Thursday, February 11, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 12 February 2010
The True Meaning of Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is almost upon us! The women are excited to proclaim their love, the men complain about overpriced gifts and single people are getting depressed. Everyone has an opinion about Valentine's Day, but who actually knows how, when and why this holiday originated?

It's great that most people know it has something to do with Valentine, and a thumbs up for those who knew he was a saint, but isn't that somewhat vague? Wouldn't you want to know more about the name you use to refer to your significant other every Feb. 14? Here's one of the theories about the origin of this special day.

"A Renegade Priest "

Valentine was a third-century priest who served under the rule of Roman Emperor Claudius II, who prohibited young men from getting married. The emperor believed that would make them better soldiers, but Valentine continued to secretly marry young couples. He was discovered and sentenced to death. Legend has it that while in prison, Valentine fell in love with a young girl, presumably the jailor's daughter. A day before the persecution, Valentine wrote her a letter and signed it, "From your Valentine."

Written by Bella Yashayev

Land sales and prices surge

The cost of residential land continues to rise nationally, according to a new report showing the median price of raw land jumped 5.7 per cent to $181,158 in the September 2009 quarter.

The report, from building association HIA and property analytics provider, shows a 33 per cent rise in the volume of residential land sales when compared to the same period in 2008.

The Residential Land Report results confirm that there will be a lift in new home starts in 2010, according to HIA Chief Economist, Dr Harley Dale.

"The million dollar question is whether a new home building recovery can be sustained beyond this year", Dale says.

"If land is not released in a timely manner in sufficient quantity, then land prices will continue surging and the answer will be a resounding no", he suggests.

Sydney remains the most expensive residential land market in the nation with a median price of $290,000.

Outside the capital cities, the Richmond Tweed region in NSW is the most expensive land market (median price of $255,000), followed by the Sunshine Coast ($241,500), the Gold Coast ($241,500) and the Illawarra region in NSW ($192,500)."

Conversely, there are still thirteen markets across Australia where median land prices sit below the $100,000 mark. The least expensive market is the Murray Lands region in South Australia (median price $69,500), followed by Mallee in Victoria ($70,000), Mersey Lyell in Tasmania ($78,000), and the South East and Northern regions of South Australia ($85,000).

More houses approved in December

Australia's builders are soon going to be even busier, with figures released this week showing more approvals for new homes in December 2009.

Investment housing approvals rose by almost ten per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' data.

The total number of dwellings approved in Australia rose 2.2 per cent with Tasmania (up by 21.7 per cent) and Victoria (up 11.1 per cent) recording the largest increases.

Private sector houses rose 3.1 per cent in December 2009 following a fall in November.

Improved figures were recorded in Victoria (a rise of 4.6 per cent), Queensland (up 2.2 per cent), South Australia (0.5 per cent) and Western Australia (3.3 per cent).

The number of approvals for private sector dwellings other than houses rose by 9.1 per cent in December.

The value of approved new residential buildings increased by 3.0 per cent.

3. In love - with two homes

Valentine's Day is traditionally a time for lovers to declare their intentions and (hopefully) make a choice between available suitors. But what happens if you're house-hunting and the object of your desire is not one house but two?

If you do find yourself in this awkward situation, take out a pen and a blank piece of paper for each house then compare the following...

* The houses. If you haven't already done so, make a list of all the things you want in your new home and compare how each house stacks up against your wish list.

* Drawbacks. Likewise, make a list of the things you don't want and compare this list with each house to determine how much of a negative impact each will have.

* How do the houses compare with others in the suburb? While you might like to have the biggest house in the neighbourhood, when it comes time to sell you may find that the lower value of neighbouring homes will shrink your home's value, so be careful.

* The suburbs. If the two final contenders are in different suburbs look carefully at the facilities each has to offer your family. If you have kids and being close to a park is important, you'll want to consider that. How close is each home to shops, restaurants, church or other services that you use on a regular basis? Do homeowners in the area landscape and maintain their homes nicely? How long will your commute to work be?

