Thursday, September 2, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 03 September 2010
Fathers' Day this Sunday...

Dad....... A childs prospective.

4 years: My Daddy can do anything!
7 years: My Dad knows a lot...a whole lot.
8 years: My father does not know quite everything.
12 years: Oh well, naturally Father does not know that either.
14 years: Oh, Father? He is hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years: Oh, that man-he is out of date!
25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 years: I must find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 years: Before we decide, we will get Dad's idea first.
50 years: What would Dad have thought about that?
60 years: My Dad knew literally everything!
65 years: I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.

We hope all the dads out there have a wonderful day!

More homes approved in July

Building Approvals posted their first increase in four months in July, according to figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The 2.3 per cent increase in building approvals in July 2010 was driven by a 6.5 per cent lift in `other dwellings' such as apartments, townhouses etc. Detached house approvals were flat for the month.

Over the three months to July 2010 total building approvals were down by 11 per cent reflecting a 17 per cent fall in other dwellings and a decline of 8 per cent for detached houses.

Building approvals increased in six out of eight states and territories in July 2010.

Seasonally adjusted, the number of building approvals increased by 12.1 per cent in Victoria, 9.7 per cent in New South Wales, 8.2 per cent in South Australia, and 4.5 per cent in Tasmania.

Approvals fell by 18.3 per cent in Queensland and were down by 4.9 per cent in Western Australia.

In trend terms, approvals increased by 13.4 per cent in the Northern Territory and by 2 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory.

Oldies stay put

The vast majority of older Australians are living in three-bedroom homes on large suburban lots, which is more than they need or even use, according to new research.

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) found 84 per cent of homes occupied by older Australians aged 55 and over would be considered too big by international occupancy standards.

AHURI executive director Dr Ian Winter said that despite statistics that indicate their homes are too big, more than 90 per cent of older Australians say they want to remain in their own homes with the support of professional services.

`Most older Australians don't believe they're languishing in homes that are too large", Dr winter said.

"Their clear perception is that their homes are of a suitable size and are well utilised with extra rooms given over to hosting permanent residents, visiting friends and family, home offices and hobbies."

The national study of 1604 older home owners found that while most people would prefer to remain in their own homes; 63 per cent were prepared to consider entering a retirement village in the event of developing a disability or increased need for assistance, whilst 56 per cent were prepared to enter a development for seniors in such circumstances.

Only 18 per cent would consider living in their children's homes.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Bruce Judd from the University of New South Wales said
most older Australians want to have a home that can be easily modified at low-cost to meet their needs, or a universally designed home that did not need to be modified. They are less keen on moving to a retirement village, a seniors' development or moving in with their children. However, for those needing to move to more appropriately designed housing, having a choice of options available is also important.

`Many older Australians are nervous about retirement villages citing lifestyle issues, cramped living quarters, bad experiences reported by others and concern about the cost', Professor Judd said.

Dr Winter observed that older Australians would need to be supported to make changes before their abilities decline.

`We need to provide attractive and diverse housing options for older people within their neighbourhoods, and eliminate financial disincentives to moving such as stamp duties', Dr Winter said

"But because people prefer to stay where they are, there's a strong case to be made for regulating housing design to make it age friendly right from the start to eliminate, or at least minimise, the need to make modifications later', he said.

`Obviously this doesn't come without some extra cost initially but more age friendly housing and urban design will ultimately benefit all Australians by addressing some of the wide variations in the quality of design in different neighbourhoods around the country', he added.

New home building surges

The recovery in new home building is starting to flow through to real building activity, the Housing Industry Association announced this week.

Figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that new residential building work done rose by 7.7 per cent in the June 2010 quarter.

HIA Senior Economist, Andrew Harvey, said that the `impressive outcome' has been expected for some time.

"Work in the pipeline has been accumulating in recent quarters but until today has not been reflected in actual work done," Andrew Harvey said.

"Excluding alterations and additions, new residential building is up 8.7 per cent in the June quarter 2010, which is the fastest rate of growth since the September quarter 2001."

The volume of work done on major alterations and additions rose for a fourth consecutive quarter in June 2010, up by 1.8 per cent, although the rate of growth has slowed relative to earlier quarters.

"The surge in building activity is on the back of the earlier fiscal stimulus and low interest rates, but tells us little about whether the recovery in residential building will be sustained in the longer term now that the stimulus has been largely withdrawn", Mr Harvey said.

"In the short term the building outlook is promising with around $27 billion worth of total residential building in the pipeline, which is the highest level since September 2008."

