Thursday, January 28, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 29 January 2010
Life is short....

"Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it."

~William Feather~

Why do we move?

Whether they own or rent their home, most Australians find that both moving house and the condition of their housing impact significantly on their quality of life, according to a recent study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The research, entitled Housing Mobility and Conditions, 2007-08, found that Australians often choose to change their housing at particular points in their life cycle, such as when they get married or have children, because of employment, or due to lifestyle preferences.

They may also move because of the expiry of rental leases or because particular forms of housing become less affordable.

The study found that a major factor in the drive to move is that what is suitable housing at one stage of people's lives may not meet their needs at another.

In 2007-08, 43 per cent of respondents had moved in the 5 years prior to being interviewed. Of these, 8 per cent had moved from interstate or overseas, 45 per cent had moved from a different suburb / locality, and 47 per cent relocated within the same suburb/locality.

Private renter households were most likely to have moved in the last 5 years (85 per cent of reference persons), and owners without a mortgage the least likely (15 per cent). Renters from state and territory housing authorities were less than half as likely to have moved in the last 5 years as private renters (37 per cent of reference persons).

For recent movers, the most common reasons for moving to their current dwelling were: purchased own dwelling (17 per cent); wanted a bigger or better home (16 per cent); and lifestyle / other reasons (14 per cent).

Other reasons included neighbourhood reasons, migration to Australia and returning from living overseas.

Residential building recovers

Residential building activity picked up in the September 2009 quarter, according to figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Seasonally adjusted work done on new residential dwellings increased by 2.8 per cent in the September 2009 quarter, to an annualised worth of $36.3 billion.

This was 3.9 per cent down on the September 2008 quarter and over 9 per cent lower than the previous cyclical peak seen back in early 2004.

Work done on detached houses increased by 6.5 per cent over the September 2009 quarter but work done on `other residential building' dropped by 5.5 per cent.

Seasonally adjusted new residential work commenced in the September 2009 quarter increased by 5.8 per cent, the first rise since mid 2008.

Housing Industry Association Chief Economist, Dr Harley Dale said that 2009/10 is looking like it will be a healthier year for new residential construction.

"First home buyer-related activity, the Social Housing Initiative, and the lagged impact of very low mortgage rates will combine to generate growth in new residential work done in 2009/10", Dale said.

There was also brighter news on the renovations front in the September 2009 quarter with the volume of work done on major alterations and additions increasing by 3.9 per cent following four consecutive quarters of decline.

"The renovations sector should continue to recover after a soft 2008/09 as labour market conditions improve further and gains in home prices bolster confidence" he concluded.

In the September 2009 quarter seasonally adjusted new residential work done increased in every state and territory with the exception of Western Australia.

New residential work done increased by 6 per cent in Queensland, 4.5 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory, 3 per cent in Victoria, 2.9 per cent in the Northern Territory, 2.8 per cent in New South Wales, 0.3 per cent in South Australia, and 0.2 per cent in Tasmania. Work done fell by 1.2 per cent in Western Australia.

Top 10 tips for avoiding strata strife

Living in close proximity with others can be difficult, especially if you live in an apartment block with thin walls, annoying neighbours, or frequently find your car space being used by someone else.

NSW Minister for Fair Trading Virginia Judge said this week that requests for mediation in strata disputes in NSW alone had risen from 1,273 in 2008 to 1,405 in 2009 - an increase of almost 10 per cent.

"Complaints last year ranged from the ordinary to the off-the-wall," Ms Judge said.

"You can understand differences of opinion over processes - but some behaviour is just peculiar."

Some of the more unusual complaints received by Fair Trading last year included:

  • A long-running and personal feud between neighbours peaking with one positioning what the adjoining owner described as an "evil-looking effigy" in his courtyard so that it stared directly into his bedroom
  • A complaint made against an owner whose large dogs and particularly noisy pet geese were disturbing other owners, resulting in threats that the geese would help save his weekly dog food bill, and
  • High-rise residential tower residents dropping tables, chairs, lit cigarettes and dirty nappies onto the pavement outside the ground level cafĂ© and shops.

Ms Judge said the good news was that while there was an increase in mediation requests last year, they represent a tiny fraction of the State's 65,000 strata schemes.

"People want to get along. Whether you live in a unit, a duplex or a house, being happy in your home and having a sense of community is so important," she said.

