Australia: Property & Real Estate News - 29 January 2018

In the media – National

Housing Finance Rises in November
Australian home loan values rose 2.3 per cent in November following October figures, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed on Wednesday (18 January 2018). More...

First home buyers benefitting from stable market
Housing finance figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that first home buyers continue to steadily increase their presence in the housing market, according to the to the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) (17 January 2018). More...

Sydney a 'Tenant's Market' as vacancy rises across Australia
The national residential vacancy rate has increased in December in almost every state in Australia, with the number of vacancies Australia-wide climbing to 80,092 (16 January 2018). More...

Property experts think Australian house prices will rise over the next year - except in NSW
Despite the negative headlines about falling house prices, a reversal of recent strength in building approvals and the prospect of higher interest rates arriving this year, sentiment towards Australia's property market remained elevated in the first quarter of 2018, at least among those who work in the sector (11 January 2018). More...

Overgrown Stamp Duty in Dire Need of Reform, Says HIA

The Housing Industry Association has called for the reform of stamp duty across Australia after it was revealed the bills could be choking the average home buyer (16 January 2018). More...

Malls to blame for property's slower year
Australia's biggest listed property stocks underperformed their peers in the broader top 200 index by 6.1 percentage points in 2017 as retail concerns weighed on the major mall owners (15 January 2018). More...

In the media – Victoria

Victoria's India Strategy launched
Liveable cities and places – including water management – is one of three growth sectors identified for engagement and trade with India (17 January 2018). More...

Gas report drills down into the detail
The first update into a three-and-a-half-year study of Victoria's gas reserves and resources is now available. The Victorian Gas Program is a $42.5 million Victorian Government geoscience and environmental research initiative to support a robust, evidence based estimate of Victoria's gas resources (12 January 2018). More...

Victoria leads the nation in confidence index
The latest ANZ/Property Council Survey shows that the Victorian property industry sentiment is the nation's standard-bearer, building on population growth and continued foreign investment interest (11 January 2018). More...

In the media – New South Wales

NSW Dominated Commercial Sales Volumes in 2017 Despite Office 'Squeeze'
Despite a widely-predicted slowdown in Australia's broader property market in 2018, commercial sales in NSW will experience an uplift over the next three months (16 January 2018). More...

Home buyers to be better protected by Australian-first defect bond scheme
The Strata Building Bond and Inspections Scheme (the Scheme), the first of its kind in Australia, provides a structured process to rectify defects early in the building lifecycle. Developers will now be required to lodge a building bond, which is equal to two per cent of the contract price with NSW Fair Trading. For more information about the Strata Building Bonds and Inspection Scheme, go to (01 January 2018). More...

New home building scheme comes into effect
Changes to the NSW Home Building Compensation (HBC) scheme commence today that will enable private insurers to enter the market and improve protections for homeowners against incomplete and defective work. All builders are required to take out cover under the HBC scheme for residential building projects costing over $20,000. Each year on average, the scheme accepts liability for 613 claims, and pays out $82.8 million. For further information visit (01 January 2018). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

2017: Another record breaking year for heat and extreme weather
Will Steffen, Martin Rice, David Alexander; Climate Council of Australia: 18 January 2018
More record-breaking heat was experienced around the world in 2017, with the year joining 2014, 2015 and 2016 as the four hottest years ever recorded in the 138-year global temperature archive. More...

In Practice and Courts

Changes commencing in 2018

Property and GST
In May last year, the Federal Government announced that it will strengthen compliance with the GST law by requiring purchasers of newly constructed residential properties or new subdivisions to remit the GST directly to the ATO as part of settlement.
The ATO reports that under the current law (where the GST is included in the purchase price and the developer remits the GST to the ATO), some developers are failing to remit the GST to the ATO despite having claimed GST credits on their construction costs. As most purchasers use conveyancing services to complete their purchase, they should experience minimal impact from these changes. This change takes effect from 1 July 2018. More...

Housing affordability
New homeowners will not be able to claim the cost of inspecting and maintaining rental properties as tax deductible. The change was designed to reduce the pressure of housing affordability in the 2017-18 budget.

