HOWEVER … we recommend before you sign up for a mortgage start off by having a look around the garage basement(s) for cracking to the floor and walls. Then look for water stains on the walls that are not natural sandstone ‘wet walls’ … that will give you an initial indication of how the apartment block is built!

No photo description available.

CAAN Photo permanent water stains; when it rains it falls here!

Image may contain: basketball court, shoes and outdoor

CAAN Photo: the garage basement floors are covered in cracks

Following are links to some articles we have shared on this topic:

A guide to defects:

We’ll take you through:

Luke Hartin and his fiancee were able to buy a unit in Alexandria, costing them $300 less in mortgaged repayments compared to renting. Photo: Peter Rae

The Sydney suburbs where it’s nearly cheaper to buy property than rent


JUL 5, 2019

The gap between rental and mortgage repayment has narrowed in dozens of Sydney suburbs due to the biggest price correction since the 1980s and a drop in interest rates to levels not seen since the 1950s.

This perfect storm has allowed Luke Hartin and his fiancee to buy a two-bedroom apartment in Alexandria costing them $300 less in mortgage repayments a month than the price of renting a smaller property in Waterloo, the suburb next door.

“We’re actually paying less because of the rates we’re getting,” Mr Hartin said. “For us it was the right time. We’ve been saving for the deposit for quite some time,”

There are dozens of suburbs where up to an extra $100 could see Sydneysiders swap their weekly rent for a similar mortgage repayments on a unit, according to a Domain data analysis.

In Alexandria, the median weekly unit rent is $600, but for an extra $77 buyers could start paying off their own home.

As Mr Hartin found out, recent interest rate cuts meant he could shop around for a better deal.

“I think the repayments are $300 cheaper a month, conservatively, which I’m blown away by,” he said.

The analysis revealed houses could only be purchased with up to an extra $100 a week on the Central Coast, with two exceptions: Bardia in the south-west ($88) and Werrington in the west ($94).

It compared the median weekly rents and mortgage repayments across Sydney suburbs and presumed a mortgage rate of 3.5 per cent, but assumed a prospective buyer already had a 20 per cent deposit. It does not factor in housing costs such as stamp duty, council rates and maintenance.

“This brings down the cost of serviceability on a mortgage and narrows the margin between rental and mortgage payments,” Domain research analyst Eliza Owen said. “But lower interest rates make housing more expensive so the deposit is still going to be the biggest hurdle.”

Lakemba was the only suburb where it was cheaper to pay a typical mortgage on a unit than rent – by just $1.

“These are lower socio-economic areas … there’s a barrier to ownership, and this puts more pressure on the rental market and that would narrow the difference between renting and mortgage repayments,” Ms Owen said.

“A 20 per cent deposit is a real psychological barrier for aspiring home owners. Looking at the data like this at least shows us what life could be like beyond the deposit hurdle.”

Ms Owen said while cheaper properties were frequently bought, more expensive properties were rented, which accounted for the price differential in some suburbs.

“A cheaper property price would have a lower mortgage, which also could narrow the gap between mortgage repayments and what someone would typically rent,” she said. “The nature of what people are buying is different to the nature of what people are renting.”

At the other end of the market, the typical weekly mortgage repayment of a house in Vaucluse is $5554 compared to the suburb’s median weekly rent of $1900. 

CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said people were forced to rent before the property market took a turn two years when affordability was at its worst.

“The big thing attracting people back to the property market is home loans is back to levels of the 1950s,” Mr Felsman said. “People are sitting on the sidelines, cashed up and ready to go, waiting for the property market to stabilise.

“There are fewer investors … it means renters have also had some pricing power … it’s a good time to rent and buy, which is why you’re seeing that gap between the two close.”


LakembaUnit$ 369$ 370-$1
GranvilleUnit$ 425$ 420$5
Mount DruittUnit$ 339$ 330$9
GuildfordUnit$ 415$ 400$15
Harris ParkUnit$ 423$ 400$23
St MarysUnit$ 353$ 328$26
GosfordUnit$ 406$ 380$26
CampbelltownUnit$ 427$ 400$27
PunchbowlUnit$ 408$ 380$28
Warwick FarmUnit$ 411$ 380$31
BankstownUnit$ 461$ 430$31
MerrylandsUnit$ 441$ 410$31
ArncliffeUnit$ 613$ 580$33
BlacktownUnit$ 433$ 400$33
Blue HavenHouse$ 463$ 428$35
FairfieldUnit$ 388$ 350$38
LiverpoolUnit$ 424$ 380$44
San RemoHouse$ 415$ 370$45
The EntranceUnit$ 415$ 370$45
UltimoUnit$ 645$ 600$45
AuburnUnit$ 498$ 450$48
WyongHouse$ 442$ 390$52
GorokanHouse$ 423$ 370$53
RiverwoodUnit$ 544$ 490$54
Wiley ParkUnit$ 414$ 360$54
WadalbaHouse$ 555$ 500$55
Wolli CreekUnit$ 675$ 620$55
North RydeUnit$ 585$ 530$55
WaterlooUnit$ 751$ 695$56
Buff PointHouse$ 452$ 395$57
CabramattaUnit$ 378$ 320$58
GwandalanHouse$ 470$ 410$60
PenrithUnit$ 442$ 380$62
Homebush WestUnit$ 566$ 500$66
ToongabbieUnit$ 516$ 450$66
WestmeadUnit$ 529$ 460$69
HomebushUnit$ 599$ 530$69
HillsdaleUnit$ 569$ 500$69
RockdaleUnit$ 590$ 520$70
WyomingHouse$ 524$ 450$74
KanwalHouse$ 475$ 400$75
AlexandriaUnit$ 677$ 600$77
KingswoodUnit$ 404$ 325$79
Hamlyn TerraceHouse$ 565$ 485$80
ZetlandUnit$ 813$ 730$83
BardiaHouse$ 618$ 530$88
North GosfordHouse$ 518$ 430$88
ParramattaUnit$ 581$ 490$91
ToukleyHouse$ 452$ 360$92
BudgewoiHouse$ 449$ 355$94
WerringtonHouse$ 494$ 400$94
WoongarrahHouse$ 594$ 500$94
Wentworth PointUnit$ 645$ 550$95
North ParramattaUnit$ 507$ 410$97
Baulkham HillsUnit$ 599$ 500$99
KogarahUnit$ 580$ 480$100
Source: Domain






