January 18, 2017
by Michalina Lisik
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Contract signed with Evolution Rail for Melbourne’s new High Capacity Metro Trains – Urbanalyst

Contract signed with Evolution Rail for Melbourne's new High Capacity Metro Trains

Victorian Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan last week confirmed that Evolution Rail will build the 65 high Capacity Metro Trains being delivered by the State Government after signing the contract with the Downer Rail-led consortium.

Ms Allan said the awarding of the $2 billion contract paves the way for construction of the new trains, which are 20 per cent bigger and will reduce crowding on Victoria’s busiest rail corridor – the Cranbourne Pakenham line – before operating as a dedicated fleet from Pakenham to Sunbury through the new Metro Tunnel. 

The new trains will be built in Victoria, with 60 per cent local content, and fifteen per cent of work on the project will be carried out by apprentices, trainees and engineering cadets. 

Through partnerships with Toyota, Chisholm Institute and Swinburne University, the HCMT project will also create opportunities for workers transitioning from the automotive industry. 

To build the trains, Downer’s Newport manufacturing facility will undergo a $16 million upgrade, and consortium member CRRC will establish a new regional headquarters in Melbourne, and Australia’s only bogie manufacturer will be established.

A new maintenance and stabling depot in Pakenham East will be built with 87 per cent local content and provide 100 new long-term ongoing jobs for the community.

Together with the $1.6 billion Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project, the new trains are expected to increase capacity on the Cranbourne Pakenham line by 42per cent or up to 11,000 additional passengers in the peak periods.

The first HCMT will be delivered and in testing by November 2018, ready to enter service in 2019. All 65 trains will be ready for the opening of the Metro Tunnel in 2026.

For more informaiton, please visit http://www.urbanalyst.com/in-the-news/victoria/4235-contract-signed-with-evolution-rail-for-melbourne-s-new-high-capacity-metro-trains.html

January 18, 2017
by Michalina Lisik
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Brisbane’s rental market tipped to favour tenants as vacancy rate rises – Domain News

Brisbane's rental market tipped to favour tenants as vacancy rate rises

Tenants should have more bargaining power with landlords as vacancy rates continue to rise in Brisbane, up 0.5 percent year on year.

Renters may be able to name their price, get rent-free weeks when signing a new lease, and change the terms of their lease, industry experts said. 

“Apartment construction is overwhelming supply in pockets throughout Greater Brisbane,” said Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella. “This means rents are negotiable and rental incentives are becoming more commonplace.”

Across Greater Brisbane, 3.2 per cent of all rentals are empty, which has left the city with the second highest vacancy rate in the country, behind only Perth. 

Domain Group’s latest figures showed 3.7 per cent of units and 2.9 per cent of houses were empty, up from 3.2 and 2.6 per cent this time last year.

For three years Brisbane’s median rent has been about $400, but next year landlords may be forced to lower prices, Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said. 

“When we get vacancy rates over 3 per cent we do start to see downward pressure on rent,” he said. “Less demand, more supply; that’s the bottom line.”

“It’s no surprise with all the new developments we’d be seeing an increase for apartments.”

First home buyers leaving the rental market and a drop in international and interstate migration to Queensland have caused the high rates, said Dr Wilson. 

Housing Industry Association figures released on Friday showed home loans were up 11.2 per cent year on year. Acting chief economist Warwick Temby agreed an increase in buyer activity could be a factor. 

For more information, please visit http://www.domain.com.au/news/brisbanes-rental-market-tipped-to-favour-tenants-as-vacancy-rate-rises-20161209-gt7qj1/

January 18, 2017
by Michalina Lisik
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NSW Government announces $1.5bn ‘More Trains, More Services’ program – Urbanalyst

NSW Government announces $1.5bn 'More Trains, More Services' program

Sydney’s overcrowded rail network will get a major boost to services to cope with rapidly increasing demand, with a $1.5 billion capital investment to provide an urgent uplift in customer service, the NSW Government announced last week.

The ‘More Trains, More Services’ program aims to address the 21 per cent growth in patronage forecast over the next 5 years with:

  • The delivery of 24 new eight-car Waratah-style trains to boost services;

  • Acceleration of new express services on the busy T1 Western Line to cope with demand;

  • Track, signalling and power upgrades to increase capacity and reliability. 

