AMP ‘blacklists’ more than 140 suburbs for apartment lending

Apartments in more than 140 suburbs are on a confidential black list because of growing concerns about oversupply, off-the-plan sales, and, in some areas, falling prices, according to leaked documents.

AMP Bank, the banking division of the largest financial services group that compiled the list, claims it is a “prudent” response to managing risks of “over-supply”, which could push down prices, rents and lead to defaults.

“We have identified certain high density areas where we have put provisions in place to manage risk and over-supply,” a spokesman says. “We take a prudent approach to managing risk,” she says.

AMP is one of several big lenders circulating ‘black lists’ of suburbs where apartment buyers will face tougher terms and conditions, including increased scrutiny of their ability to pay.

It is focusing on developments of more than 10 apartments being built around state capitals and inner-suburban postcodes where there are high volumes of new, or soon-to-be-completed complexes.

Suburbs more than 10-kilometres from Sydney’s central business district, such as Homebush and Arncliffe, where there is a lot of apartment building underway, have recently been added to the list.

AMP borrowers will face tougher terms on the amount borrowed, number of apartments purchased in a single development and a ban on using some incentives offered by developers, such as rental guarantees.

Other lenders have recently issued similar warnings about former real estate hot spots that have gone cold, typically in former mining boom towns of Perth and Darwin, where rents and prices have been tumbling.

Rock Building Society has reviewed and expanded its list of ‘high risk’ postcodes and issued a limit on luxury properties and maximum loan-to-value ratios for those properties of 70 per cent.

ANZ is circulating a list of 50 postcodes, concentrated around Western Australia, Queensland and NSW mining towns, that is describes as “not acceptable” for providing lenders mortgage insurance, which is a one-off insurance payment that protects lenders against default.

It is also impose tougher controls on the use of commission and overtime payments used in calculating buyer’s ability to service a mortgage.

AMP’s ‘high risk’ list targets state capitals, particularly Melbourne and Sydney, where the building of apartment buildings has boomed because of demand from investors and first-time buyers that cannot afford a house in suburbs.

The main Melbourne focus is the central business district and nearby Docklands and Southbank, where large numbers of high rise complexes continue to be built.

Melbourne’s overall apartment prices are up about 5 per cent and rents around 4 per cent during the past 12 months, according to SQM Research, a company that analyses property prices.

But there are pockets of over-supply, which could be worsened by imminent completions of major construction projects.

In Sydney the focus is also for developments around the central business district and inner suburbs of Dawes Point, Darling Harbour, Millers Point and Sydney South.

Sydney, which as been the nation’s top performing residential property market, posted rises of nearly 10 per cent for apartments and 5.5 per cent for rents during the past 12 months, according to SQM.

Inner Brisbane, which has been issued a buyer ‘red alert’ by SQM because of concerns about over-supply, is also on AMP’s watch-list.

Queensland accounts for an additional 73 suburbs, which is more than half the nation’s total, including Cairns and many suburbs along the Gold Coast, including Broadbeach, Mermaid Waters and Florida Gardens.

Prices of Brisbane units have increased by about 1 per cent during the past 12 months and rents are up by about 2.4 per cent, according to SQM.

Developers are offering buyers three year rental guarantees on sales, which are three- to-four bedroom apartments selling for about $500,000.

Lenders are concerned about the number of new apartments expected to flood onto the market over the coming 12 months, adding to a large existing inventory of unsold, or vacated, apartments in many markets.

An estimated 45,000 apartments are due for completion and settlement over the next nine months to Christmas in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, an increase of nearly 25 per cent compared to last year, according to planning consultancy MacroPlan Dimasi.

Another 53,000 could be coming to market in the same postcodes next year, the consultancy estimates.

Perth, where unit prices have fallen by 9 per cent during the past 12 months, has more than 30 blacklisted suburbs, particularly around central and east Perth, where rents are routinely being slashed by increasingly desperate landlords.

Darwin, which is also struggling to absorb developments that were commenced during the mining boom, is also listed.

Lenders are also worried that off-the-plan investors might not be able to bridge a deposit gap caused by lower loan-to-value ratios, which means bigger deposits before settlement.

