The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2021-07-25T22:25:16Z First-home buyer regional hotspots revealed 2021-07-25T22:25:16Z first-home-buyer-regional-hotspots-revealed First-home buyers are riding a regional house hunting wave and now exclusive data reveals just where they are starting their homeowner journey in NSW. New analysis by InfoTrack, innovators in legal and conveyancing technology, demonstrates that over the past 12 months first-home buyers in regional NSW have mostly sat in one of two camps. They are overwhelmingly interested in locations within a part-time commutable distance of Sydney, or close to a thriving regional airport. “The data indicates there is plenty of action and some refreshing standouts to speak about. Our May and June data tells us that the hottest suburbs are still those outer western suburbs of Sydney like Austral and Marsden Park. However, in the regions there is a lot more variety in the types of suburbs that first-home buyers are going for,” says John Ahern, Chief Executive Officer of InfoTrack. The most popular regional location for first-home buyers during FY21 was Hamlyn Terrace, near Wyong on the Central Coast, 113kms north of Sydney and 72kms from Newcastle. The sought-after suburb, which incorporates Wyong Hospital and is close to Tuggerah Lake, has a median three-bedroom house price of $540,000. 10 hottest regional suburbs:   Suburb                                   Median $ 3-bed houses                    Dist. from Sydney Hamlyn Terrace                      $540,000                                                         113kms Wagga Wagga                        $435,000                                                         459kms Greater Gosford                      $575,000                                                         85kms Dubbo                                     $350,000                                                         390kms Bathurst                                  $425,000                                                         200kms Tamworth                                $386,000                                                         414kms Rutherford                               $418,000                                                         179kms Cameron Park                        $525,000                                                         155kms Albury                                      $620,000                                                         554kms Wallsend                                 $530,000                                                         159kms * Data from domain.com.au “What is interesting is that Wagga Wagga is the next hottest area in the regions for first-home buyers. Although it’s far from Sydney, the median price for a 3-bedroom property there is $435,000 - and that comes with plenty of land too,” Mr Ahern adds. Despite being 460kms from the state capital, Wagga Wagga is home to a well-serviced airport with an approximate 1-hour flight time to Sydney. The bronze medal goes to the Greater Gosford area, a regional hub also on the Central Coast halfway between Sydney and Newcastle where the median house price is $575,000. “Also on the Central Coast, Gosford is further south and closer to Sydney than Hamlyn Terrace - and it’s a bit more expensive too - but that’s likely due to its proximity to the city,” he says. Dubbo, Bathurst and Tamworth place 4th, 5th and 6th on the list and are all more than 200kms from Sydney’s CBD. InfoTrack’s data also shows that Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Tamworth rank more highly with first-home buyers than middle to outer ring Sydney suburbs such as Blacktown and Penrith. "Now these are true regional areas that don’t need proximity to Sydney because they have formed their own regional centres. All three have major hospitals and airports, plus Dubbo and Bathurst offer easy access to on-campus universities too,” Mr Ahern explains. Although placing ninth on the list, Mr Ahern says Albury on the NSW state border was a stand out location according to InfoTrack’s latest analysis.  “The newest data gives us insight to the last financial year and we can see some regional areas have experienced a real shift in demand. This time last year first-home buyers in Albury were in the single digits, now we’re seeing almost three times as many making purchases in that postcode,” he said, adding that given Albury sits on the Victorian border some buyer interest could be attributed to migration from areas which endured extended lockdowns throughout 2020. Since the arrival of Covid-19, most Australian regional housing markets have experienced unprecedented boom conditions as dwelling values have out-performed metropolitan markets. Over the 12 months to April, combined regional housing values climbed by 13 per cent, while capital city home values rose by just 6.4 per cent, CoreLogic data shows. Despite that sustained growth, regional NSW still offers first-home buyers more square metre bang for their buck than in Greater Sydney. While Sydney’s median house price has risen to $994,298, the median price for a house in regional NSW is significantly lower at $586,982. The 2021 landscape for first-home buyers might have changed since mid-2020 when historically low interest rates, little to no investor competition due to Covid-19, and the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder Grant were all in play. And although the highly popular HomeBuilder program ceased in April, Mr Ahern points out that there are still active schemes out there to help first-home buyers to get on the property ladder. The New Home Guarantee (formerly the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme) has been extended with an additional 10,000 places available