property – Michmutters

Owner of seven properties says landlords getting a raw deal

Andrew Duggan owns seven homes, but he wants people to know he’s not a bad bloke.

He’s been flipping properties in Queensland from a home office in Sydney for 25 years and seems acutely familiar with the public perception of landlords.

“Landlords are very unpopular people,” Mr Duggan said.

“There’s the perception of the evil landlord, the cinematic slum lord idea.

“And there’s a perception that landlords are sitting on piles of cash and sitting around on our yachts.

“The reality is whilst we have the titles to these properties, they’re very much mortgaged.”

Man wearing hi-vis shirt mowing the lawn outside.
Landlord Andrew Duggan is considering getting out of the property game.(ABCNews/7.30)

He insisted he was not doing an interview to “cry poor”, but despondently declared “the good times for landlords are over”.

A long-time advocate of buying up real estate, he’s considering selling up and getting out of the property game.

Mr Duggan said the decline of his lucrative portfolio began five years ago when he was locked into an excessive interest rate with a major bank.

But he is also critical of tenancy laws and state-based land taxes.

After years of advocacy from housing organisations, the Victorian, Tasmanian and ACT governments have recently banned landlords from evicting tenants without grounds.

Man trimming a hedge.
Andrew Duggan says he doesn’t want to “profiteer from our tenants.”(ABCNews/7.30)

Queensland, where most of Mr Duggan’s properties are located, also banned the practice, except at the end of a fixed-term rental agreement.

“As far as I can see, landlords have next to no rights and tenants have all the rights. It’s kind of swung a long way in that direction and it’s probably swung too far,” he said.

Mr Duggan said the “default” position of civil courts adjudicating disputes between property owners and their renters was that “the property owner will always lose”.

He said he had increased the rent in at least one of his properties over the last year due to the increase in Queensland’s land tax.

“I’m not a charity, that’s for certain. I think we’re very fair with our tenants. We don’t want to profit from our tenants, but we do want to create an equilibrium between our incomings and outgoings so we’ re not going backwards,” he said.

This couple rent their apartment out for 10 per cent less than it’s worth

A man wearing glasses smiles next to a woman wearing a black top.
“We didn’t want to do what other people had done to us,” landlords Thomas Shafee and Katrina Alcorn say.(ABCNews/7.30)

When Thomas Shafee and Katrina Alcorn bought their own apartment and left the rental market five years ago, the Melbourne-based couple were overwhelmed with relief.

“As tenants [before owning a home] we have been in some situations with great landlords and we’ve been in some situations with terrible landlords,” Mr Shafee said.

“We’ve had uncertain housing in our lives too,” Ms Alcorn added.

With the pair now considering starting a family, they considered their one-bedroom Heidelberg Heights flat too small and have decided to upsize, but said they felt “icky” trying to cash in on the tightening real estate market.

Instead, they’ve offered the property up as an affordable rental and listed it for 10 per cent below what they had been quoted by other agents.

A man wearing a striped scarf standing next to a woman wearing a black top.
Thomas Shafee and Katrina Alcorn felt strongly about keeping their property affordable.(ABCNews/7.30)

“When there is so much pressure with the prices going up and the supply going down it’s really easy for people to be forced into situations where they are taken advantage of, so it’s nice to be able to do something that avoids some of those ethical pitfalls ,” MrShafee said.

“We didn’t want to do what other people had done to us,” Ms Alcorn said.

“That’s one of the reasons we feel really strongly about this.”

Mr Shafee said he and his partner intended to be “ethical” landlords and employ a hands-off approach to their incoming tenant.

“This is not some investment item that we’re talking about, it’s something that someone is going to live in, so it makes a big difference how [the property] is going to be run,” he said.

Mr Shafee and Ms Alcorn are renting the property through HomeGround Real Estate, an agency that offers affordable rentals and donates the profits it makes from management fees to Launch, a community housing organization.

Problem ‘just going to get worse’

woman sitting at a table
Michele Adair says “renters just haven’t been valued.”(ABC News: Tim Fernandez)

Renters’ advocate and chief executive of the NSW Housing Trust Michele Adair said state laws were still skewed in favor of landlords because property in Australia was seen as a means of wealth creation rather than shelter.

“There are lots of really good private landlords [that] provide affordable rental housing, but the problem that we have is that renters just haven’t been valued,” Ms Adair said.

“One in three people rent a home today and probably nine out of ten rents at some stage, yet we have had decades of government policy which just really disregards the rights of tenants and their safety and security.

“We continue to have this myth and fallacy pushed by private interest groups who, as we have seen, just continue to push the wealth creation and profit motive.”

Ms Adair said the so-called “motive” had led to the current rental crisis.

“There is no end in sight and without urgent action by all levels of government. The problem is just going to get worse for the foreseeable future and I’m afraid that means years and not months.”

Watch this story on 7.30 on ABC TV and ABC iview.



REIWA house price figures reveal Broome and Busselton top WA regional areas for increases

A record low rental vacancy rate is driving up property prices in Broome, with WA’s North West town becoming the top performing regional center for median house sale price growth in the most recent industry figures.