A must read for ‘aspiring First Home Buyers’!


Is this what it has come down to?

For our Australian Families?

Is this what you voted for?  Meanwhile in Sydney and Melbourne house sales are picking up again … but who for?


Related Article:  That perhaps explains why it has come down to this …




Boarding Houses
The legislation has changed to a 12 dwellings limit per block for ‘boarding houses’, but concerns remain about DAs lodged previously.  The DA for 78 dwellings at 195-197 Sydney Road, Fairlight goes to the Land & Environment Court in September. The Council is opposing it, but the Sydney Nth Planning Panel says it has merit.



Tiny houses are trailer trash

 in Australian Property


The dwelling Satanists at Domain just won’t let it go:

With the housing market becoming increasingly difficult to enter, people are turning to the same place for a home that they would for a secondhand coffee table – eBay and Gumtree.

Rising house prices and young people staying at home longer are reasons more and more Australians are choosing alternative living, such as tiny houses.

Now, buying your new home is as easy as a quick online search, 10 days and a basic tool kit.

The tiny house movement is making it possible for more people to become “home owners”. Some homes are selling on eBay for as little as $12,000 and others have dimensions similar to that of a small apartment.

This is rebranding trailor trash.

How does having a tiny house on wheels, a caravan in other words, make you a “home owner”. There’s no land. There’s no title. There’s no security. There’s not even a home.

*The only tiny houses that should be bought by Millennials are a great pile of them to be parked outside of Parliament, doused with petrol, and set alight to protest the total failure of affordable housing policy:

  • tax rorts:
  • mass immigration;
  • supply side choking;
  • gutted public investment.

That said, if you can get your hands on one of these bigger options from Amazon then it might be worthwhile:

Residential builders have found a new home: Amazon.


Prefabricated and modular housing — with homes prebuilt in factories — is having another moment. From 2013 to 2018, industry revenue grew an annualized 8.6% to nearly $10.5 billion, including growth of 4.1% in 2018 alone, according to research firm IBISWorld.

Previously associated with Dwell and other shelter magazines and websites, these often-tiny homes have now hit Amazon AMZN, +1.51% in a big way — and are apparently selling out there. Indeed, multiple news outlets, including real-estate sites Curbed and the Real Dealreported that one 172-square-foot, $7,250 prefab cabin, which the manufacturer claims can be built in eight hours and ships free from Amazon, had sold out. (Reports that the home was back in stock followed, as did some consumer warnings and social snickering.)

And it’s not the only home for sale on the internet giant — and some can even become full-time residences. “I’m not surprised to see [homes for sale on Amazon],” says Trae Bodge, a shopping expert at, as “selling these homes online presents a new level of opportunity for the retailer to reach consumers who are outside of their local area.” Here are a few homes for sale on Amazon — ranging in price from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands.

The company says that this 292-square-foot cabin (the square footage does not include its sleeping loft) “is large enough to function as a summer house, home office or even a stand-alone retail building” and that “by adding the utility hookups this cabin can be converted to a residence.” Of course, that will cost extra, and the company notes that if you live in a cooler climate you’ll need to add insulation. Two adults can assemble this home in two or three days, the company says.

At least you get some land that way.

But I’d hurry. If this really took off then authorities are almost certain to shut it down one way or another. The last thing they want is affordable houses for kids.





The rise AND RISE of Australian household debt 

Suburban street scene from above

Photo:  Australians have seen their per capita wealth fall more than $12,000 in the past six months. (ABC News:  Patrick Stone)

WAS it a consequence of the foreign competition for Australian homes that a peak of 530% of disposable income was hit in December 2017?   

… then followed by a house price bust which reduced housing values from this peak to 484% of disposable income as at March 2019 …

The rise AND RISE of Australian household debt




The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has released its debt ratios for the March quarter, which revealed that Australian households’ debt loads have hit another all-time high.

The ratio of household debt to disposable income hit a record high 189.7% in March, with mortgage debt to income a record high 140.1%:

However, mortgage debt retraced slightly to 95.9% of GDP in the March quarter:

The reason for the difference is because most of the gains from Australia’s GDP growth has gone to businesses rather than households:

The only saving grace is that the recent cratering of mortgage rates means that the ratio of debt repayments to income is below the 2008 peak; albeit still way above the other Anglosphere nations:

The primary reason why mortgage repayments remain so high, despite cratering mortgage rates, is because Australian dwelling values as a percentage of annual household disposable incomes are almost double early-1990s levels:

That said, the house price bust has reduced housing values from a peak of 530% of disposable income in December 2017 to 484% of disposable income as at March 2019.










