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Mar 1, 2024

First Home Buyers Loans On the Rise, The Time is Now!

Certainly, there are lots of Real Estate market changes, and with investors offloading their properties the time for first homeowners is here! There's been a significant increase in first-home buyer activity over the past months, based on the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. There were a total of 9,491 owner-occupier first-home buyer mortgages issued across Australia in December 2023, which was 12.9% higher than the year before. The are lots of options and incentives for those who are trying to get into their first home, we have; Victorian Homebuyer Fund the Victorian Government will use the Victorian Homebuyer Fund to make a financial contribution to the purchase price in exchange for an equivalent share in the property. For example, if you have a 5%* deposit together, the Victorian Government will provide a contribution of up to 25%. That means that you’ll only apply for a mortgage equal to 70% of the value. First Home Owner Grant A $10,000 First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is available when you buy or build your first new home. Your first new home can be a house, townhouse, apartment, unit or similar. A new home can be a home that has been substantially renovated, or a home built to replace demolished premises. Stamp Duty Waiver Both the duty exemption and the 50% duty reduction are available to first-home buyers when they purchase a new or established property in Victoria with a dutiable value of up to $600,000. The duty concession applies where the dutiable value is more than $600,000 but not more than $750,000. Vacant land can also attract the exemption or concession if you are buying it to build your home. First Home Guarantee The First Home Guarantee (FHBG) is part of the Home Guarantee Scheme (HGS), an Australian Government initiative. It is administered by Housing Australia on behalf of the Australian Government. Under the FHBG, part of an eligible home buyer’s home loan from a Participating Lender is guaranteed by Housing Australia. This enables an eligible home buyer to buy a home with as little as 5% deposit without paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance. For the FHBG, any Guarantee of a home loan is for up to a maximum amount of 15% of the value of the property (as assessed by the Participating Lender). This Guarantee is not a cash payment or a deposit for a home loan. First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSS) The FHSS scheme allows you to save money for your first home in your super fund. The scheme allows you to make voluntary contributions (both before-tax concessional and after-tax non-concessional) into your super fund to save for your first home. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can have these voluntary contributions released, up to a limit, (along with associated earnings) to help you purchase your first home. Taking this into consideration and now knowing that we might start seeing some interest rate reductions coming in the next couple of months, the perfect time to buy your first home is now. Make sure you contact your broker or financial advisor to find out what grants and benefits you can take advantage of. If you have any questions or want to know more about market conditions specific to your desired area, reach out to your trusted Real Estate Agent for more information. Written by Elli Blanco

Feb 23, 2024

Easter Escapes

With Easter just around the corner, it's time to start planning your perfect holiday escape. Whether you're craving a beachside retreat, a cultural adventure, or an outdoor exploration, there's a destination waiting to fulfill your every desire. Here are a few unforgettable places to consider for your Easter holiday getaway: Santorini, Greece: Transport yourself to the stunning shores of Santorini for a Mediterranean holiday like no other. With its iconic white-washed buildings, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking sunsets, this Greek island paradise offers the perfect blend of relaxation and romance. Kyoto, Japan: Immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture of Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital. From cherry blossom-lined streets to serene temples and traditional tea houses, Kyoto is a feast for the senses and a must-visit destination for any traveler seeking beauty and tranquility. Banff National Park, Canada: For nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers, Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies is the ultimate playground. Explore towering mountains, turquoise lakes, and vast wilderness areas while hiking, skiing, or simply taking in the breathtaking scenery. Amalfi Coast, Italy: Indulge in la dolce vita along the stunning Amalfi Coast, where charming coastal villages cling to rugged cliffs overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean. Enjoy leisurely strolls, delectable cuisine, and breathtaking views at every turn. Maui, Hawaii: Escape to paradise on the island of Maui, where palm-fringed beaches, lush rainforests, and volcanic landscapes await. Whether you're snorkeling with sea turtles, driving the scenic Road to Hana, or watching the sunrise from the summit of Haleakalā, Maui offers endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation. Cape Town, South Africa: Experience the beauty and diversity of Cape Town, where majestic mountains meet pristine beaches and vibrant city life. Explore iconic landmarks like Table Mountain and Robben Island, indulge in world-class cuisine, and embark on unforgettable wildlife safaris in nearby national parks. Queenstown, New Zealand: Thrill-seekers will find their paradise in Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital. From bungee jumping and skydiving to jet boating and skiing, Queenstown offers an adrenaline-fueled escape amidst breathtaking alpine scenery. Whichever destination you choose for your Easter holiday getaway, may it be filled with joy, relaxation, and unforgettable memories. Happy travels! P.s. If you take 4 days annual leave 2nd-5th April you can actually get a 10 day break from Friday 29th March to Sunday 7th April!

