Tuesday, April 12, 2022

A revolution in how Aussies rent a home is coming, with the build-to-rent model booming

For a company to manage a large number of tenants, the tenants have to be fairly high-quality. Ones who need a lot of management are just not a viable proposition. Management is expensive. So the company will be very selective about whom they house, with a particular preference for tenents who are in regular employment.

That will rule out many poor tenants. So such tenants will be thrown back into charity housing, which will often be problematic for them, if they can access such housing at all. So the projects described below will not have much impact on the rental shortage.

The only real way out of the shortage is to incentivize private landlords. But the brainless Left are more likely to handicap landlords with onerous regulations. I own a spare apartment that I could let out but I do not do so as I don't like the complications I would risk. I prefer to keep it available for occasional family use

A rapidly growing part of the housing market worth more than $100 billion over the next decade is set to revolutionise how Australian renters live.

Ordinarily, property developers bring a project to life with the intention of selling dwellings to buyers or investors at the end to make a profit, but a new scheme turns that traditional model on its head.

Build-to-rent (BTR) describes the development of an apartment complex with the express intention of retaining all those dwellings to lease them out. It’s a well-established model in the United States and the United Kingdom but is still in its infancy in Australia – but not for long.

A recent report from EY estimates BTR in Australia will produce 175,000 new homes over the next 10 years.

The potential for investors – and the promises for tenants of a new and improved way of renting – has sparked a lot of excitement.

BTR has the potential to dramatically boost housing supply, thus aiding affordability, but also to provide a more secure and stable lease that reduces the need to move as often and fosters a closer sense of community.

Plus, those active in the space now are creating complexes with a raft of high-end features, from five-star communal spaces to luxury resident services.

Some will cater to multi-family living situations, with larger and unfurnished properties on offer, while others will target co-living and flatmate scenarios, or singles and couples, both young and old.

One-third of Aussies are now renting – and research shows younger people especially are renting for longer, not just because of property prices but due to changing lifestyle needs and wants.

But instability in rental markets, driven by fluctuations in private rental investor activity, means many tenants are forced to move often and face price hikes.

While still emerging, BTR offerings in the market currently have been inundated with interested tenants because of their point of difference.

LIV by Mirvac is a major operator in the BTR, with several projects in planning or development across Melbourne, including at the iconic Queen Victoria Markets.

Its flagship complex, LIV Indigo at Sydney Olympic Park, has been a roaring success, with a 96% occupancy and more than 10,000 enquiries since launch.

Angela Buckley, general manager of Mirvac’s BTR program, said the LIV model was geared towards long-term tenants by being pet friendly, offering secure leases, not requiring a bond, and allowing residents to personalise their homes by painting or hanging up pictures.

“The opportunity in front of us is not to improve the existing rental system, but to create a whole new system altogether,” Ms Buckley told a recent Property Council function of the scheme.

“It’s one that is far greater than providing better renting the real opportunity is to play an active role in helping everyday Australians live better.”

LIV complexes have a range of communal facilities for residents, from media rooms and bike workshops to co-working spaces, storage facilities, children’s play areas and shared entertaining areas.

The likely end owners of the developments contribute significantly to lease security and stability, allowing for long-term renting.

Rather than a landlord who’s likely to be a mum-and-dad investor, and who may buy and sell out of investments over a relatively short period of time, BTR assets will mostly be held by institutional and major corporate investors.

In some cases, that’s likely to be Australian superannuation funds and overseas pension funds.

BTR operator Assemble Communities, which has a particular focus on affordable housing, has partnered with Australian Super, with the fund taking a 25% stake.

Assemble has a pipeline of 4000 dwellings across inner-Melbourne and has already delivered projects in Clifton Hill and Kensington.

A report from Savills Australia released in February noted that residential rental vacancy rates nationally have fallen or remained extremely low over the past year, while rents, on average, are rising.

“Data indicates that nearly 70% of all [local government areas in Australia] had less apartments available for rent in [the final three months of] 2021 compared to two years prior, and are now in need of new rental supply,” the report found.

“This undersupply of accommodation is fuelling current rental growth to levels far in excess of historic growth.”

The latest fluctuations in private rental markets, dominated by mum-and-dad investors, is partly to blame, it said.