Real Estate Institute of WA data for the June quarter shows median house prices in the holiday hot spot increased by 4.7 per cent to $649,000 and shot up by 18 per cent in the 12 months to June.

The town was behind only Port Hedland which saw a 28.2 per cent growth in the same period.

Broome’s dire rental vacancy rate was recorded as zero by REIWA in March, appears to be forcing would-be tenants to buy instead.

Ray White Broome sales consultant Giles Tipping said real estate agents in the region could foresee the trend, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“The supply of rental properties available for all the Government departments and the like to lease was drying up every year, so we got to a point, I think it was in about July 2019, where there was probably only about approximately 40 houses available to rent in the whole of Broome,” he revealed.

“With that low supply of rental housing obviously rentals were climbing higher and higher and there was less choice for tenants so more tenants were sort of filtering into the sales market and as rent were climbing as well, it was becoming better value to buy.”

The trent was further compounded by the pandemic, with closed borders exposing Broome to a new wave of buyers from across the country, as well as a lagging building industry placing further pressure on supply issues.

“Those influences are coming together and creating this pressure for the sales market,” Mr Tipping added.

In Busselton, which was the second highest regional performer for the June quarter with a 4.5 per cent growth in its median house sales price, the opportunity to work remotely is drawing in a new wave of Perth buyers looking for a lifestyle change.

Busselton Jetty.
Camera IconThe Busselton Jetty. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Busselton’s house median, which now sits at $610,000, is also being pushed up by interstate investors and buyers with the airport and direct flights to Melbourne a major drawcard.

First National Real Estate Busselton general manager Matthew Snaddon said these factors were fueling the market, with the popular coastal town bucking the national trend of increasing supply.

“We are having conversations with buyers and they’re making the comments that they’ve got the opportunity to work remotely so lifestyle following COVID is one of the primary factors that buyers are looking at when choosing property now,” he said.

Camels at sunset on Cable Beach, Broome.  Picture: Tourism Australia
Camera IconBroome’s Cable Beach. Credit: Tourism Australia/TheWest

While Broome and Busselton were the standouts, the REIWA data showed a total of eight regional centers recorded median house sale price growth during the quarter.

Additionally, all nine regional centers experienced median house sale price growth on an annual basis.

Meanwhile, in Perth, the stock of properties listed for sale in July was 4.6 per cent higher than a year ago but new listings last month were down 15.7 per cent compared to June, according to the PropTrack Listings Report July 2022.

“The stock of properties listed for sale in Perth is still down around 15 per cent compared to the average over the past 10 years. While that means options are somewhat limited, it is an improvement compared to recent conditions and the stock of properties listed for sale is up 4.6 per cent compared to a year ago,” PropTrack Economist and report author Angus Moore said.

“Even so, buyers in Perth are facing fewer options than is the case for buyers in Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra, where the total stock listed for sale is back around, or even above, the decade averages.

“By comparison, buyers in Adelaide and Brisbane have even fewer options, with the total number of properties listed for sale in both those cities down more than a third compared to the decade average.”



6PR host Liam Bartlett opposes change to frosted glass on balconies of Nedlands homes across from his property

Radio 6PR host Liam Bartlett is opposed to group homes opposite his house having clear glass on their balconies because he doesn’t want to look at their washing.

Owners of five terrace homes being built in Nedlands want a condition to have frosted glass on their balcony balustrades — to stop people looking into their houses — removed. The side of Bartlett’s house is opposite the houses, which are being built.

Mr Bartlett — who lives opposite the homes — has objected to the move saying he didn’t want to see the residents’ “bikes” or “washing” on the balconies.

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Mr Bartlett told the council when the development was approved last year, they had negotiated the preservation of an “important tree” and the frosted glass.

6pr presenter Liam Bartlett has objected to removing a condition for frosted glass.
Camera Icon6pr presenter Liam Bartlett has objected to removing a condition for frosted glass. Credit:

“We were more than happy to see height to see density. To have four separate apartments opposite our house. To lose parking. To see more bins and less amenities,” he said.

Mr Bartlett said his house was elevated behind his wall and had four windows that looked out onto the property.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m not fond of looking out onto people’s balconies and their bikes and their washing or whatever else they want to stick up on their balcony or what they’re doing behind their balconies,” he said.

“That’s the reason we had this compromised position.”

Bartlett said the staff recommendation to allow clear glass was “beyond the pale”.

“I can’t understand why we paid rates for 29 years at that property. The first I hear about this is an email saying administration has recommended it,” he said.

Grouped homes under construction in Nedlands
Camera IconGrouped homes under construction in Nedlands Credit: Jake Dietsch/Perth Now

The City of Nedlands approved the construction of five grouped homes, with one on the corner of a Nedlands street and the other four on the adjoining avenue, in May 2021.

Each was sold for $690,000 last year and are all currently under construction.

City staff have recommended the condition to use “either opaque material or frosted glass” be removed.

They said the “cone of vision” for the home on the corner block was confined to the street and it did not overlook any other residential property behind the street setback area.

“Passive surveillance from the balcony on to (the streetscape) is a positive outcome, as it is generally a good planning principle to promote safety through providing opportunities for ‘eyes on the street’,” staff said.

