Property sellers need to be held to account

Property sellers need to be held to account

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The “buyer beware” doctrine in Queensland is painfully inadequate according to Trish Mackie-Smith from building consultancy BuildingPro. She says it is absurd that you can return a pair of faulty jeans bought for less than $100 to the seller, but you have zero consumer protection rights if you buy a defective house that can cost a fortune.

She asks – “Why are property sellers not held to account for the condition of the goods they are offering? And how come building inspectors can get off scot-free?”   When a car changes hands, the seller is required to provide a safety certificate – this covers fundamentals such as tyres, brakes, steering, suspension, body rust or damage – and if the vehicle turns out to be a lemon, then the new owner can be legally entitled to a refund.   The same principle should apply to property.

The Victorian Government is in the process of re-drafting that state’s apartment standards but there is some criticism that they are not going far enough.  There are improvements for increased mobility access for wheelchairs and the likes, requirements for trees and vegetation on apartment sites above 750 square metres, larger balconies and more common space allowing greater social interaction.  The criticism surrounds design and a lack of thought about affordability.

According to Core Logic, there are 613 suburbs across the country that have a median value of at least $1 million and that is up 29% on this time last year and 125% over the past 3 years.  Of the 613 suburbs, 570 were listed for houses and 43 for units.   Tasmania is the only state that hasn’t reached that milestone yet.   I guess not surprisingly both New South Wales and Victoria saw a growth in numbers while Queensland and Western Australia recorded a decline over the last 8 years.

In other news – In a release of data from the RBA, we can see that investor housing credit growth is continuing to slow and is now well below the 10% pa limit which provides scope to increase lending to investors but, low investment returns and deteriorating affordability are likely to dampen enthusiasm somewhat.    Also apartment projects are at risk of not commencing construction as developers are unable to satisfy the financier’s requirements for pre-commitment, in response to changes to foreign investment regulations and taxation.

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Kevin Turner
kevin@realestatetalk.com.au
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