Thursday, April 15, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 16 April 2010
Quote of the Week

"Keep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

~ Mark Twain ~

Home lending falters
Finance for both new and existing dwellings took a tumble in February, according to figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Loans for the purchase of new homes were effectively flat in February 2010, while loans for established dwellings (net of refinancing) dropped by 2.8 per cent to the lowest level since September 2008.

The number of loans for construction fell for a fourth consecutive month in February 2010, down by 3.1 per cent to reach the lowest level since July last year.

In seasonally adjusted terms the total number of owner occupier loans fell by 5.2 per cent in New South Wales, 3.5 per cent in Queensland, 8 per cent in South Australia, 5.3 per cent in Tasmania and 1.4 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory.

The total number of loans was flat in the Northern Territory and increased by 1.3 per cent in Victoria and by 3.7 per cent in Western Australia.

Window coverings go bare

The combined threat of a global financial meltdown and environmental change has resulted in a widespread return to basics in many things, including the way we decorate our homes, it seems.
US window fittings supplier Blinds Chalet announced recently it has noticed a definite trend towards simplicity and the use of natural colours and materials.

"Using a clean color palette along with natural elements reduces clutter and makes rooms feel larger", said Blinds Chalet spokesman Chris Stanley.

"Over the years, colours have ranged from bold print patterns, to stripes, but 2010 is the year for a back-to-basics mentality", he added.

Upgrading window fittings is a quick and reasonably inexpensive way to increase property values. However, the use of bold colours and extravagant fabrics can deter potential buyers.

"When a person enters a home with intent of buying, they need to be able to see themselves in that home", Chris Stanley said.

"Using neutral colors and removing personal effects allows people of all different tastes to picture their new life."

Blinds Chalet recommends a simple, clean palette of colors including cotton, cocoa and snow white.

Honeycomb shades are gaining in popularity because they improve the home's insulation and are available in environmentally-friendly materials, creating a safe haven for children, pets and adults.

Their availability in natural colors ranging from whites to creams to sandy browns inspires a welcoming atmosphere for homeowners and potential buyers alike, according to Chris Stanley.

Another popular trend is the use of natural materials. Wood, bamboo and grasses all bring an organic element into homes.

"The more technology people are surrounded by, the more they crave an element of the outdoors", Stanley said.

"Using woven wood shades and wood blinds brings a calming atmosphere to homes and apartments."

Construction demand eases

Following two months of growth, the national construction industry contracted slightly in March with demand weakening across the sector, according to the latest Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index (Australian PCI®).

Falls in new orders and activity tipped the seasonally-adjusted index below the critical 50-point level to 48.7 (readings below 50.0 indicate a contraction in activity).

House building was flat in March following eight consecutive months of expansion. The apartment sub-sector contracted for the second month in a row and engineering construction also lost ground. Commercial construction continued in positive territory in March building on a gradual recovery evident since January.

Australian Industry Group Public Policy Director, Dr Peter Burn, remarked that the respondent businesses attributed the decline in housing new orders to the end of the first home buyers' boost and the rise in interest rates since October.

New orders contracted following growth over the first two months of the year. This was, underpinned by a marked weakening in orders received by house building firms, and higher rates of decline in the engineering and apartment building sectors.

In better news, employment remained relatively stable.

Assurance in insulation

Good quality insulation is essential to any home, especially as we head into the colder months. However, recent reports of dodgy installations have highlighted the need to have confidence that the job has been well done, especially if you are planning to sell the property.

For owners, buyers and property managers, an insulation status check by a certified official can offer protection for their families, building advisory service Archicentre said this week.

Angus Kell, ACT & NSW State Manager Archicentre said it was important for vendors who have had insulation installed to have their homes checked before sale, to limit any legal liability in the case of an accident.

Mr Kell warned that selling a home these days without certified building or safe conditions can become expensive for vendors, real estate agents and people involved in carrying out sub standard work.

"Court cases in relation to illegally built balconies, where people have been injured, have stretched back to the original builder some thirty years previous," he said.

If you have any concerns, call 13 17 92 to arrange a safety inspection or visit the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts website

Kicking back with the paper

There's something comforting about sitting down with a newspaper, but does the same comfort apply to sitting on a pile of them?

The 334 Bench is made of 3 parallel metal bars and 334 newspapers folded and stacked next to each other. The first in a series by UK design student Oscar Lhermitte, the bench is an exercise in recycling and building furniture without conventional screws, glues, soldering, etc.

Resistance is futile

Some say you can class the population into three sectors - those who love Star Trek, those who love Star Wars, and those who don't care for either. In what may be the best opportunity `Trekkies' will have in coming light-years to deck out their homes, treasures such as Enterprise chairs, Quark's Bar furniture, Starfleet uniforms and large model spaceships are going on auction this weekend in the US.

Straight from a dismantled Las Vegas attraction based on the famous franchise, auction house Propworx Inc. has a full list of the available items and auction details online.

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