First National Real Estate returns to Queenstown

First National Real Estate Conference | 0 comments | by admin

It was with great delight that First National Real Estate returned to Queenstown with over 370 real estate agents for its annual convention in May. With over 400 offices throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, First National is celebrating 30 years in New Zealand this year.

It was terrific to have John Blackman join us as Master of Ceremonies. 

Our membership thoroughly enjoyed Queenstown in 2009 so it was clearly the ideal location to celebrate our network’s 30th anniversary of providing real estate services in New Zealand.

Befitting the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC alliance, the conference opened with a keynote speech from Australian Victoria Cross recipient, Mark Donaldson, who will share insight into Australian Army operations in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.

I am proud to announce the new national website – http// which introduces advice about every stage of life’s journey in real estate.

We are the only real estate network in New Zealand that shares expertise about renting, buying your first home, investing, relocating, upsizing, downsizing and retiring. There’s a wealth of other information available so I encourage all Kiwis to visit our website and experience the First National difference.

read more

Donating $31,000 towards a cure for Motor Neurone Disease.

Donations | 0 comments | by admin

I was proud to be able to participate in First National Real Estate’s donation of $31,000 towards Motor Neurone Disease research. This is a disease close to our membership of real estate agents and, on behalf of my team, I ask you to consider donating to eliminate this disease. Watch the TV video here.

read more

Factors affecting Australian real estate affordability

Australian Bureau of Statistics | 0 comments | by admin

First National Real Estate chief executive Ray Ellis says claims of a looming ‘housing market bloodbath’ in the Parliamentary submission of two economists are overly technical and fail to appreciate the realities of Australian Real Estate, where the bulk of our population wants to live in a fraction of available space, and where home ownership is deeply embedded in the national psyche.

‘The submission suggests that house prices must fall to once again reflect economic fundamentals. However, it depends entirely on what fundamentals you consider and with all the talk of affordability issues in the media, it’s easy  for consumers to be blinded to the truths that underpin Australian real estate’ said Mr Ellis.

Economists generally measure affordability using a comparison of middle-market house prices against average incomes, as measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Based on average household incomes of $75,000   to $85,000, that makes a house in Sydney about 9.7 times average income; a house in Melbourne about 7.3 times income, and a house in Brisbane about 6 times average income.

‘The problem with the ABS income figures is that they disguise the real picture. They include a range of people not actually in the housing market and research from Barclays argues average household incomes are actually significantly higher in Australia – in the region of $122,000’ said Mr Ellis.

‘This explains why many Australians can afford homes in the region of $650,000 to $800,000 on loan to value ratios of 70 per cent. Also, 10 to 15 years ago, ABS statistics indicated only 250,000 households earned over $156,000 per annum. That figure has now increased to more than a million Australian households and the number of households earning in excess of $260,000 has tripled.’

By contrast, housing stocks in fashionable capital city areas have not increased by anywhere near that magnitude and, when people don’t want to consider suburbs where homes are cheaper, the impression is created that housing is unaffordable. Yet, throughout Australia’s suburbs and regions there are many affordable alternatives available.

‘Our local and Federal Governments need to maintain focus on much needed public transport infrastructure that facilitates easy access to employment centres, release more land for , and consider incentives that help people relocate to regional centres where businesses are struggling to find talented employees’ said Mr Ellis.

read more

How First National Real Estate Excels

Customer Satisfaction | 0 comments | by admin

At First National Real Estate, my corporate team as well as our staff in member offices across Australia and New Zealand work extremely hard to excel in customer service, striving to exceed real estate buyers and sellers expectations.

As reported recently in the 2015 Consumer Perceptions of Real Estate Agents survey was conducted by CoreLogic, a total of 66 per cent of vendors rated their selling experience as ‘excellent’ (31 per cent) or ‘good’ (35 per cent).

I am also particularly proud that First National Real Estate was recently voted ‘Employer of Choice in an independent industry survey. The survey also showed our real estate member network had the best culture as well as the happiest principals and staff throughout its 400+ office network in Australia.


read more

Time for landlords to reconsider renters with pets

Uncategorized | 0 comments | by admin

The Animal Welfare League recently published an article in which I commented that with record low rental yields nationally, property investors should open their eyes to the benefits of renting their investment properties to tenants with pets that have good references.

I am proud that First National Real Estate’s property managers take additional steps to protect a landlord’s interests such as adding specific clauses to the lease, requiring annual steam cleaning of carpets, and in some states, negotiating a pet bond.

Good tenants understand these are realistic trade-offs that help their landlord to feel more confident about their intentions. I hope you agree and for more facts on pet ownership in Australia, read more here.

read more

Millennials buying their first investment property at 25

Millennials Real Estate Trends | 0 comments | by admin

Millennials might pose and take lots of selfie photographs with mobile devices yet according to a Domain Consumer Insights study, 17 per cent of millennials own two or more properties.

What is also very interesting is that contrary to popular belief, millennials are buying their first investment property at the average age of 25. Millennials are the group of people born between 1980 and the early 2000s.