* Access to schools. If you have school aged children, you'll either want to consider the reputation of the local schools or be located in an area where it's easy for your children to travel to their existing school. Visit local schools and talk to teachers and parents.

* Crime. Visit the local police and enquire about crime in each suburb. You might find crime to be more prevalent in one area than another.

* The vendors' situations. If you don't know already find out how long each home has been on the market and the reasons why the vendor is selling. Typically the longer a house has been on the market, the keener the seller will be to listen to an offer. Conversely, if the house has been on the market for just a couple days, the sellers may not accept lower offers.

As you consider all these factors, it could become clear that one house is more enticing than the other. Or, you may find the houses are still equally appealing. If that is the case, be sure you look at the homes more than once and preferably at different times of the day. This way you'll get a better idea of how each home looks and feels in the morning versus late afternoon or evening. You may even notice something you didn't the first time around - something that could sway you one way or the other.

4. Brighter year for building activity

A national survey of the construction and development industry shows that there has been a significant increase in respondents predicting renewed activity in the multi-unit residential sector for 2010.

The 10th Construction Sentiment Index, produced by global construction consultants Davis Langdon, shows 56 per cent of respondents expect the multi-unit residential sector to make a major contribution to overall construction activity nationally in the next 12 months. This is up from only 39 per cent expecting this sector to contribute to growth 12 months ago.

The index has tracked improving industry sentiment since it reached its lowest point of 51 in February this year, but at the current level of 66, it is still well off its peak of 142 recorded in late 2007.

"The key findings of the 10th survey show that costs have emerged as one of the top three problems cited, planning pressures seem to be easing, finance is still hard to secure and overall sentiment continues to improve," says Rachel Kelloway, Davis Langdon's national research manager.

Other key findings of the survey include:-

  • 54 per cent of respondents now feel that the industry is experiencing a skills shortage, a 10 per cent increase on the last survey.
  • Shortages worsened or remained steady across most trades with the three worst affected areas being plumbers (up 6 per cent to reach 11 per cent); tilers and carpenters (both up five per cent to reach 10 per cent and 13 per cent respectively).
  • Poor succession planning and an insufficient number of apprenticeships were named as long-term key explanations for industry shortages.
  • The length of time it takes to obtain planning approvals remains an issue, with 64 per cent of respondents citing excessive or protracted timeframes.
  • However, there has been an improvement in this area with 71 per cent expressing concerns in the last survey three months ago.
  • For those impacted by planning problems the delays appear to be increasing. In September, 88 per cent said timeframes were protracted by 30 per cent or more, whereas in this survey that figure has jumped to 91 per cent.
  • Access to finance remains the number one obstacle in the development process, but respondents expect this situation will begin to ease in the year ahead.
  • Twenty per cent of respondents said they were attempting to secure finance currently and of those 59 per cent were seeking $100 million or more.
Bridging the gap with education

One of the four winners of the 2009 Architectural Review's Emerging Architecture Awards has managed to enliven an old community, bridging the gap between past, future and two castles.

Located in a remote Chinese village, architect Li Xiaodong has created a school that forms a bridge over a creek between two historic castles. The school contains two classrooms where children can learn about traditional and contemporary culture, but which can also be used as a theatre and play area by villagers.

A narrow walkway has been suspended underneath the school as a secondary means of crossing the creek - perhaps for those wishing to skip class.

More than just a facelift

Have you ever slept at the office and wished there were better amenities? Seven office buildings that make up London's 50,000 square foot Regency Terrace are getting more than just a facelift - they're soon to be converted into a 10-bedroom mansion.

According to the UK Telegraph, the renovations will make the home the largest in London, and if it is sold for over the AU$179M they're asking, it will also claim the title of London's most expensive home.

The plans include ten huge bedroom suites, several vast reception rooms, a basement leisure complex including a cinema, gym and swimming pool, a 40-ft roof garden complete with a sliding ceiling and view over Regent's Park, plus two additional staff houses.

No comments:

Post a Comment