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Graham Berman’s Residential Market Reflections

By Courtney Martin

Rose Bay has really come into its own this year

The advantage of new amenities
With Harris Farm Markets opening, which might sound minor to readers beyond our suburb, has increased the livability of our locale immeasurably. The beauty of being able to bypass a trip to Bondi Junctions Westfield is not lost on any of us. Another improvement has been the transformation of the old Kings Theatre into a destination supermarket complete with a fresh pasta bar, puppy food section, Japanese mochi ice cream and macaron counter. Plus, we no longer need to leave the Bay for brunch, with Bake Bar’s artisan sourdough bakery and cafe on Old South Head. Parisis has been a win for locals too with their fresh produce proving popular.

Downsizers and new developments
Population wise, the area has grown and diversified too as a result of the completion and near completion of many luxury high rise developments. Pleasingly, these are selling well particularly to downsizers, young families and young professionals. Curiously, the downsizer activity is not a case of locals moving from a large family home to a modern apartment, but nearby sellers relocating from the likes of Vaucluse, Dover Heights and the city. Rose Bay is becoming more and more popular with residents from our neighbouring suburbs.

Stamp Duty, South Africans, and sellers
Reflecting on our many sales in Rose Bay in 2020, we observed a higher proportion of South African expats buy into Rose Bay, offsetting the lessened influence of the Chinese-Australian and foreign investor market that has buoyed sales in years prior. The impact of covid and the ambiguity of the economy over the last eight months resulted in the decision of many owner-occupiers of Rose Bay, particularly the older generation, to renovate rather than sell. this year. Stamp duty transaction costs were a deterrent, so many owners instead invested those funds in improving their properties this year. The ramifications of this adversity to buying and selling in 2020 has been well-publicised with limited housing supply driving strong prices as opportunistic buyers took advantage of the cheap cost of funds.

Our predictions for Rose Bay residential sales in 2021

Stamp duty reforms
As we all know, stamp duty is one of the largest costs associated with purchasing a property. Recently, the state government announced a proposal that would make stamp duty optional. Theis new arrangement wouldill allow buyers to choose between the current system of paying stamp duty or paying a smaller annual tax for as long as they own the property. The new property tax wouldill be a fixed charge, with a rate calculated based on the unimproved land value of the property. If implemented, the state’s proposed stamp duty reform will undoubtedly bring about broad and long-term ramifications for home buyers, property investors and developers.

A tale of two markets
We foresee two different markets in Rose Bay next year. Based on our daily interactions with owners and prospective buyers, we predict a continued increase of property values for houses and semis, and the reverse for apartments valued at under $2million. The latter will be a result of oversupply. In saying that, if stamp duty is optional for buyers next year, we could well see an oversupply of local homes too, meaning for those owners, that selling sooner could be beneficial.

Rose Bay on the rise
For decades, Rose Bay has been a sort of poor cousin suburb to Vaucluse and Dover Heights, who often hog the limelight in the property market. Recent improvements to the liveability of the area with beautiful bakeries, big brand supermarkets and boutique produce stores greatly enhances our existing assets: proximity to the city, and the unbeatable bay foreshore.

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