A recent survey by WBP Property revealed nearly half off-the-plan sales in the eight months to last August were in negative equity, which means worth less than the purchase price.

Average losses were about $40,000, or about 10 per cent, between agreement to buy and pre-settlement valuation, which is required by lenders to assess any changes in value and he amount of money a lender can borrow.

Buyers have to bridge the gap between the purchase price and final valuation, which can result in contract breach, deposit loss and, potentially, legal action by vendors.

AMP, which says its analysis is based on in-house and independent consultancy, says borrowing restrictions target what it describes as “high density” areas, which are apartments in complexes with more than 10 units and located within the blacklisted postcodes.

Under the new lending arrangements, loan-to-value ratios are up to 90 per cent, there is a maximum of two apartments per borrower on any development, rental guarantees will not be accepted and a cap of 25 per cent of any individual development, or 10 units, which ever is the bigger.

Other lenders, such as ING Direct, recently banned inducements of rebates, special conditions, furniture, televisions and cars to buyers to complete their off-the-plan deals.

Lenders fear the undisclosed incentives could increase the value of a property in a way that cannot be transferred to success buyers.

by Duncan Hughes

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Canberra: Woden’s housing market is at its strongest in years

When residents of Canberra’s first satellite town, Woden, moved into their new homes in the early 1960s, they were living on the fringe of the burgeoning city.

The nation’s capital was yet to hit a population of 100,000, Belconnen was little more than a few sketches and Lake Burley Griffin was still being filled.

More than 50 years on with urban sprawl pushing Gungahlin to the northern ACT border and Molonglo Valley suburbs popping up towards the west, Woden’s residents find themselves in one of the city’s most central locations.

Property in the area is hotly contested with families, first home buyers and the district’s downsizers putting Woden at the top of their list.

Luton Properties Woden agent Anthony McCormack says he has seen a surge in demand for homes in the area with prices rising significantly in Curtin, Hughes and Garran.

The price growth in Woden’s north has also led to an increase in inquiry for the southern, more affordable suburbs such as Isaacs, Farrer and Pearce.

“People have really cottoned on to how geographically central it is,” McCormack says.

“They are also confident with the area’s road systems, hospital, town centre and schools.”

Peter Blackshaw Woden and Weston Creek agent Luke Metcalfe says Woden’s housing market is the strongest it has been in years.

“The auction clearance rates are very strong and we’re seeing five or six bidders at each house,” Metcalfe says.

“Good properties are attracting anything from 50 to 100 groups during their marketing campaigns.”

Metcalfe says he is seeing a lot of buyers upgrading within the Woden district and there has also been an increase in inquiries from Tuggeranong residents hoping to move closer to the city centre.

“The average buyer is someone looking to upgrade from other parts of town or within the suburbs themselves,” Metcalfe says.

While Woden is home to an ageing population, a new generation of residents have started to make their move to the district. Independent Property Group agent Jonathan Charles says a lot of young families are moving into the area to take advantage of the valley’s excellent schools.

He says an updated four-bedroom home with an en suite and double garage is by far the most popular request.

“Stock levels are very tight in the Woden area and there’s not an abundance of homes,” Charles says.

“When they do come on the market they’re hotly contested.”

Woden Valley Community Council president Martin Miller would like to see the suburb’s infrastructure upgraded to meet the demands of the district’s residents.

“There are a lot more newer office buildings, the shopping centre has expanded two or three times and the residential building Sky Plaza has a love/hate relationship with residents,” Miller says.

“But you can see a lot of the facilities are ageing 50 years on and a lot of things need renewal.”

Miller says it’s encouraging to see development happening in the town centre, but he would also like to see more investment in family housing.

“What is really suffering is the model of housing, we need more facilities for families, rather than just retirees or young couples.”

Charles says while demand is strong for family homes in Woden Valley, buyers should advise local agents what they’re looking for so they don’t miss out.

“They need to register their interest with agents in the area so we can notify them when we have something coming up,” he says.

