Unique Estates Update
Bankrupted real estate agent, Nicolette van Wijngaarden, principal of the luxury agency, Unique Estates, recently surfaced in Melbourne. It seems Ms Wijngaarden took a job with Melbourne agency Dingle Partners, selling units through five agencies in inner-city Melbourne. Unique Estate went broke earlier this year owing $1.6M. Her profile has since been removed from the Dingle Partners website.
Property Observer was unable to reach Ms Wijngaarden for comments but Dingle Partners founder Malcolm Dingle said he was aware of some of the problems besetting the agent. “Whatever those issues are, she is licensed in Victoria. I am not sure why you would be asking these questions,” he said.
Holiday Letting Update
Will this one ever be resolved? Probably not.
The NSW gov has a real problem making this work as it needs to introduce a state wide solution. But there are two completely different markets they are trying to resolve. Most areas are generally happy with Short Term Holiday Letting (STHL) and want it to continue and even be promoted. It is just in our popular Byron Shire it is a major problem and creating a lot of pushback. There is a valid concern that the STHL industry could imbalance the general housing stock. The solution the state government is wanting to introduce is too stringent for many areas, but too lax for Byron.
Local Nationals MLC Ben Franklin is saying he is on top of it and told The Echo, ‘I am very conscious of Byron’s special and unique status and the potential impact of laws in this space. That’s why I will be consulting broadly over the next 12 months on the impacts of the legislation and taking a Byron-specific set of recommendations back to government to be considered in their 12-month review. I look forward to working closely with all stakeholders over that time to ensure it is fully reflective of our community’s needs.’
Thanks Ben, when you have solved this one, pack your bags for the Middle East and solve that one as well.
Generally, I am not a fan of some of the older architecture in our shire. Some properties built in the fifties and sixties could benefit from a D9 bulldozer. However, there are a few classic old properties, usually pre-war, that would be well worth saving. Below is a shot of a couple that I have always looked at and hoped that one day they will be bought back to their former glory.
This property on Ewingsdale Road is a classic but looks to be getting close to falling down. Many locals know of it and it has had a rich and colourful past. It is currently owned by Belbeck Investments, part of the majority Chinese owned McDonald’s beef empire with an interest in property. In 2013 they sought rezoning of the 15-hectare precinct for a proposed 200 or so unit retirement village on the site; the Higgins Homestead was to be restored but lost in amongst the urban sprawl. Be good to save this one if possible. I would be happy to see a retirement village development (well needed) with the deal to save this property as its office/visitor centre but must remain visible from the road.
Byron Shire has a pretty good heritage policy. There is a difference between heritage and conservation. A lot of the houses on the east side of Mullumbimby and lots of Bangalow is heritage listed. If you want to learn more about Byron Shire’s heritage policy, you can read up on it here.
Attention! Who Goes There?
One of the music business notables who has made Byron Bay their home is Angus Stone. Often touring and recording with sibling Julia as a duo. Angus purchased a large acreage in Skinners Shoot five years ago.
By all accounts, the property does not have grandiose living structures and features a renovated shack, a large open deck, and a yurt which doubles as music rehearsal space. Nothing strange about that, but it makes the rather elaborate gate at the entrance to the property a bit out of character.
Pictured here, all it lacks is a liveried grenadier guard holding a musket. The guard house is fully equipped with wifi and solar power.
Enova Energy needs more Capital
Local energy provider is about to start a capital raising. They will be using a crowdsourcing platform Crowd88. They want to raise $3 million from customers and supporters, and possibly another couple of million from sophisticated investors. Anyone who watches the news will know the energy distribution business is fraught and erratic at present. It seems any long-term solution needs to be initiated and managed by us as consumers and the community. As an investor, customer, and observer of Enova, I encourage everyone to either join up or invest if you are already a customer. I know them to be a well-run organisation with competent people running it. Community-owned and generated power is the best and easiest pathway through this mess that the elected politicians are obviously incapable of solving. Please go to Enova Energy to sign up or for more info.
Build To Rent
Let us hope this is not too little too late. One of the few avenues local or state governments have to address the housing crisis is to encourage investors to develop the build-to-rent option. This will provide long-term certainty and permanence to renters. It is time to accept that not everyone is wanting to buy into the great Aussie dream, which comes hand in hand with the “Great Aussie Debt.”
A recent Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute study indicated big Australian investor institutions had no experience of large-scale investment in rental housing. Untried investment niche developments normally require a pioneering investor and a novelty premium on the rate of return.
The recent announcement by NSW Minister for Social Housing, Pru Goward, of a project in Redfern provides such a positive start towards the aim of providing a more diverse supply of housing for Sydney. The site will accommodate social, affordable and market rental housing on land provided by the NSW government.
The government to retain the land while investors, in partnership with community housing providers, will fund, build and manage the site under a 40-year lease. The Elizabeth Street site, which includes the Police Citizens Youth Club premises, will be exempt from land tax. It’s expected 500 dwellings will be built with 30 percent earmarked for affordable housing.
Regular readers will know that we here at BPS are promoting a build-to-rent, land lease community scheme here in Mullumbimby. For more info on that, or register your interest to participate, please go to the website.
Buyers Agents Rule OK!
BPS just attended the conference in Sydney for the Real Estate Buyers Agents Associate. This is the association for professional buyers agents throughout Australia. If you or anyone you know needs to contact a buyers agent that is vetted for quality, experience, and ethics, then you just need to go to the REBAA website. If you need to know more about what a Buyers Agent actually does, then have a look at this recent post. There are many agents who are starting to cash in on the appeal of buyers agents who also list and sell properties. These are not authorised buyers agents as a REBAA buyers agent works exclusively for the buyer and does not list properties. However, sometimes a BA will act as Vendors Advocate. This is when a licensed BA will help you list and market a property and work with a listing agent on your behalf. If you want to know how this works, then there is this explanation on my website.