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Low rates and high expectations

ByDeborah Brady

From the desk of Deborah Brady

It’s been a hectic start to the new year with the Banking Royal Commission coming out with recommendations that will give whichever party wins the May Federal election a real headache.

The Royal Commission exposed some diabolical behaviour by the banks but Government has to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water especially when it comes to independent mortgage brokers who by and large provide good service to buyers.

The attraction of these brokers is that borrowers don’t pay their commission, the lender does and the commission’s recommendation of an upfront payment by the borrower, on face value, will be a turn off for many people.

There’s a lot still to play out with the Commissioner’s recommendations but the good news this month was that the December quarter CPI (Consumer Price Index which measures inflation), came in at 0.5 per cent for a year on year total of 2.4% –  right in the middle of the Reserve Bank’s target of 2% to 3% inflation.

That means interest rates are unlikely to rise any time soon and as far as the residential home market is concerned that’s great news.

Closer to home I was intrigued by the an online vox pop recently that was asking people to nominate their preference in a head-to-head contest between Cottesloe and Scarborough.

Although it was just a bit of fun with the result pretty much a dead heat, it did get me thinking about what the two iconic destinations have to offer.

Cottesloe of course, is pure establishment with beautiful homes, great restaurants and pubs  scattered along the coast and I believe the best beach in the metropolitan area, sheltered as Cott Main is from the worst of the south-wester by the groyne.

However, the recent renovation of the Scarborough beachfront which includes an Olympic size swimming pool and family friendly skate park and climbing wall as well as a new Italian restaurant, has made it a fabulous destination, especially on Thursday nights when the food markets, pop up bars and live street entertainment attract huge crowds.

That statistics on these two beachside meccas back up the anecdotal evidence.

Over the past year the median sales price for Cottesloe property has been $2,010,000 and for Scarborough $742,000

The Cottesloe demographic is older couples and families while nearly half of Scarborough’s population consists of young couples with no children.

They are both high demand markets but while the Scarborough renovation is complete and attracting a spate of new apartment developments, Cottesloe is still dithering about just how much development it wants. And stats would show that Cottesloe is failing to attract young people because of a lack of affordable properties coming onto the market.

Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has already stated his intention to spruce up the iconic tearooms and the McGowan Government keeps threatening to develop the land around the railway station but the area that to me seems to be begging for something to happen is the carpark and vacant land below the Cottesloe Tennis Club down to Marine Parade bordered on the southside by Beach Street.

Surely there is ample space there for a major retail/residential/public open space development on the beach that would have little impact on established neighbourhoods given that the tennis club provides an excellent buffer on its eastern side.

I will always be unconditionally a Cottesloe fan but Cottesloe also can be much improved by sympathetic development along the eastern edge of Marine Parade between Cott Main and North Cott.

With interest rates at historical lows surely now is the time to make it happen.

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