Month: September 2020

UK occupational pension members increase for first time since recession

first_imgHazel Clarke, a statistician at the ONS, said: “The reference date for the figures is April 2013, so that’s only six months since auto-enrolment began.“Furthermore, only the biggest companies – those with 6,000 or more employees – had to put plans for auto-enrolment in place by April 2013. And those intending to use a DB scheme were able to delay this.”She added: “Furthermore, the reforms are not happening in isolation, and other factors such as employment, disposable household income levels and attitudes to saving for retirement would also affect membership and contribution rates.”Nevertheless, the ONS said the increase in active membership was likely to be due to the introduction of automatic enrolment in both the public and private sectors, with active membership increasing from 5.1m to 5.3m in the public sector, and 2.7m to 2.8m in the private sector.It also said some of the drop in active membership of private sector occupational pension schemes in previous years can be accounted for by the growth in the number of employees contributing to group personal pensions.Fewer than 1% of employees had a group personal pension in 1997; by 2013, this had risen to nearly 12%.Meanwhile, contribution rates for private sector defined benefit (DB) schemes, excluding deficit reduction payments, remained higher than for defined contribution (DC) schemes.For private sector DB schemes, the average contribution rate was 5.2% of pensionable earnings for members, and 15.4% for employers.For private sector DC schemes, the average contribution rate was 2.9% for members and 6.1% for employers.But within the latter type of scheme, employer contributions have fallen from 6.6% in 2012.The ONS said this could have been caused by the phasing in of minimum levels for employer and employee contributions, part of the government’s workplace pension reforms, which will last until 2018.It said this might mean an increase in the number of new members starting on the minimum rates, pulling down the average rate.But it added that the fall might also be due to employers reducing contributions into existing pensions – referred to as “levelling down”.Meanwhile, in private sector career average schemes, average employer contribution rates were lower than for DB schemes as a whole.In 2013, the rate for career average schemes was 12%, compared with 15.4% for all DB schemes.Average member contribution rates in career average schemes were fairly similar to the average rate for all DB schemes (5.4% and 5.2%, respectively).The figures also show that, between 2011 and 2013, employer rates for DB schemes have risen slightly, from 14.2% to 15.4% of pensionable earnings.The ONS said that, although deficit reduction payments as single payments were excluded from the estimates, it may be that schemes increase their regular contribution rates to minimise deficits and/or the risk of falling into deficit. Membership of UK occupational pension schemes has risen for the first time since 2008, reaching 27.9m in April 2013 – an increase of 300,000 over the year before – according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).Active membership rose slightly from 7.8m in 2012 to 8.1m in 2013, following a slow but steady decline from 1991 to 2012, and there were increases for both the private and public sector.In addition, there were an estimated 9.6m pensions in payment and 10.2m preserved pension entitlements, with some individuals falling into more than one category.However, although membership has not soared following the introduction of auto-enrolment in October 2012, implementation of the reforms is still at an early stage.last_img read more

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Danish roundup: Industriens, PKA