Grouped homes under construction in Nedlands
Camera IconGrouped homes under construction in Nedlands Credit: Jake Dietsch/Perth Now

Staff said the application for the other four homes “satisfies all the relevant deemed-to-comply provisions” for visual privacy and reiterated “street surveillance is seen as a positive outcome.”

One of the homeowners, Geoffrey Nathan, spoke on behalf of himself and the owners of three other homes being built.

Mr Nathan said the condition for frosted glass was placed after they had bought their homes individually and all the sales material showed clear glass.

“The builders weren’t aware that this motion (to impose frosted glass) was coming through,” he said.

Mr Nathan said it was a “matter of aesthetics” but frosted glass would cut off their natural light and view of the street.

Staff estimated it would cost the city between $30,000 to $50,000 if the council refused to remove the condition and an owner took the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal.

The council is scheduled to vote on whether or not to remove the condition at its August 23 meeting.



Perth storms: Homeowners facing massive waits for repair work on damaged houses

Homeowners trying to get storm-damaged properties repaired face massive waits as tradies are nearly impossible to hire.

The well-documented skills and supply shortages blighting the State have left people hoping to fix their houses wondering where to turn.

One roofing company said it had been inundated with 60 phone calls a day last week, while another said it was already booked out until next year.

The savage storms knocked out power to Perth Airport as well as 35,000 homes and wreaked havoc across Perth and the south-west last week, leaving a trail of damaged properties in their wake.

It’s not just homes that are affected. Canning Mosque in Queens Park was severely damaged during the storm when a large tree was uprooted and smashed into the prayer hall.



Here’s how the Inflation Reduction Act’s rebates and tax credits for heat pumps and solar can lower your energy bill

It’s not the prettiest, or even most fulfilling, part of upgrading a home. But more energy-efficient heating, cooling, power and water usage can net savings that really adds up for household budgets and for doing right by the planet.

Congressional action this weekend and into next week looks to return more incentives, mostly via tax credits and rebates, to the pockets of homeowners who opt for energy-efficient choices, replacing fossil-fuel furnaces, boilers, water heaters and stoves with high-efficiency electric options that can be powered by renewable energy.

Read: Senate passes Democrats’ big healthcare, climate and tax package after marathon session

Of course, more of the nation’s electricity grid, currently run on natural gas NG00,
along with lingering coal, and expanding wind and solar ICLN,
will have to be powered by renewable energy for home upgrades to be truly green. But, alternatives are rising in use, and home efficiency has long been considered a good place to start.

The bill, a long-fought and greatly-downsized Democrat-crafted spending bill now known as the Inflation Reduction Act, includes rebates or a tax break for qualifying consumers who add efficient heat pumps (which, despite their name, move cold air around too ), rooftop solar, electric HVAC and electric water heaters.

The IRA was passed Sunday in the Senate and now makes its way to the House next week, where it is expected to be approved by a narrow majority for Democrats in that chamber. The Republicans who have opposed the bill have done so based on disagreements, they say, with the level of spending, but also because some support US oil and gas production on the grounds of cost savings and global security. And Democrats did agree to a future look at expediting environmental approvals for fossil fuels and clean energy.

“American families need relief from Democrat policies that attack American energy, send utility bills soaring and drive up prices RB00,

at the pump,” said Sen. Barrasso, a Republican of Wyoming who is a ranking member on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Climate Nexus, an advocacy group, says a survey has shown 67% of voters support providing tax credits and other incentives to homeowners, landlords and businesses to purchase appliances that don’t use fossil fuels (such as electric water heaters, heat pumps, and electric induction cooktops).

What’s in the Inflation Reduction Act for home energy?

The legislation provides for $9 billion in total energy rebates, including the $4.28 billion High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program, which returns a rebate of up to $8,000 to install heat pumps that can both heat and cool homes, and a rebate up to $1,750 for a heat-pump water heater. Homeowners might also qualify for up to $840 to offset the cost of a heat-pump clothes dryer or an electric stove, such as a high-efficiency induction range.

Read: Gas stoves targeted as US congressman alleges consumer watchdog has sat on decades of worrisome health data

and: More and more right-leaning Americans worry about climate change, but aren’t ready to give up gas stoves

Many homes will need their electrical panels upgraded before getting new appliances, and the program offers up to a $4,000 rebate toward that initial step.

“A household with an efficient electric heat pump for space heating and cooling, a heat pump water heater, one electric vehicle and solar panels would save $1,800 a year,” says Jamal Lewis and team, writing a brief on the legislation for the organization Rewiring America.

“These savings will be reflected in lower monthly energy bills, reduced bill
volatility and a lessening of disproportionately high energy burdens within disadvantaged communities,” Lewis said. “Importantly, these savings add up — so much so that if a household invests their energy bill savings from electrifying their home appliances, these savings will grow to over $30,000 after 10 years and $140,000 after 25 years (assuming an 8% annual return). ”

There are also funds in the IRA to be claimed for smaller actions: a rebate of up to $1,600 to insulate and seal a house, and a rebate of up to $2,500 for improvements to electrical wiring.