“A growing number of landlords [have exited] the market, taking advantage of pent-up buyer demand and aggressive capital growth.”


PM agrees with Warringah candidate on trans women competing in female sports

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has left the door open to introducing laws that would ban trans women from competing in female sports.

It comes after Mr Morrison on Monday endorsed the campaign of the Liberals Warringah candidate, Katherine Deves, who opposes trans-women competing in female sports.

Mr Morrison said Ms Deves had raised “very important issues” and was “standing up for things she believes in”.

“I share her views on those topics,” Mr Morrison said on radio. “We will have more to say about that at another time …”

But transgender athletes and just who should compete in women’s sports has become a global discussion and tinderbox.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson weighed into the debate last week when he said “biological males” should not compete in women’s sports.

“Maybe that is a controversial thing to say, but it just seems to me to be sensible,” Mr Johnson said.

Lia Thomas’s victory at NCAA swimming finals in Atlanta – the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA swimming title, also sparked outrage including from tennis legend Martina Navratilova who said an asterisk should be put beside her name.

Harry Potter author J.K Rowling was also slammed and called transphobic after a controversial essay published on her website in June 2020.

Stating that she was a survivor of sexual assault and domestic abuse, she said: “So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe.

“When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman … then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside.”

Ms Deves is the co-founder of the Save Women’s Sport organisation which pressures sporting organisations to ban trans women from female sports and create a separate category for them to participate in.

But equality advocates blasted the Prime Minister, including transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey who after years of campaigning, walked away from her dream to play AFLW.

Mouncey, 32, said: “Scott Morrison has never cared about women before, why is he caring now?”

“Of all the concerns women have and are passionate about, this is not one of them.

“I am exhausted … if it’s good enough for the Olympics, that we play, it should be good enough for Scott Morrison.

“We just want to be allowed to play.”

At the Tokyo Olympics last year, the first openly trans woman, New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard competed.

National LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia hit back at Mr Morrison’s comments, warning parties and candidates to stop using LGBTIQ+ people as a “political football”.

“The political parties that wish to form government this coming election must commit to governing for all Australians, and to ensuring that every person in Australia can live their life, with dignity and respect, no matter who they are, or whom they love,” chief executive Anna Brown said.

A Labor spokesperson said sports can choose to run single-sex sporting competitions, or they can choose to include trans women, under the Sex Discrimination Act.

“It’s up to the sports organisations – whether it’s a grassroots or professional competition.

Sports organisations do a great job of running their competitions and programs right across the country. Everyone should have the chance to enjoy the health and social benefits of sport.”


A man who wants to manage the economy but knows not even the basics about it

Anthony Albanese took less than 24 hours, from the election being called, to make a goose of himself. His embarrassing ignorance of two of the most key economic numbers, the Reserve Bank cash rate and – far worse – the unemployment rate, was a shocker from the man insisting he’s ready to be PM. That he was corrected by his ‘Mean Girl’ shadow minister, Katy Gallagher, compounded his humiliation, and Albanese has gifted to the Liberals golden attack ad and social media meme material – the first such ad was cut within two hours – that can be cut and re-cut all the way through the campaign.

Scott Morrison had troubles of his own, dealing awkwardly with media questions about the cabinet status of benched minister Alan Tudge, and the undisclosed government payout to Tudge’s ex-staffer former mistress (and rightly so: why are taxpayers forking out for what is a private matter relating to an extramarital affair?). But thanks to Albanese, the Coalition won the day easily, and potentially the first week too. Morrison should now go softer on Albanese’s fitness to lead, and channel John Howard on Kim Beazley in 1998: Albanese’s a nice bloke, nothing against him personally, but he hasn’t the ticker for the top job. In other words, don’t overegg the pudding, and let the news clip speak for itself.

If Albanese doesn’t regain ground by upping his performance, and his preparation, for the rest of this week, or Morrison and the Coalition don’t gift him a major return gaffe, yesterday’s fiasco will likely stall Labor’s momentum as the campaign pauses over the Easter long weekend. Commentators who are saying ‘at least it happened on day two, not day 40’ are therefore understating the significance of Albanese’s stuff-up. But the hard-heads in Coalition HQ had better stop high-fiving and remember they’re still behind in the polls; 21 May is still a long time away; and a chastened Albanese will ensure he is better briefed in future. Their job is to make voters remember such gift gaffes, and not assume yesterday destroyed Albanese’s credibility in a flash.