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the ‘More Trains, More Services’ program was vital to accommodate the major surge in passenger growth. 

“We’ve seen average train loads rise significantly which is starting to impact on customers’ ability to get on a train in peak periods,” Mr Constance said. 

According to the Minister, the extra trains in the first instance will deliver customers more peak hour capacity including:

  • An extra 4 express trains between Parramatta and the Sydney CBD in both the morning and afternoon peaks which equals;

  • Train services every 3 minutes, or up to 20 trains per hour in the busiest periods; and 

  • Work commencing on a new timetable to implement the extra services on the T1 Western Line by late 2017.

“What we’re seeing in terms of growth is off the charts and we have to act quickly to keep the system running well.”

For more information, please visit http://www.urbanalyst.com/in-the-news/new-south-wales/4249-nsw-government-announces-1-5bn-more-trains-more-services-program.html

January 18, 2017
by Michalina Lisik
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Greater Sydney Commission releases vision for Greater Sydney – Urbanalyst

Greater Sydney Commission releases vision for Greater Sydney

The Greater Sydney Commission has placed on public exhibition the 40-year vision, Towards our Greater Sydney 2056, and the first ever 20-year draft District Plans, one for each of Greater Sydney’s six Districts.

The goal of these Plans is to have well-coordinated, integrated and effective planning for land use, transport and infrastructure. 

The draft District Plans set out the opportunities, priorities and actions and provide the means by which the Greater Sydney Region Plan, A Plan for Growing Sydney, can be put into action at a local level.

They show how Greater Sydney will be transformed into a thriving metropolis of three cities: the Eastern City, the Central City, and the Western City, all of them productive, liveable and sustainable. 

“Greater Sydney is a mosaic of great places, and we’ve collaborated with the community, peak interest groups, businesses, and all levels of government to build concrete plans to make those places greater,” said Greater Sydney Commission’s Chief Commissioner Lucy Turnbull. 

“Our ambition is for Greater Sydney to be the kind of global city that is home to a mix and variety of places we want to live, work, study, play and visit – places that are close to those essentials like housing choices, smart jobs, great schools, healthcare, open spaces and facilities.” 

For more information, please visit http://www.urbanalyst.com/in-the-news/new-south-wales/4239-greater-sydney-commission-releases-vision-for-greater-sydney.html

January 18, 2017
by Michalina Lisik
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New rules to shake up financial advice industry – Australian Property Investor

New rules to shake up financial advice industry

Legislation has been introduced into Parliament to mandate professional standards for financial advisers. 

The Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Bill 2016 includes:

  • Compulsory education requirements for both new and existing financial advisers

  • Supervision requirements for new advisers

  • A code of ethics for the industry

  • An exam that will represent a common benchmark across the industry

  • An ongoing professional development component. 

Currently, guidance from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission sets out the minimum knowledge, skills and education standards for financial advisers.

Both the Financial System Inquiry and the Parliamentary Joint Committee raised concerns with the current standards, and questioned whether they were appropriate to ensure advisers were professionally competent. 

“The current requirements have allowed some financial advisers to become qualified to provide financial advice to retail consumers after only four days of training,” Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer says. 

“There is also no specific requirement currently for advisers to undertake continuous professional development. 

“The government’s reforms will significantly increase the education, training and ethical standards of financial advisers, who will need to be qualified to a standard equivalent to a degree.”

The new professional standards regime will commence on January 1, 2019. From this date, new advisers entering the industry will be required to hold a relevant degree.

Existing financial advisers will have access to transitional arrangements, allowing them two years, until January 1, 2021, to pass the exam, and five years, until January 1, 2024, to meet the education requirements. The transition period recognises that existing advisers may need to complete the education requirements on a part-time basis, while continuing to service their existing clients.

For more information, please visit http://www.apimagazine.com.au/2016/11/new-rules-shake-financial-advice-industry/

January 17, 2017
by Michalina Lisik
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Dwelling approvals increase by 7 per cent in November – Urbanalyst

Dwelling approvals increase by 7 per cent in November

Following a revised decrease of 11.8 per cent in October, the total number of new dwellings approved in November increased by 7.0 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest figures released this month by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

A total of 17,569 dwellings were approved in November, compared to seasonally adjusted totals of 16,416 in October and 18,609 in September. When compared to the same month in 2015, the number of dwellings approved in November 2016 was down by 4.8 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms. 