In the June 2010 quarter, seasonally adjusted new residential work done increased by 7.5 per cent in New South Wales, 8.9 per cent in Victoria, 4.6 per cent in South Australia, 0.2 per cent in Tasmania, 11.5 per cent in Queensland, 5.3 per cent in Western Australia, and 7.2 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory.

In original terms new residential work done was 12 per cent higher in the Northern Territory compared to the June quarter of last year.

Creating an outdoor living area

Spring has sprung and many home sellers are starting to think about putting their home on the market. The question is, what will attract the most buyers in the shortest amount of time?

It seems homebuyers these days aren't just interested in new kitchens and bathrooms, as outdoor living space has become a higher priority. Indeed, the majority of new homes are now being designed to include balconies, verandahs or a purpose-built outdoor living area.

So, what makes a good outdoor living area?

Quite simply, it's a place to sit, eat and spend time with family and friends. In fact, many people say outdoor living spaces promote family unity (perhaps this is because they are out of sight of the television?), offer a safe area for children to play and create a sense of `retreat' without going anywhere.

This means you'll need a dining table, comfortable chairs, outdoor cooking facilities, lighting and, most importantly, shade from the hot summer sun.

To set up a basic outdoor area you'll probably need to spend somewhere in the vicinity of $5,000. If you want to go `all the way' and include luxury facilities like a swimming pool or spa and expensive landscaping, the price will increase by several thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars.

Outdoor features are very important for buyers in all price ranges. A recent survey showed buyers in the $450,000-$700,000 range rated rear decks, patios, exterior lighting and good landscaping as "must haves."

A screened rear porch is preferred by both groups; a fenced yard was a strong preference as well. And when it comes to lawn sprinklers, the group in the lower price bracket "strongly preferred" while the upper group considered them a "must have."

In addition, a well designed outdoor living space can greatly expand the useable space within a home and perhaps even add to the value of the property.

So, with spring upon us, what do you need to do to get your outdoor living area ready for those long, lazy summer afternoons with friends?

Dust Off Winter

Outdoor furniture is often placed in storage or exposed to the elements so cleaning before summer is recommended. The best way to do this is with a mild soap and water mix that will remove dirt, pollens or salt water. It might also be a good idea to apply a coat of clear varnish or wax to help protect furniture during warmer months.

Assess Your Needs

If you have just created a new outdoor living area or purchased a home with an outdoor living space you may need new outdoor furniture. Before you hit the shops, think carefully about what you need and how you and your family like to spend their time. For example, do you often have friends around to eat and therefore require a dining table, or do you prefer to laze away the hours on a sun lounge?

Also, think about the space you need to fill. Nothing looks stranger than incorrectly sized furniture. There are so many varieties of outdoor furniture you will most certainly be able to find what you're looking for. Just make sure you hunt around for the best price!

Think about colour

Many outdoor areas can benefit from an infusion of colour. Choose your favourite colour and incorporate this in to cushion designs, lanterns or even landscaping. Alternatively, look for inspiration in home design magazines or retail outlets. If you're still stuck, you might consider calling in an interior design expert who can help you decide on style and d├ęcor. They may even help you shop for your chosen furniture.

Consider outlook

When setting up an outdoor area, consider the outlook. Make sure the focus of the living area is on an area that will create a sense of calm and relaxation. This may be a water feature, swimming pool, or trees and shrubs. If your outdoor living area has a blank wall on one side, consider painting the wall in a bright feature colour. Or use the space to grow climbing plants or vegetables.

The sports car he always wanted

With Fathers' Day this Sunday, we have a wheelbarrow full of presents in mind that dad could use, but why go functional when you could go completely extravagant?

From the manufacturers of the Porsche Boxster and Cayman, the Garia Luxury Golf Car won't just give dad the `pimpest' ride on the golf course, but on the neighbourhood streets also.

Built to the highest automotive standards with Formula 1-inspired front suspension and aluminum profiles made by the same company that supplies to Aston Martin, Jaguar and Volvo, the Garia is also street legal (for streets with 50km/h limits), so Dad can ride all the way from the garage onto the course and back.

Flush with memorabilia

John Lennon wasn't a king, but his former throne has fetched a princely sum at auction.

The collector with the winning bid paid AU$16,435 for the deceased Beatle's porcelain toilet, BBC.UK reported recently. Lennon, who gave the toilet to a builder to use as a pot plant, is said to have used it himself between 1969 and 1972.

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