Thursday, June 3, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 04 June 2010
Quote of the week....

Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.
- George Edward Woodberry

1.
Keeping it in reserve

As was widely predicted, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided this week to leave the official cash rate unchanged at 4.5 per cent.

In a statement announcing the decision, Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens remarked on the need to keep the world economy under review after the de-stabilisation that occurred during May.

"Since the Board last met, concerns about sovereign creditworthiness in several European countries have been a focus of financial markets", he said, citing flow-on effects on equity prices, the Australian dollar and commodity prices.

"In Australia, with the high level of the terms of trade expected to add to incomes and demand, output growth over the year ahead is likely to be about trend, even though the effects of earlier expansionary policy measures will be diminishing."

With inflation appearing likely to be in the upper half of the target zone over the next year and interest rates to borrowers at "around their average levels of the past decade, which is a significant adjustment from the very expansionary settings reached a year ago", the Reserve is indicating that it is unlikely to raise rates further in the near future.

"Taking all the available information into account, the Board views this setting of monetary policy as appropriate for the near term", Governor Stevens said.

2.
Slow turning wheels
New home building is recovering, albeit very slowly, new figures have shown this week.

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the seasonally adjusted estimate of building work done rose 4.4 per cent, to $19,809.6m, in the March 2010 quarter.

Work done on new residential building, however, grew by just 0.9 per cent to $10.6 billion, to be up 0.8 per cent on the corresponding figure a year earlier.

The Housing Industry Association said that a lack of available skilled labour is exerting a constraining influence on the industry.

HIA Chief Economist, Dr Harley Dale, noted that the amount of new residential work done is only 1.5 per cent higher now than it was at the trough back in mid-2009.

"The value of work in the pipeline has been accumulating in recent quarters but actual work done is only grinding higher", Dr Dale said.

Meanwhile the value of work approved but not yet commenced remains at historically very high levels.

The 0.8 per cent increase in new residential building work done in the March 2010 quarter reflected a 4.6 per cent increase in 'other dwellings', an outcome influenced by the Social Housing Initiative, and a 0.8 per cent decline in work done on detached houses.

The volume of work done on major alterations and additions rose for a third consecutive quarter in March 2010, up by 1.6 per cent, although the rate of growth in recovery has slowed in each successive quarter," Harley Dale said.

In the March 2010 quarter seasonally adjusted new residential work done increased by 4.4 per cent in New South Wales, 2.3 per cent in Victoria, 4.2 per cent in South Australia, and 5 per cent in Tasmania.

New residential work done fell by 5.9 per cent in Queensland, 5.3 per cent in Western Australia, and 5.1 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory. In original terms new residential work done was 36 per cent higher in the Northern Territory compared to the March quarter of last year.

3.
A thin disguise

Folding screens are often thought to be of use only as room dividers or period decor. Their potential, however, spreads much further. With a little imagination and flair, you could disguise an ugly doorway, hide away the office space at the end of the day, replace curtains or blinds, or just give your home an individual touch.

Japanese architects and interior designers have long used folding screens to allow spatial flexibility while diffusing light to impart a sense of tranquillity to a room.

Straying from the traditional panel or hinged screen, some of the more modern versions are made from a whole range of different materials, including cardboard and plastic. There are also suppliers who will design and make screens to fit your specific d├ęcor and room size.

In the garden, screens can be used to hide ugly bins or gardening equipment from view. Rather than erecting brick or timber walls, try using screens made from less solid materials like woven willow or ti-tree. These will not only provide a softer, less intrusive boundary, but also create an ideal backdrop for plants or a frame for climbers such as roses, jasmine or passionfruit.

4.
Approvals volatile

Approvals for new dwellings fell to an eight-month low in April, after rising in March, according to figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Despite the drop, approvals were up by 21.3 per cent over the year.

Total dwelling approvals fell 14.8 per cent to a seasonally adjusted 14,144 units in April 2010, following a rise the previous month.

Private sector house approvals fell by 13.5 per cent to 8,404 to be up 4.7 per cent on the same month last year.

The more volatile private sector `other dwellings' (apartments and townhouses), fell by 5.4 per cent in April to be up 42.3 per cent on April 2009.

Public sector dwelling units fell by 42.4 per cent in April, to be 168.4 per cent higher than the same month last year.

5.
Many Species. One Planet. One Future

From Hollywood stars to schoolchildren, millions of people on every continent will take action for the planet this Saturday 5 June for World Environment Day. Organise a neighbourhood clean-up, stop using plastic bags, plant a tree, walk to work, start a recycling drive . . . the possibilities are endless.

Under the theme 'Many Species. One Planet. One Future', this year's event will celebrate the incredible diversity of life on Earth as part of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.

Thousands of activities are organised worldwide, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events. See your local council website for details of activities closer to home.

6.
Like fries with that?

In the land that supersizes anything it can, the largest house in the US has been put on the market.

Modeled on the Palace of Versailles, the 30-bedroom mansion boasts its own bowling alley, roller skating rink and Olympic-sized swimming pool, 23 bathrooms, football field, two tennis courts, a grand hall, 11 kitchens, a two-storey wine cellar and a rock grotto with three separate spas behind an 80-foot waterfall, according to the UK Telegraph.

The owners/creators who began work on the property three years ago have put the estate on the market for just under AU$90m, although as the interior work including fixtures and fittings have yet to be installed, experts believe a further $30m will need to be spent before anyone can move in.

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