In seasonally adjusted terms, dwelling approvals for the month of November increased in Western Australia (up 24.4 per cent to 1,931 dwellings), Victoria (up 9.4 per cent to 5,370), South Australia (up 7.1 per cent to 892), New South Wales (up 5.1 per cent to 5,440) and Tasmania (up 4.8 per cent to 163).

Dwelling approvals decreased by 4.6 per cent in Queensland to 3,171 dwellings, in seasonally adjusted terms. 

In seasonally adjusted terms, 9,350 private sector houses were approved in November, compared to 9,366 in October (a decrease of 0.2 per cent). A total of 7,966 private sector dwellings excluding houses were approved in November, which was a 18.5 per cent increase when compared to October’s result of 6,721. 

For more information, please visit http://www.urbanalyst.com/in-the-news/australia/4281-dwelling-approvals-increase-by-7-per-cent-in-november.html

January 17, 2017
by Michalina Lisik
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ASF Reveals Plans for New Gold Coast Integrated Resort – Brisbane Development

ASF Reveals Plans for New Gold Coast Integrated Resort

ASF has unveiled its latest concept plan to deliver a new world-class coastal icon earmarked to become the largest tourism project on the Gold Coast in decades. 

The multi-billion dollar Integrated Resort Development will include a new casino, three branded five and six star hotels, signature restaurants, theatres, shows and entertainment, luxury and boutique retail precincts, serviced residences and meeting and conference facilities. 

ASF Director Louis Chien says the project will invest $3 billion into the Gold Coast, create an estimated 10,000 jobs and attract a projected 1.5 million additional tourists to the Gold Coast each year.

Project breakdown

  • A newly accessible water’s edge, a new boating destination and an area for water events and performances

  • A new casino with a variety of gaming options

  • Luxury and boutique retail

  • Signature restaurants

  • Three branded five and six star luxury hotels

  • Entertainment precincts primed for theatre performances and live entertainment

  • Serviced apartments

  • Pools and fitness facilities 

  • Meeting and convention facilities

  • ‘Australia’s most comprehensive health and Medi-Spa’

  • A 1200-seat Broadwater amphitheatre

  • Possible new bridge to Southport

  • A beach club

  • A marina

  • Protection of the spit

ASF Consortia has reportedly been in talks with James Packer’s Crown Resorts which is expected to be the operator of the casino component. 

For more information, please visit https://brisbanedevelopment.com/asf-reveals-plans-for-new-gold-coast-integrated-resort/

January 17, 2017
by Michalina Lisik
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Oxley Creek Gets 20 Year $100 Million Revitalisation – Brisbane Development

Oxley Creek Gets 20 Year $100 Million Revitalisation

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has announced the appointment of a new managing authority to oversee the $100 million revitalisation over 20 years of the run-down Oxley Creek catchment into a world class corridor and leisure landmark.

The Oxley Creek Management Pty Ltd, similar in structure to that of South Bank Corporation, will be chaired by respected property and infrastructure identity Nigel Chamier AM and board members would include Council’s Urban Futures Brisbane board members Bevan Lynch and Guy Gibson and well-known local resident Anne Clarke.

Cr Quirk said the company would be a wholly owned subsidiary of Council and set up the planning framework to guide the long term vision to create a master-planned precinct with a revitalised green corridor, new economic hubs and world-class recreation facilities. 

“This project will create a major recreational space with improved lifestyle and leisure opportunities – including opportunities for kayaking trails, large green open space, Brisbane’s first public aviary and a new ‘Eat Street’ style market,” he said. 

“There will be many challenges and there are many different stakeholders in this project including multiple property owners and that’s why I set a 20 year horizon for this vision. 

“However there will be some aspects that will be able to be established in the short to medium term, including the sport and recreation opportunities and green corridor improvements.”

Cr Quirk said the 15 kilometre corridor, stretching from the Brisbane River to Larapinta will include four precincts along the 600 hectare corridor including urban farms, sport and recreation opportunities and green corridor improvements.”