The great Sydney trade-off: finding the elusive, almost mythical sweet spot

By Matt Wade


The sweet spot in Sydney is an elusive, almost mythical place.

An affordable home close to the shops, with a reasonable commute to a decent paying job is difficult enough to find. But the juggle becomes even harder once you add school choices and the expectation of enriching leisure time including overseas travel.

Climbing the Sydney property ladder has become more difficult.
Climbing the Sydney property ladder has become more difficult.CREDIT:JIM RICE

We’re a city searching for a combination that delivers the best of all worlds or, at least, the best available.

For almost all of us, there will be compromise. The great Sydney trade-off: to live in beautiful scenery but spend three hours a day shuttling between home and the office. To live near the station but forever hear the rattle of the trains. To take a job with longer hours so the kids can go to private school.

“One thing that’s changed is that you can’t trade up the property ladder nearly as easily as you could’ve 20 years ago,” says leading urban economist, Terry Rawnsley.

“That means people are trying to squeeze all these different choices into a much more rigid housing market … part of it is that the city has grown by a million people over the past 10 or 15 years. A lot of those people are looking for a large enough home, in a place with good proximity to jobs and a high amenity local area. But Sydney hasn’t actually built a whole lot more of that.”

Despite the recent downturn in Sydney’s property market, Domain Group data shows the city’s median house remains above the $1 million mark. That’s 90 per cent higher than it was a decade ago.

Sydney has a lot of well-paid workers but years of weak wages growth has curbed the spending power of the city’s households. Polling published by the Committee for Sydney last year found eight in 10 Sydney residents felt cost of living pressures had intensified.

Higher lifestyle expectations have made trade-offs more complicated.

Sydney-based social researcher Mark McCrindle says that, for many, being average today means “one car per adult, the option of private schools, overseas holidays every few years, a new smartphone each every couple of years and a device or two per child”.


Many refuse to make Sydney’s trade-offs and leave the city. Analysis of census data published recently by The Sydney Morning Herald showed that over the past four decades, 129 people left the city each day for elsewhere in Australia while only 85 have moved the other way. Last year almost 120,000 people departed NSW for other states, most of them from Sydney.

Even so, the diversity of Sydney’s economy and a plentiful supply of well-paid jobs in knowledge-based industries including finance, professional services, IT, engineering, marketing and media remain attractive. The city continues to be a magnet for overseas migrants.

So what kinds of trade-offs are Sydney families making?

Housing headaches

The ups and downs of the Sydney property market are always in the headlines. Less attention is given to the profound ways they shape our behaviour.

The high cost of Sydney’s well-located housing is fundamental to many of the trade-offs made by locals.


A growing number of families are choosing high-density living near major employment and transport hubs. Units and apartments now account for more than one in four Sydney dwellings, about twice the national average.

McCrindle’s research shows many young adults in Sydney are choosing to rent in a well-situated neighbourhood instead of buying in a less convenient location.

“Rather than buying where they don’t want to live, like their parents did, they’ll rent where they do want to live,” he said. “Sometimes they will still buy but it’s an investment elsewhere.”

Census data shows the share of Sydney households who rent has risen steadily over the past decade. A recent study by the Grattan Institute think-tank found the proportion of homeowners declined in 87 per cent of Greater Sydney neighbourhoods between 2011 and 2016.

Rawnsley, an economist at consultancy SGS Economics and Planning, has noticed a small but growing trend for families to buy or rent a crash pad close to work or schools while keeping a larger house on the city’s outskirts or beyond.

“These are not uncommon stories,” he said.

“People who want to have a place in the Kangaroo Valley, or wherever, and an inner-city crash pad are taking their housing budget and splitting it in half to try and get the best of both worlds … they want to live a country lifestyle but be close to work during the week.”


Hundreds of thousands of Sydneysiders sacrifice time commuting to facilitate housing and other lifestyle choices. It’s one of the city’s most common trade-offs.


The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics estimates about 2 million Australians commuted for 90 minutes or more each day in 2016, many of them in Sydney and Melbourne.

Rawnsley says there has been growth in the “mega-commuter” in Australia’s big cities – those will to spend several hours each day getting to work.

About 2 million Australians commuted for 90 minutes or more each day in 2016.
About 2 million Australians commuted for 90 minutes or more each day in 2016.CREDIT:BROOK MITCHELL


There’s evidence workers will tolerate longer travel times to work in return for a well-paid job.

It suggests many CBD workers are prepared to trade off more time travelling in return for one of the well-paid (and possibly satisfying) knowledge jobs that cluster there, such as banking and professional services.

But Rawnsley says that in the midst of robust population growth over the past decade Sydney hasn’t done a good job of increasing the supply of affordable housing in areas with good access to jobs and other key services.

“That’s why you start to get these perverse outcomes where people are commuting for two hours or they’ve got two properties on their books,” he says.

Where to work

Trends in the jobs market, especially the high prevalence of dual-worker households, have a big influence on household choices.

McCrindle says many Sydney families are making complex work-related trade-offs.

“The data on busyness and stress indicates that many couples are taking on more work than they really have space for but they need the two incomes,” he said.

“It’s a financial decision more than it is a career or lifestyle decision – it’s a trade-off between time and money.”

In other cases, work-related trade-offs are not so much about income but the need to cater for two time-consuming professional careers.


