Thursday, October 8, 2009

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

It really is the little things that count....

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."

~ Leo Buscaglia ~

OCR rises to 3.25

It came as no big surprise this week when the Reserve Bank decided to raise the cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.25 per cent, effective 7 October 2009.

In his statement, Bank Governor Glenn Stevens cited the ongoing recovery of the global economy as well as the strength and confidence in Australia's economic conditions.

"Higher dwelling activity and public infrastructure spending is also starting to provide more support to spending", Governor Stevens said.

"Overall, growth through 2010 looks likely to be close to trend."

He noted that housing credit growth has been solid and dwelling prices have risen appreciably over the past six months.

"In late 2008 and early 2009, the cash rate was lowered quickly, to a very low level, in expectation of very weak economic conditions and a recognition that considerable downside risks existed," he said.

He suggested that as the basis for such a low interest rate setting has now passed, however, the Board's view is that it is now prudent to begin gradually lessening the stimulus provided by monetary policy.

Approvals drop for apartments

August was another positive month of approvals for new houses, however demand for new apartments dropped again, bringing the total result to reflect very little change.

Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the seasonally adjusted estimate for private sector other dwellings approved fell 11.7 per cent after rising in the previous two months.

On the other hand, the number of private sector houses approved rose 3.1 per cent and has risen for eight months in a row.

The seasonally adjusted estimate for the value of new residential building approved fell 1.9 per cent while the value of alterations and additions approved rose 7.1 per cent.

Housing industry experts suggest that the August result reflects the continued dichotomy between a stronger detached housing market, buoyed by the first home owners grant, and a very weak multi-units sector which continues to be hit by finance difficulties.

Master Builders Australia Chief Economist, Peter Jones, remarked that the latest figures are a mixed bag, with further evidence that the supply of houses is beginning to respond to the pick up in demand, but with investor-driven approvals of units and apartments remaining in the doldrums.

"The fall in unit and apartment approvals suggests that part of the supply chain has yet to overcome strong negative forces that have developed over the past 12 months", Jones said.

HIA Senior Economist, Ben Phillips observed this week that multi-unit approvals have plunged by a third over the past 12 months, particularly in New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland.

"It will be important to see further signs in coming months of a broadening home building recovery encompassing detached and non-detached dwellings, first time and trade-up buyers, investors, and social housing", Phillips said.

"The lack of a broad recovery in housing is particularly worrying given record levels of population growth across Australia.

"Without a strong new housing sector, housing affordability in both the rental and purchaser markets will be under pressure," he predicted.

The number of seasonally adjusted residential dwelling approvals increased in August by 19.7 per cent in New South Wales, and 1.7 per cent in Queensland, 14.9 per cent in South Australia, 1.3 per cent in Western Australia, and 26.6 per cent in Tasmania.

Dwelling approvals fell by 9.4 per cent in Victoria. The trend number of approvals fell by 5.2 per cent in the Northern Territory and by 3.4 in the Australian Capital Territory.

Award winning developments

Housing development projects that deliver community and environmental benefits are outright winners in this year's Development Excellence Awards, announced this week.

Aaron Gadiel, chief executive of the Urban Taskforce, said that these projects represent the pinnacle of achievement for the property industry.

"This has been an exceptionally strong year for the awards - with a remarkable array of projects for the judges to choose from", Mr Gadiel said.

"These developers have worked hard to make sure their projects deliver community benefits, care for the environment and adopt the highest standards of urban design and architectural distinction."

Chris Johnson, chairman of the panel of judges, said that the 2009 Development of the Year was Jacksons Landing, at Sydney's Pyrmont Point by Vivas Lend Lease. The project also won the Development Excellence Award for Residential Apartment Development.

Most of the precinct, which will house around 680 dwellings, is not directly on the water, yet many of the apartments get stunning views due to clever design.

"The project has become a commercial success with all buildings having excellent presales", Johnson said.

Sandstone has been used for retaining walls and landscape mainly features native species, while water is recycled with a 70,000 litre rainwater tank.

The Development Excellence Award for Industrial Development was given to Goodman for the Coca Cola Amatil Distribution Centre at Eastern Creek, in Sydney.

"Goodman's impressive industrial facility for Coca Cola Amatil at the M7 Business Hub illustrates the land use benefits of the M7," Mr Johnson said.

"This massive centre has 2,000 square meters of solar collectors on the roof and collects 240,000 litres of rainwater for recycling."

The Development Excellence Award for Masterplanned Communities was given to Landcom for its development Park Central in Campbelltown in the south-west of Sydney.

"Located near the centre of Campbelltown, on the old golf course, Park Central has 177 houses, 50 terraces and 186 apartments as well as a 310 apartment retirement village and 22,000 square metres of retail and commercial space.

"The new development is clustered around a 10.5 hectare town park.

"The masterplanned community cleverly manages water with sensitive urban design and bioswales.

"The park has already become a major amenity for the residents and the local workforce."

Brisbane's Portside Wharf, by Multiplex Living, secured the Development Excellence Award for Mixed Use Development.

"This impressive project includes residential, retail and the Brisbane Cruise Terminal," Mr Johnson said.

The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australia's most prominent property developers and equity financiers.

Selling? How green is your home?

The energy, greenhouse and water performance of a home will soon have to be disclosed when its owner sells or rents the property, following a recent decision by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The system is due to start with energy efficiency rating in May 2011.

This will result in homeowners placing a greater emphasis on the energy efficiency of homes, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) said this week.

It will also mean that both buyers and renters will take the relative performance of different properties into account when they are looking for a new home.

A similar system has been in place for a few years now in the Australian Capital Territory, where vendors are required to disclose to prospective purchasers the current level of energy performance of the dwelling.

The REIV warns that to comply with this requirement you need to have an Energy Efficiency Rating Statement (EER) undertaken by an accredited energy assessor, not dissimilar to having a qualified person inspect the structure of a home prior to purchase except in this case the assessor is employed by the seller and all prospective purchasers are provided with the EER.

"In the ACT the EER provides sellers with a numbered rating from zero to six stars - the higher the number of stars, the better is the homes energy efficiency."

The Institute is calling for a speedy resolution on details of the scheme, so that owners considering selling in the next two years can take these matters into account as they prepare for sale.

Fossil fueled ornament

A Tyrannosaurus Rex named Samson is still looking for a home after a recent auction in the US failed to lure a big enough bite.

Bids for the skeletal remains of the prehistoric giant neared AU$4.2M, a far cry from the $6.7M auctioneer house Bonhams & Butterfields had been hoping for.

The 170 fossilized bones are said to represent more than half the skeleton, making Samson the third most complete T. Rex ever discovered. But the 40-foot-long, 7.5-tonne colossus is one treasure that may not make it `straight to the poolroom'.

Lego`a my lantern

Lego has lit up our imagination for decades, and now has something to light up the rest of the house too, with its new Lego LED Lantern.

The lantern, which is designed to look just like a Lego man, stands 8.8 inches (22 cms) tall and beams light out 360 degrees from his shirt.

Running on 4 AA batteries, the lantern has a swinging handle so the little ones can take it with them if they wake in the middle of the night and are brave enough to leave the comfort and safety of bed.

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