Thursday, April 22, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 23 April 2010
This week we celebrate the Anzacs...

I saw a kid marchin' with medals on his chest.
He marched alongside Diggers marching six abreast.
He knew that it was ANZAC Day - he walked along with pride.
He did his best to keep in step with the Diggers by his side.

And when the march was over the kid was rather tired.
A Digger said "Whose medals, son?" to which the kid replied:
"They belong to daddy, but he did not come back.
He died up in New Guinea on a lonely jungle track".

The kid looked rather sad then and a tear came to his eye.
The Digger said "Don't cry my son and I will tell you why.
Your daddy marched with us today - all the blooming way.
We Diggers know that he was there - it's like that on ANZAC Day".

The kid looked rather puzzled and didn't understand,
But the Digger went on talking and started to wave his hand.
"For this great land we live in, there's a price we have to pay
For we all love fun and merriment in this country where we live.
The price was that some soldier his precious life must give.

For you to go to school my lad and worship God at will,
Someone had to pay the price so the Diggers paid the bill.
Your daddy died for us my son - for all things good and true.
I wonder if you understand the things I've said to you".

The kid looked up at the Digger - just for a little while
And with a changed expression, said, with a lovely smile:
"I know my dad marched here today - this is ANZAC Day.
I know he did. I know he did, all the bloomin' way".

D. Hunter
(A veteran of Shaggy Ridge with the 2/12 Battalion in WW2)

New homes down, renos up

New residential building work done fell in the December 2009 quarter according to figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of new residential work done fell 2.5% to $8,833.5m.

Work done on new houses fell 1.1% to $6,240.2m, while new other residential building fell 5.8% to $2,593.3m.

Alterations and additions rose 2.6% to $1,571.1m.

Housing Industry Association HIA Chief Economist, Dr Harley Dale suggested that the decline is a reminder of the importance of ensuring sufficient skilled labour is available to keep the wheels of recovery turning over the course of 2010.

"The second consecutive rise in the volume of work done on major alterations and additions, reflected in growth of 2.6 per cent in the December 2009 quarter, is expected to be followed by further positive updates through 2010", Dr Dale said.

"Amidst improving labour market conditions, further home price gains and less sensitivity to rising interest rates, the outlook for total renovations activity is quite bright", he added.

In the December 2009 quarter seasonally adjusted new residential work done fell in every state and territory with the exception of Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, where it increased by 1.5 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

New residential building fell by 5.3 per cent in New South Wales, 3.3 per cent in Victoria, 4.8 per cent in South Australia, 2.4 per cent in Western Australia and 1.6 per cent in Tasmania.

Growth will support demand

First home buyers are still keen to buy but are changing their expectations, according to new research by QBE Lenders' Mortgage Insurance (QBE LMI).

QBE LMI's latest lmiMortgage Update (researched by BIS Shrapnel) has found that first home buyers will not fall away to the same extent as they did following the expiration of the First Home Buyer Boost Scheme in 2002.

The report anticipates loans approved to first home buyers to be relatively strong at 110,000 to 115,000 in 2010 - a healthy 27% above the low point of loans to first home buyers in 2003/04.

Ian Graham, CEO of QBE LMI, said that the research by BIS Shrapnel shows strong population growth in the first home buyer age cohort (25 to 39 year-olds) totalling 3.2% over the three years to June 2012.

"The solid growth in this age group will result in a bigger pool of first home buyers in the market which will support demand in the future", Mr Graham said.

The research also confirms first home buyers are adjusting their expectations by turning to established or smaller dwellings, such as townhouses and apartments.

Ian Graham suggests that this reflects pressure on affordability following the expiration of the FHOGBS and higher interest rates on mortgages.

"Forecast rental increases will also be a factor in driving first home buyer demand", he added.

"The move from renting to paying off a mortgage will continue to be an attractive option and as a result will encourage many first home buyers to enter the market in the year ahead."

Make your investment property work for you

Industry experts are predicting that more seasoned property investors are likely to start making purchases again this year - the property market is cyclical and those who see property as a long-term investment will recognise buying opportunities.

Bargains or not, making a profit on an investment property requires understanding and research and, often, a complete lack of emotion on the buyer's part.

Here are some basics to consider if you are going to make the most of your second-home investment:

Find the property. Take into account that the location and style of the home you are looking for must suit your target tenant - will it be a one-bedroom flat in a student area, or a family house close to schools and parks? What makes it stand out as a good place for someone else to live in? What appeals to just you may not appeal to the rental pool you may depend upon for consistent income. Then think resale: if you had to sell in a few years, what would attract the next buyer? Will its style and layout hold its appreciation over the long term?

Find the neighbourhood. Even if the house is perfect, is the neighborhood one that you see your tenants enjoying? Is it safe? Is it convenient and close to amenities? If your target tenant is a student or young city dweller, chances are they would prefer to use public transport. Remember, you can always add a bedroom or convert a patio space, but the area is set.

Find the cash. If you have some semblance of a deposit or equity in an existing property and can show the likelihood of rental income, you may be in better shape than you think. Contact your banker or a reputable mortgage broker to see what your options are.

Find the manager. How your investment is to be managed is a major decision, and one that should be addressed early. Having tenants, short- or long-term, will require that the property be effectively managed. It's a business, and will require maintenance and improvement, as well as rent collection (and that is not always as straightforward as it should be!). Management is a cost - either you will dedicate your time to manage your property, or you will pay a professional property manager. Choosing the more cost-effective approach will affect the return on your investment - however, research has found that using a professional property manager is invariably the better alternative and management fees are tax deductible.

Find the reserve. Property that will ultimately prove a good investment and yield a good rental return and capital growth over time may still occasionally present its challenges. For example, you may experience a longer than expected vacancy when your tenant moves out, occasional rental arrears or even an untimely plumbing or electrical repair. You are responsible for meeting mortgage commitments and maintaining your property regardless of whether or not it is generating income. Before you invest, create and hold a cash reserve to cover those periods when the property is not rented, when the rent is late or when the toilet needs repair.

The prophet to the mountain

An Australian Professor of Economics has a long walk ahead of him after losing a bet that housing prices will plummet. Making a losing bet that house prices would crash last year, Steven Keen now has to walk from Parliament House in Canberra to Mount Kosciuszko in the Snowy Mountains, wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "I was hopelessly wrong on house prices, ask me how", the ABC reports. Though the drop may not have come as soon as he predicted, the economist holds true to his belief that the bottom will fall out of the market, even in the face of the task ahead. Whether or not that's an accurate assessment or stubborn pride, we'll just have to wait and see.

Eggciting new way to sleep

When you were young, there were few places as comforting as the arms of a parent. The Lomme Bed, from designer Günther Thöny, takes sleep back further than parental arms to an almost embryonic state - with all the perks of modern life.

Inspired by a 2-year study into sleep habits with an emphasis on sleep problems and correction therapies, the egg-shaped bed features an integrated massage system and light and sound therapy to reduce external noise, not unlike a womb.

This one, however, includes ipod hook-up and storage compartments.

On your bike, it's dinner time

A Danish hotel is offering a free meal for guests, though they may feel like they're being taken for a ride. In an innovative new scheme to encourage physical fitness and reducing carbon footprints, any guest who can produce electricity by using an exercise bike hooked-up to a generator inside the Copenhagen Crowne Plaza Hotel will receive a free meal, reports.

Currently the hotel also relies on solar panels to generate renewable energy. Guests will be eligible for the free meal if they can produce at a minimum, 10 watt hours of electricity - around 15 minutes of cycling for a guest of average physical fitness.

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