Nov 17, 2023

A Tale of Two Sales Campaigns

We recently had the privilege of managing the sale of two properties, A and B, both nestled in the same location and bearing striking similarities. However, the variation in their sales campaigns highlights the difference in how strategic decisions can affect the outcome. Property A: A Transformative Journey When the owners of Property A expressed their intention to sell, we embarked on a comprehensive evaluation of its condition. Despite having a renter and furnished lease, the property, dating back to its 2005 origins was in its original state. After careful consideration and consultation, the owner opted to vacate the property. This decision paved the way for a transformative process, including painting, new carpet installation, and strategic staging. The property was then listed on major real estate websites like Domain and REA. The results were impressive - a successful campaign that culminated in a sale above the asking price within just two weeks of launching. The proactive approach to presentation and accessibility proved instrumental in attracting potential buyers. Property B: Lessons Learned On the flip side, Property B, also occupied by a renter, opted to proceed with the sale with the renter still in place. This decision, while financially practical, presents challenges. The renter, though tidy, had configured one bedroom as a home office. Prospective buyers struggled to envision it as a bedroom, often referring to it as a studio. This limitation, connected with access issues, and the actual tenancy length, impacted the property's market appeal. After a period on the market with lukewarm interest, a decision was made to serve the renter a notice to vacate. Subsequent improvements, including painting and carpet replacement, were undertaken to enhance the property's overall presentation. Navigating the Tenancy Dilemma We acknowledge the financial implications of keeping a property empty and understand why some owners opt to sell with a renter in place. However, this decision can present challenges ranging from cleanliness and presentation to access issues. In certain cases, the tenancy agreement itself can shape the success or failure of a sales campaign. Property owners must recognize the potential impact on the sales price, as a poorly presented property may signal desperation, attracting lower-than-desired offers. If you find yourself at the crossroads of deciding whether to sell with or without a renter, consider seeking advice from our team. Our insights will prove invaluable in tailoring a strategy that aligns with your specific circumstances, ensuring a successful and lucrative sale. Written by Elli Blanco

Nov 3, 2023

Have you heard of Passive House?

Australia is witnessing a surge in sustainable construction practices, and leading the charge is C Street Projects with their groundbreaking development, Echo, in Hawthorn. Echo promises not just a modern luxury but also a commitment to a sustainable, energy-efficient future for its residents. At its core is the internationally acclaimed concept of Passive House construction, a game-changer in energy-efficient building. So what is Passive House? Originating in Germany, Passive House construction is gaining global recognition for its energy-saving potential. Now, Australia is embracing this approach, and C Street Projects is at the forefront with their Echo development. Passive Houses set a new standard for Australian construction, showcasing the synergy between luxury living and environmental responsibility. Here are some of the key features: Energy Efficiency: The design significantly reduces energy consumption through insulation, airtight building envelopes, and energy recovery ventilation. Superior Comfort: Residents enjoy consistent indoor comfort year-round with minimised temperature fluctuations and excellent air quality. Sustainability: Eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient systems minimise the project's carbon footprint. Financial Savings: The design leads to cost savings on energy bills, making it an appealing financial choice for residents. As the popularity of Passive House construction grows in Australia, we can expect more projects like Echo to transform our cities. These developments offer both luxurious living and sustainability, improving residents' quality of life and contributing to a greener, more energy-efficient future. If you're curious to experience the Echo project firsthand, don’t hesitate to contact me to arrange a tour and see the future of sustainable living for yourself. Written by Peter Hannon Partner & Auctioneer

