Thursday, August 12, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 13 August 2010
Quote of the Week.....

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
Anthony Robbins

Housing commitments trend down

Australian Bureau of Statistics Housing Finance figures for June show, in trend terms, the number of commitments for owner occupied homes fell 0.8 per cent, compared to the previous month.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the number of commitments decreased 3.9 per cent.

Except for the purchase of new dwellings, the decreases in lending were across established and construction of new dwellings and across all states and territories, expect Tasmania.

Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) President, David Airey pointed out that, in trend terms, this is the twelfth consecutive month of falls of housing finance.

"This is getting close to the highest recorded number of consecutive declines since the thirteen months from April 1994 to April 1995", Airey said.

In trend terms, the value of owner occupied housing commitments fell 0.7 per cent, while investment housing commitments increased 0.4 per cent in June 2010 compared with May 2010, following an increase of 0.6 per cent in May 2010.

Increases were recorded in commitments for the purchase of dwellings by individuals for rent or resale (up $31m, 0.5 per cent) and commitments for the construction of dwellings for rent or resale (up $16m, 3.4 per cent). Commitments for the purchase of dwellings by others for rent or resale fell (down $14m, 1.9 per cent).

House prices rising - or not?

Capital city house prices rose again in the June quarter, according to official figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The price index for established houses for the weighted average of the eight capital cities increased 3.1 per cent in the June quarter 2010, bringing the annual increase to 18.4 per cent.

Yet the RP Data-Rismark Hedonic Home Value Index, also released this week, shows that capital city dwelling values were down 0.7 per cent in month of June with no growth over June quarter. (The discrepancy may be because the index looks at units and town houses etc in cities and regional areas as well as houses and provides seasonally-adjusted results).

According to the Index, Australian dwelling values remained flat over the June quarter with effectively no growth (+0.1 per cent in seasonally-adjusted terms). This represents a deceleration in the quarterly rate of increase in home values.

Since the start of 2009, the average quarterly capital growth realised by dwellings located in Australia's capital cities has been 3.0 per cent (seasonally-adjusted).

The second quarter housing market freeze has been evident in both the capital city and 'Rest-of-State` markets, which account for about 40 per cent of all homes by number.

The RP Data-Rismark 'Rest-of-State` Hedonic Index, which it developed for the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), registered virtually no capital growth in the June quarter (up 0.3 per cent seasonally-adjusted) and a very modest 5.2 per cent rise over the year to June 2010. This is less than half the 10.5 per cent annual growth recorded in Australia's capital cities in the 12 months to end June.

The soft-landing in Australia's housing market has been pervasive across all price bands. The cheapest 20 per cent of suburbs, middle 60 per cent of suburbs, and most expensive 20 per cent of suburbs (ranked by price) all fell in value in the month of June. The slow-down has been led by homes in the luxury markets, which have declined in value by 1.9 per cent since March 2010.

Managing Director of Rismark International Christopher Joye said that over time, house prices track purchasing power quite closely.

"Disposable household incomes were only projected to rise by about 5 per cent in 2010", Joye said.

"We've had 4.7 per cent growth in dwelling values in the year-to-date.

"It's sobering to remember here that we have had 17 consecutive monthly increases in Australian capital city home values", he said.

"If the sharemarket rose for 17 months straight and then tapered, people would not think twice. It might be wise to apply the same logic to our housing market."

Refinancers are winners: survey

A large number of Australians have been able to ward off the effect of higher interest rates by refinancing, according to a report released this week by mortgage broker Mortgage Choice.

The Mortgage Choice 2010 Refinancers Survey shows that 68 per cent of recent home loan refinancers saw their interest rate drop upon doing so.

Of these, almost one quarter (23 per cent) were now saving more than $300 per month while close to nine in every 10 (88 per cent) were saving more than $50 per month.

The survey asked a range of questions to 1,028 Australians who refinanced their home loan in the last 12 months, finding the main motivation was to switch to a `cheaper' loan, for 24 per cent of respondents, followed by the need to consolidate debts, for 11 per cent.

