Helping an Australian entrepreneur tell his story

Date: 19 January 2019

Working with the qweekend team and Brisbane Veterinarian Dr Evan Shaw, I helped capture Evan’s journey with MS, along with the brilliant start-up business he’s created as a result of his disease and passion to help Aussie pet owners.



Perth property prices forecast to bottom out, then rise modestly into 2019-20: report

Date: 28 November 2018

Hope is on the horizon for Perth’s property market heading into 2019 and beyond, with prices predicted to grow faster than most markets across Australia.

Domain’s new Property Price Forecasts report has predicted while Perth house prices will fall about 5 per cent in 2018, resulting in a median house price of $535,000, they will record modest growth of 5 per cent in 2019 and 3 per cent in 2020.

Furthermore, the report says Perth house prices will bottom out in late 2018 to early 2019, after a decline of 13 per cent from a peak of $616,000 in 2014.

Domain economist Trent Wiltshire said the positive outlook was due to better economic conditions, which was likely to result in Perth becoming one of the best performing capitals in the nation.

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“Fundamentals like the mining sector are looking a little bit better, new mines are being built, there is more mining investment going on and job prospects are looking better in WA,” Mr Wiltshire said.

“The state Treasury is forecasting economic growth to be a lot higher than it has been in the past few years and then a big driver for house prices is population growth, and that has turned a corner and is picking up in WA. There are more people from overseas (arriving) and less people leaving to different states. And that is forecast to continue as well.”

Perth unit prices were likely to fall by about 6 per cent in 2018 and were set to record growth of 2 per cent in 2019 as well as in 2020, the report predicted.

While the price growth signs were positive, the report also revealed home loan approvals would continue to trend downwards, with market sentiment remaining weak and tighter lending conditions would affect prices.

Bankwest chief economist Alan Langford was very confident the housing market had bottomed in 2018, although it was unlikely to be on the verge of a strong rebound. He said an oversupply of dwellings in Perth was slowly being unwound, but it was significant at the start of 2018 and still had some way to go.

“Affordability in Perth compared to Sydney and Melbourne is a big plus, particularly for first-home buyers, but very soft population growth (especially compared to when resource construction was booming a few years ago) means that all of the adjustment to the excess of supply over demand is occurring on the supply side,” Mr Langford said.

“Dwelling approvals do not yet point to an imminent uptick in actual construction. Even if they jumped back up strongly soon, it would take at least a few months for actual activity to recover. And before it does, there’s some scope for a modest uptick in established prices.

“But anything more than 2-3 per cent growth in 2019, perhaps up to 5 per cent in some pockets of the market, would be a pleasant surprise to landlords, and not enough to cut seriously into affordability.”

Furthermore, Mr Langford believed, as the production phase of the mining boom continued to gather momentum, housing affordability compared to NSW and Victoria and the attraction of well-paid jobs should underpin a steady acceleration in population growth, but to rates well short of those seen at the height of the construction phase of the resources boom.

The outlook is more upbeat for Perth house prices into 2020. Photo: Erin Jonasson

Property analyst and valuer Gavin Hegney believed Perth house prices would record a fall of between 3 and 4 per cent this year.

“By this time next year, I think we be will seeing significant rental pressure on the basis that we will get a change of federal government and negative gearing to new properties, which will hit Western Australia at exactly the wrong time. My guess is in 2019 … we will probably finish the year stronger than where we started,” he said.

“The market is wanting to recover; prices are really cheap. They have been down for over four years.”

* Annual change to December quarter

Notes: Darwin excluded from forecast due to small volumes and market volatility. Stratified median house price forecasts.

* Annual change to December quarter

Notes: Darwin excluded from forecast due to small volumes and market volatility. Stratified median unit price forecasts.

Andrew Friebe, LJ Hooker WA managing director, said the Perth market had been patchy with even neighbouring suburbs performing at different speeds.

“But that inconsistency is often the first indicator of wider growth coming through,” he said. “We think there’ll be moderate, low-digit improvement overall, with some suburbs performing strongly and others still trying to gain momentum.”

Brave Mia’s one wish

Published: The Courier-Mail
Date: 10th November 2018

Little Mia Wilkinson has been through the year from hell. The five-year-old with the contagious smile beat off deadly sepsis, which she developed after a bout of the flu. Sadly, the bubbly preppy lost both her arms and her legs.

Working with The Courier-Mail and Mia’s parents, Peter and Amy Wilkinson, Mia’s story was featured in Saturday’s premier page 3-4 spread. Thanks to the many amazing Australians who donated (one check for $500 was sent to The Courier-Mail ), and the remarkable Courier-Mail team that donated $30,000 to the Wilkinson family, Mia will now have new prosthetics for Xmas.

Opportunity of a lifetime: Entire WA town up for sale

Published: 9news
Date: 02 November 2018

One million dollars might not get you very far in Sydney or Melbourne, but in the small town of Tone River in Western Australia it won’t just buy you a home, it could just be enough to purchase an entire village.

Tone River was originally built as a timber mill town in 1952, before closing operations in 1978. It then became a wilderness camp before closing in 2008.

It features 20 self-contained cottages, a town hall, workshop, tennis and volleyball courts, and an undercover barbecue area (Supplied).

Entire town of Town River up for sale. 39 hectares of land (Supplied).