"Exercising commonsense and your responsibilities as well as your rights will help avoid frayed nerves."

Ms Judge said the most common bugbears were associated with alterations to common property, breaches of by-laws, relationships with managing agents and meeting procedures.

Ms Judge said NSW Fair Trading's Top 10 Tips for Strata Living are:

  1. Get involved - Decisions are made at meetings so get involved. Make your vote count. Use your proxy if you can't attend.
  2. Know the rules - find out the strata management requirements for your state.
  3. Looks are deceiving - get approvals before altering common property. It doesn't matter that it's your courtyard, if it's common property, it's owned by everyone.
  4. What will the neighbours think? - be mindful of others. Noise can be annoying - as is taking up visitor parking with your vehicles.
  5. Protect your investment - maintain common property. If it's getting run down, put up a motion at a meeting for specific works to be done.
  6. Talk first - talk to your neighbours if there is a problem. They may not realise their actions are causing a nuisance.
  7. It's your strata scheme - your strata managing agent works for you. If you're not happy with their performance, have a meeting and vote to instruct them on how you want them to manage your scheme.
  8. If you don't like it, change it - by-laws are there to guide the behaviour of owners and tenants. If the by-laws aren't working, change them. You do this by putting a motion with the new by-law to a general meeting, getting over 75 per cent to vote for it, then registering the by-law at the Land and Property Management Authority.
  9. Don't let it fester - pursue by-law breaches. If talking has not resolved a by-law breach, contact your executive committee or strata managing agent to issue a Notice to Comply with a By-law. This can lead to a fine of up to $550. You may also want to apply for mediation.
  10. Be flexible - there may be times you need to give a little more leeway to accommodate different personalities.
D+ for `DA's

Development assessment processes in Australia aren't making the grade, according to new research from the Residential Development Council (RDC) and the Property Council of Australia (PCA).

The RDC/PCA's Development Assessment Forum (DAF) Reform Implementation Report Card reveals that Australia underperforms in the delivery of efficient, fair and consistent planning and development assessment systems.

The `Report Card' identifies progress on development assessment reform across the states and the necessary steps that must be taken to fully implement the 10 Leading Practice Principles developed by the DAF to improve development assessment processes.

Peter Verwer, chief executive of the Property Council of Australia, said, that over the last 30 years, users of the planning system have experienced growing complexity and delays in development assessment processes have increased dramatically.

"It is imperative that planning systems can effectively underpin the strategies of major cities across the country", Mr Verwer said.

"If cities are to be the powerhouses of the economy, then the frameworks they operate within must operate efficiently."

RDC executive director Caryn Kakas said the `report card' shows which states are successfully advancing development assessment reform as identified by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), and which states are lagging.

"The announcement of planning reform through COAG has provided us with a path to improving systems nationally," Ms Kakas said.

"However, we need to ensure these announcements are carried through and the next steps are already being considered if we are to achieve the necessary reform.

"Australia's planning system has long struggled to pass the test, but there is still hope for it to top the class."

Who's been sleeping in my bed?

There's nothing quite like jumping into a heated bed on a freezing cold night.

While we're in the middle of a scorching summer, one hotel chain in chillier-than-ever Britain is trialing a more humanistic approach to beating the winter chills than the electric blanket or hot water bottle.

This month, if requested, a willing staff member in 3 participating Holiday Inn hotels will dress in an all-in-one fleece sleeper suit before slipping between the sheets to get the bed nice and toasty before guests arrive, local press reported recently.

The bed warmer will have a thermometer on hand to measure the required 20 degrees Celsius, be fully dressed and have their hair covered, although there is no confirmation as yet if they will have showered before climbing between the sheets.

Switch your furniture

Outer space may be the final frontier, but inner space is a quest we face frequently in our homes.

Belgian designer Ellen Ectors has created SwiTCH to take on the problem that bulky desks, chairs and tables so often bring with them.

An outer cube made from massif oak has an arc carved from the inside which is lined with padded leather for comfort, and a large leather ball filled with polyether foam rolls easily away into the gap. The cube can be used as a table with the ball rolling out to function as a seat, or can be tipped on its side with the ball inside being used as a recliner or a shallow desk.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting and informative Ted I will follow these regularly now.
    Steve Mueller