer, floor, or serviceability rate was reduced to 2.5 per cent above the standard variable after the pandemic hit. This low-interest rate and easier access to finance is probably the main contributor to the skyrocketing house price we are seeing nationally, and especially in desirable lifestyle destinations like Byron Bay.
The unintended consequence is this will hurt entry-level, families and mid-level house buyers more than the top end – where we are seeing most of the heated buying. It will also hinder downsizing and people wanting to move from empty nests. This is exactly the type of people who need to move on and free up mid-level housing for new buyers entering the market.
Most top-end buyers purchasing in this area are cash buyers who do not require bank finance. They are already at an advantage as buyers requiring a bank valuation are put to the back of the pack over offers that are unconditional upon finance. Again, this is a policy good in theory but bad in practice!
(THIS IS OCTOBER ISSUE)Plant More Trees Info
Many tree changers coming to this region want to make a positive contribution to the difficulty we are facing with climate change. Many owners or rural acreage are keen to make a difference by planting more trees. I have often been asked to assist new clients with this. Zero Emissions Byron is an NFP that has been active in this space for some years and now are compiling the stats on the amount of forest regrowth in the shire.
ZEB includes the Replant Byron Alliance that connects revegetation organisations, landholders and professionals.
“Our focus is now on supporting tree changers to manage their land in a way that draws down C02 and discourage land uses that emit C02 i.e. slashing and intensive monocultures/grazing”.
There are many regrowth specialists available now in Byron Shire. The cost of revegetating comes in at around $40,000 p/ha or $16,700 p/acre however it is important to promote all the benefits of this land use so that people are not deterred by the cost.
Covid Catch Up
It’s time for some Vax Facts since there are lots of maybes, dunnos, who knows, who cares, out there. Also, there is lots of understandable reasons and desire to turn off from the latest COCID communication. It all gets a bit too tiresome – really.
- We currently have no active Covid cases in our area but traces have been detected in the sewerage which is a concern.
- Byron Shire’s Covid vaccination rate is trailing behind our neighbouring LGAs. The single-dose uptake is at 46.1% of adults over 15) while the double dose is 25.0%. Nearby shires are Ballina 61.4%/37.4% single/double. Lismore 50.7%/ 26.6% and Tweed 57.3%/30.6%. Be interesting to know what Mullumbimby would be? The best in the state Ku-ring-gai at 78.4%/52.4%
- Zoran Radovanovic, or Byron’s Patient Zero, is claiming he is not so bad. The Rose Bay, Sydney man was accused of flouting lockdown and driving here with his two teenage sons while knowingly being Covid positive. Not true, he claims now out of quarantine. He says he was travelling for a legitimate reason (real estate) and had no idea he was COVID positive. The real unknown remains, and no one seems to be asking, or knows the answer: if he and his sons were for so long and infectious, how come we did not become a cluster? Dunno!
- For those who like Sammy J who does the quick comedy skit on the ABC Thursday nights. He did a funny take on Byron Bay being locked down.
- With lockdown now extended till September 10, what are our chances of freedom? Our main hope may be to have the border bubble idea resurrected and become temporary Queenslanders. There was some talk of the new temporary boundary be as far south as Ballina. That is now dropped and what NR towns are lobbying for is the Tweed River. That will still keep us locked out of Qld.
- If you are a landlord wishing to give your tenant a discount or a moratorium, who can find out about government support here.
- Nyck Jeanes, the president of Bay FM, a local community radio station, has been asked to step down. It was suggested that his anti-vax and anti lockdown views were not consistent with the station’s policy. He will continue with his Friday morning radio show.
Many investment property owners are not aware of the savings that can be made by doing a proper depreciation schedule. Anh Nguyen from Duo Tax is offering BPS readers a 10% discount on the fee if they mention this piece.
Duo Tax Quantity Surveyors, explains how tax depreciation works. It can benefit your cash flow and the upkeep of your investment property. Depreciation is the wear and tear that occurs as things get older. The cost of this depreciation can be deducted from your taxable income. The majority of owners get to claim an average of $7,500 of tax depreciation in their first year alone. If you are interested, Anh can provide a free estimate on how much value resides for the first year. Use this link and Duo Tax can provide a free estimate on how much depreciation you can claim by using this link – Byron Property Search Contact Form
Vale John Cornell
John Cornell died in Byron Bay in July, after battling Parkinson’s for 20 years. He was 80. “Strop” has a massive influence on Byron during the decades he and his family lived here. Many will remember him as a philanthropist and donor to local worthy causes, as well as a TV and film producer, co-creator of world series cricket. He was a canny and astute operator in many fields.
He was the owner of a sizable chunk of Byron Bay real estate, mainly in Belongil Beach and Ewingsdale. Other successful purchases/developments include the iconic Beach Hotel. He was also owner, along with another local big media player, David Gyngel, in the Brunswick Heads Hotel.
The making and launching of “Crocodile Dundee” were heady days for Byron Bay. The Epicentre, formerly the abattoir in Belongil, was where some of the interior scenes for Croc Dundee were filmed. The launch party in 1986 was in the venue now known as the Surf Shack, which I managed to crash. When Paul Hogan married co-star Linda Kozlowski on his Possum Creek property, the eyes of the world’s media suddenly turned on our funky little town.
Some would say that Hoges and Strop made Byron what it is today, but I dispute that. Byron was already on some kind of weird trajectory when they moved here. We already had the arrival of the surfing contingent from California, Bali and Byron were already entrenched on the hippy trail. Hoges and Strop tried to do the same in the Queensland coastal town of Seventeen Seventy but it did not stick. Shirley MacLaine was in reality the first Holywood property owner here and was a purchaser here in the early 80s.
But vale John Cornell – he was a lover of Byron Bay, and Byron Bay loved him back.
Poo Power Coming to Town
Byron Council is wanting to go out on a limb with two innovative and costly projects. One is the large solar farm in Dingo Lane, beside the Manse Road Recycling facility. The other is the BioEnergy Treatment Plant. This one is planned beside Byron Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) west of the Arts and Industry Estate. Both projects are part of the package to get the council to zero carbon emissions.
You can view and provide feedback on its Development Application. It is for the construction of a fully enclosed bioenergy facility at the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). If constructed, it will be a first-of-its-kind facility in Australia.
It is expected to generate between 3 to 4 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy per year. This is approximately 50-70 per cent of the Council’s total annual electricity consumption. It would reduce Council’s carbon emissions by up to 20 per cent (equivalent to taking 1,030 cars/year off the road) and remove the Byron STP from grid electricity. Excess energy feeds back into the grid.
Council’s Senior Project Manager for the bioenergy facility project, John Hart, said the facility would use dry anaerobic digestion technology to process the Shire’s residential and commercial organic waste and convert it into renewable energy and a compost product. It no longer looks or smells like poo at all.
The construction of the facility is estimated to cost between $15-20 million and Council is currently applying for State and Federal grants. Mr Hart said Council would meet its contribution towards the project from loan borrowings with no planned increase to rates or Council charges to ratepayers.
“Over 20,000 tonne a year of the region’s organic waste is currently transported to Queensland, so this facility presents an opportunity for Byron Shire to take control of its own organic waste with a local solution,” Mr Hart said.