The program, to be administered at the state level, will run through Sept. 30, 2031, and homeowners would be able to collect a maximum of $14,000 in total rebates. To qualify, household income cannot exceed 150% of the area median income.

For homeowners who do not qualify for the rebates, the IRA provides for a tax credit of up to $2,000 to install heat pumps. And, installing an induction stove or new windows and doors, for example, qualifies for tax credits up to $1,200 a year.

What are heat pumps exactly?

Electric heat pumps, which replace a furnace, for instance, are energy efficient because they don’t create heat by burning fuels but rather move it (during the heating season) from cold outdoors to warm indoors. The downsides can include upfront costs and their suitability for all regions.

Still, over its lifetime, electric heat pumps generally offer the cheapest way to cleanly heat and cool single-family homes in all but the coldest parts of the US in coming decades, according to recent research from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). In very cold places, the analysis finds, electric heat pumps with an alternative fuel backup for frigid periods minimize costs.

“Our findings are good news for consumers and for the climate. Electric heat pumps, which heat and cool, are the cheapest clean heating option for many houses, especially now that we have cold-climate models,” says Steven Nadel, report coauthor and ACEEE’s executive director.

Cold-climate models, an advance in the technology, operate efficiently at temperatures as low as 5°F. Their energy costs, however, are minimized if an alternative fuel backup kicks in when it gets colder than 5°F for long periods.

EPA Energy Star program

EPA Energy Star program

The analysis finds that higher-income households are more likely to minimize costs with electric heat pumps, because they have newer—and more likely, single-family—homes with air-conditioning and improved energy efficiency.

The group backs congressional help for low- and moderate-income households, whose homes are often the most difficult to decarbonize. Notably, ACEEE calls for help to reduce the costs of ductless electric mini-split heat pumps in multifamily buildings.

And what about solar?

The legislation revives a 30% tax credit for installing residential solar panels and extends the program until Dec. 31, 2034.

The tax credit would decline to 26% for solar panels put into service after Dec. 31, 2032 and before Jan. 1, 2034.

What’s more, homeowners who install solar battery systems with at least three kilowatt-hours of capacity would also qualify for the tax credit.

The heating-and-cooling provisions are in addition to tax credits of up to $7,500 for the purchase of a new electric vehicle TSLA,

and $4,000 for lower- and middle-income families who purchase a used EV. Early versions of this spending bill included help for e-bikes, but they are excluded in the final. Read more about those EV incentives.

Other programs

Homeowners can look beyond federal programs.

Safak Yucel, assistant professor of operations management at Georgetown University, who studies government policies relating to renewable energy and carbon emissions, said legislative uncertainty given the long slog to get this bill passed, and the risk that executive action is challenged in the courts, means that state and city incentives, and those offered by utilities, may make homeowners more assured.

“A lot of state governments, a lot of cities, they offer quite lucrative deals,” he said. “When it comes to rooftop solar, for example, Massachusetts comes to mind, which is not necessarily the sunniest of states, right, but they have quite a significant adoption of rooftop solar panels thanks to these state-level policies. I think as consumers look forward, they are more likely to see even broader involvement from state governments.”

Website EcoWatch, for instance, allows users to search by zip zode and ranks solar-friendly states.

Will incentives nudge consumer buy-in?

Broadly speaking, the new bill is meant to return more green technology manufacturing back to the US by tagging $60 billion to accelerate domestic production of solar panels, wind turbines and batteries, as well as support the critical minerals processing that are a must-have for the batteries that power EVs and help households leverage their solar power.

More domestic production could help alleviate the supply-chain issues that have hobbled markets during the COVID-19 recovery, and it could create more jobs, all of which is seen helping Americans “green up” their homes and businesses at a lower cost historically, bill proposers argue.

Biden has said the US will work to align with most major economies in the world, hitting net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and at least halving current emissions as soon as 2030.

“Electrification will play a crucial role in decarbonizing homes, but the transition will happen slowly as long as inexpensive fossil fuels are widely available,” says Lyla Fadali, an ACEEE senior researcher.

Targeting manufacturing changes can also trickle down to consumers.

“Rather than focusing on whether or not a consumer will buy into the product at this point, what we’re seeing is that the consumers’ hand is sort of going to be pushed over a certain amount of time because so many manufacturers and producers are incentivized to build more solar, more EVs and so on,” said Shannon Christensen, an attorney and a tax and accounting specialist editor with Thomson Reuters Checkpoint, an online research platform.

“When gasoline-powered vehicles came into popularity in the beginning, nobody wanted to switch from their horse and buggy. It took quite some time to get consumers at that time to go over into that new technology. And I think we’re seeing the exact same thing,” Christensen said. “But the technology is getting good enough. And Congress has made it available to lower-income folks and through tax credits. I think that you’re going to see a [demand] shift, and I think it will rise quickly.”



Rent in Australia: How ‘zombie houses’ are contributing to the country’s rental crisis

There are thousands of “zombie” houses in Australia – and they could hold the key to the country’s rental crisis.

There could even be one in your neighbourhood.

Put simply, “zombie” houses are properties that are sitting empty or are not being used 100 per cent of the time.

