Brisbane has had seen cranes over the city for several years as demand for inner city units surged. Apartment prices were expected to fall due to high supply. Picture: Richard Walker.IT’S a perfect storm for first home buyers whose numbers are surging with house prices forecast to rise just 0.7 per cent, units to go backwards and both investors and foreign buyers being shut out of the market.The latest Big Four bank survey has found that first home buyers have hit a new high, spurred on by a five-year low in foreign buyers and falling prices, especially in Sydney and the Brisbane unit market.The latest National Australia Bank Quarterly Australian Residential Property Survey released this morning said housing market sentiment was positive even if confidence had waned.Of the major eastern states, sentiment was down in Victoria and New South Wales — with Sydney expected to see a fall in prices for the first time in seven years — but “Queensland was largely unchanged”.The NAB Residential Property Index was sitting at above average levels, holding steady at +20 in the fourth quarter 2017.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus21 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market21 hours agoHouse prices were forecast to rise 0.7 per cent this year nationally.NAB has forecast an increase of only 0.7 per cent in house prices nationally in 2018 (previously 3.4 per cent), with 2019 to also see muted levels of growth at 0.8 per cent.Apartments were expected to underperform because of high stock levels and a fall in foreign demand, with unit prices forecast to fall 0.9 per cent this year (previously +0.5 per cent), and decline a further 1.8 per cent next year.“By capital city, house price growth is forecast to be solid in Melbourne and Hobart, followed by Brisbane and Adelaide. Perth is expected to stabilise, marking the beginning of a gradual turnaround for the market, while we expect to see a fall in Sydney prices for the first time since 2011.” High supply levels were expected to see apartment prices fall in Brisbane, Sydney and soon Melbourne as well. Picture: Mark Calleja.The survey found that first home buyers, especially those who planned to be owner occupiers, were at new highs accounting for a third of established market sales and almost 40 per cent of those in new housing.It said foreign buyers levels had hit a six-year low in the new property market, making up 8.4 per cent of sales in the fourth quarter 2017. They had also hit a five-year of 5.5 per cent in the established housing market.NAB chief economist Alan Oster said “clearly, the efforts of policymakers both domestic and offshore to stem the tide of foreign capital entering Australian property markets are bearing fruit”. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK
Dutch offshore shipbuilder Damen has completed the purchase of the Verolme shipyard from Singapore’s largest rig builder, Keppel Offshore & Marine.Keppel said on Saturday that the company’s shipyard in the Netherlands was sold to Damen Shipyards Group for a total consideration of EUR 23.5 million ($26.75 million).The company added that the total consideration was agreed on a willing buyer willing seller basis taking into account Keppel Verolme’s expected net asset value at the close of the transaction and the shipyard’s position in the Netherlands ship repair and conversion market.As a result of the sale, Keppel Verolme has ceased to be a subsidiary of Keppel with immediate effect.The sale is part of Keppel’s efforts to optimize its operations and rationalize its global network of yards in line with its business needs. When Offshore Energy Today first reported about the sale on April 10, Damen said that the acquisition of the Verolme Shipyard in Rotterdam would mark the next step in strengthening its repair and conversion activities within the regional ship repair and conversion market.Keppel also said in Saturday’s statement that the transaction would not have any material impact on the net tangible assets and earnings per share of Keppel Corporation for the financial year ending December 31, 2017.In a separate statement, Damen said that, as of July 1, the Keppel Verolme Shipyard, including its 250 staff members, would continue operations under the Damen flag.Durk-Jan Nederlof, managing director of Damen Shiprepair & Conversion, said: “We look forward to joining forces with the Verolme yard and its people. The facilities and personnel are complementary to our existing organization. This acquisition will enable us to serve our existing clients even better while opening up new opportunities.”The Verolme yard, located in Rotterdam’s Botlek harbor, has three dry docks – the largest of which measures 405 x 90 meters – and almost 2 kilometers of quay capacity. Damen Shiprepair & Conversion already operates eight repair and conversion yards in the Netherlands and another eight abroad.
BROOKVILE, Ind. – A Brookville man will have an extended prison stay after being sentenced this week for his role in a Tri-State Ponzi scheme.Jerry Smith, of Brookville, pleaded guilty in Franklin County Circuit Court last month to five felony counts of criminal securities fraud.Investigators say Smith, and co-conspirator Jason Snelling, ran an $8.9 million scheme selling unregistered investments while working for OneAmerica Securities.Instead of investing clients’ money as promised, the pair used the funds to pay for personal expenses, authorities said.Smith was sentenced this week to 20 years in prison and 20 years on probation. The judge ordered he pay $410,189 in restitution.Jail time will run concurrently with the 65-month federal jail sentence Smith is serving for mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion, related to the Ponzi scheme.Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s Prosecution Assistance Unit assisted in the investigation.“Smith’s actions were deplorable and I’m pleased we were able to add additional jail time to his sentence,” said Secretary Lawson. “He took advantage of people who knew and trusted him. Plus, he never registered his products as required by law. This combination is typical of what we see in so many Ponzi schemes. I encourage all investors to protect themselves by checking with my office before investing, even if you know the person.”Securities Commissioner Carol Mihalik commented, “I would like to thank Franklin County Prosecutor Mel Wilhelm for his continued work on this case.”“Our offices have been collaborating on this case for almost five years now. Thanks to the continued cooperation between state and local officials, we have been able to hold Smith accountable for his actions and maximize his sentence.”