Interview: Tom Offermann, Tom Offermann Real Estate
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Interview: Tom Offermann, Tom Offermann Real Estate

“At this rate, investors will double their money every five years.”

By Terry Christodoulou
Thu, May 6, 2021 12:07pmGrey Clock 2 min

Tom Offermann has spent the past 35 years developing peerless market knowledge of Noosa and Sunshine Coast environs. 

He’s also a man who lives and breathes the lifestyle he proudly sells – often found in his kayak on the Noosa River. 

We caught up to discuss the future in light of COVID, ‘southern’ sea-changers and a market that’s ultimately surging. 

Kanebridge News:  Noosa was recently marked as Queensland’s most expensive property market, thoughts on securing such a title?

Tom Offermann: It’s been named the most expensive shire in the state, but I think it’s more accurately described as the most valuable in the state.
KN: What makes it the most valuable?
TO: Noosa shire has an annual return on investment over 15% — which is incredible. However, some of the shire’s most sought-after locations, such as Noosa Sound, have been averaging capital growth of more than 15% per annum for the past 46 years.  

KN: How did Noosa fare coming out of the pandemic?

TO: [In 2021] we were wondering if it might slow down a bit after the summer holidays, but the market for the first quarter has outperformed every quarter of 2020.  Auctions are achieving approximately 90% clearance rates, property listings remain tight and an abundance of buyers are waiting for the right property.

KN: Is this driven by those ‘southerners’ looking for a sea / tree-change?

TO: The sea and tree-change effect was the strongest ever and Noosa was one of the greatest beneficiaries, recording high sales volumes plus the highest price gains in Queensland, with houses recording 15.4% annual growth and a median price surpassing $900,000.

KN: So is it now too late for those wanting to get into the market?

TO: No, it’s never too late. My advice is to buy in the best location your budget allows. In the current market it’s important to be ready to act fast and have pre-approval if you require finance, because a property can sell very quickly, sometimes never hitting the market at all.

KN: How does Noosa compete against other coastal ‘lifestyle’ regions? 
TO: Noosa has long been known as the jewel in Queensland’s crown, which is a result of superior local governance, the shire’s natural resources and climate — which combine to underpin a property market that has more potential than any others in the country. It’s highly desirable and very tightly held.

KN: What do you say to the naysayer’s who claim the Sunshine Coast’s growth isn’t sustainable – will the market continue to ascend? 

TO: Of course it will. Property value is never a straight line graph, however, you can always count on it pointing upwards long-term. At this rate, investors will double their money every five years, something I have experienced throughout my career.


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Hong Kong Takes Drastic Action to Avert Property Slump

The city’s real-estate market has been hurt by high interest rates and mainland China’s economic slowdown

By ELAINE YU
Fri, Mar 1, 2024 3 min

Hong Kong has taken a bold step to ease a real-estate slump, scrapping a series of property taxes in an effort to turn around a market that is often seen as a proxy for the city’s beleaguered economy.

The government has removed longstanding property taxes that were imposed on nonpermanent residents, those buying a second home, or people reselling a property within two years after buying, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in his annual budget speech on Wednesday.

The move is an attempt to revive a property market that is still one of the most expensive in the world, but that has been badly shaken by social unrest, the fallout of the government’s strict approach to containing Covid-19 and the slowdown of China’s economy . Hong Kong’s high interest rates, which track U.S. rates due to its currency peg,  have increased the pressure .

The decision to ease the tax burden could encourage more buying from people in mainland China, who have been a driving force in Hong Kong’s property market for years. Chinese tycoons, squeezed by problems at home, have  in some cases become forced sellers  of Hong Kong real estate—dealing major damage to the luxury segment.

Hong Kong’s super luxury homes  have lost more than a quarter of their value  since the middle of 2022.

The additional taxes were introduced in a series of announcements starting in 2010, when the government was focused on cooling down soaring home prices that had made Hong Kong one of the world’s least affordable property markets. They are all in the form of stamp duty, a tax imposed on property sales.

“The relevant measures are no longer necessary amidst the current economic and market conditions,” Chan said.

The tax cuts will lead to more buying and support prices in the coming months, said Eddie Kwok, senior director of valuation and advisory services at CBRE Hong Kong, a property consultant. But in the longer term, the market will remain sensitive to the level of interest rates and developers may still need to lower their prices to attract demand thanks to a stockpile of new homes, he said.

Hong Kong’s authorities had already relaxed rules last year to help revive the market, allowing home buyers to pay less upfront when buying certain properties, and cutting by half the taxes for those buying a second property and for home purchases by foreigners. By the end of 2023, the price index for private homes reached a seven-year low, according to Hong Kong’s Rating and Valuation Department.

The city’s monetary authority relaxed mortgage rules further on Wednesday, allowing potential buyers to borrow more for homes valued at around $4 million.

The shares of Hong Kong’s property developers jumped after the announcement, defying a selloff in the wider market. New World Development , Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development were higher in afternoon trading, clawing back some of their losses from a slide in their stock prices this year.

The city’s budget deficit will widen to about $13 billion in the coming fiscal year, which starts on April 1. That is larger than expected, Chan said. Revenues from land sales and leases, an important source of government income, will fall to about $2.5 billion, about $8.4 billion lower than the original estimate and far lower than the previous year, according to Chan.

The sweeping property measures are part of broader plans by Hong Kong’s government to prop up the city amid competition from Singapore and elsewhere. Stringent pandemic controls and anxieties about Beijing’s political crackdown led to  an exodus of local residents and foreigners  from the Asian financial centre.

But tens of thousands of Chinese nationals have arrived in the past year, the result of Hong Kong  rolling out new visa rules aimed at luring talent in 2022.

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