Thursday, May 6, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 07 May 2010
Quote of the week

24 golden hours

"Every morning you are handed 24 golden hours. They are one of the few things in this world that you get free of charge. If you had all the money in the world, you couldn't buy an extra hour. What will you do with this priceless treasure? Remember, you must use it, as it is given only once. Once wasted you cannot get it back." - Author Unknown -

Wanted: 3.2 million homes

Australia is going to need 3.2 million more homes over the next 20 years, according to the National Housing Supply Council's (NHSC) 2nd State of Supply Report.

This will require over 180,000 new dwellings being built each year, which the Council acknowledges may be a problem given the shortfalls over the past few years.

The report shows that the gap between demand and supply increased from 99,500 dwellings at June 2008 to 178,400 dwellings at June 2009.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) says this gap, between the number of homes being supplied and the number needed, increased by 78,800 dwellings during last financial year alone and is projected to exceed 300,000 dwellings by 2014.

The NHSC recommends that "increased housing supply (including within existing urban areas) would be assisted by reform of planning governance, clarity and consistency in the basis for developer charges and mechanisms to ensure the implementation of urban strategic plans, including the delivery of infrastructure."

HIA Chief Executive, Association, Graham Wolfe, said that the Council's projections were close to those recently developed by the HIA and reiterated the report's suggestion that these numbers should represent a call to action for all levels of government.

But it is not just about planning and governance. Australia's ageing population is also affecting housing demand, the report found.

Households with residents aged over 65 years are projected to double from 1.6 million to 3.2 million households over the next two decades, indicating the increased demand for dwelling types better suited to the needs of older people.

House prices rise 20 per cent

House prices have risen five per cent in the first quarter of 2010 and twenty per cent over the past year, according to figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This is the largest annual increase since the series began in the March quarter of 2002.

The highest jump was recorded by Melbourne, where quarterly prices rose by 6.7 per cent and annual prices by 27.7 per cent. Sydney followed close behind, recording 5.3 per cent quarterly growth and 21 per cent over the year.

The strongest growth in these two cities came from established houses with relatively high prices.

There were also positive contributions over the March 2010 quarter from Perth (up by 3.5 per cent), Brisbane (up 2.0 per cent), Adelaide (2.7 per cent), Canberra (5.4 per cent), Hobart (4.2 per cent) and Darwin (3.6 per cent).

Annually, house prices rose by more than 10 per cent in all other capitals. Canberra recorded a jump of 20.6 per cent, Darwin 17.5 per cent, Perth 15 per cent, Hobart 14.1 per cent, Brisbane 12.1 per cent and Adelaide 10.8 per cent.

Third Strike

At its meeting this week, the Reserve Bank decided to again raise the official cash rate (OCR) by 25 basis points, taking it to 4.5 per cent - its highest level since the end of 2008.

There is now speculation that there will be no further increases in the near future, as this move brings the OCR to about its average level.

Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens said in his statement announcing the decision that inflation has not fallen as far as earlier forecast, and now appears likely to be in the upper half of the target zone over the coming year.

"With the risk of serious economic contraction in Australia having passed some time ago, the Board has been adjusting the cash rate towards levels that would be consistent with interest rates to borrowers being close to the average experience over the past decade or more", Governor Stevens said.

"The Board expects that, as a result of today's decision, rates for most borrowers will be around average levels.

"This represents a significant adjustment from the very expansionary settings reached a year ago", he added.

Doors open on zero-emission home

Designed to fit the Australian climate and the lifestyle of a typical middle-income family, Australia's first Zero Emission House (AusZEH) was officially opened last week in Melbourne.

The eight-star energy-efficiency rated AusZEH showcases off-the-shelf building and renewable energy-generation technologies, and new future-ready energy management systems.

Nearly 13 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions are due to home energy use.

The AusZEH is designed to produce enough `zero-emission' electricity from 6kw solar panels to supply all the operating energy needs of the household so that its net total CO2 or other greenhouse gas emissions is zero.

The demonstration house was designed and built by the CSIRO, in conjunction with industry partners Delfin-Lend Lease and the Henley Property Group and supported by the AusZEH consortium.

The Director of CSIRO's Energy Transformed Flagship, Dr Alex Wonhas, says the uptake of zero-emission housing in Australia could have a significant impact on reducing emissions nationwide.

"CSIRO scientists estimate that if all the new housing built in Australia between 2011 and 2020 were zero-emission houses, 63 million tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be saved," Dr Wonhas said.

"This would be equivalent to taking all of Australia's private cars off the road for two years and 237 days, or closing all Australia's power stations for up to 100 days."

CSIRO's Energy Transformed Flagship initiated the AusZEH project to demonstrate and evaluate how low-carbon housing can be achieved in Australia to reduce GHG emissions and create a more sustainable future for the nation.

For 12 months, the AusZEH demonstration house will become a home for an Australian family and a laboratory for CSIRO.

The house has been fitted with a unique energy management system developed by La Trobe University in partnership with CSIRO, which tracks energy use in the house and provides feedback via customised reports to household members.

This information on the performance of the `living' house will be used to identify ways to improve the design of future zero and low-emission houses.

Back up on the shelf

Shelves seem to share the plight of tables and couches - if they aren't specifically used, they quickly become storage space for items that shouldn't be there. Inspired by the decorative appeal of a musical score and the functionality of the old computer punch cards, the Hook Wall shelving system allows you to add and remove segments of shelf at whim. But wait, there's more...

The custom-made corrugated metal `wallpaper' has strips of holes that support decorative shelves, art etc, while also functioning as a sound-absorbing partition wall and controlling indoor temperature through a hidden built-in radiant heating and natural cooling system.

Hooked on free energy

Life is worth more than a power bill, though that can be easy to forget when you're hooked into a crazy scheme.

German authorities are investigating a local man who hatched a plan to steal electricity after the power company cut him off, according to the UK Metro.

A serious contender for the Darwin Awards - commemorating individuals who further humanity by removing themselves from the gene pool in outrageous ways - the man attached a cable to a meat hook and threw it onto an overhead powerline, drawing power from the transmission line to his home 150 metres away.

The bootleg scheme was only discovered during a routine check. An employee of the utility company issued a warning with hopes of deterring copycats from trying it, saying it could kill you.

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