There are also cases where shift work options can facilitate lifestyle trade-offs. Some employees, such as police and other emergency workers, are able to undertake a full-time workload in three 12-hour shifts per week. That might make the choice to live on the central coast or at a Blue Mountains bush block more manageable because of fewer (but longer) commutes each week.

Schools of thought

The share of students attending public schools in NSW is projected to growduring the next decade. New public schools such as Lindfield Learning Village and Inner City High have been swamped with enrolments, while fees at some of Sydney’s top private schools have soared more than 25 per cent in the past six years.

McCrindle says this trend in favour of government education is driven, at least in part, by schooling-related trade-offs made by Sydney families.

New public schools have been swamped with enrolments, and the demand is only expected to increase.
New public schools have been swamped with enrolments, and the demand is only expected to increase. CREDIT:QUENTIN JONES


“Parents who might have been thinking about an independent education – they might have had that background themselves – are saying, ‘Hey, let’s send the kids to that government school up the road’,” he says.

“That’s another one of those trade-offs because if they were living in a regional area or a lower-cost city, many of those parents would have gone for an independent education option.”

Schooling can also be part of a lifestyle trade-off for Sydneysiders who put a high premium on enriching life experiences, especially overseas travel.

The money saved by choosing a public school can be used to fund regular – and educationally valuable – trips.

Family matters

One trade-off being made by women in Sydney is to delay having children and to possibly limit the number they have.

Research by Macquarie University demographer Nick Parr recently revealed a strong trend among women in many parts of the city to delay having children until their 30s.

In the Paddington-Moore Park neighbourhood, 90 per cent of mothers giving birth were aged over 30 between 2011 and 2015, the highest share in Sydney.

Birth rates – which measures the number of births per woman – have fallen to very low levels in many inner-Sydney suburbs.

Professor Parr identified 20 local areas in Sydney where the 35 to 39 age bracket is the most common for women to give birth, mostly in relatively affluent suburbs in the city’s inner east and north.

The trend for women to establish themselves in a career before starting a family is one driver of this trend.

But it is likely the high cost of housing in inner suburbs of Sydney has also played a role as women delay having children so they can save for a deposit, or service a large mortgage. Districts with very low birth rates among women under 30 years of age overlapped with suburbs with relatively high house prices.

Some Sydney families may opt to have only one child due to the cost of housing and other spending preferences such as private schooling and overseas travel.


Matt Wade is a senior economics writer at The Sydney Morning Herald.



Matt Wade

Matt Wade is a senior economics writer at The Sydney Morning Herald.

Matt Wade

Matt Wade is a senior economics writer at The Sydney Morning Herald.


Report from Lisa Visentin:  SMH …  Save Our Sirius Foundation chairman Shaun Carter said the organisation was not yet convinced the building had been saved and would wait to see further plans.

“We think the devil is in the detail,” Mr Carter, an architect said. “There is so much here we don’t know.”

City of Sydney mayor Clover Moore urged the government to invest the proceeds from the Sirius sale into building more social and affordable housing dwellings as part of the redevelopment of the Waterloo public housing estate.

“While I’m pleased that this important brutalist building will be retained rather than demolished, I’m extremely disappointed that a public asset that was purpose built to house people on low incomes has been sold for market housing after its tenants were evicted,” Cr Moore said.

“We are facing a housing and homelessness crisis in the city, with only one per cent of homes in Sydney classified as affordable and the numbers of people sleeping rough on our streets increasing.”


Sydney’s iconic Sirius building sold to developers for $150 million


28 JUNE 2019



Sydney’s iconic Sirius building has been sold to developers for $150 million, the NSW Government has announced.

Key points:

  • The sale comes amid a strong public campaign to save the building from developers
  • The proposed development will include 89 apartments and commercial space
  • The Government says the sale will help building social housing for 630 people

The brutalist landmark in The Rocks had been used for social housing since it opened in 1981.

However, the last resident was moved out last year.

NSW Housing Minister Melinda Pavey said the building had been sold to a company called Sirius Developments Pty Ltd, which was owned by investment firm JDH Capital.

She said the proposed “refurbishment” would revitalise the existing building.

“This is a great outcome that will see $150 million injected directly into building new social housing dwellings,” Mrs Pavey said.

“This is expected to provide housing for around 630 people, helping the most vulnerable members of our community.”


The building’s sale comes amid significant public campaign to save it from developers.

*Despite the advice of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, the State Government decided against heritage listing the building in 2017.

That sparked a challenge in the Land and Environment Court, which was ultimately unsuccessful.

The building was sold following a tender process that saw “significant national and international interest”, the Government said.

It said the proposed refurbishment would deliver 89 apartments10 more than the building’s current 79-apartment configuration — plus retail and commercial spaces.

Mrs Pavey said the sale of 189 dwellings in nearby Millers Point had netted more than $750 million.

This money had gone towards constructing 1,500 residential units, of which 1,300 had already been built.

Developer paid ‘a handsome price’

*Chairperson of the Save Our Sirius Foundation, Shaun Carter, said he was “not getting too excited” by the sale, which he described as “secret squirrel, done behind closed doors”.

Mr Carter questioned why the developer had paid a premium for the building, when others had only been willing to pay around $100 million to $120 million.

“Someone’s paying a handsome price for this site,” he said.

“The cynic in me says, what else are they expecting?”

Mr Carter used the Barangaroo development as an example of development in Sydney exceeding initial plans.