Millennials contrast with baby boomers, who on average purchased their first home nearly two decades later at the age of 45. Millennials commonly invest first, while renting. By comparison, the motivation to buy houses one to two decades ago was to have families in, not found a property investment portfolio.

These positive habits might be contributing to why so many of them are in fact ascending the property ladder at fairly young ages.

read more

Sustainable Energy good for real estate values

Carbon Neutral | 0 comments | by admin

Recently, I have been reading new research by the New Climate Economy (Global Commission on Economy and Climate) and during my decade long role as CEO of First National Real Estate, watched the increasing momentum for sustainable energy.

In particular, I am proud that Adelaide is planning to be the world’s first carbon neutral city. As a result of collaboration between town planners, citizens, the corporate sector and law makers, many international cities have adopted clean energy projects.

It should be highlighted that these sustainable energy initiatives undertake reduce their energy costs, improve public health, and help them attract new residents and businesses. These green communities attract residents and this bodes well for real estate values.

It’s a personal interest of mine to encourage the First National Real Estate community to understand that by streamlining the costs of producing green technologies, more houses will come already equipped with these features.

In time, expectations will be such that energy efficient houses will be more highly sought after, thereby rising in value more quickly.

read more

Low cash rates great news for real estate buyers

Reserve Bank of Australia | 0 comments | by admin

Perhaps the question most frequently asked of me is “Ray, when and where should I buy real estate?”

While I don’t have a crystal ball, for everybody looking to buy a home, interest rates on mortgages are something you should be keeping a keen eye on.

When the announced that it would keep the cash rate at the record low of 2 per cent, it was great news for buyers. A low cash rate gives people the chance to lock in fixed rate mortgages that will stay low and affordable. Homeowners who are selling will continue to experience a high amount of attention, especially in certain capital cities.

According to CoreLogic RP Data, real estate values in Sydney and Melbourne in particular have been enjoying striking growth, although there are signs that this rate of growth is now slowing. But even in the cities and regions of Australia where prices have been moderating, low interest rates will continue to fuel demand for property as home loans stay accessible. With these buoyant conditions, home sellers are likely to complete the satisfactory sale of your real estate in a reasonable timeframe.

Australia is enjoying the lowest rates since the 1950s which also opens up a window of opportunity to make those renovations you’ve been thinking about. Smart renovations will give your property that extra punch in an already sizzling market.

My parting advice to real estate buyers, sellers and investors is to be sure to take advantage of the low cash rate while you still can.

read more

Taxing Family Home Profits Thin End Of The Wedge

Real Estate Tax | 0 comments | by admin

Recently, I voiced my opinion on a plan to tax profits on the sale of family homes worth over $2 million, saying it could be the ‘thin edge of the wedge’.

Today’s $1 million properties are the future’s $2 million properties so while the proposal may seem unlikely to affect “average” Australians now, it certainly has the potential to affect many Australians in Sydney and Melbourne.

It should be remembered that Sydney currently has 302 suburbs where houses and apartments have a median price of $1 million. That’s double what it was five years ago. In Melbourne today, one in five suburbs have a median price of $1 million.

While such a tax might reduce pressure on the Government to increase the GST, it could affect Australians in unexpected ways.

People buying homes as a principal place of residence, but planning to live in and renovate for speculative purposes – such as an old $2 million property that could be re-purposed into two more affordable residences – could be driven to buy well under the $2 million threshold, thereby increasing competition and the level of difficulty for buyers in those price ranges.

Secondly, first home buyers anticipating the sale of a parent’s property would assist them to break into the property market may find themselves, and their siblings, subject to a government tax-grab on the proceeds of the sale of the original family home, substantially reducing their share upon distribution.

The government already adds substantially to the purchase cost of a family home through stamp duties that were supposed to be removed when the GST was introduced. Now it wants to add a new tax to the sale of the family home, which could immediately affect the market in more affordable price ranges.

read more

Helping the 50 plus demographic with lifestyle decisions

Seniors | 0 comments | by admin

I am pleased to announce a strategic partnership with WYZA, the socially connected digital discovery media platform for people over 50 years of age.

The over-50 population is a growing force in Australia and the rate of home ownership is higher among this age group than in any other. Today people 50 plus have more active lifestyles, are more affluent and they have plenty of choices open to them.

Downsizing, tree-change, sea-change, multi-generation living, holiday homes, investment properties and lifestyle villages are just some of the many options being considered by Australia’s most affluent demographic segment, if they downsize their homes it is often in size rather than price.

First National is participating in the alliance with WYZA, which aims at demystifying the household challenges and lifestyle decisions that the 50 plus demographic is faced with. is a digital market place for the WYZA generation – people plus 50 years of age. Over 16 million Australians are online each month and the largest component of that audience is the over 50s.

WYZA is a reflection of how the 50-plus demographic lives today and it helps them to work out how they want to live their “tomorrow”. They want to communicate with people over 50 on their terms. It’s an approach that aligns directly with First National’s vision and ‘We put you first’ promise.

The WYZA website has 450,000 unique users and more than a million monthly page views as of January 2016. It brings together information about travel, entertainment, lifestyle, health, finance, property, retirement living and aged care.

read more