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The median price for a Perth house will pass $600,000 within three years as the city’s property market reclaims its title as the strongest and fastest growing in the country, a new report predicts.

The BIS Shrapnel residential property report forecasts house prices in Perth will climb an average 7 per cent a year for three years, pushing the median price to $610,000 from $500,000 today.

No other capital is expected to enjoy such strong capital growth, with even higher interest rates unlikely to slow the Perth market as much as others.

Senior project manager Angie Zigomanis said even though the Perth market slowed before other cities in 2007, conditions were improving on the back of another resources boom. Money flowing from commodities would soon push up house prices across Perth.

“With prices below peak levels in real terms and income in Perth set to grow substantially as the next round of resource expansion projects get up and running, solid price growth should continue,” he said.

“Nevertheless, further increases in interest rates will prevent the boom in prices that we saw in the last upturn.”

Mr Zigomanis said the median house price would climb 22 per cent by the middle of 2013. This growth would be quicker if the Reserve Bank did not increase interest rates in the next six to 12 months.

Growth at that rate would surpass other capitals such as Sydney (up 20 per cent), Melbourne (11 per cent), Brisbane (12 per cent), Adelaide (20 per cent), Hobart (12 per cent), Canberra (14 per cent) and Darwin (12 per cent).

House prices climbed rapidly through the second half of last year and into the first four months of this year.

Mr Zigomanis said this was directly because of record low interest rates in response to the global financial crisis and a “pull forward” of demand from the first-homeowner’s grant. Not only would house prices outpace inflation, they would affect rents.

“Even though overseas migration inflows are steadily easing, a deficiency of stock is still in place with dwelling construction below underlying trend,” he said.

Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show a fall in loans for people buying homes but an increase in loans for investment properties. Financial market analysts do not expect official interest rates to rise until May next year.

source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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New Housing Minister Bill Marmion has shocked the property market by saying he wants to flood WA with housing lots to cut home prices.

In a speech to Parliament that has set alarm bells ringing throughout the real estate industry, Mr Marmion said the Barnett Government’s aim was to “bring house prices down”.

“The Department of Land is looking at this issue very closely,” he said.

“It owns land and it is looking at its land stocks and will release as much land as possible.

“That will reduce the pressure on housing supplies. Our aim is to bring the median house price down and to have it lower than the median house price in other States.”

Mr Marmion, who took over the job last month after Troy Buswell was sacked, said the only thing the Government could do to achieve its aim was “release more land and houses”. He refused to elaborate on his comments yesterday.

March quarter figures from RP Data put the median house price in Perth at $480,000, equal to Darwin, but behind Sydney ($500,000) and nation-leading Canberra ($510,800).

Hobart had the cheapest prices in Australia at $323,750.

The State Government established an Office of Land and Housing Supply in Thursday’s Budget and is reviewing available government land which Premier Colin Barnett said would “achieve a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach to housing affordability issues”.

Shadow housing minister Mark McGowan warned the policy could result in houses being worth less than what people paid for them.

“If people go into negative equity with their house, that’s the worst possible outcome,” he said.

Real Estate Institute of WA chief executive Anne Arnold said Australians stored their wealth in the family home and it would be “politically unwise for any government to go down that path”.

But the plan won support from developer Nigel Satterley, who said land needed to become more affordable.

But he said the policy would not cut the price of existing houses.

“We’re on the cusp of a block shortage and whatever the Government can do should be encouraged,” Mr Satterley said.

Analysts at RP Data found in April that houses in Perth’s cheapest suburbs cost at least $60,000 more than those in the most affordable areas in the other major Australian cities.

Hillman was named the cheapest suburb in Perth, with a median house price of $280,000 – higher than the cheapest suburb in Adelaide ($200,000), Brisbane ($205,000), Melbourne ($218,000) and Sydney ($219,000).

Perth had less than 10 per cent of its 259 suburbs with a median house price under $350,000, compared with more than 20 per cent in all other big cities.

Blocks of land in Perth were the most expensive in Australia, according to a recent analysis by RP Data and the Housing Industry Association, with a single square metre of “prime earth” now costing an average of $521.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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RELIEF may be in sight for renters who have been hit in the hip pocket by skyrocketing rents over the past few years.

There has been a small decrease in rental rates across Australia’s capital cities over the June quarter, suggesting rental yields may have hit their peak, leading property statistics agency RP Data says.

Weekly house rents fell by 3.5 per cent nationally over the June quarter while unit rents dropped 0.6 per cent.

The largest fall was in the Canberra market with a drop of six per cent for the June quarter in the housing market, where the median weekly rent fell from $530 in March to $498 in June.

The only mainland capital city to experience a nearly six per cent rise in rent was Darwin, where renters can expect to fork out about $100 more per week than those in Sydney, where rents dipped by about five per cent.

“It now appears that the rental market may have peaked with national weekly median rents falling slightly in each month post March 2009,” RP Data’s Tim Lawless said in a statement.

“And with rental rates now coming off the boil and property values rising we are seeing the first signs that rental rates are eroding.”

Rental vacancies remain tight across the nation with all capitals recording less than three per cent vacancy in stock.

Source  :   www.news.com.au  

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A PLAN to help up to 124,000 retrenched workers has united the states but drawn criticism in Canberra.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signed a deal with the states and territories to give intensive help to unemployed people aged over 25.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) conference in Darwin agreed to give the jobless access to government-subsidised vocational training.

Labor says the “compact with retrenched workers” will help up to 124,000 people.

“Workers who have been retrenched as a consequence of this global recession have lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” Mr Rudd said.

