Real Estate

ACT slips the knife into National’s back over potential new land tax

The contrast of dogmatic policy versus pragmatic politics couldn’t be more obvious.

ACT says imposing a land tax on foreign buyers would break a National election promise, but John Key believes the Government’s respond to changing circumstances.

The Prime Minister has said it may be considered if there’s evidence foreign speculators are having an impact on Auckland’s overheated market.

If the tax is imposed, it could also apply to New Zealanders living abroad after an exemption period.

ACT leader David Seymour, who has a support agreement with the Government, says National promised during the 2014 election campaign there would be no new taxes.

“The introduction of a land tax would be a broken promise,” he says.

“Property rights are meant to be protected by centre-right governments, but it looks like National is too busy trying to put Labour out of a job.”

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Stephen Berry gets it on rates

After yesterday’s Media party hatchet job I was looking to see how long it was before other candidates reacted to John Palino’s promise to reduce rates.

It was no surprise to see the sensible Stephen Berry endorse the position, but with some additional things to consider around rates.

It’s worth considering whether or not these two should consolidate their position and policies.

Following John Palino’s official announcement that he intends to run again for the Auckland mayoralty, Mayoral candidate Stephen Berry has called Palino’s pledge to cut rates by 10% over three years “refreshing.” Berry adds, “The three media favourites have tried to get by on policy-free platitudes about waste cutting and fat trimming. Now a proper contest of ideas can begin.”

Stephen Berry has a two-pronged approach to controlling rates and says that Palino’s plan will only be successful if he looks beyond the percentage charged on a property’s value. “In January, Affordable Auckland announced its policy to freeze rates at their current level for three years.. Costing approximately $35 million a year in lost revenue, this is a credible step towards arresting rates growth; however it is not the only step that need be taken.”

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As predicted, buyers are back in the market

I’m already on track with my predictions on Auckland housing this year.

Last month I reasoned that the markets would continue going up and predicted that the Chinese would be back in record numbers after Chinese New Year.

Already statistics show increased immigration, and now sales are on the increase again.

Auckland residential property sales volumes jumped to an eight-year high for the month of January, according to the city’s largest realtor.

The number of sales rose 4 percent to 893 in January from the same month last year, marking the highest level for a January month in eight years, Barfoot & Thompson said in a statement. The 919 new listings in the month is 23 percent lower than January last year, and the realtor said it had just 2,574 properties on its books at the end of the month, a 20-year low.   Read more »

Labour will be pleased, actual Chinese, ones with real Chinky-sounding names, aren’t so keen on NZ for investing any more…for now

Phil Twyford will be pleased. So will Andrew Little and the rest of the Labour caucus…it seems Chinese aren’t that fussed on New Zealand any more for investment.

But it appears it is a short-term blip.

The head of a company that helps Chinese buy properties overseas says New Zealand’s popularity ranking has slipped a notch since the Government and Reserve Bank introduced new buyer restrictions last October.

Juwai co-founder Simon Henry said New Zealand shifted to fifth from fourth most popular country in the world with potential property buyers in China between the third and fourth quarters of 2015.

But Henry, whose Chinese language website has 2.6 million unique users monthly, predicts Chinese buyers’ interest in New Zealand will return in force by mid-year once they’ve fully digested the new requirements.     Read more »

Scout is dead in the water, and guess what they’re doing now?

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Mediaworks gossip “news” site Scout had a rough start.  Eleven staff members to begin with, and they clocked about 1000 visitors a day after a few weeks.  Sometimes less.  If you look at our numbers, where our worst day of Christmas day clocked us 13,500 or so, you get the scale of the problem over at Scout.

And now, according to public reports, it’s just one person running the site.

So how do they pay the bills?   Sell advertising so that 1000 people can see it?

Nope, they had to get a little more inventive:   Read more »

Auckland housing market finally weakens. Owners of large mortgages are puckering up for the crash

Anecdotally agents are reporting a downturn in the market with auction clearance rates as slow as 25%.

But now there is some hard data on the Auckland housing market.

The Auckland housing market’s downturn is more severe than anticipated, an economist says.

Writing in Westpac’s latest ‘Home Truths’ report, chief economist Dominick Stephens said the latest round of housing data had been revealing.