“If we look at this government and their actions with Barangaroo, that started as a project that was less than half the size that it is today,” he said.

“If we use that as a measure, then we could be seeing Sirius demolished and towers on the site.”

He said the Government had refused to engage the Save Our Sirius group, which still hoped the building’s brutalist character would remain and be heritage listed.







Shannon Hsu in the UKO Paddington room


Here it is … proof …

-have we been given a pile of b.s.?

-is it about plausible deniability?

-is the truth really about how to convince people it’s not about making money when the opposite is the case?



New-generation boarding house not delivering for low income earners, survey finds

26 JUNE 2019



Beautiful terraces line the streets of Paddington in Sydney, and unbeknown to many drivers and pedestrians along Moore Park Road, number 34 and 36 are in fact boarding houses.

Key points:

  • UNSW survey found occupants of boarding houses approved since 2009 were closer in profile to typical renters than to traditional boarding houses lodgers
  • The survey found modern boarding houses were not suitable for those in need of affordable housing
  • Most occupants enjoyed communal living, and were overwhelmingly employed or in tertiary studies


The residents who live there, though, don’t fit the stereotypical profile of a “traditional” boarding house lodger.

Shannon Hsu is 33, owns her own dance production business, sought to live in the building before it had finished construction, and is paying rent the equivalent of a small studio apartment.

“I thought it was a really interesting way of living,” Ms Hsu said.

“You have your own space, but there’s a focus on the communal area.

“I just moved in and we’re about to have a dinner altogether.”

The ‘new’ professional lodger

The stigma around traditional boarding houses stems from the occupants who are generally considered socially marginal, at risk of homelessness, or on welfare.

They generally have low rent — $250 or less according to listings online — communal facilities and are set up in older existing dwellings.

Local residents living close to potential boarding house developments, like those in Greenacre and the Northern Beaches more recently, overwhelmingly rejected DA approvals based on fears of overcrowding, increased vehicle traffic, crime and noise levels.

Labor’s education spokesman and member for Lakemba Jihad Dib, was critical of new boarding house developers and told ABC Sydney last week that he backed residents’ concerns that “boarding houses shouldn’t be in residential streets”.

What is a boarding house?

  • A building that is wholly or partly let in lodgings
  • Provides lodgers with a principal place of residence for three months or more
  • May have shared facilities such as a communal living room, bathroom, kitchen or laundry
  • Has rooms, some or all which may have private or self-contained facilities

Source: State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009


But a new survey of recent boarding house developments, conducted by the City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales and given exclusively to the ABC, found that occupants of recent boarding houses were much closer in profile to renters than those “traditional boarding house occupants on social housing waitlists”.

The study was commissioned by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils.

The research team sent surveys to 288 boarding house developments in central and southern Sydney, which had been recently approved under the NSW Department of Planning’s Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (ARHSEPP).

The aim of the policy, established in 2009, was to “facilitate the increased supply and diversity of affordable rental and social housing in NSW”.

But the researchers notably found that recent boarding houses were “not a particularly affordable housing option” and were being developed as “micro-apartments” rather than dwellings for marginal households.


Respondents were generally young female professionals, under the age of 34, with tertiary qualifications, were employed or studying, and did not own a car.

Sixty-seven per cent of respondents said they were in rental stress, with some 43 per cent paying less than $300 per week in rent, and 40 per cent paying more than $350.

“This isn’t your stereotypical boarding house tenant — the single older male living off a pension or on low income,” the report’s lead author, Laurence Troy, said.

“We know these places are mainly catering to the student market and people who want another option of share housing.

“It’s supposed to be targeted at the marginal renter, but that’s not what’s happening. That’s a bit of a problem.”

Ms Hsu pays $550 per week for a room at the UKO Paddington boarding house and is provided with a bed and linen, storage, kitchen appliances, bathroom and television.

The complex also has a communal kitchen, outdoor area, and bikes to borrow. The tenants generally sign three to six-month leases and occasionally get together for group social activities and dinner.

The rent eats up about 25 per cent of Ms Hsu’s weekly income, but she said that it was comparable to rent she would pay for an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment in the same area.



“It’s good for budgeting because you don’t have to pay for bills,” she said.

“It’s not cheap, but it’s affordable.

“I’m choosing this as opposed to living somewhere else because I like the idea of the added community but being higher end.”

The NSW Department of Planning did not respond to ABC Sydney’s request for comment before deadline.

New boarding houses ‘filling a gap’

There were 1,062 registered boarding houses in NSW as of May 2019, according to the Department of Fair Trading.

Dr Troy said many more existed but “little checking was done” as to whether properties were operating as boarding houses after initial development approvals.

Many of the new boarding houses, like UKO, or one operated by Singaporean company Hmlt, were not on the list, although managers said they had registered as boarding houses.

A spokesman for the Department of Fair Trading said local councils were responsible for approving new boarding house developments, and that owners of the boarding houses were required to register with Fair Trading within 28 days of commencing operations.


Christian Paul, managing director of Hmlt Australia, said companies like his were trying to “reverse the stigma of typical boarding houses”.

The company manages a 16-room boarding house in Newtown that charges $525 per week for a studio with a bathroom.

They have another 110 beds opening up in the next six months across different properties.

Mr Paul said affordable housing and boarding houses needed to be “considered separate” types of real estate.

“There’s a risk of us appearing to be exploiting a loophole,” he said.

“If anything, there are more controls that we have to adhere to.