first_imgDanish labour-market pension fund Industriens Pension has said it will press ahead with its strategy of overweighting equities and underweighting bonds despite suffering a 0.9% loss on domestic shares in the third quarter of this year.Reporting financial results for the nine months between January and September, the fund – which covers workers in the industrial sector – said its overall return on investments in the period was DKK9.4bn (€1.26bn), equating to 8.2% before tax.In the first half of the year, the return was high as a result of rising prices for both shares and bonds, Industriens Pension said, adding that, in September, financial markets had been hit by turbulence.Overall, the investment return in the third quarter was just 1.4%, it said. In the first half of the year, the pension fund’s holdings in Danish shares returned 19.8%, but in the third quarter they made a loss of 0.9%, according to the interim data.Jan Østergaard, investment director at Industriens, said: “But this doesn’t change the fact Danish shares are still the asset class that has developed the most positively this year.”Industriens was one of the country’s biggest investors in Danish businesses, he said.Østergaard said there was still some uncertainty on the financial markets, but that the pension fund expected to see positive development in the global economy for the rest of the year and into 2015.“For this reason, we will continue to invest with an overweight position in equities and an underweight position in government bonds,” he said.Henrik Nøhr Poulsen, head of investments, said the fund had been adding to its equities investments in the first nine months of the year, achieving this by buying into some of the market corrections that had happened – including the dip that occurred in October.“We have also continued building up our alternatives, and that is a two-leg strategy, through funds and private equity,” he told IPE.Pension contributions increased during the reporting period due to the improved job situation for industrial workers in Denmark, the pension fund said, without giving figures.Industriens’ total assets rose to DKK124bn at the end of September from DKK116bn at the end of December 2013.Meanwhile, PKA reported that the alternative investments it has added to the portfolio over the last few years outpaced its overall investment return in the first nine months of this year, generating 13.4%.In interim financial figures released today, PKA – which runs three labour-market pension funds in the social and healthcare sectors – said the overall return was DKK15.4bn, or 8.5%.Returns were positive in all asset classes between January and September, it said, attributing the high level of overall return to falling interest rates in the period.Peter Damgaard Jensen, PKA’s managing director, said: “In the last five years, PKA has had an average annual return of 10% at the same time as having increased the spread of risk.”This is due, not least, to the fund’s alternative investment holdings, which it will continue to focus on in future, he said.“The results show that the shift away from equities to alternatives has succeeded,” Damgaard Jensen said.PKA said it had focused on alternative investments that gave a reasonable, stable return with relatively low risk, which also helped address climate challenges.Bonds and other interest-bearing assets generated a return of 13.8% in the nine-month period, mainly due to falling interest rates and investments in Southern Europe, PKA said.Listed shares and private equity funds returned 7.6% and 12% respectively, it said.last_img read more

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‘Vulnerable’ Dutch pension fund targets €5bn in assets after merger

first_imgVlakglas, the €750m pension fund for the window pane manufacturing industry in the Netherlands, and Groothandel, the €854m scheme for the wholesale sector, have said they want to merge on 30 June. The new and as-yet unnamed pension fund aims to increase its assets under management to €5bn and its total number of active participants to approximately 25,000 by attracting other smaller industry-wide schemes, according to Jacques van de Vall, independent chairman at Vlakglas.He said his scheme was among those the pensions regulator (DNB) had recently deemed “potentially vulnerable”.Van de Vall added that the board of the merged scheme would consist of the current trustees of Vlakglas and Groothandel. It will be tasked with fleshing out how other pension funds should be approached and decide on a governance model.Van de Vall said any future board structure must guarantee that joining schemes have a say in board affairs.He added that the merged scheme’s target scale of €5bn would be the optimal size, “as asset management costs don’t fall further if assets increase”.He estimated that administration costs per participant would be approximately €85 at the envisaged scheme, the usual level at the larger industry-wide pension funds in the Netherlands.Van de Vall said several industry-wide schemes were potential merger partners, as they had “common ground” with Groothandel.Both Vlakglas and Groothandel have outsourced administration to pensions provider AZL, with Vlakglas’s contract terminating at the time of the intended merger.However, the agreement with Groothandel is to expire after two and a half years.“Whether we will stay with AZL depends on the outcome of the negotiations,” Van de Vall said.The largest part of Groothandel’s assets has been reinsured with Aegon and Nationale Nederlanden.The scheme is managing €56m in-house. Groothandel has 5,335 active participants, 5,013 pensioners and approximately 20,000 deferred members.As at the end of 2013, these figures for Vlakglas were 5,270, 3,765 and 14,590, respectively.The merger partners have 353 and 409 affiliated employers, respectively.last_img read more

