Thursday, March 18, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 19 March 2010
Keeping on track....

It's foolish to be obsessed with past failures. And it's just as foolish to be self-satisfied with one's small achievements. The present and the future are what are important, not the past. ... Those who neglect this spirit of continual striving will start to veer off in a ruinous direction.

Home loans on holidays

The holiday season put a dent in the number of home loans taken out in January this year, according to figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In seasonally adjusted terms the total number of owner-occupier loans fell in every state and territory in January 2010 with the exception of the Northern Territory.

On a better note, fixed loans for investment housing rose 0.9 per cent.

The number of loans fell in New South Wales (down 7.3 per cent), Victoria (down 3.7 per cent), Queensland (9.6 per cent), South Australia (5.5 per cent), Western Australia (11.1 per cent), Tasmania (8.0 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (4.3 per cent). The Northern Territory gained 3.6 per cent.

Affordability declines

Affordable housing is becoming harder to find across the country, according to the latest report released by the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) this week.

The REIA Deposit Power Housing Affordability Report for the December quarter shows that housing affordability declined in all states and territories, except for Western Australia.

"The proportion of income required to meet loan repayments across Australia has increased from 29.0 per cent in the September quarter, to 30.7 per cent in the December quarter," said REIA President, David Airey.

Once again, the Australian Capital Territory remains the most affordable state or territory in which to own a home, where the proportion of income required to meet loan repayments increased to 17.7 per cent, or 13.0 percentage points below the national average.

New South Wales remained the least affordable state or territory in which to own a home, where
the proportion of income required to meet loan repayments increased to 33.6 per cent; 2.9 percentage points above the national average.

There was a noticeable shift over the quarter in the number of home loans to first home buyers, decreasing by 14.6 per cent - evidence that the phasing down of the First Home Owners Grant Boost (FHOG Boost) has started to impact the market.

Deposit Power's National Manager, Mr Keith Levy said that one of the biggest factors influencing the property market at the moment is the shift in buyer demographics.

"While there is still some activity from first home buyers, with the government incentives returning to normal levels, we are currently seeing more purchases from up-graders and investors", Mr Levy said.

Mr Airey added that the average Australian home loan repayment is now $1856 per month.

Part-time work cushioned downturn: ABS

Growth in part-time work helped offset full-time job losses during the global financial crisis, but younger workers were more affected than the rest of Australia's workforce according to the latest Australian Social Trends released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In the year to July 2009, the proportion of people in full-time work fell from 45 per cent to 43 per cent, but this was partially offset by an increase in the number of people working part-time jobs.

The switch from full-time to part-time work buffered the drop in women's full-time employment more than it did for men.

For women, more than half of the fall in full-time jobs were offset by increases in part-time work, while for men part-time work only made up for around one-third of lost full-time jobs, with a greater proportion becoming unemployed.

As with other downturns, the impact was greatest among people under 25, with more than half a million (19 per cent) young people not engaged in either full-time study or full-time work in 2009.

Half (53 per cent) the young people who left school in 2008 without year 12 qualifications were unable to find either full-time work or further study opportunities, double the rate experienced by those who had finished year 12.

Now for the weather...
More extremely hot days, fewer cold ones, wetter in the north and drier in the south: this is not a forecast for Australia's climate but a snapshot of our climate now, the CSIRO announced this week.

In a joint CSIRO/Bureau of Meteorology statement, Australia's two leading climate science agencies have produced a report on of the state of the climate to update Australians about how the climate has changed and what it means.

Some of the observed changes include:

  • Highly variable rainfall across the country, with substantial increases in rainfall in northern and central parts of Australia, as well as significant decreases across much of southern and eastern Australia.
  • Rapidly rising sea levels from 1993 to 2009, with levels around Australia rising, between 1.5cm and 3cm per decade in Australia's south and east and between 7cm and 9cm in the country's north
  • About half of the observed reduction in winter rainfall in south-west Western Australia can be explained by higher greenhouse gas levels.
    Bureau of Meteorology Director Dr Greg Ayers said the observed changes showed climate change is real.

The report is available on both BOM or CSIRO websites.

What are the neighbours singing about?

The laugh of the kookaburra, the squark of the sulphur-crested cockatoo and the melodious song of the magpie - these are sounds that most Australians recognise instantly.

But our gardens and trees are filled with so many other birds, each with its own song. So how do you identify which ones are your immediate neighbours or visitors when you hear them?

A good place to start is the Australian Museum's birdsinbackyards website, which has recordings of the more common birdsongs. It also has a bird finder identification tool that allows you to search, browse or find individual Australian birds, as well as information on creating bird-friendly spaces in your backyard and neighbourhood.

Living with dinosaurs

Now here's a lounge setting straight out of The Flintstones. Designer Sayaka Yamamoto has created a line of contemporary furniture inspired by the distant past - life-sized replicas of real dinosaur bones made from soft rubber-coated foam.

The furniture comes in a variety of designs, including a T-Rex spine, Triceratops skull and big feet.

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