“Real estate needs to adapt to the needs of the market.

“We have a demographic who are transitional, they are mobile, they don’t want to be tied down to long leases.”

Mr Paul cited one of his residents, who is a recruiter for Microsoft, aged in his late 20s, and who was looking for short-term leases because he travelled frequently.

“We have been borne out of need,” he said.

“Co-living is now a thing.”


Contact Amanda Hoh





Property experts believe older apartments will grow in demand after the Mascot Towers debacle. Photo: Steven Siewert

Older apartments to grow in demand as buyers grow wary of defects in new buildings: experts






A man and woman sit on a rug in a living room and play with a toddler.

ABC Photo

WE were wondering how long before they renewed their push to counter any resistance to high-rise developments …

Are they using well-established agencies to produce, and amplify their message?

Are they helping themselves to every avenue to present a different picture to the reality?

DO you suppose the ‘medium-density’ is connected by virtue … that the ‘same players’ are there too?

ISN’t it time you shared these articles with your local MPs?

Related Article: ‘About buck-passing on dodgy regulation’: it applies to all housing development!



Sydney housing squeeze prompts push for more medium-density development

24 JUNE 2019


Laura and Latham Keen were faced with the same choice as many young couples in Sydney — move out or move up.


Key points:

  • The NSW Government is encouraging medium-density development by making it easier to subdivide blocks *
  • The Planning Minister sees more terrace-style housing as a way to address Sydney’s housing squeeze
  • Some residents oppose the move, fearing the effects of “overdevelopment”


CAAN:  * Is NSW Planning appealing to greed?  Cough … cough …  What is not being revealed … that the NSW Government has rezoned our suburbs for higher density of the Medium-Density Housing Code along with exempt and complying development!

The Morrison Govt policies allow developers to sell 100% of housing projects overseas (FIRB Ruling May 2017 Budget Reg; developments less than 50 dwellings). Maintaining opportunity for money laundering with the Real Estate Gatekeepers exempt from anti-money laundering rules; October 2018.


ABC:  They could not afford a freestanding home close to their jobs in the CBD, and did not want to live in a high-rise with their 15-month-old son.

The answer for their growing family was a three-bedroom townhouse in Lane Cove, on Sydney’s lower north shore, 12 kilometres from the CBD.

“We spent six, seven months looking and we looked at just four townhouses in that time,” Mr Keen said.

“There just wasn’t many available.

“This ticked all the boxes and we jumped on it when we found it.”

Medium-density homes like the Keens’ have been dubbed Sydney’s “missing middle” by NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes, who believes more terrace-style housing is the solution to the city’s real estate squeeze.

While values have fallen by 14.5 per cent since their 2017 peakthe median price of a home in Australia’s biggest metropolis remains almost $900,000.

The spotlight is also on Sydney’s apartment developments after two buildings in the past seven months had to be evacuated when they began cracking.

Grey and white box-shaped terrace houses line a street.
ABC Photo:  Townhouse development in a low-rise low density cottage suburb; medium-density obviously changes the character of low-rise detached cottage suburbs
View:  For more about the process of changing detached housing suburbs to medium-density


“Apartment-style living is a great choice for some but it’s not necessarily for everyone,” Mr Stokes said.

“Detached homes in the ever-expanding suburbs are out of reach for many families.

“The beauty of terrace-style housing is that it’s low-rise, it’s human scale, it doesn’t overshadow everyone else.”

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CAAN Photo:  In reality Townhouse and terrace housing projects can impact the local community with demolition, asbestos removal, clearing of vegetation, construction over 12 months or more;  these dwelling have a big impact on their neighbours!  Note extensive use of concrete paving.


Rules relaxed to fast-track building

*Sydney’s population is expected to swell to more than 8 million over the next 40 years.

CAAN:  * The population swell is drawn from both permanent migration and temp. migration through Visa Manipulation with the lure of buying our real estate to gain Permanent Residency;  it is not about natural population growth!


ABC:  In a bid to begin catering for those extra residents, the Berejiklian Government last year introduced laws that make it easier to carve up existing blocks and build terraces, duplexes or manor houses.


CAAN:  ‘Manor Houses’ are blocks of flats of 3 or 4 units; to be built nextdoor to you?


The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code means that style of dwelling can be built without lodging a development application (DA).


CAAN:  That is what ‘Exempt and Complying Development’ means!  Search CAAN Website to find out more.


ABC:  “I want us to have * a choice * and a spread of different housing,” Mr Stokes said.

“If we fail to meet the housing needs of our existing and future populations we will live in a city that is increasingly divided between the haves and the have-nots.”


CAAN:  It would appear the NSW Planning Law changes remove the * choice for detached housing for the incumbents and future generations of Australians in order to facilitate the migration population growth to benefit the developer lobby!


ABC:  The new rules mean a compliant development could be approved in about three weeks, compared to more than 70 days under a traditional DA process.

Developers would also not be required to notify neighbours.

But there is fierce opposition to the code.



CAAN:  Developments like these we would suggest explain why there is fierce opposition to the code …

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CAAN Photo:  fugly townhouse development in what was a well planned bushland estate.

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CAAN Photo:  Cannot be any fuglier; dwarfs substantial 2-storey neighbours; forward of the setback; built close to the rear fence; robbed neighbours of privacy, amenity; they had to plant bamboo.  This also discouraged buyers!


ABC:   About 50 councils across NSW applied for an exemption when it was first introduced, but those exemptions will be lifted on July 1.