Woden facts

  • The name “Woden” derives from a nearby homestead. Dr James Murray bought the 1000-hectare parcel in 1937 and named it after the Norse god of war and patron of learning, who is also known as “Odin”.
  • Woden was the first of Canberra’s town centres to be built outside the CBD. Development of Woden’s 12 suburbs began in 1962, with the first residents moving into Hughes in 1963.
  • Isaacs was the last suburb completed, with construction beginning in the late ’80s.
  • A population of 32,958 was recorded in the 2011 census.
  • The Woden suburb of Garran is home to the largest public hospital in the ACT and south-east NSW region, the Canberra Hospital.

Woden area a drawcard for families

There’s plenty of competition in the Woden region for the perfect family home and it’s a situation Stephanie Day, pictured, has become familiar with over the past couple of months.

Day grew up in Woden and is hoping to buy a family home in the area. She moved to Melbourne eight years ago and is back in the ACT with her partner, Tom, and her two-year-old daughter, Hayley.

Since Christmas they have been staying at Day’s family home in Isaacs and each Saturday has been filled with open homes.

“We’re looking in the area because it’s close to Mum and Dad and it’s where I grew up,” Day says.

‘I’m familiar with the area and it has good primary schools and nice neighbourhoods.”

Like many young families, they’re looking for a three or four-bedroom en suite home in or around Woden, with Farrer, Pearce and Torrens among the suburbs they’ve visited.

“A lot of the homes are sold by auction so we’re just getting a feel of the market,” Day says.

“Some houses are going way over what we expected them to go for.”

The family is keen to settle in Woden or one of the neighbouring Weston Creek or upper Tuggeranong suburbs. The autumn season has brought more properties onto the market, so ;Day is hopeful they will find a home soon.

Let the sun shine in

1/99 Ainsworth Street, Mawson

An expanse of glass, a loft design and flowing living spaces lend a light and airy atmosphere to this striking three-bedroom townhouse.

It is set in a boutique development of just seven residences and was designed by award-winning TM Architecture.

The home was completed in early 2015 and the owners have added several stylish upgrades to the original design to make it their dream home. Glass balustrades and an open timber staircase, extra drawers in the kitchen and skylights are among the additions.

The double-storey bank of windows captures lovely leafy views and allows plenty of sunshine to fill the room in the winter. The open-plan living area includes custom joinery, feature pendant lights and a contemporary adjoining kitchen with marble accents, soft-close drawers and a walk-in pantry.

The master suite is conveniently placed on the lower floor, along with his and hers wardrobes and an oversized en suite.

Two additional large bedrooms are on the upper floor, boasting views across Mawson and towards Mount Taylor. A lofted rumpus room allows for a range of options, including a home office or teenager’s retreat.

The home is set in a prime Woden location, just two minutes from the town centre and five minutes from the hospital. Mawson Primary School, Marist College and Melrose High School are all within walking distance.

Number 1/99 Ainsworth Street, Mawson, will be auctioned on Saturday, March 19 at 1pm, on site. Phone Dan McAlpine on 0401 005 282. Inspect: Saturday, 11.30am-noon. EER: 6.

CQ property market is stabilising to pre-mining boom levels

THE property market throughout Central Queensland is stabilising with sales volumes and prices returning to pre-mining boom levels.

The boom triggered significant price rises in housing and apartments throughout the region, including out west to the mining towns of Moranbah, Emerald, Dysart and Blackwater.

The economies of these towns have struggled since the boom ended about 2012, with rising unemployment and limited opportunities for economic diversification.

However, for Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone, traditional economic bulwarks of tourism, sugar, beef, export and education are helping to stabilise the economy.

Many experienced property observers agree, property sales volumes and values are now finding their new normal.

Mackay has fared the worst of the three major centres, with the annual median sale price continuing to sink, now sitting at $365,000, down 10.1% on a year ago and 8.8% lower than five years ago.

Even though Rockhampton has a lower median house price, now sitting at $294,500, it’s only 5.4% below a year ago, and down just 1.8% on five years ago.

This indicates a more stable market and the REIQ is confident that the bottom has been reached.

Mackay : The Queensland city tipped best place to buy a home

Mackay has been tipped as the best spot to buy a house in Queensland say property leaders as the beachside city shows signs of rising from the bottom of the property cycle.

LJ Hooker principal Brett Greensill said Mackay’s property cycle was clearly on the rise after a downturn, making it the ideal time for buyers.

