John McGrath's suburb picks

byJohn McGrath

In our most recent McGrath Report, I outlined my suburb picks for 2014 in the various markets that McGrath currently operates in, including Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Regional NSW and the Gold Coast.

Here are my picks where I believe there are some great buying opportunities and potential for capital growth and the reasons why I’ve chosen them.


Camperdown/Newtown/Erskineville:On the doorstep of the CBD and home to the coolest retail strip in Sydney at King Street, the local university community will benefit from strong Chinese buyer demand. And you can still afford a small workers’ cottage on a mortal’s salary!

Kensington/Randwick:Close to the university, this is an undervalued parkside village only 7 minutes to the CBD. Will benefit substantially from the new light rail planned to start soon. 

Willoughby/Artarmon:One of my favourites over the past few years. Leafy, safe and family friendly; also far less expensive than their Lower North Shore neighbours.

Marrickville/Dulwich Hill/Petersham/Enmore:This is the sweet spot for young families and professional couples who like what Paddington buyers want at half the price. With loads of trendy eateries popping up, it is also set to benefit enormously from the Inner West Light Rail extension. 

Brighton-Le-Sands/Sans Souci/Dolls Point:Close to the CBD and airport but without the larger inner city price tags, these bayside suburbs offer a convenient, family-friendly environment. Dolls Point offers amazing value for money with two bedroom apartments by the park and bay selling for around $500,000.

Castle Hill/Kellyville/Rouse Hill:Offers larger blocks and bigger houses than the inner city for far less money. Bustling Rouse Hill town centre has a great shopping village and wait til you see what the new North West rail link will do to property values! 


Cannon Hill:This suburb offers great value with access to the same facilities as the more expensive Bulimba and Hawthorne. Small cottages start in the $500,000s with large Queenslanders under $1M.

Chermside and surrounding northern suburbs:People are showing a willingness to go further north of the city for newer properties and better value for money. Chermside is popular, offering new townhouses and some of Brisbane’s best shopping facilities.

Highgate Hill: Just 4.5 km from the CBD with access to the cafes, restaurants and the entertainment precinct of West End and Southbank, Highgate Hill is attracting more families and professionals. Good variety of housing from unrenovated Queenslanders to new apartments and developments.

Kenmore:Great family area and just outside your traditional inner city suburbs, making it very affordable for families and first home buyers. Very popular amongst renovators looking for properties on larger blocks of land.

Toowong:Toowong has a very broad range of properties suitable for young first home buyers and investors through to families and executives. A $2M house in Paddington will cost ...

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Date posted: 2013-11-19 | Comments(0)

How a granny-flat can add value to your home

By Jo Chivers
Friday, 19 July 2013

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In 2009 the NSW Government released a new policy that has been well accepted by most property owners, including investors and owner occupiers alike.

The Affordable Rental Housing - State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) is encouraging people to build more granny flats and Property Bloom has introduced this as an affordable development strategy that may help you to grow your property portfolio.

If the council allows complying development on the property (check your section 149 planning certificate in the sales contract), then you can fast track the approval process and have a private certifier issues approval within ten days.

As one of the development strategies we offer, Property Bloom finds properties suitable for a complying development.

We’ll then manage all the fine details to create a high yielding investment for our clients.

The policy introduced by the NSW Government is a fabulous strategy as it allows more property owners to add value to their homes or investments in the short and long term.

From a development perspective, it can be a quick and easy way to build your property portfolio and create high rental yields.

Owners can benefit from cash-flow from the rent ontwodwellings and also receive good depreciation benefits on the new flat (if being rented). This means people can keep moving forward with their investment strategy.

Unlike buying a single apartment for instance around Sydney which is likely to be negatively geared, adding a granny flat to a property with an existing dwelling can result in a cash-flow positive situation.

In the past granny flats were only permitted in certain residential zones, but this SEPP has opened up a whole new real estate door. The aim of the granny flat is to boost the supply of affordable rentals by providing housing for the elderly so families can support each other, as well as the younger generation who are living at home and are not in a position to move out just yet.

Government projections show us that single-person households are likely to be the fastest growing sector over the next 20 years, so demand is definitely there.

Small secondary dwellings are an attractive option for singles and couples who don't need a lot of room and are the most likely people to be under rental stress.

Young people are also staying at home longer and granny flats can provide extra space for them and be a lifesaver for Baby Boomers who were hoping to empty their nest some time soon.

This policy means that if you have a block over the size of 450sqm you are able to build a granny flat no larger than 60sqm on your existing property, you may get approval in approximately 10 days, as long as it is complying with the council’s regulations.

Property Bloom focuses on developing property, including granny flat developments, in the Hunter Region on NSW due to its affordability and strong, diverse economy.

The area is earmarked for long term growth in the NSW government’s Lower Hunter Regional Strategy. The 25 year plan, provides for 160 000 new residents and 66 000 new jobs.