from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022. The scheme means first-time purchasers can avoid paying Lender’s Mortgage Insurance and get into a loan with as little as 5% deposit. There is also the First Home Owner’s Grant, a $10,000 package for those purchasing or building a new home, plus the First Home Buyer Assistance Scheme which allows eligible purchasers to apply for an exemption or reduction of transfer duty. “These home buyer schemes are often capped on purchase price and unfortunately those price caps are too easily reached in Sydney so first-home buyers are looking for options elsewhere. They also encourage first-time purchasers to take up home and land packages and one way to do that is to head to the regions where there’s more space.” - Ends - Notes to editors For more information about InfoTrack, visit: infotrack.com.au For all media enquiries or to organise an interview with InfoTrack CEO John Ahern, please contact Sandra Falzon on 0431 703 969 or Sandra.falzon@infotrack.com.au About InfoTrack: InfoTrack is the leading innovator in legal technology and pioneers of property conveyancing automation in Australia. InfoTrack’s integrated platform has been supporting over 8,000 businesses with technology adoption for over 21 years enabling clients to find, analyse, organise and communicate information more efficiently. InfoTrack’s wealth of data, deep knowledge and expertise of the Australian legal and conveyancing industry is your barometer for property activity from contract creation through to settlement. Postcodes proving to be hot property among first-home buyers 2021-05-10T23:33:50Z postcodes-proving-to-be-hot-property-among-first-home-buyers New research into property purchaser behaviour has unveiled the top spots in NSW favoured by first-home buyers over the past 12 months. The analysis also highlights behaviour throughout the first quarter of 2021 during a post-pandemic surge in homebuyer activity. InfoTrack has collated its latest conveyancing data insights for the year to April 2021 and can reveal that suburbs in Sydney’s outer ring attracted the greatest number of first-home buyers during what was an unprecedented year for the global economy and local property markets alike. CEO of InfoTrack, John Ahern, said the research told a story of first-home buyer resilience. “It’s an interesting time and everybody’s wondering in a market where prices are being pushed so high, what does that mean for first-home buyers?” he said. “In March 2021 we saw a 25 per cent increase in first-home buyer activity in NSW. And a similar lift in November and December of 2020 last year. So it's a really positive sign,” Mr Ahern said. “What is promising is that first-home buyer activity is still 40 per cent more active than in April 2020,” he continued. Although April had seen a slight decline in first-home buyer activity, Mr Ahern concluded that could simply be down to the timing of public holidays. “April is a shorter month, and we did see a short decline of about 10 per cent. But there are still many very positive signs for first-home buyers in this market. Top 10 first home buyer suburbs (Jan 1 to April 30, 2021) Suburb                                                 12-month median house price             Distance from CBD Marsden Park (2765)                                                    $829,000                                  53kms Austral (2179)                                                              $715,000                                  50kms Oran Park (2570)                                                          $742,000                                  60kms Schofields (2762)                                                         $855,000                                  53kms Campbelltown (2560)                                                   $623,000                                  57kms Liverpool (2170)                                                          $741,000                                  39kms Wagga Wagga (2650)                                                   $443,250                                  459kms Greystanes                                                                  $870,000                                  28kms Hamlyn Terrace (2259)                                                $650,000                                  112kms Gosford (2250)                                                             $557,500                                  84kms *Price data source: realestate.com.au    Where first-home buyers are headed According to InfoTrack’s exclusive data, first-time buyers largely sought out neighbourhoods that offered more affordability compared with Sydney’s inner and middle ring suburbs. The most popular postcodes were also areas that allowed buyers to build brand new homes, a path to homeownership that was spurred on by the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder grant. The COVID-inspired scheme, which launched in June 2020 and finished in April 2021, offered all homebuyers $25,000 (then $15,000) to build or renovate a home. Marsden Park, which sits 49kms north west of Sydney’s CBD was the most in-demand suburb for first-home buyers. “The average sale price in Marsden Park is around $829,000. It has recreational parks, views of the Blue Mountains and access to a railway station, and that's a common thing first-home buyers look for; a great place to live and access to infrastructure,” Mr Ahern said. Austral, a suburb located 50kms south west of the CBD and with a median house price of $715,000, was the second most sought after neighbourhood. “Austral is about $100,000 less than Marsden Park, but it has potential as the airport is going in next door and you’re able to build a larger house. Whether you’re buying or building a house in post-COVID times, people are looking for more space and they can get that in Austral,” he said.   