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Australia Real Estate

Jan 5

Home Buying Incentives:Good Deal-Bad Plan

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Home Buying Incentives

Tempting incentives for home buyers – especially first-timers – seem to be the 'in' thing. At one point or another, governments, builders, and property groups will offer enticing incentives to encourage home purchases. This practice is widespread in a troubled or recovering economy. Yet these offers are around to a certain degree in every real estate market.

Government initiatives have been shown to benefit home buyers. These programs assist buyers who meet the qualifications. The plans might offer a credit (as the expired Federal First-Time Homebuyers' Credit) or access to RRSP savings (Canada's 2009 Expansion of the Home Buyers' Plan).

Yet numerous builders and property groups also make offers to home buyers. Should potential buyers take the bait or resist the temptation? What types of incentives are being put on the table?

Huge Incentives


Home buyers can find all kinds of offers out there in the marketplace. Sometimes builders and a property group combine to offer huge incentives. The Satterley Property Group and 17 builders in Australia are making a concerted effort to provide affordable housing in specific estates.

With their campaign named "The Lot," offers of cash rebates, bonuses, and incentives can add up to $30,000 savings per home. Satterley provides cash rebates up to $10,000 plus landscaping, fencing, and other attractions. Builders’ bonuses include free pools, kitchen and bathroom upgrades, as well as home entertainment packages, and reverse cycle air-conditioning. Nigel Satterley, spokesman for The Lot, explained the reasoning behind the offers.

“People have been wary of interest rates and in retail, as well as in land and housing, buyers have become cautious. And research shows that a large percentage of young people are pessimistic about 2011," says Nigel Satterly, spokesman for Satterly Property Group.

$30,000 incentives to first-home buyers


Of course, Australia builders are not the only ones adding on incentives. U.S. home buyers can also receive offers of new pools with a home purchase. In fact, home buyers might be enticed with free vacations, free entertainment centers, or even free cars (leases). Check out a current incentive in Fort Myers, Florida.

The Background of Builders' Incentives

Before buyers accept builders' incentives, they should inform themselves about the practice. The most important point to remember is that builders are in business to make a profit. An incentive should make sense for a home buyer in the long term. Usually, offers come in with a catch.

What could the free vacation cost the home buyer? Is a quick purchase required to claim the vacation? Does the buyer have to make a substantial non-refundable "earnest money deposit"? This deposit is not to be confused with a down payment. When buyers execute a purchase contract, the agreement specifies an amount to secure the contract or "show good faith."

The free vacation or the free product sounds great but the builder will be getting it at a discount. It might make more sense for buyers to shop later for affordable holidays or special sales on products. When buyers factor in required conditions, the 'free' stuff might not seem like such a good deal.

Good Deal or Bad Plan

Indeed, accepting the incentives might be a bad plan. Home buyers do not have to stay away from all builders offering incentives. Yet buyers must understand the builders' goal.

The home purchase – a long-term commitment – must be the buyer's priority. The thrill of a tropical vacation cannot compare to finding the perfect home at the best price. Skip the incentives - if it means that you sacrifice your dream.

Incentives for Home Buyers

Would You Accept Home Buying Incentives?

Image courtesy of homebuyingabout.com

Dec 29

Global Real Estate Trends

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Global Real Estate Trends in 2010

As the current year winds down and 2011 approaches, readers can expect reports and articles about real estate trends to pop up everywhere. With so much trend-related content out there, our eyes can sometimes glaze over and we tend to ignore the latest list. Yet we should rethink our reaction to the barrage of year-end statistics.

Tracking Trends

Examining trends helps us to zone in on where we've been, gives us an idea of where we're going, and arms us with the knowledge to navigate the system. Real estate revolves around statistics. It is worth consumers' time and effort to examine the numbers and keep up-to-date about real estate trends.

Global Real Estate Trends

The Global Real Estate Trends report released by Canada's Scotiabank tracks housing markets in 12 major economies. The December report states that global residential property markets in 2010 experienced a modest but uneven recovery.


Australia fared the best with its housing demand and low unemployment. Slower sales and price appreciation, however, are expected for this thriving market in the coming months.


Meanwhile, Japan’s twenty-year property slump continued in the past year. In 2011, Japan's economy is expected to experience a further slowdown.


Stability is returning to U.S. markets. Housing demand is expected to rise with increasing employment numbers and continued low interest rates. Yet the Global Real Estate Trends report warns that housing demand might not translate into home sales. Within a recovering economy with a high unemployment rate (although shrinking), individuals and lenders are feeling uncertain and cautious about major financial commitments.


Despite a volatile market in 2010, Canada ranked high in the Global Real Estate Trends report.

Read about all 12 housing markets in the Global Real Estate Trends report.

Local Real Estate Trends

Potential home buyers and sellers should keep informed about state and local trends. Varied media (print or online) across the US and elsewhere publish information regularly about the latest real estate trends. The Washington Post tracks housing sales and prices in the Washington area. Each Saturday, the results are posted in their 'Real Estate' section. Information is collected for every residential zip code and the data is compared to the numbers during the corresponding period in the previous year.

Green Building Trends

'Green building' trends will make a noticeable difference to the real estate industry in the coming year. Regardless of uncertain economies, 'green building' is expected to rebound in 2011. New commercial start-ups will opt for green alternatives. Existing businesses will be making energy-efficient improvements.

This decision makes sense on many levels for businesses. Besides being environmentally-friendly choices, green businesses impress the modern customer. As well, residential buildings will follow this trend. Home owners want to live in a safe and healthy environment.

Parents and educators will also be advocating for 'green' schools. As part of the LEED system, the number of Certified Green Schools should increase as more people embrace the health and educational benefits of these buildings. By the middle of 2010, certified schools made up almost 40% of all new LEED projects in the US. In 2011 and beyond, the real estate industry will be seeing more 'green' buildings in all areas - commercial, educational, and residential buildings.

Green Building’s Top Ten Trends for 2011

What Do You Think Will Be The Top Real Estate Trends in 2011?

Image courtesy of hcrealty.com

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