Nov 2, 2023


We are thrilled to announce that Caine Real Estate has been honoured as the winner of the Medium Residential Agency of the Year at the Real Estate Institute of Victoria’s (REIV) 2023 Annual Awards for Excellence. The award ceremony took place last night at the Crown Palladium, with a stunning turnout of over 700 attendees from across the industry. An Unforgettable Evening Hosted by the renowned Australian radio announcer and television personality Myf Warhurst, the event was a true celebration of the finest talents and achievements in Victoria’s real estate sector. Jacob Caine, our CEO and the current President of the REIV, had the privilege of giving the opening address and presenting two awards during the evening. Recognition Across the Board Our successes didn't stop there. We are immensely proud that our Operations Manager, Rachel Boggs, was a finalist in the Operational Leadership Award category. Property Manager Ashleigh Sumpter also made waves as a finalist in the Achievement Award category. A Team Effort We want to extend our heartfelt congratulations to every member of our extraordinary team. This recognition is a testament to our collective dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional service to our clients. Looking Forward Winning the Medium Residential Agency of the Year award is an incredible milestone for us, but we're not resting on our laurels. We are committed to continuing our journey towards excellence and innovation in the real estate industry. Thank you to the REIV for this remarkable honour and to all our staff, clients, and partners who make our successes possible. Written by: Toby Campbell Partner & Auctioneer

Sep 25, 2023

Why We Can Expect Slower Rent Growth in 2024

Why We Can Expect Slower Rent Growth in 2024 Rent growth has been on a steady climb for 35 months nationally, reaching an all-time high in July. There has, however, been a noticeable easing in rent increases over the past four months. “Days vacant” and rental enquiry levels have normalised, even decreased in some areas, and application numbers have declined since the July peak. So, what does 2024 hold for the rental market? Three Factors to Watch Interest Rate Changes: Most of the major banks are predicting a decline in the cash rate in 2024. Lower interest rates often stimulate investment in housing, increasing the supply of rental properties and consequently easing rent growth. Slowing Income Growth: Throughout the pandemic, income growth surged due to fiscal stimulus and tight labour market conditions. As income growth slows, renters may reconsider their housing choices, possibly opting for shared accommodations. This could redistribute demand and contribute to slowed rent growth. We are seeing this trend regularly, groups of three, four and five renters applying for properties that have historically rented to couples or colleagues/friends. The same number of renters remain in the market as a segment, however, they’re applying for fewer properties. Rental Affordability: Rent costs have reached an alarming 30.8% of national income as of March 2023. The stretched affordability limits how much further rents can rise before renters make significant changes, like moving to more affordable areas. The Broader Impact Several market indicators point to an impending slowdown in rent growth. Cities like Canberra are already seeing a decline in rents, and other areas like Hobart and Melbourne may soon follow suit. This is further supported by internal migration trends; renters are moving to more affordable areas, thus reducing demand in pricier markets. The Need for Reform While the expected slowdown in rent growth is noteworthy, it's not a cure-all for rental affordability challenges. Ambitious initiatives, like the Federal Government aiming to build 1.2 million homes over the next five years, can go a long way in making rents more manageable. As we’ve discussed in this blog previously - supply is fundamentally the most significant factor in this issue. The Victorian State Government released its “Long-term Housing Plan” this week, which included a raft of initiatives designed to ease the pressures on housing.  We welcome many of these proposals - it is, for the most part, a positive and meaningful policy set.  That is, however, contingent on the delivery of the promised outcomes. This is a policy area that, at both the Federal and State level, governments have disappointed the Australian people in recent decades Let’s hope this time it is different.

Aug 25, 2023

What Does Your Property Manager Do?

