Monika Tu: “I’m the best agent”
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Monika Tu: “I’m the best agent”

A true force in real estate – the Black Diamondz founder talks Luxe Listings, prime markets and why penthouses are set to scale new heights.

By Terry Christodoulou
Tue, May 3, 2022 6:00amGrey Clock 3 min

Kanebridge News: What Drives Monika Tu to wake up in the morning and work in property?

Monika Tu: I just want to do the best I can, get a couple more deals done — I just want to do another deal, take the commission, move to the next one. I just don’t want to waste time. I also have a lot of commitments to charities which drive me too.


KN: But why property, over another industry?

MT: The number one thing is the longer you’re in the industry, the better you get. With other businesses, you must buy and sell. For real estate, you don’t have to buy and sell, you just take this property, you put the strategy behind it, you work hard, you find the right buyer, you sell it, you get commission.


KN: The prime property market — in which you operate — has had little stock the last few years, how do you navigate that?

MT: When the stock is short you really must find your niche — ask yourself why do they [clients] want to work with you?  I just have that unique selling point, that will just stand out amongst everybody else. We sell to local, maybe about 60% of our buyers are local buyers but that other 40% of international buyers — I corner that market.


KN: But right now there’s a shortage of stock in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, do you tell buyers to look beyond that? How do you manage a motivated buyer?

MT: I’ll give you an example. If somebody wants waterfront, the first question is how much you have? They go, ‘Oh, I’ve got 15 to 20 million dollars,’ or, ‘I want to buy for 30.’ Darling, to be honest, for that kind of budget, you want the eastern suburbs then you’re only buying a dream.  Sometimes you just have to be flexible for change, and I’ll try and suggest waterfront in Northbridge or Mosman. Just because you have the money doesn’t mean you can get what you want.


KN: You’re the break-out star of season two of Luxe Listings Sydney. How would you describe the experience?

MT: I’ve done a lot of TV appearances in the past. I mean, I’ve been on Unreal Estate with Channel Nine. I’ve got global properties with the ABC. I’ve done quite a few in the past, I’m kind of a semi-pro. But Luxe Listings is a different level — I think Amazon has a much bigger budget and everything is so professional.


KN: And what of your co-stars? In the real world, away from the show, do they motivate you? Does someone like Gavin push you to be better?

MT: Nobody pushes me better because I think I’m the best. I think it gives us an opportunity to get to know each other — we get to know the real person rather than just a competitive agent. I think we probably bring the best out of each other.


KN: Why would someone do business with you over another agent?

MT: If you are desperate to sell, I won’t have the buyer for you. My [buyers] take time to understand the property and I take time to find the buyer who will pay the premium price. In the end, the buyer is happy and the vendor is happy. My brand is, ‘can I be your trusted advisor?’.  With my clients, I think I’ve become more like their friend than their real estate agent.


KN: What do you think is the next big trend in the luxury real estate space?

MT: I think what is coming is the penthouse with the view. You see all the very wealthy Australians are older, 70-, 80-, 85-years old, so where are they going to go? That’s the ultimate retirement plan and for some of my Chinese friends — it’s quite easy to maintain.


KN: And what’s next for you?

MT: Well, I want to become a queen of the penthouse. Seriously, you watch me for two years, I tell you, I will get all the big penthouses in Australia. Also, season three of Luxe Listings and continuing to work with my charities.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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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

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.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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