The return of the first-home buyer While the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder Scheme has now finished, a new program is underway for single parents buying their first home. Soon single parents may be able to purchase a new home with a deposit of only two per cent under a new federal scheme. Tom Panos, NSW Auctioneer and partner of InfoTrack’s Securexchange – Australia's fast, secure property exchange website - said despite rising dwelling prices across the state, first-time purchasers are still out house hunting. “What I’m seeing in relation to first-home buyer activity in today’s property market is that it’s at an all-time high, and I’m assuming that FOMO (fear of missing out) is the biggest driver,” he said, adding that the stars had aligned for those hoping to get their first foot on the property ladder. “Many first-home buyers were happy renting, but have now changed direction and want to buy because even with rent reductions, interest rates are so low that it’s cheaper to buy than to rent,” Mr Panos said. And where they are looking, he said, lines up with InfoTrack’s latest conveyancing data. “I haven’t seen a significant trend in buying property outside of metro Sydney, apart from the central coast. First-home buyers are most definitely buying in the north west and south west suburbs of Sydney.” Notes to editors For more information about InfoTrack, visit: infotrack.com.au For all media enquiries or to organise an interview with InfoTrack CEO John Ahern, please contact Sandra Falzon on 0431 703 969 or Sandra.falzon@infotrack.com.au Tom Panos, leading real estate influencer partners with Securexchange 2021-02-08T23:16:43Z tom-panos-leading-real-estate-influencer-partners-with-securexchange Today, Securexchange is proud to announce that leading real estate influencer Tom Panos is the new ambassador of Securexchange. Panos, who is Australasia’s number one real estate coach and trainer, opened his own real estate office at 22 years of age and has been immersed in the industry for over 30 years.   Panos chose to align with Securexchange after he saw the value to Real Estate Agents in increasing efficiencies and getting their property on the market sooner.   At his regular Sunday rant on Facebook, Tom Panos said “Securexchange will make your next property sale faster, easier, better. Securexchange is the fastest way to get a Contract of Sale, you don’t need to be messing around for 5-6 days. It’s so simple.”   In one secure platform, Securexchange allows Real Estate Agents to initiate a Contract request to their preferred lawyer or conveyancer. Mobile technology allows agents to have the Contract electronically signed and exchanged in moments. This creates a point of difference for agents when competing for listings.   Lee Bailie, Head of Securexchange said, “We’re excited to be teaming up with Tom Panos to bring Securexchange to a broad network of real estate agents. The days of driving around Contracts, seeking wet signatures is over. Agents can now sign and exchange their Contract of Sale electronically which saves them time, meaning they can take on more clients.”   Securexchange is a complimentary service which also guarantees up to $500k if any online deposit is exchanged in platform, protecting it from cyber theft. This protects an agent’s commission and reputation.   The partnership will see Panos and Securexchange work together to bring secure and simple technology to real estate agents, helping them leave behind competitors and work faster, harder and more efficiently for their clients. ABOUT TOM PANOS He opened his own real estate office at 22 years of age and has been immersed in the industry for over 30 years. With a Masters degree in Management and Coaching Psychology, he teaches agents how to attract business and not just chase it. https://tompanos.com.au/ ABOUT SECUREXCHANGE Securexchange is a new standard in property exchanges, powered by award winning technology company InfoTrack. Securexchange is a simple and secure mobile website that enables you to exchange information about a property transaction in a safe place, away from the prying eyes of hackers. It gives all parties peace of mind and transparency during the lead up to exchange and guarantees your deposit funds. https://www.securexchange.com.au/ Lawyers feel the ugly side of the Australian tech “sell-out” 2021-02-04T07:21:53Z lawyers-feel-the-ugly-side-of-the-australian-tech-sell-out 4.02.2021: Sydney: With the Australian Financial Review’s StreetTalk article revealing that Canadian- based Dye & Durham is looking to acquire Australian legal tech business GlobalX just weeks after announcing the acquisition of SAI Global’s Australian Property division, are we seeing the ugly side of Australian Legal Tech? John Ahern, CEO of leading Australian legal-tech provider InfoTrack, has today released a critical statement questioning the state of the Australian legal tech industry and companies ‘selling out’ instead of investing in home-grown innovation. “Make no mistake – time and time again we see Australian technology companies for sale,” said Ahern. In 2019, the Australian technology sector recorded approximately $5 billion in exports growing by just 0.9% from 2017. As our relationship with China and the rest of the world is changing, Australians need to consider the effect on our economy as the vast majority of our exports come from exporting goods to China and natural resources to the rest of the world. While the Australian Technology sector is widely considered to be capable of offsetting some loss in exports over time, we are a long way from achieving this. There are of course some exceptions, stand-out performances from the likes of Atlassian and Canva come immediately to mind. “Australian technology companies prefer to “sell-out” rather than export. This “sell-out” is a fundamental problem for our country as it erodes our long-term export potential and as the intellectual property ownership moves offshore, it stifles future local innovation opportunities.” When publicly listed companies acquire, they look for synergies.  