“House prices in Mackay have come down in recent years and have now stabilised at the bottom of the market, with great potential to start to rise in the near future,” Mr Greensill said.

“I advise home buyers to look for regions that are just rising from the bottom of the cycle, and Mackay is definitely in that position at the moment.

“The housing affordability in Mackay coupled with the current record low interest rates makes for perfect buying.”

He said the recent mining downturn which saw masses of job losses in the region and spikes in vacancy rates, was not a cause for concern.

“The mining downturn has downturned,” Mr Greensill said. “And the mining sector has stabilised.”

Mackay Professionals principal Trevor Chapman said buyers were already taking advantage of Mackay’s bottomed out market.

“The bottom price is really hot at the moment – and it’s always the bottom of the market that moves first; we’re seeing that happen already in Mackay,” Mr Chapman said.

He said the bottom of the market is sitting at around $200,000, but it will not last long.

“All of my low stock is going, and it’s all from local buyers,” he said.

He said investors, however, have not appeared to catch on.

“Investors should be here already,” he said.

“We’re going to see them come in once the prices show signs of rising.”

Current high vacancy rates in Mackay could be a factor in why investors have been reluctant to enter the market.

Mackay’s Gardian real estate principal Eric Rickman said 20 to 30 per cent of buyers are coming from the south east corner of the state, which were mostly owner occupiers.

“Maybe the high vacancy rates are worrying investors – but we do have buyers from the south, they just aren’t all investors,” he said.

He said November was his best month for sales to date.

“In November we experienced our best month since we opened two and a half years ago,” Mr Rickman said.

“The market is on the up.”

How to buy an investment property

Here’s a great video from Jane Slack-Smith over at He video goes for about 2 hours – but contains many great tips fro property investing in general.

Highly recommended!

See video at

Or directly at YouTube –


Is it time to fly in or out of Australia’s Mining Towns?

The risks and rewards of investing in property in mining areas have been widely documented and discussed in the media. So, in 2015, should property investors steer clear of mining areas for good? Are there still good returns to be made in Australia’s post-boom mining sector?

Our latest mining town report breaks it all down, utilising data from Hometrack Australia.
The report includes:

  • An analysis of the key mining town ‘Winners & Losers’
  • How you can reduce risk and know when to bow out
  • How to get the best bang for your buck in a mining town

downloadDownload the PDF Report – Homesales 2015 Mining Report

Source: is a proud sponsor of the 2015 Investor Choice Awards and provides property investors with the essential tools they need to make educated investment decisions.

Top 20 Brisbane growth suburbs of the decade: Terry Ryder

Brisbane’s market has been busy recently, without delivering strong capital growth. It has in common with most of the nation’s capital cities a reluctance to join Sydney in a property boom.

It’s overdue for a period of growth because it’s been an under-achiever in the recent past. It ranks fifth among the eight state and territory capitals for long-term capital growth, well behind (in order of ranking) Perth, Melbourne, Darwin and Sydney.

Based on Domain figures for the average annual growth in median prices over the past 10 years, the top 20 suburbs in Perth all have growth rates between 9% and 10% per year. Brisbane’s top 20, bar one, are between 6% and 7% per year.

Brisbane averages have been dragged down by poor performance in the past four years. City markets took time to recover from the floods of early 2011. In the years since, Perth, Darwin, Sydney and Melbourne have all had periods of price growth ranging from solid to strong, but Brisbane has yet to join the growth party.

Parts of the Brisbane metropolitan area have out-performed, but the average citywide performance has been lukewarm.

Looking at the figures describing growth rates for the past 10 years, Brisbane currently has only one suburb with a growth rate above 7% (Hendra, which averages 7.6%). All of the other Top 20 suburbs have long-term growth rates between 6.0% and 6.9%.

The leading precinct is Brisbane Northside – the northern suburbs of the Brisbane City Council area – which provides the top four suburbs and six of the top 10. This area is prominent in terms of capital growth rates because it led the upturn in sales activity in the city market in 2013 and 2014 – and many suburbs have recorded double-digit annual price growth in the past 12 months, lifting their long-term growth rates.

The Brisbane Northside suburbs, and indeed most of the suburbs on the Top 20 list, represent Brisbane’s middle market. The 12 most expensive suburbs in the Brisbane region have median house prices in the range from $900,000 to $1.2 million. The middle market is the next tier below that – and that’s the market that leads on capital growth rates.

