Thursday, January 21, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 22 January 2010
Come and Celebrate Australia Day in Wollongong!

A day long celebration starting from 8am with aquathon, surf rescue water displays, sand sculpture and thong throwing competitions, stalls, amusement rides to hands-on activities and action in every direction for both children and adults alike. The main stage will come alive with talented musicians and dancers whilst costumed characters will roam the event area bringing colour and fun to the atmosphere.

There will be something for everyone including mock Surf Life Saving helicopter rescues in Wollongong harbour and more stalls and more challenging amusement rides for the young at heart in Lang Park.

The evening culminates with a spectacular fireworks display proudly presented by Integral Energy off the southern breakwater of Wollongong harbour.

Come and enjoy the fun!

Although road closures are in place from 5am to 10.15pm, a free park n ride bus service is provided from JJ Kelly Park and Vikings Oval to the venue to make parking easy and convenient.

Event Begins at: 8:00 AM Event Ends at: 9:00 PM
The Event is on: Tuesday, 26 January 2010
The Event will be Held at: Wollongong Harbour
Event Type: Competitive Sports Events, Family Fun Day, Fireworks, Food & BBQ's, Music & Entertainment, Novelty Events, Official Ceremonies
This Event is Suitable for: Family

Double-digit growth in 2009

Home prices rose by more than ten per cent in 2009, according to the latest figures released by RP Data.

The RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index shows that Australian home prices rose by 1.1 per cent in November with 11.3 per cent cumulative growth in first 11 months of 2009.

The results were driven by robust gains in Sydney (up 11.6 per cent for the year) and Melbourne (up 17.0 per cent). Most of the other capital cities have performed strongly with Darwin (up 17.9 per cent) leading the way, followed by Canberra (10.9 per cent), Brisbane (6.9 per cent), Perth (6.5 per cent) and Adelaide (5.7 per cent).

In the three months to end November, home values in Melbourne and Sydney outperformed most other capitals rising by 4.5 per cent and 3.2 per cent, respectively.

Over the year-to-date, Melbourne has been Australia's best performing capital city outside of Darwin, generating exceptional capital gains of 17.0 per cent. Sydney home values have increased by more than 1 per cent per month with cumulative growth of 11.6 per cent.

Managing Director of Rismark International, Christopher Joye, remarked that Australia's housing market has surprised on the upside with impressive double-digit capital gains in the year-to-date.

"At the end of 2008 most forecasters were predicting substantial house price falls in the following 12 months - almost all of them were proven wrong." Research Director Tim Lawless suggested that the November results highlight that the Australian market may be less sensitive to interest rate rises and the removal of Government stimulus than many would have thought.

"The strong November results were achieved despite the 25 basis point lifts in the official cash rate in October and November as well as the wind back of the boost to the First Home Owners Grant which was halved on the first of October", Lawless said.

"First home buyers have been trending down since peaking in May '09 and the gap is being filled by upgraders and investors who are much less sensitive to rate rises and the level of stimulus."

Christopher Joye agreed.

"First time buyers have been fading from the market and the withdrawal of the boost has yet to have any discernible impact on price growth", Joye said.

"The key driver of Australian housing demand in the latter half of the year appears to have been up-graders and investors.

"We expect this trend to continue in 2010."

He said that as mortgage rates normalise to around 7-8 per cent, house price growth is likely to taper back to more modest single-digit levels in 2010.

"Since many borrowers did not reduce their mortgage repayments in 2008-09 when the RBA cut rates by circa 40 per cent, household balance-sheets should be well positioned to absorb higher costs", he predicted.

The median Australian home price in all capital cities over the three months to end November was $439,800 (including houses and units).

The national median dwelling price for all regions across Australia was $395,000*.

The median Australian house price in capital cities is $470,000 while the median unit price is $390,000.

The most expensive houses, based on median price, are in Sydney ($550,000), followed by Canberra ($535,000), Darwin ($501,000), Melbourne ($486,400), Perth ($485,000), Brisbane ($449,850), Adelaide ($372,000) and Hobart ($330,000).

Sydney also has the most expensive unit market with a median price of ($417,000). Melbourne follows at $402,500, then Canberra ($390,000), Perth ($385,000), Brisbane ($375,000), Darwin ($357,000), Adelaide ($310,000) and Hobart ($270,750).

In the year-to-date, units (+12.5 per cent) outperformed houses (+10.9 per cent) presumably due to the influence of the first time buyers' boost.

National rental yields tapered slightly in November with the gross annualised rental yield for units being 4.9 per cent while house yields are lower at 4.1 per cent.

*Note: these are the `middle value' or 50th percentile median prices based on the pooled sales over the last three months.

Focus on sustainable cities

Property industry leaders will gather in Melbourne next month to determine how productive, healthy, profitable green buildings will become the cornerstone of a renewed push for sustainable cities.

More than 1000 leading Australian and international property industry experts are expected to attend the annual Green Cities 2010 conference, to be held in Melbourne from February 21-24.

A joint initiative of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the Property Council of Australia, Green Cities 2010 is the largest and most influential green building conference in the Asia Pacific region.

