We need to consider different interest rates for different sectors of the market

We need to consider different interest rates for different sectors of the market
We need to consider different interest rates for different sectors of the market

Has the time come that the current methodology of real estate in Australia (which is seriously flawed) is ripe for demolition and an entirely different business model should be built to replace what we have today?

Let’s imagine a massive jigsaw puzzle scattered across the floor and we’re trying to make some semblance of this mess.

Let’s start on the basis that currently in Australia one third rent, the next third own with a mortgage and the final third own their home without a mortgage. Now, the Australian real estate market consists of thousands upon thousands of niche markets, yet for some strange reason under the Reserve Bank of Australia those with mortgages all share the same cash rate despite some of these markets booming and other markets posting negative capital growth.

Is it not time to be seriously looking at different cash rates based on the different niche market performances? For example, the Sydney residential market is overheated and should be paying a higher cash rate to slow the markets down; this would then avoid the inevitable crash in some of its niche markets. Why aren’t we looking at a model that would test some markets to see if such an example could work, after all we have a few thousand we could choose from?

Why does the rest of the world apply a tax on the profits, although Australia opts for a system where no tax is paid? Would it not make sense to see interest payments and improvements tax deductible if they looked at such a model? Why are home owners hit with stamp duty when this was supposed to be axed when GST was introduced in 2000 and why are there not concessions on stamp duty after a home owner pays their first stamp duty? Why do the state and territory governments offer first home buyer grants when it would make far better sense to offer a lower interest rate? When a home owner falls into financial difficulties, why don’t we have a distress rate until the owner (and the market) sees better times?

Back in the recession of the early 1990s we saw carnage with mortgagee-in-possessions only to see prices restored in just a few years. The losses incurred by home owners and the banks could have easily been avoided if it had been agreed to adopt a more patient approach where every party would have been much better off.

Given we now live in a society where thanks to the computer/technology age we have much simpler and clearer data we can have much more accurate positioning that enable us to see the bigger picture.

We are getting a clearer picture of overseas’ buyers using vast loopholes to purchase Australian property, yet the governments have done nothing about this for years. Every sale of real estate in Australia pays stamp duty so why are these details not being extrapolated to get a precise position on what is happening to Australian real estate? Why does this need to be handled (badly) by the federal government when it would make more sense that the state governments took this responsibility over?

Of course, such discussions are like opening Pandora’s Box however, we really need to start a conversation where hopefully rational ideas will evolve and grow.

We are witnessing massive infrastructure spends across Australia with the states and territories selling off assets simply because they are in a poor financial position, which brings us back to why this entire process is broken. These assets should be purchased by the Future Fund as a custodian until the relevant states and territories can buy them back.

The problem in Australia is that we have significantly broken systems that require a total overhaul although it’s becoming quite clear the preferred methodology is more like buying a home then selling when everyone says you must sell first – then buy.

I’m not sure about you, but I would love to see alternate real estate models for Australia and a test case of separate cash rates for different markets would be a fascinating experiment based solely on the performance of an individual niche market.

What remains to be seen is how many Australians believe the entire property system requires overhauling? When I see the NSW government announce a higher than expected $1 billion stamp duty windfall the pennies really do start to drop.

Robert Simeon

Robert Simeon

Robert Simeon is a director of Richardson Wrench Mosman and Neutral Bay and has been selling residential real estate in Sydney since 1985. He has also been writing real estate blog Virtual Realty News since 2000.

Robert Simeon Interest Rates

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