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“No one is renting them … no one’s living in them,” Finder money expert Rebecca Pike told

And they are widespread – last year’s census revealed there were more than 1 million unoccupied dwellings, although that was during a time when much of the country was in lockdown and borders had been closed for more than a year.

But with Australia’s rents soaring and tenants struggling to find a roof over their heads, these ominously termed properties could be pushing prices up – and taking away rental properties from desperate families.

Governments around the country are working to clamp down on zombie homes and make them available for renters, but experts say more can be done.

What is a ‘zombie’ house?

It might be a terrifying term, but the idea of ​​“zombie” houses came about in a much more benign way than their name suggests.

They can include short-term rentals and holiday homes – investors may choose to rent their property out short-term to make more money and have some flexibility.

“It seems safer to have Airbnb tenants just for a few days at a time, a week, couple of weeks – there’s less wear and tear to worry about,” Pike said.

And there’s more money to be made.

“The other side is you can just charge more money for an Airbnb. So, what you might get in a week’s rent, you can get in a weekend.”

But while there are benefits for investors, turning properties into short-term rentals means there are fewer homes up for rent, Pike said.

And that’s a problem at a time when residents have been priced out of the rental market as demand grows and rents increase – forcing some to live in their cars or stay in a caravan while they find a rental.

“Investors are putting their properties out for Airbnb, but it’s taking rental properties away from renters and that lack of … properties available to rent is driving demand and prices up,” she said.

Why landlords don’t want to change tack

Melbourne property investment adviser Goro Gupta understands the challenges of the rental crisis.

He has an Airbnb on the Gold Coast that doubles as a holiday home, and is in the process of turning a second property he owns into an Airbnb.

Gupta said he purchased the Gold Coast property – a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house – because it would have less of an impact on the rental market.

“Not all people need a four bed, two bath home for just one family,” he said.

“That’s why we purchased an Airbnb which wouldn’t really be affecting the market which is in crisis.”

He and his family fly up to the Gold Coast and use the property about every two months. Every other weekend, it’s booked out by travellers, Gupta said.

“It’s not like it’s sitting empty, it’s just empty on some of the weekdays,” he said.

“Typically, two families that want to have a family reunion or get together… at least have a house because it’s a nice four-bedroom house with a private pool.

“It’s cheaper for them to use our house than a hotel.

“With the second property, there was a long-term renter in there, but he wanted to go off and buy his own property.”

Using the property as an Airbnb generates about 10 per cent to 20 per cent more income than having a long-term rental.

“(And) it gives us the ability to use the house as a holiday house whenever we need to,” he said.

Brisbane resident Raine Gaisford knows there are struggles in the rental market, but needs her investment property listed on Airbnb.

She and her husband bought an investment property in Noosa last October, planning to use it as a holiday home that they would eventually move into – but that became too expensive with their mortgage.

Instead, they listed the property on Airbnb. It is now booked out about 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the time.

“It’s not a matter of us trying to make profit. It’s actually just about trying to pay the mortgage,” Gaisford said.

“We wouldn’t be able to service the mortgage if we didn’t have it as a short-term rental.

“We’d be making quite a significant loss … if we were to rent it out as a longer-term rental.”

The couple uses the property when they can, but need it to be rented out “for a good portion of the year in order to service (the loan)“.

What needs to be done?

While short-term rentals do contribute to the rental crisis, investors and Airbnb owners are not to blame, First National Real Estate CEO Ray Ellis said.

“You can’t blame the consumer or the property owner because they see it as an investment return,” Ellis told Money News.

“If we’ve got a good property in a regional town or close to the beach or even in inner Sydney, that’s getting $800 a week – if you can get that $1000 for the weekend, without … having long-term commitment with tenants, it’s an easy financial decision to make.”

Instead, the onus should be on state governments, Ellis said.

Across the country, local councils and state governments have introduced rules and restrictions on short-term rentals.

In Brisbane city council, owners who list residential properties on short stay websites will be hit with a 50 per cent surcharge on their current rate bill.

“Brisbane has plenty of great hotels with many more under construction, and our suburban streets were never meant to be home to mini hotels that house different tenants every week,” Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said in June.

File image of residential houses in Sydney. Credit: Getty Images

“It is my hope that instead of paying extra, many owners will return these houses and apartments to the long-term rental market, which will help ease our housing shortage.”

Across the border in NSW, owners who rent out their properties for short-term stays must register the accommodation with the state government and comply with a code of conduct.

In Greater Sydney and several regional areas, non-hosted short-term rentals – where the owner does not reside at the property – are limited to renting their property out for 180 days a year.

Still, more needs to be done to help ease the rental crisis.

“Australia hasn’t built enough houses,” Ellis said.

“As a government – state or federal – in the post-war period, the late ’50s, early ’60s, we built almost 240,000 of what we called social housing properties in those days.

“They were full and since then, no state government has made the same commitment to it.

“State governments must address it.”

Finder money expert Pike said the rental crisis is expected to get worse over the coming months and agrees it needs urgent action.

“We’re definitely seeing that demand for rental housing going up because we have so many more people coming into the country, whereas during COVID we really saw that drop,” Pike said.