Now in its fourth year, Green Cities 2010 will feature panel discussions, case studies and debates on how green buildings will deliver greater productivity and occupant health while using less resources and providing higher returns on investment.

GBCA Chief Executive, Romilly Madew, said that with 11 per cent of all CBD office space now Green Star rated and a further 25 per cent (400 buildings) undergoing certification, clear evidence is now available about the positive impact sustainable buildings have on people, places and performance.

"We know that Green Star rated office buildings are reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 60 percent. These buildings are commanding higher rents and higher selling prices, they have lower vacancy rates and the occupants of green buildings report higher productivity and lower absenteeism," Ms Madew said.

"With buildings and their users responsible for 23 percent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions, the potential benefits to be gained from developing green cities are enormous."

Property Council Chief Executive, Peter Verwer, remarked that the property industry has taken important steps in sustainable development over the past five years and this is an opportunity to take green building to the next level.

"Sustainable development will only become more important as the pace of urbanisation in Australia continues to accelerate."

Green Cities 2010, sponsored by world-leading property investment managers The Grosvenor Group, will feature international and Australian experts including:

* leading urban designer Malcolm Smith, who will share his experiences in the creation of green precincts such as Stratford City (UK) and Dongtan Ecocity (China)
* US green building specialist Jerry Yudelson
* Elsa Monteiro, head of sustainability at Sonae-Sierra (a Grosvenor Group company)

More detail, including a full program for the conference, is available at

The `Australian dream' could be yours!

If you dream of an Australia Day barbecue in a home that is all your own, right now is a good time to start looking for ways to save the time and money.

It's a new year and a new decade, the perfect reason to take a look at your home loan and repayment strategy to see if any improvements could be made in order to pay it off as soon as possible.

"Offering a fresh start, the New Year is a better time than most, psychologically, for Australians to get off the deck chair and come to the table with a better idea of their goals and how to achieve them", Mortgage Choice senior corporate affairs manager, Kristy Sheppard said recently.

"Summer sunshine puts people in a positive frame of mind and this should be directed into a new year mortgage strategy that both novice and experienced borrowers can take advantage of!"

To help ensure borrowers begin 2010 by taking a few steps closer to being mortgage-free, Mortgage Choice suggests going over the following checklist:

Step 1: Is your current mortgage still the most suitable for you?

Circumstances change, as do your needs. Consider how competitive your lender's interest rate is, what features you are paying for and aren't using, the fees you're forking out for and what kind of costs are associated with switching loans and/or lender. A reputable mortgage broker can offer a no-cost home loan health check to compare your loan to others currently available.

Step 2: Are there ways to pay off your mortgage quicker?

Have you been throwing money into the loan account wherever possible e.g. your yearly tax return or bonus or leftover monthly wage? Every cent counts. Is it possible for you to repay at a faster rate via other methods e.g. paying fortnightly instead of monthly or making the loan a partial offset?

Step 3: Are you interest rate savvy?

Have you been repaying your mortgage as though its interest rate was at least two percentage points higher, preparing yourself for rate rises and in the meantime reducing your loan term and the amount owed? This will encourage a good savings habit and make adjusting to rate rises less burdensome.

Step 4: Is refinancing an option?

If you are struggling with your repayments, consider refinancing the loan over a longer term than you have left. Or, if you've been making extra repayments to reduce your loan amount, you could always refinance the loan so your repayments reflect what you owe on the loan, not the original loan amount.

Step 5: Have you looked at your spending habits?

Are you spending more money than you need to e.g. transport, entertainment, fast food?

Continually list your expenses to see where you can save money and contribute more into your mortgage. Once you have revisited all of the above steps, re-do your budget so you really are beginning the year ahead.

The great wall of chocolate
In a recent campaign to convince residents to eat more sweets, a team of Chinese confectioners has built a 10 metre long replica of the Great Wall of China entirely out of chocolate.

According to local news sources, the miniature wonder consists of solid dark chocolate bricks held in place with white chocolate and is part of an attraction at the World Chocolate Wonderland exhibition and trade show later this month in Beijing.

Up to 80,000kg of chocolate was used to make the display, which also features 560 chocolate Terracotta Warriors - an army that's unlikely to last as long as the original.

An alarmingly devious tyrant

No one wants to get a phone call first thing in the morning, having to be coherent through foggy layers of dream state.

With that as incentive for the recalcitrant `sleeper in', designer Alice Wang has created the Tyrant alarm clock. If you don't wake up when the alarm goes off, it steals your mobile phone, randomly shuffles through your contact list and calls someone every three minutes after the desired wake up time.

Sleepyheads will not only have to brave early morning conversations, they'll have to explain why they're the one making the call.

This could be right up your alley

In a country where bigger is often better, the smaller things still pull some hefty weight.

New York's skinniest home, offering two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a list of previous owners including a famous poet and an anthropologist, has sold for nearly AU$2.3M, local news hub NY1 reports. The 3 x 12 metre building in Greenwich Village was built in 1873, in a space that was once an alley between two larger homes.

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