All but one of the Top 20 have median prices below $900,000. Fourteen of the Top 20 have median prices in the $600,000s and $700,000s. There are currently no bottom-end suburbs on the list – only two have medians below $600,000.

I expect a different result a year from now, as many of the cheaper markets are now rising across the Brisbane metropolitan area and are likely to experience good price growth, lifting their long-term growth rates.

Brisbane’s most expensive suburbs have been mediocre performers – only one of the 12 priciest suburbs features on the Top 20 list for capital growth rates. Only four of them have capital growth rates above 6%.

The worst performing precinct has been the Moreton Bay Regional Council area in the far north of the Greater Brisbane area. Seven of the Bottom 20 suburbs are located there. This may change in the near future, as this precinct is one of the areas with elevated sales activity, as the momentum ripples out from the neighbouring Brisbane Northside precinct.


1 Hendra Brisbane-North  $815,000     7.6
2 Newmarket Brisbane-North  $740,000     6.9
3 Gordon Park Brisbane-North  $700,000     6.8
4 Northgate Brisbane-North  $610,000     6.7
5 Paddington Brisbane-Inner  $865,000     6.6
6 Cannon Hill Brisbane-East  $705,000     6.5
7 Lutwyche Brisbane-North  $697,000     6.5
8 Doolandella Brisbane-South  $460,000     6.3
9 Gaythorne Brisbane-North  $618,000     6.3
10 Bardon Brisbane-West  $840,000     6.2
11 Fig Tree Pocket Brisbane-West  $934,000     6.2
12 Holland Park Brisbane-South  $619,000     6.2
13 Woolloongabba Brisbane-Inner  $645,000     6.2
14 Camp Hill Brisbane-South  $748,000     6.1
15 Fairfield Brisbane-South  $678,000     6.1
16 Upper Mt Gravatt Brisbane-South  $550,000     6.1
17 Albion Brisbane-North  $687,000     6.0
18 Eight Mile Plains Brisbane-South  $619,000     6.0
19 Norman Park Brisbane-East  $760,000     6.0
20 Seven Hills Brisbane-East  $618,000     6.0

TERRY RYDER is the founder of You can  email him or follow him on Twitter. 

How to get the address of a property when it is not listed

Hello all, following on from my previous article on “Secret tip: How to get unlisted property prices from”, I received a lot of positive feedback from people who now take advantage of that trick on a daily basis – saving them heaps of time. Just one small update on this handy tip, now also have their “Premium Properties” – and this trick doesn’t work on those ones.

I have another handy tip for you this month! This tip is “How to get the address of a property when it is not listed” and you’ll need this when those dastardly real estate agents don’t disclose all the information to you in the advertisement, because they want you to call them – so they can get all your personal details first and hook you into their database. It must be the second most annoying thing when doing research and due diligence on properties – when agents don’t disclose the actual address of the property! You know what I’m talking about – “Address Withheld” or “Address available on request”. Bluurgghh! Vomit!


Well, you’re all lucky that I have a nerdy background in IT. You may have heard the phrase “Google is your friend” – and it’s definitely true in this case. Google has a feature that not too many people use – or are even aware of. Did you know that much like its highly effective “text” search engine – they also have an “image” search engine? It’s hidden away at the top-right of the screen.


Go on, click it now. You’ll then be taken to the Google Images search screen – where you can search for an “image”.


Clicking on the little “camera” icon will present you with an option to search for an image by a given URL; OR you can upload an image to search on if you’ve already downloaded one previously.


For the purpose of this exercise, we’ll search by URL (Paste image URL).

First, though we need to get the URL of the image we want to search for. Going back to the original advert above, all you need to do is RIGHT-CLICK on the main photo of the house and select “Copy Image Location”. (Note: I am using the FireFox browser here. If you’re using Chrome choose “Copy Image URL”. If you’re using Internet Explorer – just don’t!)


When you select “Copy Image Location” – nothing will appear to happen. Don’t worry – it’s not black magic or hocus pocus. All that’s happened is that you’ve copied the actual URL of that image into your clipboard – ready for pasting!

