The clock has officially struck midnight and 2017 is well and truly behind us. Whilst 2017 was a big year for property with some major winners and losers. 2017 has taught the property industry some serious lessons that have shaped the way the market will operate in years to come and changed the attitudes of investors, buyers, sellers and developers alike. The year saw property prices soar and truly became a seller’s market with a landmark amount of people putting their property on the market to take advantage of the high returns that were being seen.
The horrific fire that consumed London’s Grenfell apartment block caused by combustible aluminum composite panels put a keen focus on the materials used in Australian apartment blocks and resulted in several buildings being inspected to ensure that no combustible cladding was found. The tragedy in London resulted in a senate enquiry in Australia banning on not only the use but the importation of dangerous building materials and panels (such as those found in Grenfell Tower) from december 18 2017 and outlays a clear plan for the replacement of already used materials.
2017 was the year that Stratas fought back against short term stay brokers like air bnb. Apartment strata committees launched a campaign to continue to have the power to legislate if an apartment block would allow short term holiday stays. The Strata’s power was brought under question with a court report stating that stratas should have no power to dictate that short term stays were not allowed in their buildings. Owners and other residents of the buildings subject to these changes believe it should be a case by case ruling and not a blanket yes or no decision. Whilst short term stay rentals have been known to cause nuisance to other residents and can result in damaged communal spaces, it is important to remember that in NSW alone over 44,000 properties are listed for short term rentals and owners can receive a substantial income from this. It is hoped that a decision will be made on this matter in early 2018 as the matter is still under review.
Whilst 2017 was a great year for sellers, it was an even better year for renters. Last year the scale only just tipped over to 51.7% of Australians owning their own home, leaving almost 50% of the population relying on rental properties for housing. This has caught the attention of the both the federal and state government that has brought about a promise sweeping changes to tenancy laws across the nation. The security of tenants is forefront in the government’s mind with proposed changes to eviction and fairer rental increases. The state government have also changed regulations surrounding pets in rental properties making it easier for families with four legged members to find a home.
First home-buyers were big winners in 2017 with massive changes to stamp duty for first home buyers causes a flurry in the market. Stamp duty was abolished on properties purchased under $600,000 and minimised on purchases between $600,000-$750,000. The first home owner grant was doubled to $20,000 for buyers looking to purchase in rural victoria and continuing the $10,000 grant for new homes in metropolitan melbourne.
2017 saw with victories and tragedies and shaped the way the industry will operate in the coming years, all in all 2017 was definitely the year of property.