These synergies invariably mean jobs losses, movement of operational control offshore and countless other negative impacts on the economy. “If we want the Australian economy to thrive, we need to stop the “sell-outs” and start looking to build strong, Australian technology companies that compete in this evolving market and then export rather than sell off, the resulting great innovative products and services to the rest of the world.” “Exporting will grow our economy, protect our data and nurture future innovation.” Overseas entities are on the hunt for great technology and Australia has it in abundance. A more agile economy, the hard-working Australian technology work ethic and the rapid digital evolution of the Legal Industry over the last 5 years has yielded the technological equivalent to an Australian gold mine. Foreign companies are looking to buy an Australian client base, their data and the platforms which support them. Dye & Durham acquired SAI Global’s property division in January 2021 for CA$87M. If the acquisition of GlobalX is to go ahead, a substantial amount of the Australian legal sectors will find their data under the control of this North American based company. “The problem with selling out,” Ahern explained, “is that law firms and banks suddenly find their service and more importantly their data is now owned and operated by an offshore foreign entity.” Ahern is calling on others to join the discussion about “buying local”.  This should not just apply to Arnott’s biscuits, Speedo, and RM Williams, it should apply to Australian Technology, especially in the Legal Technology sector. “It’s not uncommon for law firms to actively search for tech that keeps their data Australian-based for privacy, security and regulatory reasons. When a firm suddenly find foreign entities own their Australian tech vendor mid-contract, this is a big problem for them.” InfoTrack named 4th Most Innovative Technology Company 2020-10-08T07:05:10Z infotrack-named-4th-most-innovative-technology-company InfoTrack has again been named a leading innovator in technology on the 2020 Australian Financial Review (AFR) BOSS Most Innovative Companies List across Australia and New Zealand for its video verification of identity solution, WebVOI.   The prestigious annual list, published by The Australian Financial Review and Boss Magazine, ranks InfoTrack fourth, against hundreds of technology organisations across Australia and New Zealand. The award measures top innovation initiatives implemented in the last 12 months.  InfoTrack CEO, John Ahern says “We are honoured to be named Most Innovative Company again for the second year running. The fourth-place ranking brings us up six places from 10th in 2019 for our property innovation Securexchange.”    InfoTrack’s award submission featured their remote video solution WebVOI as a leading innovation. In November 2019, InfoTrack launched remote video WebVOI, which was originally developed to help firms move matters forward to verify the identity of their clients when clients were on holidays or couldn’t make a face to face meeting.  Mr Ahern says “This award represents our commitment to developing innovative solutions that anticipate the changing needs of our clients, and through COVID-19, our innovation became a necessity overnight. Social distancing and remote working meant that lawyers, conveyancers and financiers were unable to complete identity verification checks face to face, and as such, at the height of COVID-19, usage of WebVOI grew 260% and this growing trend continues.”  WebVOI is an important innovation to combat the rising trend in cyber-crime and identity theft. The cloud-based solution has been purpose-built to verify a person’s identity remotely and securely by allowing them to safely upload copies of their identity documents for checking. Using Optical Character Recognition, the data is checked against the Australian Government’s Document Verification System while facial recognition and video ‘liveness’ detection checks are also being done at the same time.  “We are proud to continually support the legal profession and be rewarded for our commitment to innovation,” Ahern commented. “We will continue to innovate so our clients can use secure and efficient digital solutions to service their clients anywhere, at any time.” Award-winning technology protects property purchases from cyber theft 2020-10-07T23:00:32Z award-winning-technology-protects-property-purchases-from-cyber-theft October is Cyber Security Awareness Month and Securexchange is the property industry’s answer to fighting cyber-fraud. Today, Securexchange has won the prestigious Australian Business Award for New Product Innovation, highlighting the need for law firms, conveyancers and real estate agents to be aware of the risks of cybercrime and what they need to do to keep themselves and their clients safe. The Australian Business Awards recognise world-class business initiatives, projects, products and services. The award recipients are the elite of their industry earning a place amongst a distinguished group. Securexchange, powered by InfoTrack, is designed to stop the need to share account details and important property documentation via unsecured SMS and emails. This is the second time Securexchange has been recognised as an award-winning innovative technology, taking home the AFR’s Top 10 Most Innovative Technology in August 2019. Lee Bailie, Head of Securexchange said, “We are delighted Securexchange has been recognised once again as innovative for Australian businesses. We developed it to help our clients navigate digital challenges and it has proved invaluable during COVID-19.” “This award comes at a good time,” Bailie continued, “October is Cyber Security Awareness Month and Securexchange provides a safe and secure environment for lawyers, conveyancers and real estate agents to sign and exchange electronic Contracts of Sale as well as share account information and transfer property funds.” Over the last 12 months, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received reports of cybercrime every 10 minutes. In just 17 days between March 10 and 26th, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACSC received complaints for over 45 pandemic-focused scams alone.  