“There is definitely more demand at the moment, but there’s also less supply.

“Also with the RBA cash rate, if investors are paying more for their loans, they’re potentially passing that on to renters.

Shocking moment Pitbull attacks prized horse.

Shocking moment Pitbull attacks prized horse.



Bogie shooting victims remembered as murder charges laid

The glue that held graziers Mervyn and Maree Schwarz and sons Graham and Ross Tighe together, also pulled in all those who knew them.

This magnetic orbit has been repeatedly described by shell-shocked friends and associates after the execution-style killing of three members of the family on their cattle property at Bogie, west of Bowen, this week.

“You won’t find many families as tied together and that work as hard as they did,” Queensland grazier Warren Drynan said.

A man wearing a cowboy had and a green shirt sits on the ground holding a glass bottle
Graham Tighe died after a shooting incident at a Bogie property.(Facebook)

Mr Schwarz, 71, Mrs Schwarz, 59, and son Graham John Tighe, 35, were shot dead with a rifle, allegedly by their neighbor Darryl Young, 59, at the gate of their property at Shannonvale Rd on Thursday morning.

Police allege they had met to discuss a property dispute.

Sole survivor Ross Tighe, 30, remains in hospital and is recovering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Incredibly, I have managed to escape, getting into a nearby car and driving 40 kilometers to raise the alarm.

Mr Young, a long-term resident, has been charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Four people sit in a row.  Three have their faces blurred.  The fourth is a man wearing a light blue polo shirt.
Darryl Young (right) has been charged with murder.(Supplied)

He remains in custody awaiting his first appearance before a magistrate on Monday.

The family had been at the property to muster cattle on the day of the fatal shootings.

The expansive Bogie farm where the tragic shooting happened was only purchased last year for $10 million, according to property records.

A bunch of flowers sits beside a country road.
A floral tribute was left at the intersection of Normanby and Peter Delemothe roads.(ABC News: Baz Ruddick)

It’s located just west of Bowen, halfway to the mining town of Collinsville.

The property, known as Shannonvale Station, was owned by the same family from the 1930s to the early 2000s and then had five previous owners before the Schwarz family came to town just months ago.

The 29,856-hectare Shannonvale Rd cattle property was purchased in equal shares by Mr and Mrs Schwarz and Graham Tighe.

Graham is a father of two young children, one only a few weeks old.

The ABC has been told Graham lived at the Bogie property, while Mr and Mrs Schwarz lived at another large farm at The Gums, closer to the town of Tara.

A man smiles next to a woman whose face has been blurred.
Ross Tighe is recovering in hospital.(Facebook)

That address, known as Doonkoona, comprises 1,961 hectares of grazing land on Humbug Rd, which they bought in 2016 for $2.6 million.

Ross Tighe has been living not far from Rome.

It’s understood many family members are now traveling to be with Ross as he recovers.

But with large extended families from previous marriages, Merv and Maree’s children have been left to put together the pieces, with separate family groups joining to support each other.

The family declined to speak to the ABC.

Chilling deaths against gold rush backdrop

Bogie is harsh cattle country.

Many came to the area during the gold rush in the 1800s and some residents still believe their properties could have a jackpot of gold beneath the earth.

A herd of cattle stand in a dry paddock
Bogie is described as harsh cattle country.(ABC News: Baz Ruddick)

Dirt roads and cattle grids connect properties dozens of kilometers apart.

Many boundaries are “give and take” perimeters, locals told the ABC.

Only 37 families call the 3,858 square kilometer locality — the size of Singapore, Samoa and the Maldives combined — home.

It was at the front gate of Shannonvale Station, in dense scrubby bushland an hour-and-a-half down a dirt track off the main road to Collinsville, where tragedy struck on Thursday morning.

Police tape is strung between two trees across a country road
Police cordoned off Normanby Road while investigating the shooting.(ABC News: Baz Ruddick)

Police say it was a request to meet that drew the family to the front gate along with their neighbor Mr Young.

“We understand there was a conversation that occurred the night before, which was the reason why the parties had met at the gate on the property in the morning,” Acting Superintendent Tom Armitt said.

“There was an invitation [from the alleged gunman] for them to go there.”

One local said disputes over boundaries and cattle had been going on in Bogie for “years and years and years”.

“It’s just rotten around there,” he said.

A family unit like no other

Warren Drynan bought his property at Jackson North, east of Roma, from the Schwarz family in 2014.

He said Ross and Graham had helped build some fences on the farm known as Noonga shortly after the sale.

Mr Drynan never forgot Mr and Mrs Schwarz’s hospitality and the boys’ hardworking nature.

He said the tight-knit family had long-held large parcels of farming land throughout Queensland.

Graziers said the family developed properties many thought too difficult to improve before making a profit and moving onto the next project.

“They’d take on anything,” Mr Drynan said.

“Que [Mervyn] liked doing, was finding these rundown places, clearing them, improving pastures.

“He was just that person, Merv, and Maree and the two boys, they were a family unit who worked hard and long hours.”

Even years later, Mr Schwarz would always stop and have a chat if he saw Mr Drynan at cattle meets.