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UN-backed PRI to overhaul principles, accountability measures

first_imgThe Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) may introduce a tiered membership system to differentiate between members that enforce its code and those that fail to do so.Martin Skancke, chairman of the UN-backed initiative, also signalled that an overhaul of the existing six principles – built around integration and disclosure of environmental, social and governance (ESG) information – may be considered as it approached its 10-year anniversary.Skancke, writing in the PRI’s 2015 annual report, said the organisation’s work had focused increasingly on areas outside its initial remit, extending to matters such as fiduciary duty and principal-agent conflict.He said the increased workload had been reflected in its written mission statement, which looked at the obstacles facing a sustainable financial system, such as market practices and regulation. “Should this ethos,” Skancke asked, “now be incorporated into the Principles themselves?” He also argued that, with the introduction of measurable targets for the PRI’s nearly 1,400 signatories, the organisation would be better able to assess how asset owners were incorporating the principles into appointing and monitoring asset managers – potentially allowing it to hold signatories to account.“We will consult with [signatories] on possible mechanisms for this, which could include new levels of membership to reflect signatories’ level of commitment to responsible investment and new criteria for delisting signatories,” he said.Asset owners and managers have long privately voiced concerns the PRI is being used by some as a way of proving to clients they are committed to ESG, without any mechanism in place to enforce compliance.Fiona Reynolds, the PRI’s managing director, added that work was underway to amend its reporting framework to “better differentiate” signatories.“This will allow us to enable and then challenge asset owners to use this data in selecting and appointing their managers, and in holding them to account,” she said.last_img read more

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AP4 invests in equities fund to support children’s welfare

first_imgSwedish national pensions buffer fund AP4 has invested SEK100m (€10.8m) into a new equities fund run by RobecoSAM that singles out companies clearly supporting children’s rights and welfare.The fund – the Global Child Impact Equities Fund – has a strategy of investing in 40-60 companies that “excel in protecting children’s rights and promoting children’s welfare while exhibiting strong business fundamentals and trading below fair value”, according to the asset manager.AP4 said the fund was developed in partnership between RobecoSAM and the Swedish royal family’s foundation Global Child Forum. It said it is one of the first large investors in the fund. Mats Andersson, AP4’s chief executive, said: “In our work as a long-term investor, we must do what we can to ensure children’s well-being, as they in fact are our future.”He said it was natural for AP4 to make the investment since the investments the fund made today belonged to future generations.“We are long-term investors, and our goal is to contribute to the stability of the national pension system,” he said.Andersson told IPE childhood was now the third area of ESG focus for the pension fund, which had historically set its sights first on governance and secondly on trying to mitigate climate risk.“It is pretty obvious that, as a pension fund with a long-term horizon, you should take care of these,” he said.AP4 now plans to increase investments related to the issue of childhood over the next few years, Andersson said.Describing the strategy of the RobecoSAM fund, he said he was sure that, by picking companies with good policies in the area of children’s rights and welfare, the fund would invest in generally well-run companies.“If you look after your business well in terms of child welfare, you will probably look after the rest of your business in the same way,” he said.AP4 has so far had a similar experience with its low-carbon investments, he said.These investments, initiated four years ago, use a sector-neutral approach by excluding certain companies in each sector.“This strategy has outperformed, even though it should really outperform when we get the carbon tax, which we do not have yet,” Andersson said.RobecoSAM said the strategy used its own data on corporate sustainability, as well as information from the Global Child Forum Benchmark to rank companies based on how they performed on a range of child-related criteria.The company then constructed the portfolio by combining the resulting RobecoSAM Global Child Score with Robeco’s own quantitative valuation and momentum model.The fund’s highest sector weightings are currently financials and information technology, followed by healthcare.The largest individual holding is Roche Holding, with a 2.85% weight, followed by Cisco Systems with 2.51%.last_img read more

