Wednesday, November 28, 2007

SOHO revolution shapes house demand

The rise and rise of telecommuting has put home offices at the top of modern buyers’ wishlists, according to local property commentator Gerard Baden-Clay of Century 21 Westside.

“Five years ago it was media rooms – now almost everyone wants a functional home office. It’s a trend that has become so pronounced we’re now advising sellers to convert that fourth or fifth bedroom into a home office prior to sale,” Mr Baden-Clay said.

“This year 62.16% of the properties sold through my agency have included a home office, many as a conversion of an old bedroom or rumpus. The market has caught on to the SOHO (small office, home office) .phenomenon and is actively meeting demand.

“Astute property owners are finding ways to incorporate home offices in order to address the fact that telecommuting figures have more than doubled in the last decade. This is beyond a flash-in-the-pan trend – it’s a permanent new market direction.”

Mr Baden-Clay said the popularity of telecommuting was particularly significant in Brisbane where population growth was faster than any other major city in Australia and transport and infrastructure were struggling to cope.

“Only this month the state’s leading public sector union, QPSU, released figures showing that between 20-30% of Brisbane’s public service workforce is now actively seeking to leave the CBD and harness modern technology to work more flexibly from home,” he said.

“No-one wants to sit in traffic that doesn’t move and increasingly they don’t have to.”

Mr Baden-Clay said the SOHO revolution was still most applicable to white-collar professions, whose numbers dominate the demographic make-up of the leafy western suburbs.

“We’re receiving two consistent enquiries these days – the first is for a home office, the second is for a rainwater tank,” he said. “Both are important points to note for sellers, builders and renovators.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kenmore set to kick!

Kenmore is at the stepping-off point of an upwards property surge, having completed a 6.5-year cycle that saw the median house price increase by 82.26%.

According to market research conducted by Century 21 Westside, price growth in Kenmore has accelerated considerably during the past eight months, with the Median house price in the suburb moving from $395,500 at the end of 2006 to $451,000 in June 2007 – an increase of 14.03%.

“Indicatively, a home on 600m2 in Currong St that sold for $310,000 last December recently changed hands for $395,000,” sales manager Phill Broom said.

“Similarly a home in Parkway Place has just sold for $655,000 - $103,000 more than it sold for in November last year.”

The confluence of increasing demand for western suburbs property and a steady decline in the number of homes listed for sale had contributed to rising prices in Kenmore.

“Since the peak of 2001, the number of homes sold has dropped from 392 to just 200 in 2006. In the early part of 2007 more than 128 Kenmore properties have changed hands, indicating a discernible shift in market activity, hampered only by a shortage of homes on the market,” Mr Broom said.

“That said, in the last month we have witnessed a flurry of new properties coming to market within Kenmore – all very different offerings across the full spectrum of prices.

“Cyclically, this is not surprising. One would expect that the surge of owners who bought into Kenmore back in 2001 are now or will soon be looking to downsize or upsize given property’s average propensity to turn over every seven years.

“This, combined with high demand and a climbing median price, suggests that Kenmore is on the brink of a fresh surge. Confidence is high, demand is strong and we should see supply follow suit.”

Mr Broom said that while the current roadworks and resultant traffic congestion on Moggill Road were proving a headache for local residents, they mattered little to the many interstate arrivals who were used to sitting in traffic for hours on the inner arterial roads of Sydney.

“To them, living in Kenmore is a dream!” he said. “When they plot on a map an ideal spot to live in Brisbane, leafy Kenmore’s 10km proximity of the CBD ticks all the right boxes.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

High-flying west feels rate rise too - 2 Nov 2007

Western Brisbane residents aren’t immune from the pressures of the 9th interest rate rise in three years despite living in some of its most affluent suburbs, according to Century 21 Westside Principal Gerard Baden-Clay.

“There’s a perception out there that the housing affordability issue is confined to the city’s poorer pockets, but there are ‘struggle streets’ everywhere and the affluent west is no different,” Mr Baden-Clay announced yesterday on his online blog at

“For every upwardly mobile family moving into the area, there is another grappling with an increasingly dwindling margin between income and mortgage repayments and that can’t be ignored.

“There are a number of families in the area who are looking to downsize even though their family has actually expanded – they want to stay in the area but can’t afford the repayments on a large home.”

Mr Baden-Clay said nine interest rate rises since 2004 had taken its toll and although wages had also gone up across the board, many families had unwittingly over-capitalised.

“Data from the Queensland courts has shown that home repossession rates have skyrocketed in the last three years, with almost 800 homes having been relinquished this year already.

“While very few of these have been in the western suburbs, five of which – Pullenvale, Fig Tree Pocket, Chapel Hill, Moggill and Brookfield – are among the top 20 richest Brisbane suburbs according to the last census, it would be foolish to think everyone out here is on easy street.”

Mr Baden-Clay said Century 21 was committed to helping people find and purchase their dream home and to see people being forced out due to rising interest rates was distressing for everybody.

“There is no clear-cut solution to the current economic situation, but at least both sides of politics are talking about ways to ameliorate the pain for families. Let’s hope there’s some post-election action beyond the rhetoric!”