The most common category of cybercrime reported in Australia was fraud (39.9%), followed by identity-related crimes (32.4%) and cyber abuse (22.1%). InfoTrack has also won the Australian Business Awards for Employer of Choice and Service Excellence. This is the fourth year running InfoTrack has won the ABA for Employer of Choice. This strengthens InfoTrack’s position as a great place to work after being ranked in the top 25 Great Places to Work 2020 Australia in July. This is InfoTrack’s third time winning the Service Excellence award. These three awards reflect InfoTrack’s position as Australia’s leading legal tech innovator. Bailie explained, “We are excited to be awarded these honours and promise to keep building smart technology that makes our client’s lives more productive and efficient.” InfoTrack named finalist in Best Legal Tech Project award for Transition to e-Conveyancing Care Package 2020-09-16T08:28:52Z infotrack-named-finalist-in-best-legal-tech-project-award-for-transition-to-e-conveyancing-care-package InfoTrack has been recognised as a finalist at the inaugural YBF Venture’s Startup and Innovation Awards 2020.  The awards acknowledge and celebrate the startups, scaleups and global leaders that are innovating during the pandemic-induced crisis of 2020. In each industry category, a small, elite list of innovators were recognised. InfoTrack’s Transition to e-Conveyancing COVID-19 Care Package ranked as a finalist for Best LegalTech Project, Product or Pivot. The Care Package has assisted many lawyers and conveyancers to transition to remote working during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. InfoTrack CEO John Ahern said, “We’re excited to be ranked as a finalist for our Care Package. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, our aim was to assist our clients with transitioning to digital processes as quickly as possible. Overnight, legal technology became a necessity as lawyers and conveyancers could no longer meet clients face to face. They needed smart technology solutions to help them maintain business as usual.” YBF Ventures explicitly acknowledged InfoTrack’s e-signing solution SignIT, as supporting lawyers and conveyancers to continue business as usual. The number of cost agreements, electronic contracts and other legal documents being electronically signed increased significantly during COVID-19 as lawyers and conveyancers have reduced capacity to meet clients in person. InfoTrack has a strong history for their leading legal technology innovations. In 2019, InfoTrack took home awards for Most Innovative Company, Employer of Choice, Service Excellence and Best Managed Company. “Creating the Care Package was our way of supporting our clients through a challenging time,” Ahern explained. “We wanted to make sure they knew they could access our cloud-based solutions anywhere at any time.” We’re very grateful for this recognition,” Ahern continued. “Accolades like this inspire us to continue to service the legal industry well. We promise to continue to develop smart, innovative technology to help our clients remain productive and efficient.” InfoTrack named Great Place to Work in 2020 2020-07-22T01:13:12Z infotrack-named-great-place-to-work-in-2020 InfoTrack has been named as a top 50 Great Place to Work Australia in an online awards ceremony overnight. InfoTrack has been ranked in the top 50 in the 100-999 employees category, against hundreds of nominated organisations across Australia. The prestigious annual list, published by Great Place to Work Australia, is based on survey results of employees from around the country benchmarked against other participating organisations. This year, the award recognises organisations who have stayed connected whilst being physically distanced. InfoTrack CEO John Ahern said of the win, “We are delighted to sit amongst the top 50 Great Places to Work. This is a testament to the efforts every InfoTrack team member has put into fostering our number one company value - to care about what we do and the people we work with.” InfoTrack has always maintained an energetic, collaborative culture. During COVID-19, the leading legal technology innovator rose to the challenge of remote work fostering employee wellbeing and connectivity during challenging times. Some initiatives include; continuing monthly company celebrations via Zoom for individuals’ achievements, Martial Mondays and SweatIT – weekly group exercise meetings, InfoTrack’s got Talent and trivia nights. InfoTrack also implemented fortnightly open forums, allowing each department to share key wins and for all to engage in Q&As with the CEO directly. “We are proud to be rewarded for our commitment to employee satisfaction, engagement and wellbeing,” Ahern commented. “During COVID-19, our Net Promoter Score was at the highest it’s ever been. This means our clients are seeing just how engaged and eager our teams are to assist. Happy people equals innovative ideas, which in turn assists our clients to be more productive and efficient.”