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Sweden’s AP7 aims to grow private equity exposure by SEK10bn

first_imgAP7 is set to hire as many as four private equity managers amid plans to commit a further SEK10bn (€1bn) to the asset class by the end of 2017.The Swedish fund, which acts as the government-backed default for savers in the premium pension system, says the SEK10bn will be deployed to chosen managers over the course of 2016-17, after which the exposure to private equity will increase in line with the fund’s growth.Richard Tyszkiewicz, senior director at bfinance, told IPE that AP7 was interested in fund-of-fund managers that would operate within a segregated account dedicated to the Swedish scheme.He added that AP7 was willing to consider primary and secondary private equity investments, but also co-investments, allowing for a variety of approaches across both regionally targeted and global strategies. However, managers should have at least 70% of assets in primary fund investments.AP7 hopes to shortlist 12 managers in the procurement process being run by consultancy bfinance, which earlier this year led on an equity tender worth 90% of fund assets.It added that the managers would be appointed for an initial term of three years, with an option for two renewals of two years each.Interested managers have until 20 January to apply and can obtain additional information from bfinance.AP7 has been active in private equity since 2002, when it initially invested in two funds managed by HarbourVest.The fund’s 3% allocation to private equity sits within the SEK262.5bn equity fund, which, combined with the SEK18.3bn fixed income fund, forms the basis for the Såfa default option.Funds managed by Hamilton Lane and LGT Capital Partners account for the remainder of its private equity exposure.Richard Gröttheim, AP7’s CIO, told IPE earlier this year that the fund wished to improve the private equity sector’s “openness and transparency”, noting how much private equity lagged behind listed stocks.He also said the fund would in future be focusing on cleantech investments, a sector he said would eventually account for one-third of AP7’s private equity holdings, up from one-fifth at present.“So far, it is a nascent industry, so performance has yet to show consistency,” Gröttheim told the May issue of IPE.“We are convinced this is a future industry that will grow and eventually become one of the drivers of the equity market as others adopt their technologies.”For more on AP7’s investment strategy, read IPE’s recent interview with CIO Richard Gröttheimlast_img read more

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Bats Europe launches Brexit indices

first_imgStock exchange Bats Europe has launched two benchmark indices designed to reflect the impact of Brexit on UK companies.They were created by splitting the Bats UK 100 Index, which tracks the top 100 UK-listed companies based on market capitalisation, into two groups. The first lists the 50 companies that derive the largest portions of their revenues from the UK, and the second lists the 50 companies that have the least revenue exposure to the UK.They form the “Bats Brexit High 50” and “Bats Brexit Low 50” indices.By facilitating an analysis of the difference in performance between those two groups of companies, the indices “are designed to act as barometers for assessing how Brexit is impacting UK companies”, according to Bats. Mark Hemsley, president of Europe for CBOE, which recently acquired Bats, said: “The UK’s triggering of Article 50 is expected to lead to fundamental changes in the way businesses and capital markets behave prior to and subsequent to the UK’s separation from the European Union.“We are pleased to provide the marketplace with benchmark indices that are designed to gauge investor sentiment towards UK companies during this critical time.”Bats said that since the UK EU referendum in June, the Bats 100 UK Index is up over 16% in price performance. The Bats Brexit High 50 Index is nearly flat, up just 0.8%, and the Bats Brexit Low 50 Index is up over 23%.Bats is providing the indices free of charge.last_img read more

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Final score in real estate of origin