Company spokesperson Kristy Sheppard remarked that it was pleasing to find that 46 per cent of respondents did not pay exit fees when refinancing.

Of the rest, 22 per cent paid up to $500, 16 per cent between $500 and $1,000, 11 per cent between $1,000 and $5,000, and 5 per cent incurred over $5,000.

"It is important to note that new laws authorise ASIC to formally investigate any exit fee seen to be `unfair' or `unconscionable'," Ms Sheppard said.

"It is interesting to hear that after respondents researched their options, 26 per cent delayed the refinance due to charges they would have incurred by doing so earlier.

"They weighed up the cost versus benefit of refinancing, which is what any savvy borrower would do before committing to a large financial decision," she added.

"Whether you are a novice or experienced refinancer, it is important to thoroughly investigate your finance options before committing", Ms Sheppard said.

"This timeframe may vary depending on your individual circumstances and needs, hence visiting a reputable mortgage broker with a wide range of lenders on their panel will probably save you time, confusion and money."

What's your colour personality?

Have you walked into a room and just felt `at home'? It's quite possible that is because the colours in the room match your personality.

Ensuring that at least some elements of the room are in colours that fit with your colour personality can help you feel at home in your environment. Without these comfort colours you may always feel a little out of touch, detached or dissatisfied as your personality works hard to try and find things in the environment that resonate with your preferences.

To help you find your colour personality, New Zealand paint manufacturer Resene offers a colour personality test on their website, using concepts developed by Swiss expressionist painter Johannes Itten, who described colour personalities in terms of seasons. For instance, a Spring personality loves daylight and prefers airy homes with lots of windows and natural light; their colours are fresh, bright, clean and warm.

So, before you pick up a brush to give your home a "new lick of paint", take the test and see what will suit you best. And if you live with others, find out what their personalities need, as well.

Resene recommends the following ways to accommodate the personalities of different family members:

Allocate each family member a favourite room, such as their bedroom, and let them select furnishings and colours for that space that suit their colour personality. That way they will feel truly at home in at least one part of the house. Bedrooms are an ideal room for this.

To incorporate the seasons of other family members accessorise the room with one item from each family member's dominant season. For example, to appeal to an Autumn personality in a Spring room you might add an ethnic artefact to reinforce their dominant personality.

Colour personalities do overlap. Look for the common ground and use that as the basis for your colour scheme. For example, Springs and Summers both like curved shapes, Springs and Autumns both like warm palettes, creams, ivories and wooden furniture, Springs and Winters like large windows with simple window treatments and cool palettes, Summers and Autumns like mid-toned woods and share taste in mellow muted colours, while Autumns and Winters enjoy intense dark colours and opt for textures rather than patterns.

Just add air

As Australians become increasingly alert to the importance of using water wisely in the home, CSIRO researchers have found a way to use a third less water when you shower - by adding air.

The scientists have developed a simple `air shower' device which, when fitted into existing showerheads, fills the water droplets with a tiny bubble of air. The result is the shower feels just as wet and just as strong as before, but now uses much less water.

While the concept has been talked about for a while, we're still waiting on a model to be officially released. The nozzle is speculated to cost less than $20, and could be easily installed by householders.

Driving a theme home

Ever notice how true motor enthusiasts struggle to keep the telltale signs of their passion in the garage? For anyone looking to step up their game from having assorted keepsakes, pictures or a few model cars on the shelf, a luxury hotel in Germany has been showcasing the finer points of bringing automobiles into domestic settings.

The V8 Hotel in Stuttgart offers rooms with different motoring themes, such as auto-tuning, motor racing, V8 camp and drive-in cinema, all fitted with high quality materials and original automotive parts.

If you were looking for a chance to revisit the racing car bed you had as a child, sleeping in an historic racing behemoth re-fitted as a comfortable double could be just the ticket.

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