Local industry includes manufacturing, mining, retail, construction and tourism.

In the Hunter, ...

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Date posted: 2013-07-22 | Comments(0)

Latest News

Australians still leaning heavily towards property.

A new survey - The 2013 Homeowner Intentions Survey, conducted by Mortgage Choice, has shown that the current low interest rate environment now has Aussie investors considering significant investment in property.

More than a quarter of homeowners are thinking about purchasing an investment property and more than half of them are keen to invest in the next two years.

Mortgage Choice head of corporate affairs Belinda Williamson said this can only be positive news for the property market.

“With lenders’ interest rates on both home and investment property loans at their lowest point in recent years, it isn’t altogether surprising.”

The survey also found that the Aussie love affair with bricks and mortar isn’t abating.

Of the 25 per cent of respondents who already owned an investment property, 68 per cent owned one property, 19 per cent owned two, and 13 per cent owned three or more.

Two thirds of respondents said their main focus was investing in an area where tenant demand was high.

The Australian Financial Review reports that property magnate Lang Walker expects a significant turn-around in the Australian property market following the next federal election.

“Hopefully we’re going to see some confidence come back into the market after the election in September," he said, according to the newspaper.

Mr Walker said there was already a slight uplift in confidence, and there was more to come –
"We see that happening after the election – that’s a very good place to be in," he said.

Australian Residential
Property Planners

Australia Number Two for Chinese buyers.

Australian cities continue to be real estate hotspots for Chinese buyers according to website Australia is the second most-searched country, while the USA heads the list.

In Australia, the top rankings are Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

While there are many motivations for Chinese buyers, has discovered the four top reasons for purchasing Australian property.

Investment is a motive for 51 per cent, followed by education at 25 per cent, lifestyle 19 per cent and migration at 5 per cent. was co-founded by Queenslanders Simon Henry and Andrew Taylor.

The multi-million dollar business is collecting some of the world's first data on where Chinese buyers are looking to purchase property.

"No one has ever done this before,'' Mr Henry said.

"We are seeing hotspots all over the world.

"You'd typically expect LA, New York, San Francisco – the Hollywood-factor type cities to be really high on the agenda.

"And yes, they are there, but then there are other places which are completely unexpected: Portugal, Spain and Cyprus.''

"There's a lot of property cooling measures in China at the moment to try and stop the prices inflating too high,'' Mr Henry said.

"It has become very hard to buy a second property or an investment property in China. So a lot of people are looking to diversify their risk.''

Education is also a serious market driver with parents often purchasing a property for their children to live in while studying. Read more

Date posted: 2013-07-02 | Comments(0)

Invest in property now but with 10-year outlook: Mark Bouris

By Larry Schlesinger
Friday, 28 June 2013

Property investors should be taking advantage of low interest rates to invest now but with a long-term outlook, says Yellow Brick Road founder Mark Bouris.

Bouris expects modest dwelling prices rises over the next 12 months but says investors need to look to hold property for at least 10 years to benefit from the peaks and to ride out the troughs.

His forecast is for house prices to rise by around 3% for the 12 months to May 2014, matching the 2.9% gain over the previous 12 month period as recorded by RP Data-Rismark.

“Most of the people panicking about property are looking at the three years between 2010 and now, and they see a drop, says Bouris in a column for

“However, if you start at 2008, you see a rise of $44,512 in five years.

In May 2008 the median dwelling price was $446,488, it rose to $507,446 in 2010 and then tapered off to $491,000 in May 2013, according to RP Data-Rismark.

“My bottom line: Stay in property for at least 10 years and ensure you get the peaks as well as the troughs.

“To cover 2014, aim for 2024,” he says.

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Date posted: 2013-06-28 | Comments(0)

Don't throw away depreciation tax breaks for buildings, fixtures and fittings

By Michael Laurence
Thursday, 27 June 2013

Property investors who fail to claim all of their deductions for the decline in value of depreciating assets are “needlessly paying too much tax”, warns Paul Banister, tax partner with accountants Grant Thornton in Brisbane.

Banister says it is far easier for investors to overlook depreciation deductions when investing in existing buildings rather than new buildings where the costs are more readily apparent.

Many residential property investors fail to claim deductions for building depreciation, adds Spyros Kotsopoulos, a Sydney tax partner with accountants Deloitte.

And Ken Raiss, a director of national accountants Chan & Naylor, suggests that property investors ask a quantity surveyor to prepare an accurate depreciation schedule.

Raiss advises investors who are undertaking renovations to have a “scrapping schedule” to identify and put a value on what is thrown away.

“This is then written off in the year of the renovation, plus you can also depreciate the new work thereafter,” he adds.

Raiss suspects that not many property investors prepare a scrapping schedule when renovating and therefore throw away valuable immediate deductions.

See our free ebook on the top 24 tax strategiesfor property investors.

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Date posted: 2013-06-27 | Comments(0)