The town features 20 cottages, a town hall, tennis and volleyball courts and an undercover bbq area (Supplied).

After closing as a timber mill town in 1952, the space was used as a wilderness camp for three decades (Supplied).

The Tone River itself weaves through the town, placing it in a desirable location for water sports and fishing. It covers 39 hectares and housed 117 men at its peak.

Real estate agent Collin Wallbank is selling the property, located around four hours south of Perth on behalf of the West Australian government.

In contrast, $1m in St Kilda Melbourne buys you a modest two bedroom home with a tiny corridor of a backyard and $1m in Maroubra, Sydney, buys you a two bedder, with a small courtyard.

“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Mr Wallbank. “You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, to a time when life was less complicated.

“Yes it’s going to need some imagination and hard work and vision, but the result could be as amazing and as big as you can dream it,” he said.

The property will be auctioned on November 14.

Brokers on a ‘one-way ticket’ to 60–70% market share

Published: TheAdviser
Date: 15 October 2018

The head of a major aggregator is confident that the broking industry will further capitalise on the growing distrust of the established banks.

Speaking at a Loan Market forum, chairman Sam White claimed that amid scrutiny from the financial services royal commission, which has highlighted the failings of the big four banks, mortgage brokers are well positioned to strengthen their place in the lending landscape.

“[Out of the royal commission’s hearings,] who would you trust? Brokers are clearly the ones who customers are turning to,” Mr White said.

Mr White pointed to the continued growth in broker market share, which sits at 55.7 per cent, and claimed that mortgage brokers are on a “one-way ticket to 60–70 per cent market share” reported in the United Kingdom.

“We are focusing on the customer. The [bank] branch manager is focusing on their employer,” the chairman continued.

However, also speaking at the forum, Loan Market’s executive director, Matt Lawler, encouraged brokers to prepare for potential changes to the broking model.

Mr Lawler pointed to the banning of trail commissions in New Zealand in 2006, adding that brokers moved to an upfront structure that aided cash flow but constrained long-term sustainability.

“We’ve seen this movie play out and had to pivot our business strategy to navigate this field before,” the executive director said.

Mr Lawler suggested that brokers broaden their appeal to consumers by diversifying their product and service offering.

“Our strategy is to keep our client base engaged by being the person they turn to for financial options,” Mr Lawler added.

“We don’t own one product or push one service as a bank manager does. We can offer multiple solutions across a number of services.”

In addition, Mr White suggested that brokers introduce ancillary services such as asset finance and wealth advisory to existing customers, which he said would help broking businesses absorb any remuneration changes.

“We recognise what an unsettling time this is for some brokers and that they are working harder than ever before,” the chairman said.

“Right now, you are having your value questioned, and the future viability of your business questioned.

“We fully understand that and share that with you. We believe the best thing that you can do for your business is to keep looking after your customer, as you always have done, and look at ways to offer them more reasons to work with you, by becoming the trusted adviser.”

The changing face of an office

Published: The Sydney Morning Herald
Date: 15 September 2018

Automation of jobs and offshore workforces have been widespread upshots of the digital age. It’s provided pause for thought in boardrooms and C-suites poring over budget-line items. It’s also encouraged office landlords – big and small – to think about how to future-proof their investments.

Offshore manufacturing has created fiscal efficiencies for Australian businesses. It’s also forced industrial landlords to re-purpose their former factories for warehousing, creative spaces and lifestyle uses such as gymnasiums. Retail landlords also tread in shifting sands as shoppers move online.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures estimated online sales reached $1.3 billion in April, more than doubling the $510 million recorded at the same time last year.

While ABS estimates showed online spending accounted for only 5.4 per cent of all retail transactions in April, it was up from 3.4 per cent for the same period in 2017 – an annual market share increase of 59 per cent.

Whilst the impact on the office sector hasn’t been immediate, the landscape is by no means immune. Even desk jobs requiring critical thinking are under threat in the digital age as algorithms and AI become more sophisticated.

And while digital advancements are reducing headcounts on the office floor, cloud-based CRMs, apps and other online touchpoints have made remote working more common. In somewhere like Sydney, where workers are estimated to spend an average of 71 minutes commuting each day, working from home is a popular clause in many employee contracts.

According to the 2016 ABS, 4.7 per cent of Australians work from home. That figure is likely to be much higher when taking into account the number of people with flexible work arrangements.

We’re an ageing population, as well. It’s probable that less people will be wishing to spend five days a week commuting to their company HQ in the future.

If there’s less workers, and less demand for square metres, how should landlords make their assets work best for them?

Will we see a ‘core and hub’ approach to professional employment in the future, with more employees working from home?

Could the automation of office jobs facilitate a higher concentration of ‘critical thinking’ professionals in CBD precincts, with automated functionality (robots) pushed out to cheaper areas – potentially, non-office space?

Will landlords – especially those on the city fringe – need to show greater flexibility in floor plates? Will levels for hot-desking – such as the popular formats of WeWork and Fishburners – increasingly be incorporated into leasing strategies to monetise surplus floor space?

As automation and digitisation reduces workforces, more smaller professional businesses are likely to contract in niche specialisations, requiring smaller floor plates.

History has shown us that workplace change has never been a fast-moving beast. But with the speed of the digital age, a tenant’s workplace requirements could be dramatically different between the signing of its current lease and its forthcoming renewal.