Superannuation assets rise 15.5% to $1.62 trillion

Australian Advisory Service

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) last week released its June quarter superannuation statistics. For the 12 months ending 30 June 2013 APRA estimates that total superannuation assets rose by $217.2 billion or 15.5% to $1.62 trillion.

In terms of allocations, APRA estimated that at 30 June public sector funds held $356.8 billion, industry funds $323.2 billion, corporate funds $61.7 billion and retail funds $422.4 billion.

For investors in listed fund managers such as AMP (ASX: AMP) or Perpetual (ASX: PPT), APRA’s latest statistics provide a mixed message. On the one hand there appears to be a trend towards industry funds with the estimated growth in industry fund assets at 3.8% far outstripping the growth in retail funs assets of just 1.8%. A shift to industry funds is not great news for external fund managers as many industry funds are increasingly recruiting and building their own in-house investment management teams…

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Australia’s most clicked on suburbs

THE suburbs potential buyers are honing in on most have been revealed.

Australia’s largest property site has named its top ten suburbs with home hunters for the past quarter.

For the second quarter in a row, South Australia has been named the most popular state for potential buyers, with Victoria close behind. receives about 20 million visits every month, providing statistical insight into which suburbs people are wanting to buy and rent in.

Leafy Victorian suburb Surrey Hills has gained popularity, moving from seventh position to second on the national list, over the last three months.

There are six newcomers -Walkerville, Aldgate, Fitzroy North, Oyster Bay, Wantirna and Bondi, with the South Australian suburb of Walkerville re-entering in third position after falling off the top sellers’ list in the March quarter.

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Breaking Australia’s love affair with the lump sum

As the population ages, Australia’s three-pillar retirement system will find itself under unprecedented pressure. According to MTAA Super chief executive Leeanne Turner, over the next decade about four million Australians will retire. An integral part of dealing with this will involve moving away from lump sum super payments and towards income streams. This will almost certainly demand bold policy changes.

“The discussion comes about because of a matter of fact: the ageing population. We can’t put our heads in the sand,” Turner told Financial Standard. If superannuation does not do what it is meant to – provide for people’s retirement – the pressure on the Age Pension will be too great. “We can’t assume the Age Pension can stay in its current format,” she said.

Lump sum payments have traditionally been the most popular form of super payment, particularly among superannuants with account balances of under $40,000. In 2000, 65% of retirees received their superannuation exclusively in a lump sum rather than an income stream. By 2007, this figure had gone down to 47%. While this demonstrates a decline, the figure is still too large to be sustainable.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) chief executive Pauline Vamos has advocated a “stick and carrot” approach, rather than a cap.

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How to beat the taxman – the legitimate way

TAXPAYERS are gifting the Government billions of dollars a year by failing to claim legitimate deductions – it’s enough to make Kerry Packer turn in his grave.
The billionaire once told a parliamentary committee that “if anybody in this country doesn’t minimise their tax, they want their heads read, because as a government, I can tell you you’re not spending it that well that we should be donating extra”.
But donating extra we are.
News Limited analysis reveals workers offset 5.59 per cent of their income in 2005-06 but only 4.76 per cent in 2010-11, the most recent financial year for which ATO data is available.
Had we kept up that 2005-06 level we would have claimed $37 billion of deductions in 2010-11 instead of just $31.5 billion.
On this basis the average taxpayer dudded themselves of $436 in deductions and a potential refund of $131 for those on a 30 per cent marginal tax rate.
Reasons for the decline include the increasing complexity of the system, poorer record keeping by taxpayers – and more DIY returns.
ITP regional director Scott Bailey said people were getting worse at claiming deductions.
“I think they miss out on a lot,” Mr Bailey said.
H&R Block regional director Frank Brass said: “It comes down to a lack of knowledge. People don’t really know what they can claim. But they think they do.”
The Federal Government is banking on us doing an even poorer job into the future.

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Sydney’s auction clearance rates hit new high

Killer Investor

Volatile sharemarkets, low returns on fixed income and low interest rates contributed to clearance rates of more than 80 per cent in Sydney property auctions, some of the highest rates since the financial crisis.

Buying was particularly strong in the $1 million to $1.5 million range but continued to be flat in the prestige market. A three-bedroom terrace in Randwick was the most expensive sale at $1.8 million, Australian Property Monitors said. “The Sydney market is being energised,” said Andrew Wilson, APM’s senior economist, who estimated more than half the sales are by investors, many of whom are seeking capital growth from property in their ­self-managed superannuation funds.

Other auction monitors also had Sydney’s clearance rates at four-year highs.

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Foreign investors target Aussie hotels

The focus of international and regional commercial property investors is on Australian and Japanese hotels, according to property researchers Savills.
This is due to both countries currently offering generous capitalisation rates, supported by deep and liquid markets, which enable high transaction volumes, said Savills.
Capitalisation is the ratio between operating income and cost.
Japan remains one of the principal investment markets in the Asian Pacific, contributing 22% of total commercial property transactions in the region so far this year, said Savills.
Australia recorded $210m worth of investment transactions between April and June, representing a 67% increase over the first quarter.
Domestic investors represented half the total volume of transactions over the last six months, however the major hotel assets yet to be sold are expected to be acquired by Southeast Asian investors, including Koreans and Singaporeans.
These buyers continue to have a strong appetite for Australian assets, according to Savills.


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The importance of functional design in CBD residential markets

While a city apartment is not a new idea, Sydney’s Astor dates back to 1923, it has only been over the past two decades that CBD living has attracted big numbers of residents.

That growth is going to continue as CBD markets evolve to offer ever more clearly defined precincts, neighbourhoods and project diversity.

And just like other areas spread across a major metropolis these various sub-markets present rich marketing opportunities.

How we label these sub-markets as: villages, neighbourhoods or burrows, does not really matter, but what does matter is what aspects attract buyers. Then over time how the ‘locals’ fashion these areas to create their own rich local communities.

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