What Does Your Property Manager Do? Understanding a Crucial Role in Real Estate Property Managers are the unsung heroes of the real estate world. Often perceived through the lens of a few negative experiences, their reputation may not always reflect the incredible value and complexity they bring to the property management landscape. Let's dive into the key responsibilities that make the role of a residential Property Manager so essential: Rent Management: Ensuring timely rent collection, monitoring and chasing arrears, and managing rent adjustments, Property Managers play a vital role in maintaining a steady income stream for rental providers (rental providers). Routine Inspections: Conducting regular property checks to assess condition and compliance; they ensure the property is maintained according to the lease agreements and identify issues now and those that may be coming. Client Liaison & Care: Serving as the main point of contact between rental providers and renters, Property Managers provide consistent communication, problem-solving, and relationship management. Capital Growth Protection: Through strategic planning and oversight, they contribute to protecting and enhancing the property's value over time - by maximising rental returns, making recommendations for property maintenance and upgrades, and placing high-quality renters that care for the property. Insurance Coordination and Claims: Property Managers handle the coordination of insurance policies, manage claims, and liaise with insurance providers, alleviating the stress of navigating this frustrating landscape from rental providers. VCAT Case Preparation and Representation: Preparing for and representing rental providers in VCAT cases requires expertise and dedication, ensuring rental providers' rights are protected. Monthly & EOFY Financial Reports: Detailed financial reporting helps rental providers keep track of income and expenses, aiding in tax preparation and financial planning. Market Analysis and Rent Reviews: Staying ahead of market trends, Property Managers ensure rents are in line with the current market, conducting regular rent reviews. Maintenance & Repair Project Management: Coordinating maintenance, repairs, and renovations, Property Managers ensure that properties are in top condition, enhancing renter satisfaction and long-term value. The role of a Property Manager goes far beyond mere administration. They are strategic partners, quasi-legal advocates & financial consultants, as well as hands-on managers. Their breadth of responsibilities requires expertise, empathy, and efficiency, all geared toward making the lives of rental providers and renters smoother and more prosperous.

Aug 11, 2023


Earlier this week, our team had an impromptu debate about the impact of a new “Sobering Up Centre” to be opened down the street from our Collingwood offices. The area is gentrifying - rapidly. Helped along by one developer in particular, who just happens to have a luxury “mansions” development in the works directly across the road from the new Sobering Up Centre. Questions and opinions bounced around the room. Will the centre have a negative impact on property values? Is this the right place for a Sobering Up Centre? What is a Sobering Up Centre?   I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t heard the term NIMBY until fairly recently and candidly, I quite like it. The first time I saw it written, I was mystified as to what was meant. It was used in the context of the current (permanent, really) housing shortage and referenced the perceived double standards of a certain Queensland MP in opposing developments within his home suburb whilst simultaneously calling for more development elsewhere.    This somewhat paradoxical ideology is not entirely uncommon when it comes to matters that are literally and metaphorically “close to home”. It is, however, entirely problematic for resolving some of the bigger societal issues critical to functioning modern cities.  We can see this thinking evidenced in attitudes toward renewable energy infrastructure. People might advocate for green energy and acknowledge the climate crisis yet oppose the construction of wind turbines or solar farms in their local community, fearing decreased property values or degradation of scenic views. Similarly, public transportation is, at least notionally, uniformly considered by the community as an eco-friendly and traffic-reducing solution. Still, many residents are prone to oppose the construction of a new rail line or bus route near their home, citing concerns about noise, property value, or crime. I go to a gym in the city and discovered early on Monday morning that an entire row of car parks across the road from the gym had been lost to an expanded bike lane…I was outraged! Yet, at dinner parties, will extol with great gusto that “they’ve got it right in Amsterdam”... just to be clear, I mean the bikes. And by “dinner parties”, I mean eating dinner with my wife and kids in our kitchen. Affordable housing, crisis accommodation and homeless “shelters” fall into the same category. Though we recognise the grave issues that necessitate these types of accommodations, when proposals arise to build low-income housing developments in certain neighbourhoods, residents tend to rail against them, fearing it will impact property values or change the character of their community. Likewise, proposals to build shelters or transitional housing are frequently opposed due to worries about increased crime and safety concerns. Our local council recently declared itself a “nuclear-free zone”, which I’m sure is a relief to residents that feared the construction of an AUKUS submarine repair facility on Sydney Road. However, within the energy sector, nuclear is very much back on the table for experts that realise a “clean and green” transition to a sustainable renewable energy future is going to prove challenging without alternative options. If there’s one thing Australians like less in their suburb than wind turbines, level-crossings, bike lanes, homeless people and drunks, it's anything nuclear. We’re all NIABYs when it comes to nukes! The problem remains; we need all of the above, at least some version of them. So, if not here - then where? I’m lucky enough to own property very close to the proposed Sobering Up Centre, and I’m fine with it. If that means someone is less of a danger to themselves and the public - that’s good, right? There are things on the list above that I’d be less cool about opening up on my street, but and it’s a big BUT, we’re all going to have to be OK with some of this stuff in our “hoods” if we’re going to keep enjoying living in this pretty great society, we’re lucky enough to live in.