Chris Johnson from Urban Taskforce, a not-for-profit group that represents prominent property developers and equity financiers in Australia, does not believe the code will provide enough new homes to house Sydney’s future residents.

“We need people living in more urban locations,” he said.

“Around railway stations, using public transport, walking to work, walking to shops — it’s a change of culture, a change of living.”


CAAN:  An obvious push to maintain the growth of high-rise residential; profit margins

Fears overdevelopment could kill character

The president of the not-for-profit residents group Save Our Suburbs, Tony Recsei, is dedicated to fighting what he describes as “forced rezoning” and “overdevelopment” in Sydney.


Mr Recsei fears medium-density housing will destroy character in leafy areas.

“It’s going to completely change the whole character of the suburb,” he said.

“It’s going to have detrimental effects in terms of traffic density, parking and the characteristics of the houses themselves.

“It shouldn’t be a dictatorship … the community should decide.”

While terrace housing is an iconic feature of many suburbs in Sydney’s east and inner west, many of those homes date back to the 1800s.

Laura and Latham Keen are hoping the harbour city rediscovers its love of medium-density living.

“I grew up in this area and I would like to stay in this area,” Ms Keen said of Sydney’s lower north shore.

“It’s got the schools that I know, the places I know and the people I know.

“But with the price of housing now, I can’t afford a * freestanding home.”


CAAN:  *As explained in numerous reports shared on CAAN the loss of housing affordability for a whole Cohort of Australians came about by changes to government policies allowing the competition for our domestic housing from foreign buyers







Australia’s still building 4 in every 5 new houses to no more than the minimum energy standard


Australia’s still building 4 in every 5 new houses to no more than the minimum energy standard


Before these standards were introduced the average performance of housing was found to be around 1.5 stars. The current minimum across most of Australia is six stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).

This six-star minimum falls short of what is optimal in terms of environmental, economic and social outcomes. It’s also below the minimum set by many other countries.

Read more: Low-energy homes don’t just save money, they improve lives

There have been calls for these minimum standards to be raised. However, many policymakers and building industry stakeholders believe the market will lift performance beyond minimum standards and so there is no need to raise these.


What did the data show?

We wanted to understand what was happening in the market to see if consumers or regulation were driving the energy performance of new housing. To do this we explored the NatHERS data set of building approvals for new Class 1 housing (detached and row houses) in Australia from May 2016 (when all data sets were integrated by CSIRO and Sustainability Victoria) to December 2018.

Our analysis focuses on new housing in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, all of which apply the minimum six-star NatHERS requirement.

The other states have local variations to the standard, while New South Wales uses the BASIX index to determine the environmental impact of housing.

The chart below shows the performance for 187,320 house ratings. Almost 82% just met the minimum standard (6.0-6.4 star). Another 16% performed just above the minimum standard (6.5-6.9 star).

Only 1.5% were designed to perform at the economically optimal 7.5 stars and beyond. By this we mean a balance between the extra upfront building costs and the savings and benefits from lifetime building performance.

NatHERS star ratings across total data set for new housing approvals, May 2016–December 2018. Author provided

The average rating is 6.2 stars across the states. This has not changed since 2016.

Average NatHERS star rating for each state, 2016-18. Author provided


The data analysis shows that, while most housing is built to the minimum standard, the cooler temperate regions (Tasmania, ACT) have more houses above 7.0 stars compared with the warm temperate states.

NatHERS data spread by state. Author provided


The ACT increased average performance each year from 6.5 stars in 2016 to 6.9 stars in 2018. This was not seen in any other state or territory.

The ACT is the only region with mandatory disclosure of the energy rating on sale or lease of property. The market can thus value the relative energy efficiency of buildings.

Providing this otherwise invisible information may have empowered consumers to demand slightly better performance.

Read more: Energy star ratings for homes? Good idea, but it needs some real estate flair

We are paying for accepting a lower standard

The evidence suggests consumers are not acting rationally or making decisions to maximise their financial well-being. Rather, they just accept the minimum performance the building sector delivers.

Higher energy efficiency or even environmental sustainability in housing provides not only significant benefits to the individual but also to society. And these improvements can be delivered for little additional cost.

Read more: Sustainable housing’s expensive, right? Not when you look at the whole equation

The fact that these improvements aren’t being made suggests there are significant barriers to the market operating efficiently. This is despite increasing awareness among consumers and in the housing industry about the rising cost of energy.

Eight years after the introduction of the six-star NatHERS minimum requirement for new housing in Australia, the results show the market is delivering four out of five houses that just meet this requirement.

With only 1.5% designed to 7.5 stars or beyond, regulation rather than the economically optimal energy rating is clearly driving the energy performance of Australian homes.

Increasing the minimum performance standard is the most effective way to improve the energy outcomes.

The next opportunity for increasing the minimum energy requirement will be 2022.

Australian housing standards were already about 2.0 NatHERS stars behind comparable developed countries in 2008. If mandatory energy ratings aren’t increased, Australia will fall further behind international best practice.

If we continue to create a legacy of homes with relatively poor energy performance, making the transition to a low-energy and low-carbon economy is likely to get progressively more challenging and expensive.

Recent research has calculated that a delay in increasing minimum performance requirements from 2019 to 2022 will result in an estimated A$1.1 billion (to 2050) in avoidable household energy bills. That’s an extra 3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more: Buildings produce 25% of Australia’s emissions. What will it take to make them ‘green’ – and who’ll pay?