“We weren’t real social friends by any means, but he was just that person that once you knew him, you could always have a yarn,” Mr Drynan said.

Other people called Mr Schwarz a “scallywag”, saying he was a joker and one of his main gags was about his signature one finger and one toe attached to his right hand after a farming accident.

“He’d always make a joke about shaking your hand,” Mr Drynan said.

“Merv was really just so happy go lucky, the sort of bloke who wore his heart on his sleeve,” another grazier from Tara recalled.

A woman cradles a baby.
Maree Schwarz has been remembered as a “lovely person”.(Facebook)

Mrs Schwarz is remembered by many as a “lovely person”.

On social media she cradles a new grandbaby with a beaming smile.

“She is beautiful,” she tells a friend in a comment.

While one of Graham’s close friends described the father-of-two as “a top bloke who was a little rough around the edges.”

“He was always up to no good, had some crazy idea and was just a bloody good horseman,” he said.

“I learned more from that family than I could even explain.”

Mr Drynan, like many graziers, was shaken by the killings.

He said the family were “not aggressive” people.

“I just I don’t know how the hell it could happen,” he said.

Mrs Schwarz’s brother-in-law, Greg Austen, said the family had previously lived at Kilcummin, near Clermont in central Queensland, and were much-loved and well-respected members of the community.

“They were terrific, down to earth typical country people,” he said.

“They were typical pumpkin scones and a few beers on a Friday people.”

Mr Austen, a councilor on the Isaac Regional Council, said his children, along with Graham and Ross, would regularly muster cattle together.

“They were very close to them,” he said.

“My family are pretty… in shock. We’ll band together and hold together.”

Sole survivor ‘up and talking’

A man and woman stand together under a wooden sign with the words "country-pub".
Ross Tighe suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen.(Facebook)

Mr Austen said it was an “amazing feat of strength and courage” from Ross to flee the scene, which ultimately led to his survival.

“It was very strong of him to do that, to go that far and raise the alarm,” he said.

Ross was flown by helicopter to the Mackay Base Hospital in a serious, but stable condition.

“He’s OK,” Mr Austen said.

“He’s not out of hospital, but he’s out of surgery. He’s up and talking.

“But he’s got a lot of difficulties ahead of him I imagine.”

Angel Flight CEO Marjorie Pagani told ABC the service would assist family members of the shooting victims to return to Mackay, at the request of Bob Katter’s office.

A road sign gives directions and distances to Bowen and Collinsville
Police were called to shoot at a property between Collinsville and Bowen.(ABC News: Baz Ruddick)

tragic story unravels

Whitsunday Regional Councilor Mike Brunker said the council would assist police in their investigation.

“I think as the story unravels, it’s going to be just a very sad, tragic story,” he said.

Burdekin MP Dale Last, whose electorate takes in Collinsville and Bogie, said nothing like this had happened in the community in recent memory.

“There are a lot of long-term residents and property owners in the area, and to think something like that could happen in their backyard, it just sent a shockwave through the entire area,” he said.

“But places like Collinsville are very resilient.”

An old rusted ute sits in long grass in a paddock
Dale Last says the rural community is in shock.(ABC News: Baz Ruddick)

He said the community had been through a lot in recent years and they banded together when times were tough.

Mr Brunker said he instantly thought of the United States of America when he heard about the shooting, not his own region.

“The last thing you think of is the Bogie community, the remote properties,” he said.

Bogie grazier Bob Gaadie said the community might be spread out, but the incident hit everyone hard.

“It might be 50 to 60 kilometers away, but it’s still your doorstep,” he said.

A police vehicle sits in the middle of a country road with police tape in the foreground
Police blocked off Normanby Road while investigating the shooting.(ABC News: Baz Ruddick)

The police investigation into the deaths is ongoing and detectives are asking anyone who may have had interactions with the alleged gunman in the past two months to contact them.

Mr Young will appear in the Proserpine Magistrates Court on Monday.



China Evergrande to get $818mn for scrapping stadium deal

Embattled Chinese property giant Evergrande has canceled a contract to build a football stadium in a southern city in return for 5.52 billion yuan ($818 million), it said in a filing.

The real estate behavior has been involved in restructuring negotiations after racking up $300 billion in liabilities in the wake of Beijing’s crackdown on excessive debt and rampant speculation in the property sector.

In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange late Thursday, Evergrande said “the group’s liquidity issue has adversely affected the development of and construction on the land” in Guangzhou.

The contract allowed for commercial and sports uses of the land for 40 years, as well as other business uses for 50 years, the filing said.

The latest refund will enter a project escrow account designated by the government and will be used to settle debts relating to the deal, Evergrande said.

Evergrande, one of China’s biggest developers, has scrambled to offload assets in recent months, with chairman Hui Ka Yan paying off some of its debts using his personal wealth.

Its troubles are emblematic of the problems rippling across China’s massive property sector, with smaller companies also defaulting on loans and others struggling to raise cash.




RBA interest rates: Otivo reveals the Perth postcodes set to be hardest hit by mortgage stress

Almost a quarter of a million WA homeowners will find themselves in the grips of mortgage stress as interest rates continue to climb, with little sign of a slowdown on the horizon.