Cr Quirk said the 15 kilometre corridor, stretching from the Brisbane River to Larapinta will include four precincts along the 600 hectare corridor including urban farms, sport and recreation facilities and economic hubs, which will make up about 5 per cent of the site.

“The project will be delivered over a 20 year period through public and private partnerships and by harnessing infrastructure agreements for works such as drainage and creek access.” he said. 

“Creating alternative land use outcomes and economic development opportunities is needed to help transform the once flood prone waterway into a space that will be a landmark community space. This will reduce the burden on ratepayers but produce a wonderful public asset. 

“This project will be bigger than the Norman Creek Master Plan that is making a heavily urbanised area cleaner and greener and we are currently completing the new Coorparoo Creek Park that is supporting growth in the local area by providing more public space.”

For more information, please visit https://brisbanedevelopment.com/oxley-creek-gets-20-year-100-million-revitalisation/

January 13, 2017
by Michalina Lisik
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Foreign Investment In Aussie Commercial Property Remains Strong – Your Investment Property

Foreign Investment In Aussie Commercial Property Remains Strong

Despite stricter regulations, foreign investment in Australian commercial property remains strong, hitting a record $10 billion last year. Foreign demand is not expected to peak in the near future as international buyers continue to scan the local market and finance rates remain low. 

An analysis of 2016 transactions carried out by JLL shows that Singaporean buyers were particularly active last year, leading two of the top three most valuable deals. 

Singapore’s ARA Asset Management Limited bought the landmark Southgate complex in Melbourne from Dexus Property Group for $578 million in August. This riverfront complex consists of HWT Tower and IBM Centre, as well as a shopping centre and carpark. 

Other notable transactions include the Woolworths headquarters at Bella Vista in Sydney’s north-west (which was sold for $336.45 million to South Korea’s Inmark Group), and Innovation Place at 100 Arthur Street in North Sydney (which was sold to Singapore’s Ascendas-Singbridge for $313.2 million).

JLL estimates that foreign companies were involved in 40% of total transactions in 2016. Offshore investors sold $2.2 billion worth of assets in 15 transactions over a 12-month period. 

Stephen Conry, chief executive at JLL, expects overseas interest in Australian property to remain strong in 2017, despite growing valuations. “The offshore investors have accounted for a rising proportion of major transactions in recent years,” he said. 

According to Conry, 2016 “was no exception, with foreign investors accounting for a record number of transactions across the Australian commercial property sector. We are detecting no decline in offshore interest in the Australian market, but the limiting factor is a scarcity of stock. We are certainly finding that offshore investors are willing to broaden their mandates, both in terms of locations and sectors.”

For more information, please visit http://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/news/foreign-investment-in-aussie-commercial-property-remains-strong-229471.aspx

January 13, 2017
by Michalina Lisik
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Sydney housing affordability best in years – Domain News

Sydney housing affordability best in years

Housing affordability is clearly improving in Sydney although the outlook for first home buyers remains bleak. 

Sydney’s property owners have enjoyed another positive year overall for prices growth although results have been typically mixed between regions, price ranges and dwelling types. 

The key driver of the surge in Sydney house prices over recent years has been the steep decline in mortgage rates that has provided home buyers with historically favourable borrowing conditions. 

Since the beginning of the current easing cycle in official interest rates in November 2011, Sydney has clearly outperformed the other capitals with the median house price now over $1.1 million. 

Despite nation-leading prices growth, housing affordability for home buyers has improved recently as underlying prices growth in the Sydney market has declined. 

The latest data from the ABS reports that the average loan for a home purchaser in New South Wales increased by 4.5 percent over October to $474,647. October’s result however remained 0.4 percent below that recorded over October 2015 and well below the peak average loan of $484,571 recorded over November 2015. 

The Sydney Home Loan Affordability Index that measures the proportion of income required for the average home loan repayment has also improved lately with the index falling to 91.5 over the September quarter. This was the lowest measure since June 2015 and well below the recent peak of 102.6 recorded over the December quarter 2015. 

The Index results reflect the relationship between the proportion of the average home buyer loan to the Sydney median house price which has also fallen sharply recently with the September quarter result now at just 41 percent – the third lowest result over the past decade. 

For more information, please visit http://www.domain.com.au/news/sydney-housing-affordability-best-in-years/