Our research confirms the policy proposition that minimum house energy regulations based on the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme are a powerful instrument for delivering better environmental and energy outcomes.

While introducing minimum standards has significantly lifted the bottom end of the market, those standards should be reviewed regularly to ensure optimal economic and environmental outcomes.








SO SOON after TUD published this report: 

 ‘What we know about Sydney’s Mascot Towers’…


CAN’t say we are impressed! 

What is this all about?

Is the whole Build-to-Rent business just another quasi Ponzi Scheme?

Are BtR projects designed to entrap tenants where they …

-pay ever increasing rents reducing their capacity to save for a deposit and move to occupy their own property?

-are cash cows for owners;  with no real interest in them other than their capacity to pay rent

 IS the BtR concept also about shifting the risk envelope to a tenant?

-they are locked in

-they give up on the idea of owning a property and become members of a ‘renting class’ 

IT may also be about other agendas …

-is it about extracting governments out of the social housing equation?

-is it about extending privatisation into the social housing environment where:

.eviction can be easier because no government role would prevail
.over time a compliant class of semi permanent renters feed into the cashflows of BtR corporations 
.slowly develops a passive social agenda of excluding those less worthy 
.those unable to fit the BtR model become problems for the NGO sector?

DO some of us get a feeling about this kind of arrangement as being
-too cute
-something that has to be … no matter how it’s dressed up, about making money 
-designed to make money out of one of the necessities of life, shelter
-about furthering the commodification of shelter?

AS always 

-we are told it’s on the up overseas so we need to get on the bandwagon 
-it’s all rosy, only the up-side is mentioned 

Besides look at a recent 7.30 report, this week, about 

-how difficult it it is to move out of retirement living
-how it’s really not a purchase but a long term rental

Once again the big end of town are into it up to their arm pits, the story covering a Lend Lease retirement property, run by the same people who run shopping centres with similar and familiar sharpness

Indeed it seems the whole BtR concept is yet another vehicle for a few well set up players to make a motza from those less fortunate 

Related article … which explains more!

 Is build-to-rent all it is built up to be?

Growing Demand to Boost Build-to-Rent


Amid a backdrop of high housing costs and a growing rental population, build-to-rent development is expected to gain more momentum in key locations, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, new research shows.



A growing pool of more than three million households will drive the Pacific region’s nascent build-to-rent sector if developers can provide the right product and amenity, says CBRE’s latest build-to-rent report.

The number of renter households in Australia has increased by 500,000 over the past decade, up to 31 per cent from 27 per cent.

While in New Zealand renter households have increased by 120,000, a rise to 34 per cent from 30 per cent.


Build-to-rent CBRE

Compounding the case, CBRE head of build-to-rent research Benjamin Martin-Henry says overall home ownership rates have been decreasing.

“Particularly in the 15-24 and 25-34 year age brackets, with declines of 30 per cent and 26 per cent respectively in Australia between 1995 and 2014,” he said.

“These results, while not being particularly surprising, highlight the problem for younger generations coming of age in a time of the new norms of lower economic growth, lower wage growth, high underemployment.”

It’s in this environment CBRE’s head of advisory Kelwyn Teo says build-to-rent development is expected to gain more momentum.

“But location will be key – particularly in markets such as Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.

“Unsurprisingly, the highest proportion of renters in Sydney and Melbourne are in some of the most desirable and, therefore, more expensive locations.

“Given the current high cost of land in these areas it will be difficult — but not impossible — to make build-to-rent developments stack up through a combination of key metrics including occupancy, stabilised rental growth and operational efficiencies.

“As land cost will still be a key factor, particularly in Sydney, we anticipate most developments will initially be in more fringe locations and, crucially, they are expected to be in and around population growth corridors or employment hubs supported by a good public transport systems such as Parramatta, Macquarie Park and Liverpool,” Teo said.

Related: Developers Offered Subsidies In $70 Million Build-To-Rent Scheme

Just this month Mirvac announced it will transform a key site next to the Queen Victoria Market into Melbourne's first build-to-rent complex.

Just this month Mirvac announced it will transform a key site next to the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne.

The US has the most advanced build-to-rent market in the world with 21 million residences, according to the CBRE report.Due to the United Kingdom being a relative newcomer to the game, with 30,000 existing units, the report uses the UK’s market as a guide, with the mix of build-to-rent renters, including:

  • Younger independents aged 18-24: 22 per cent.
  • Flexible professionals, no children aged 25-44: 26 per cent
  • Budgeting families aged 25-44: 29 per cent.
  • Reconciled with renting aged 45 and upward: 23 per cent.

Implementing BtR across Australia and New Zealand

Teo says a key driver of build-to-rent take-up in the Pacific would be professional management, which he likened to a hotel or student accommodation, where the tenant was the customer and the focus of the operator was to increase retention.

“This could include provisions such as having a storage facility on site with spare parts for appliances to reduce the time a tenant must wait for a replacement or having staff onsite to attend to breakdowns.”

“Developers also need to be cognisant that different products appealed to entirely separate demographic and socio-economic niches.”

Another driver of sector growth in the Pacific region is competitive rental markets in metropolitan cities like Sydney, which often require renters to attend multiple inspections for often sub-standard accommodation.

“In the US and the UK, large-scale build-to-rent providers allow renters to drop into a leasing suite, talk to an agent or do an online virtual tour of various apartment styles,” Martin-Henry said.