Queensland Treasury: OSR

Public Ruling FHOGA025D.1.2 Administrative arrangement—Extension of $20,000 first home owner grant
Pending retrospective amendment to the FHOG Act, the $20,000 grant has been extended until 30 June 2018. The $20,000 grant will apply to eligible transactions entered into between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2018. All other conditions and eligibility requirements for the grant remain unchanged (11 January 2018). More...

Settlement Notices to be replaced with Priority Notices from 1 January 2018
From 1 January 2018, Settlement Notices can no longer be deposited in the Titles Registry. The current Queensland Settlement Notice mechanism will be replaced by a Priority Notice mechanism as part of a move toward national consistency in a range of titling processes to support national electronic conveyancing in Australia. There will be no transitional period. More...

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2017

EPA Gippsland power stations review
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) wants input from the Gippsland community as it prepares to conduct its regular review of licences for brown coal-fired power stations in the region. The closing date for public submissions through one of the groups is 11 February 2018. Click here to find out more (15 January 2018). More...


Lee Nyong Pty Ltd & Anor v Di Blasi & Anor (Costs Ruling) [2018] VSC 5
COSTS – Caveat removal – Alleged fraudulent removal of caveat – Notice of Action by Registrar of Titles – Section 106(1)(f) of the Transfer of Land Act 1958 (Vic) – Priority of interests – Priority of second mortgagee over caveator – Costs – Indemnity costs – Liability of the Registrar for costs – Section 24(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1986 (Vic) – Section 65C(1) of the Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic).

Pelican Capital 5 Pty Ltd v Yarra CC [2018] VCAT 12
Section 79 Planning and Environment Act 1987; Yarra Planning Scheme; Land in two zones; Part Commercial 1 Zone; part General Residential Zone; Amendment C220; Mixed-use development; Child care centre; Building height, scale and bulk; Neighbourhood Character; Amenity.

Mould v Canale & Ors [2017] VSC 793
EQUITY – Proprietary estoppel – Constructive trust – Representation by directors and shareholders of corporate landowner that if their son worked an orchard farm he would inherit the land – Detrimental reliance – Control of land passed to other sibling and sold to third parties – Son gained control of landowner company and refused to complete contracts for sale – Donis v Donis [2007] VSCA 89; (2007) 19 VR 577, McNab v Graham [2017] VSCA 352, Accurate Financial Consultants Pty Ltd & anor v Koko Black Pty Ltd & Ors [2008] VSCA 86 applied.
EQUITY – Priority of competing equitable interests in land - Purchasers on notice of a claimed equitable interest arising from constructive trust when entering contracts for sale– Latec Investments Ltd v Hotel Terrigal Pty Ltd (in liq) [1965] HCA 17; (1965) 113 CLR 265 applied.
EQUITY - Specific Performance – Contracts for sale of land – Hardship – Suttor v Gundowda [1950] HCA 35; (1950) 81 CLR 418 applied.
ESTOPPEL – Issue estoppel – Claim for equitable interest in land arising from constructive trust - Court previously ordered removal of caveat over land asserting same equitable interest – Claimant settled related proceedings involving similar claims to land – Piroshenko v Grojsman (2010) 27 VR 489, Hall v Nominal Defendant [1966] HCA 36; (1966) 117 CLR 423 applied.

Starbuck v Wensley [2017] QCAT 470
REAL PROPERTY – BOUNDARIES OF LAND AND FENCING – FENCES AND FENCING – where adjoining properties are in Bardon – where tribunal at hearing ordered cypress pine fencing – where cost of cypress pine has become excessive – where applicant seeks amendment of material to treated timber – where respondent objects and seeks a fresh decision – where rights and contributions of both parties considered – where tribunal renewed the decision substituting treated timber for cypress pine – where respondent seeks reasons for that decision.

DT & MF Holdings Pty Ltd & Ors v Ascendia Accountants (Noosa) Pty Ltd & Ors [2017] QSC 330
REAL PROPERTY – TORRENS TITLE – CAVEATS AGAINST DEALINGS – REMOVAL – PARTICULAR CASES – where the respondents lodged caveats over real property owned by the applicants pursuant to a clause in a written agreement between the parties – where the applicants apply pursuant to s 127 of the Land Title Act 1994 (Qld) to have the caveats removed – whether the caveats should be removed.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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Chris Brodrick
Katie Miller
Gerard Timbs
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