first_imgBut look at this breaching humpback whale 4km off Surfers Paradise. Picture: Sea World Whale Watch.Mr Tiller said NSW would hold bragging rights in the real estate of origin for a while yet, taking out multiple indicators. Not only does NSW claim the title of the most expensive median house price over QLD but it also takes out the cheapest as well. (Writer’s note: I mean where is the justice?) GET THE COURIER-MAIL’S REAL ESTATE NEWS FREE & DIRECT TO INBOX “Cradled by Rushcutters Bay and Double Bay, exclusive Darling Point proved the priciest address either side of the Tweed River, posting a median house price of $4,376,250 — almost three times the value of the sought-after Brisbane enclave of Teneriffe ($1,501,250). The real estate of origin final score is QLD 4 — NSW 7, according to fresh analysis by LJ Hooker. Picture Supplied.THE final score in the real estate of origin between QLD and NSW was decided before the first whistle blew. Take a deep breath, here’s how the chips have fallen this season. Don’t let their softening property market fool you, the Blues are still going in as favourites with Queensland as the property outsider, according to latest analysis.All the statistics have gone batty in favour of New South Wales which can apparently claim the real estate of origin before the first whistle even blows. The final score, according to LJ Hooker research head Mathew Tiller, was Queensland 4 to the cockroach’s 7. Okay, Sydney Harbour is stunning, no doubt.“The Blues are the punters’ favourite for Game One on the back of (Cameron) Smith’s, (Johnathan) Thurston’s and (Cooper) Cronk’s retirement, and the late withdrawal of Billy Slater,” Mr Tiller said. “But the form guide of the two property markets puts it beyond doubt.” NRL TITANS OWNERS MADE MILLIONS SELLING NSW PROPERTY WHY QLD HAS ALREADY WON HOUSE PRICES HIT A RECORD HIGH BRISBANE HOME SET FOR TV FAME “The most telling display of Sydney’s strength is analysis of the best five-year return for property owners, with Bella Vista in the Hills district recording capital growth of 168.4 per cent. Mount Lofty in Toowoomba’s dress circle was Queensland’s best performer (74.3 per cent), but paled in comparison to Bella Vista.” More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus18 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market18 hours agoNo market is hotter than Surfers Paradise right now, and it’s set to ramp up further with the Jewel development in progress. Picture: Jerad Williams.“But showing its versatility, NSW also took out the honours at the other end of the market. A nine-hour drive north via the New England Highway, Collarenebri is a far cry from the hedges and Harbour views of Darling Point, but it still made it on to the scorer’s sheet as the ‘most affordable’ region with a median property price of $49,500. Queensland’s most affordable property suburb was Dolphin Heads near Mackay ($51,500).”center_img The Blues go in as hot favourites. Go the underdogs QLD! Picture: AAP Image/David Crosling. Queensland’s four points were for: Most listings (past 12 months) — Surfers Paradise 1,600Most sold (past 12 months) — Surfers Paradise 1,979Highest gross yield — Dolphin Heads 29.3 per centShortest time on market — Seventeen Mile Rocks 12.2 days New South Wales seven points were for: Highest rent — Bellevue Hill $1700p/wLongest hold period — Eucumbene 25.5yrsBest 12 month growth — Huntley’s Cove 47.5 per centBest 5 year return — Bella Vista 168.4 per centHighest value of sales (past 12 months) — Mosman $1.5bLowest median price — Collarenebri $49,500Highest median price — Darling Point $4,376,250 Final score: NSW 7 — QLD 4 FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 7:28Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -7:28 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p270p270p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenElizabeth Tilley talks prestige property07:29last_img read more

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First tower opens in $1.2b racecourse precinct transformation

first_imgThe entire Eagle Farm masterplan is estimated at $1.2 billion, a substantial injection for the Brisbane racing precinct.DOWNSIZERS and families with racing stripes have moved in to the first of eight residential towers being created in the $1.2 billion transformation of Brisbane’s racecourse precinct which officially opens tonight.Ascot House, which has an 800 sqm roof terrace and elevated pool deck overlooking the racetrack, was the first milestone in the Ascot Green development by Brisbane Racing Club and Mirvac.Mirvac Queensland residential development general manager Warwick Bible said buyers were drawn to the trackside location and generous balconies overlooking the turf.“Many of our buyers are moving from Ascot and the surrounding areas from big family homes. They are seeking generous floorplans, extra-large balconies and open outlooks, making Ascot House incredibly attractive.“Local buyers from Ascot, Clayfield and Hamilton want to remain in the area, but reduce their home maintenance commitments without compromising on the space, style or privacy of a large residence.”More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus17 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market17 hours agoThe overcast evening was not enough to wipe the smile off the faces of Russell and Jenny Reed at their new home trackside at Eagle Farm. Picture: AAP/ Ric Frearson.New resident Russell Reed, who has been a race day ambassador entertaining winners at Saturday meetings, won’t have far to walk to catch all the action.Having been a member of QTC, BTC and BRC for almost four decades, he can’t wait to see horses running past his veranda.He and wife Jenny were among downsizers moving furniture into the building this week, in his case downsizing from a house in Brisbane’s north.Mr Reed has turf in his blood, coming from a cattle and crop farming family at Kingaroy that raced horses in Brisbane.“Both my grandfather and father raced horses in Brisbane. They had a bit of success with horses at Eagle Farm, Doomben and Albion Park trained by Merv Lewis at Gumdale but nothing major,” he said.“My parents served on the committee of the Kumbia Race Club right up to the time of their death. My grandfather was also a founding member of the big Burrandowan Picnic Race Club.’’last_img read more