Now, we flip back to Google Image search, and PASTE the URL of the image into the search box.


The image URL from will often be really really really long – full of “gobbledygook” as my 7 year old daughter would say.

Now, all you need to do is hit the “Search by image” button – and let the power of Google do its thing. Now this bit IS magic and full of hocus pocus! Google will come back with some websites that use that same image – it is a bit hit’n’miss at times.


What you need to do here, is the click through those websites, and hope that one of them have the actual address of this property listed.

In my case, clicking in the top URL goes to Homely, with the FULL ADDRESS SHOWN!!


And that my friends, is how you can find out the address of a property when it has not been disclosed by those pesky agents!

If you have any other great tips, please share them!

Onwards and upwards!

Author: Steven Tein, Co-Invest Australia



Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Upon Death

Here’s a great question and answer from Margaret Lomas (Destiny) email thread regarding CGT and PPRs.


Hello Margaret,

I was reading about CGT on principal residences and I was wondering if CGT is applicable on an elderly parent’s home after they have moved to a nursing home. If the home is rented out to pay for the ongoing expenses of nursing care, is CGT applicable after she has passed and the home sold. Alternatively, if a family member lives in the home until such time as she passes is capital gains also applicable.




Hi Katherine,

Capital gains tax is a complicated issue, and I wanted to be sure I got this right for you, so I called my Property Success resident tax expert, Ian Rodrigues, and checked that my understanding around this was correct. Here is what he had to say:

  • If you own a Principal Place of Residence (PPOR) from which you are absent and you rent it out, you have a 6 year period where you can have an exemption from CGT, as long as you don’t claim another PPOR exemption.
  • If you don’t rent it out, the amount of time that you can claim that exemption is unlimited. This would mean that, as long as the period did not exceed 6 years, renting it out in order to help pay those expenses would be OK.
  • Once she passes the status of your mother’s CGT position shifts to those who inherit – if it is still considered her PPOR then the CGT status transfers, and the beneficiaries have 2 years to sell before they incur CGT.

If a family member lived there, and it was to simply take care of the place for your mother, and not a market based arrangement on the same terms as a third party tenant, then this would likely be considered to be the same as if no one lived there.

Of course, if your mother bought the property prior to 19 September, 1985, then all of the above is moot – it’s a pre CGT asset anyway and no CGT applies in any circumstance.

Always check with a good accountant or even the tax office itself though, to ensure that your own situation is covered by these rules. It’s quite easy to get a private ruling in the event that no one seems sure and that way, you have it all in writing!

Kind regards,


Mining towns make rich list, Tieri on top

THE PEOPLE in Moranbah and Tieri are the most cashed up in Queensland.

That’s according to data released recently by the Australian Taxation Office which showed during the 2012-13 financial year the average Tieri resident earned $100,833 a year, the highest in the state.

Moranbah came in third on the list, with the average person getting $89,211.

Although the data was taken at the mining boom’s peak, Central Highlands Regional Councillor Peter Maundrell believed the data would be similar today because of Tieri’s uniquely uniform demographic.

“I’m sure the data would be similar this financial year,” he said.

“But most people in Tieri are young people with high paying jobs, you don’t have that cross section (of different demographics) you get in a normal town.

“It is owned by a mining company, it’s not your typical country town.”

Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire said Tieri had been on the rich list for the last 10-15 years.

“It’s a small town that doesn’t have many facilities,” he said.

“So I’m sure with so many people there earning such a high disposable income, the other surrounding towns in the region would benefit.”

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said while Moranbah might have one of the highest disposable incomes it was an affordable place to live.

And despite the money reported to be in town, the council was starting up a program designed to support local business owners.

May Downs and Middlemount came in sixth with people getting $86,674 while the rest of the top 10 were made of Brisbane’s richest suburbs.

Barney View area, south of Beaudesert, had the poorest residents who on average earned only $30,296 annually.

The top five richest suburbs (2012-2013 financial year)

Tieri: $100,833 average income

Ascot, Hamilton, Hamilton Central (Brisbane): $96,404

Moranbah: $88,829

Balmoral, Bulimba, Hawthorne: $88,829

Bardon: $87,920

Source: The Australia Taxation Office