“Acting to support young Australians who are finding it hard to enter the labour market … represents an important intervention by government.”

Under the agreement, the Federal Government’s new employment agency Job Services Australia matches retrenched workers, aged over 25, with a path to a qualification.

The state and territories would set aside training places.

The training is for people who have been out of work since January 2009 and who are registered with a Job Services Australia provider.

The entitlement is available from now until the end of 2011.

It follows an “earn or learn” COAG agreement reached in April to make youths aged 15 to 19 undertake training and guarantee places for 20-24 year-olds in skills development.

The Rudd Government says it has invested $300 million in programs to help retrenched workers, but it did not provide a cost for the latest one.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said COAG’s new scheme would prepare Australia for economic recovery.

“We know only too well how quickly this country can find itself in a situation of serious skills shortage.”

But Opposition employment participation spokesman Andrew Southcott said training programs for the unemployed had failed when Labor last took that approach in the mid-1990s.

“Training for training’s sake, without a job at the end of it, is cruel to the unemployed,” Mr Southcott said.

“The experience around the world is that a skills-first approach for the unemployed tends to be very expensive and you have poor outcomes.”

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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BHP Billiton says it expects initial production from WA’s first uranium mine within five years and Government approval for its multi-billion-dollar Olympic Dam uranium and copper mine expansion in South Australia by mid next year.

 BHP Billiton Uranium Australia manager of corporate affairs Richard Yeeles said today that the mining giant’s Yeelirrie uranium project near Wiluna in WA’s mid west region could be the State’s first uranium mine, with first production slated for 2014.

The project, a proposed open-cut mine, could have a life of between 20 and 40 years.

BHP Billiton and the world’s largest uranium producer, Cameco Corporation, are vying to open up the State’s first uranium mine after the Liberal government last year lifted a six-year ban on uranium mining imposed by the previous Labor government.

Canada’s Cameco and Japan’s Mitsubishi acquired Kintyre from Rio Tinto Ltd for $US495 million ($657.9 million) in July.

Another potential near-term uranium development in WA is Toro Energy’s Lake Way-Centipede project.

Mr Yeeles said BHP Billiton was liaising with the WA Government to determine a framework for approving the Yeelirrie project.

He said it was already covered by a State agreement that had been ratified by an act of State Parliament.

The agreement was secured by WMC Resources, which discovered the Yeelirrie deposit in 1972 and which was taken over by BHP Billiton in 2005.

“That agreement remains available today for BHP Billiton to undertake this project,” Mr Yeeles told a conference in Perth today.

He said the mining giant was confirming the uranium resource at the project leading up to a pre-feasibility study.

“This may be the first uranium project in WA,” Mr Yeeles said.

“We anticipate significant community unrest.

“(But) we’ve been able to demonstrate by performance (at Olympic Dam) that this is a very safe industry and hope to do the same in WA.

“Yeelirrie is taking its first steps but is another outstanding long-term opportunity.”

Uranium from the mine would be transported to Adelaide or Darwin for export, Mr Yeeles said.

BHP Billiton also said it expected its recently released environmental impact statement for the Olympic Dam expansion could be given the nod by early 2010 but more likely by mid next year.

The plan requires approval by the Federal, South Australian and Northern Territory governments, given that concentrates will be exported from Darwin.

“We assume that if the government approves this project, it will be with conditions,” Mr Yeeles said.

“Until we get the Government decision, we’re not in a position to decide where to take this project next.

“When we get (the) decisions is ultimately in the hands of the Government, but I would suggest it could be early next year.

“But given the … public submissions we expect to get, we would expect Government decisions by the middle of 2010.”

BHP Billiton would not necessarily start work on the expansion as soon as approvals were received but would take the global economic climate into account, Mr Yeeles said.

“The company is not in a position to commit to a specific timeline at this stage,” he said.

Analysts said recently that the Olympic Dam expansion could be delayed by at least two years due to the worldwide financial crisis.

Operations at Olympic Dam are expected to continue for another century under the expansion plans, which would promote it from the world’s third largest uranium mine to the world’s largest open-cut mine of any commodity.

The West Australian

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KEVIN Rudd’s new website for supermarket bargains has uncovered a suprising winner for the nation’s cheapest shopping trolley: it’s Queensland’s Sunshine coast, including Noosa, the preferred playground for millionaire babyboomers in search of a seachange.

The Prime Minister’s much criticised website to track grocery prices made its debut this morning, revealing something many families living in the regional areas already know – buying groceries in Broome, Darwin, Alice Springs and even Hobart is more expensive than the big cities.

But suprisingly shoppers in Noosa, the holiday playground lampooned by Kath and Kim’s Prue and Trude, enjoys the cheapest shopping basket in the nation, The Australian reports.

Supermarket giant Coles has emerged as the cheapest option for a majority of regions in Australia, according to GROCERYchoice, but ALDI is up to $20 cheaper again for an basket of basic staples in the regions it operates.

The cheapest basic basket of staples in Australia is to be found on Queensland’s sunshine coast including Noosa, Maroochydore and Caloundra and Brisbane’s north, including Redcliffe and Northgate.

A combined basket of meat, fruit, dairy, general groceries and other items costs $150.58 on average at Coles in those areas. By comparison, the same combined Coles basket costs $164.76 in Broome. But the same shopping trolley costs up to $193.48 in Alice Springs if you shop independent.

The site – http://www.grocerychoice.gov.au/ – will provide monthly comparisons of a basket of selected groceries from supermarkets in 61 regions across the country.

Read the full report in The Australian 

extract from www.news.com.au

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