Queensland passed significant legal reform of real estate agent rules last week, deregulating agents’ commissions – there’s no longer a cap on how much an agent can charge. Buyers are now able to waive the five-day cooling off period and agents can negotiate prices with clients. Read the full story here.

You’re a real estate agent, not a secret agent: Homeowners spy on their agents during open houses
Once upon a time, a homeowner might set up a tape recorder while they’re out of the house during a showing, to see if their agent was working hard while buyers lob in. Other people use spycams for live streaming to their iPads. Read the full story here.

Housing Industry Association: It’s over.
With interest rates as low as anyone thinks they’ll get, “(T)here’s a bit of momentum left in the Sydney market and in the Melbourne market which is your two prominent sources of growth, but I think we’ve seen the biggest run already behind us,” said Chief Economist Harley Dale. Growth will, however continue, just not at the breakneck speed we’ve seen recently. Rates? They’ll start to move upwards mid next year reckons Dale. Read the full story here.

Project to build Aspire tower – potentially the tallest building in Australia – revived out of the blue
The Parramatta City Council received an unsolicited bid from a Hong Kong developer to revive the Aspire  project, a 90-storey residential and hotel development near Sydney. The potential for discouragement of pre-sales would make it a problem for air traffic. Read the full story here.

S&P warns Australia may lose AAA credit rating without budget cuts
Hockey threatens higher mortgage rates, increased credit card costs and loss of AAA ratings if Labor block the government’s budget. Thus begins in earnest the political back-and-forth over budget cuts, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten pressed to outline his own savings or wave through the Coalition’s plan in the Senate. Read the full story here.

Jacqui Lambie (senator-elect Palmer United Party): Tax the banks and not the public
Lambie says “hitting welfare” should come after taxing more of the big four banks’ $30 billion in annual profit. She stated that legislation to raise bank taxes would contain a provision to prevent consumers from paying the tax. Her plan isn’t PUP policy, but the budget debate may draw from a wide set of sources before it comes to resolution. Read the full story here.
Affordable mortgage rates under attack
The plan to eliminate an affordable loan program for homebuyers in Western Australia was met with a negative response. The Urban Development Institute of Australia and Shelter WA, Committee for Perth and Real Estate Institute of WA took aim at this move. Keystart program as “invaluable.” Regulators have recommended eliminating the program as exposing the state government to an unacceptable level of risk.

Luxuries for auction in Beijing: Lamborghinis, diamond jewellery … and penthouses in Melbourne
The first auction featuring international real estate will feature it for the first-time SR LuxfoAccording to Juwai.com, event in Beijing Development and land sites worth between $10 million and $15 million from Melbourne’s west will be under the gavel there. It’s part of a push to link Australian property with luxury brands in the mind of wealthy Chinese consumers. Wealthy Chinese are currently choosing Australia as their second choice for property investment, while the US remains number 1. Read the full story here.

Mr Fluffy asbestos fight in Canberra continues
Tenants requested information under the freedom of information act in order to find out if their homes had been insulated with Mr Fluffy asbestos. The ACT government declined. Recent research showed that amosite from over 1000 homes was part of a $100 million asbestos removal program in the late 1980s/early 1990s. It had migrated into walls, subfloors and floors. Read the full story here.

60 Blocks up for auction in Belconnen, suburb Lawson
The sale of the last residential block within the infill suburb netted $20 million. Buyers paid almost $56 million for 124 single block blocks in the first release — 34% less than the reserve. The timing may be perfect, given the Government’s proposed budget job cuts in the capital. Read the full story here.