George Christensen, an unabashed conservative

Lyle Shelton

My friend George Christensen gave his final speech to Parliament recently. He’s doing what few parliamentarians do – stepping down at a time of his choosing.

George is vilified and written off by the Canberra press gallery, but listen to his valedictory speech and you will find the common-sense musings of an Australia lost to our elites.

This Australia still exists in our regional areas, like Mackay from where George hails. It’s also in the suburbs and among our immigrant communities.

You won’t find it at Ultimo where the $1.1 billion a year taxpayer-funded ABC is domiciled.

That ‘biased fake news outlet’, as George rightly dubbed it, is a different universe.

So is the seat of our national government. ‘I don’t like coming to Canberra anymore,’ he said. ‘I am freeing myself knowing this is a world to which I don’t belong to anymore.’

Hearing this was chilling for me. I spent 10 years walking the corridors of Parliament House as a lobbyist, but always thought of it as a place that would ultimately protect the truth. How naïve.

I must concede George is right – those of us who believe what our grandparents believed don’t belong there anymore.

He listed things dear to conservatives that are now ‘dangerous political ponderables’.

‘I begin with the most important matter of them all – life. The right to life is the most fundamental liberty of them all, and we should be acting to defend it.’

Acting. If only parliament didn’t restrict the meaning of that word to mere theatre.

But it’s not all theatre – only for conservative causes. Politicians act ruthlessly against life by making budget appropriations each year for the killing of unborn babies on an industrial scale.

George added free speech, pushing back on transgender ideology – ‘let kids be kids’ – and the right of children wherever possible to their mother and father, something denied by legislative innovations like same-sex marriage.

Ending discrimination against families who choose to care for children in the home was another.

‘Parents who undertake their own childcare should be compensated to the same extent as those who use childcare services,’ he told Parliament.

Decades of radical feminism has consigned this idea to the fringes. Equality is a buzzword in Canberra that does not apply to the natural family.

Critical thinking had been replaced by slavish adherence to wokeism enforced by cancel culture carried out by the party heavies, George railed. ‘In the Labor Party you get expelled for doing anything else. On our side, you just get ostracised.’

He called out the pantomime. ‘The parliamentary processes to me seems so stale and staged. Question time’s a farce, where government backbenchers ask pointless questions written by someone else, and opposition members ask pointless ‘gotcha’ questions that never get answers.’

George quoted Robert Frost’s famous lines about the road less travelled, how each politician is faced with the ‘two paths in the woods’ that diverge.

‘I know the path that I’ve taken, the path of the mongrel, has been worth it.’

The path of the poodle being the other might lead to ministerial leather but at the cost of one’s soul.

‘What happened to individuality in this place? What happened to critical thinking? The notion of party discipline needs to give way to representation, just like it does in many other legislatures around the world; otherwise, we run the risk of Parliament House degenerating into a sheltered workshop for people who can’t think for themselves.’

It may be too late for that. Like St Athanasius of 4th century Egypt, George was against the world – contra mundum in the Latin. ‘If the world is against the truth then I’m against the world.’

And that’s how George lived out his 11 years in Parliament until it broke him.

But not before he almost blew up Malcolm Turnbull’s Prime Ministership to get a banking Royal Commission, obtained a sugar industry code of conduct to stop foreign-owned monopoly millers exploiting farmers and helped get the Adani coal mine over the line.

He will be proven right on the folly of Net Zero, vaccine mandates, and human rights for the unborn.

Sneered at by the press gallery but cheered by a huge cohort of Australians who are now unrepresented in their parliament, he takes his leave.

He richly deserves the time he will now be able to devote to his wife April, who nearly died giving birth to their daughter Margaret.

It won’t be the last we hear of George Christensen. His Nation First digital platform is huge and he’ll keep fighting.

Who knows, he may be more effective outside the Canberra bubble.

A generation ago, a George Christensen’s view of the world would not have raised an eyebrow in Canberra. Today courage is needed to say the things he said in his last speech. That is in short supply in Canberra.

It might be a generation before things turn. The only question is how much damage is done in the meantime.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)


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