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Brisbane’s growth superstar suburb breaks into national top two list

first_imgLot 5069 Steamer Way, Spring Mountain, is walking distance from cafes and shops.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus17 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market17 hours ago“Moving forward Spring Mountain is going to be the new Springfield Lakes. All the new display homes have been sold at Springfield Lakes and all the developers have moved to Spring Mountain and they have a wide range of Hamptons homes, luxury houses and the like. Spring Mountain is going to be the new inner-city hub of Springfield. It’s walking distance to shopping centre, USQ campus and all the activities. All the new homes in that part are a bit more expensive than the older parts of Springfield.” QUEENSLAND TOP 10 (3 Months): SPRING MOUNTAIN (Ipswich, Brisbane) $432,500 33.8% MILES (Western Downs, Darling Downs) $167,500 25.7% JOYNER (Moreton Bay, Brisbane) $670,000 22.4% WONGAWALLAN (Gold Coast) $990,000 20.0% KANDANGA (Gympie, Wide Bay-Burnett) $355,000 18.3% MIRANI (Mackay) $337,000 18.2% MOUNT MELLUM (Sunshine Coast) $675,000 17.2% BENARABY (Gladstone, Fitzroy) $511,500 17.0% BLACKBUTT NORTH (South Burnett, Wide Bay-Burnett) $227,500 16.7% PEACHESTER (Sunshine Coast) $575,000 16.2% (Source: CoreLogic August Market Trends) This Greater Brisbane suburb has seen one of the biggest surges in median house price in the country.A BRISBANE growth superstar suburb has cracked the national top two for fastest price growth in the country.Nationally, three suburbs saw their median house prices grow by more than a third in over the three month period to May, according to CoreLogic August Market Trends report, released this afternoon.Trundle in Parkes, New South Wales, was on top by the narrowest of margins (0.2 percentage points) at 34 per cent growth, with Sea Lake in Buloke, Victoria, and Spring Mountain in Ipswich, Queensland tied in second spot with 33.8 per cent growth.That’s a massive surge for all three, but while Trundle was 5.5 hours from the Sydney CBD and Sea Lake was almost 18 hours away, Spring Mountain was just over half an hour away from the Brisbane CBD. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOKcenter_img Spring Mountain is just 36 minutes drive from the Brisbane CBD. NATIONAL TOP 3 (3 Months): Trundle (Parkes, NSW) Median price $167,500 34% Sea Lake (Buloke, VIC) $95,000 33.8% Spring Mountain (Ipswich, QLD) $432,500 33.8% (Source: CoreLogic August Market Trends)Queensland’s star performer, Spring Mountain, which pulled a massive 33.8 per cent quarterly surge in median price, was the new hub for developers in the Springfield area. Freedom Property James Hurley, whose recent sales were focused on Spring Mountain, said it had a higher entry level than most new development zones.Among properties he’s sold in the past few weeks was Lot 5069 Steamer Way, Spring Mountain — a four bedroom, three bathroom, double garage property that fetched $519,900 on July 19.last_img read more

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