The Reserve Bank on Tuesday announced that it would lift its official interest rate by 50 basis points to 1.85 per cent for the fourth month in a row.

The cash rate target has now increased by 1.75 percentage points since the start of May to 1.85 per cent, with the hike expected to add about $472 a month to repayments on a $500,000 loan, with Commonwealth Bank the first of Australia’s big four banks making the move to hit borrowers with the full increase.

With families across Australia already struggling under the weight of the surging cost of living, new data suggests the move will plunge 1.8 million owner-occupied mortgaged households into financial stress — including 228,621 in WA.

The new report by digital financial advice service Otivo, in partnership with Digital Finance Analytics, surveyed 52,000 households to reveal the real impact of interest rate rises on Australians with owner-occupied mortgages — with a household deemed to be under “mortgage stress” if there is more money going out than in.

The Otivo Mortgage Stress Report stated that at the end of July 2022, more than 1.7 million (or 45 per cent) of Australians were already suffering under mortgage stress.

More than 1.8 million Australians will suffer off the back of the RBA’s latest cash rate hike.

The report further predicted Tuesday’s RBA announcement would force an additional 140,839 Australians into the same boat, bringing the total to 1.8 million.

Otivo then drilled down to reveal the top three postcodes in each State or Territory expected to feel the most significant impact off the back of the latest cash rate hike.

The report revealed some of Perth’s most affluent suburbs would soon be hit with mortgage stress, with homes in some of the city’s most prestigious areas warned to curb spending and brace themselves for the bleak outlook.

An eyewatering 59 per cent (or 1760) households in postcode 6153 (Applecross, Ardross, Brentwood, Mount Pleasant) are expected to fall victim to mortgage pain, with the latest rise pushing an additional 644 homes into stress compared with July’s numbers.

Second on the list is 6152 (Como, Karawara, Manning, Salter Point, Waterford), with an extra 580 households bringing the total number of homeowners under stress to 2087.

Further south, 518 more homes in Mandurah’s 6210 postcode area (Coodanup, Dudley Park, Erskine, Falcon, Greenfields, Halls Head, Madora Bay, Mandurah, Meadow Springs, San Remo, Silver Sands, Wannanup) will take the total number in the 6210 postcode area to 3623 homeowners.

Otivo chief executive Paul Feeney said the mortgage stress report reiterated the need for Australians to seek personal financial advice, regardless of what interest rates and inflation do over the coming months.

“With Australians looking down the barrel of the rising cost of living and higher interest rates, and more than 1.8 million Australians set to be suffering from mortgage stress off the back of the RBA’s latest cash rate hike, now more than ever Australians need quality and affordable financial advice to help them stay on top of their finances,” he said.

Mr Feeney’s top tips for Australians under financial pressure due to mortgage stress

Review or create a budget—Understand what money is coming in and what money is going out. What are the non-negotiable costs (such as your mortgage, utilities, groceries and transport costs) and where can you cut back. If you want to avoid mortgage stress, you’ll need to make some small changes to your monthly spending patterns.

Understand the benefit of an offset or redraw — If you have a mortgage, put spare cash into an offset account or redraw facility. This lowers your loan balance that interest is charged on, saving you money each month.

Discuss your mortgage with your lender — If you’re concerned about interest rate rises, discuss this with your lender and understand if there is an opportunity to get a better rate. Banks are often open to helping their clients if they are under financial stress. You will have to make it up eventually but this may provide some short-term relief for your household right now.



Sydney apartment where Saudi sisters Asra and Amaal were found dead is listed for rent with a shocking disclaimer

The Sydney apartment where two sisters were found dead under mysterious circumstances has been listed for rent with a disturbing disclaimer included in the advertisement.

The bodies of Saudi sisters Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23, were discovered inside their unit at Canterbury, in Sydney’s south-west, on June 7.

Now, the “newly renovated” two bedroom apartment is up for rent again for $520 a week, with the real estate agents issuing a confronting disclaimer at the bottom of the ad.

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“Disclaimer: This property has found two deceased persons on 06/07/2022, crime scene has been established and it is still under police investigation,” the description wrote.

“According to the police, this is not a random crime and will not be a potential risk for the community.”

Mystery continues to surround the death of the asylum seeker sisters asylum seekers who arrived to Australia from Saudi Arabia in 2017.

NSW Police released the images of the two women in a press conference last week as they launched a community appeal for anyone who had any information.

Detective Inspector Claudia Allcroft said there were no visible signs of forced entry or any injuries to the bodies, which had remained in the unit for “some time”.

Authorities believe they were to have been dead for up to a month before police were called by their landlord as they were behind on rent payments.

“Detectives are interested in speaking with anyone who may have seen or who may have information about the women’s movements in the days and weeks prior to their deaths – which we believe occurred in early May,” she said last Wednesday.

Det Insp Allcroft said police have been in contact with the family of the sisters, who are in Saudi Arabia, adding that there was “nothing to suggest” they were involved in the deaths.

She refused to comment on the visa status of both women and said no information suggested the sisters had fled their home country.

Post mortem examinations have been conducted, however, police are still awaiting a coroner’s report and toxicology results.