“There can now be no doubting that the erstwhile star market has suffered a fall from grace.”

According to the bank’s figures, which it seasonally adjusted from Real Estate Institute data, house sales fell 13 per cent in Auckland in November, following a 17 per cent drop in October.   Read more »

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Second bid to remove embattled ‘judge’ Paul Barber as chair of READT

A SECOND bid has been lodged to remove embattled retired district court judge Paul Barber as chairman of the organisation seen as the last line of defence against rogue real estate agents.

For the past four years Barber has been in charge of the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal, the independent body responsible for determining disciplinary charges against real estate agents.

Public dissatisfaction with agents was one of the driving forces behind major industry reforms introduced in 2008, which made it mandatory for agents to legally comply with prescribed rules relating to their conduct and the way they care for clients.

The conduct and client-care rules are backed by a multi-level complaints system administered by the tribunal – with Barber, who claims to be 78-years-old, at the helm.

But there are now serious questions over Barber’s conduct – and whether he has any legal standing as chairman.

This week a second application was filed with the tribunal challenging Barber’s right to remain as head of the tribunal.

The application filed by Dermot Nottingham, his brother Phillip and colleague Earle McKinney claims Barber committed a ’fraudulent’ act by referring to himself as a judge when he was not one.   Read more »

Complainant in bid to remove ‘Judge’ Paul Barber from Chair of READT

A FORMAL bid has been lodged challenging the legal standing of the chairman of the Crown agency established six years ago to raise public confidence in the real estate industry.

The move is the latest in an unfolding constitutional crisis threatening the credibility of the organisation seen as the last line of defence against rogue real estate agents.

Whaleoil can confirm an appellant, Dunedin man Russell McDougall, who has filed an appeal to the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal under section 111 of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 has filed an application for recusal challenging the legal status of 78-year-old Paul Barber as head of the READT.

McDougall also confirmed a letter would be sent this week to Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges demanding Barber’s immediate removal from the post.

The recusal application is in response to claims Barber’s appointment in 2011 was ‘unlawful’ and in breach of legislation heralding a new environment of accountability for the industry.

Under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008, the person appointed to chair the Tribunal, must be a barrister or solicitor with at least seven years’ legal experience’.    Read more »

Chinks no good, but Seppos OK

The opposition have mounted their race based attacks on farm and other real estate ownership, decrying people with Chinky sounding names from even bidding on the real estate offered.

But it turns out that Seppos are the largest foreign owners and we haven’t heard a squeak about them owning farms.

United States interests were the biggest foreign investors in New Zealand dairy land in 2013 and 2014, followed by China, according to a report by KPMG.

The consultancy’s analysis of foreign direct investment decisions by the Overseas Investment Office showed the US accounted for 54.4 per cent of the freehold hectares sold over the two-year period, followed by China with 11.7 per cent and Sweden with 5.9 per cent.

By value, the breakdown was 26.5 per cent for the US, 21.3 per cent for China and 10.8 per cent for Britain.    Read more »

MoJ and Crown Law in stand off over Paul Barber issue

THE MINISTRY of Justice is standing behind former district court judge Paul Barber as more damning evidence emerged yesterday exposing him as a fraud.

Barber was appointed four years ago to head the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal in a move supposedly heralding a new environment of accountability for the industry.

However, there’s now conflicting opinion about whether the 78-year-old has any legal standing as chairman.

This follows confirmation from the New Zealand Law Society this week that Barber did not hold a practicing certificate – a requirement under legislation passed in 2008 governing the Tribunal.

Making matters worse is the fact Barber has been masquerading as a district court judge – a title he hasn’t legitimately held since 2012.

On the Tribunal website Barber is referred to as “Judge Barber’. On tribunal decisions he signs off as ‘Judge PF Barber’ – he’s even down as ‘Judge PF Barber’ on his White Pages listing.

This week Whaleoil also received an audio recording from a Tribunal hearing in 2014 where Barber introduced himself to the various litigants as Judge Barber.

But worse still, for four years running Barber has signed off the Tribunal’s annual reports to the Government as ‘Judge Barber’.    Read more »