Thursday, September 30, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 01 October 2010
Crown St Mall Modelling Workshops

Learn how to walk the catwalk, use make up to enhance your features and style your hair to suit your face. Crown Street Mall's Modelling Workshop will teach you the basics needed to present well in a modelling competition and give you some pointers to be the best you can be in this field.

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Common mistakes that cost money

While investment property can be very profitable, many investors make costly mistakes, according to property educator Jennie Brown. Brown says a common mistake is not being clear about the desired outcome.

"Many property investors are not clear on what they really want to achieve," she says. "Most want to make money; they want to travel, go to exotic places. Others may want to leave a legacy for their children, quit their job and replace it with an income to live the life they've dreamed of."


House prices growing

House prices just keep getting better, according to a report released this week by the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).

The Mortgage Choice Real Estate Market Facts report for the June quarter 2010 shows that median house prices increased 3.2 per cent to $533,243. The major contributors were Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

With the exception of Perth and Hobart, all Australian capital cities recorded increases in median house prices over the quarter. Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin recorded the highest increases in prices while the lowest were recorded in Hobart, Adelaide and Brisbane.
REIA President David Airey remarked that although house price growth slowed over the year, the growth rate is well above the annual average.

"Compared to the same quarter of last year, house prices increased across all Australian capital cities, with growth rates ranging from 8.9 per cent to 26.5 per cent", Mr Airey said.

"Melbourne recorded the largest increase whilst Perth recorded the smallest growth."

Mortgage Choice Senior Corporate Affairs Manager, Kristy Sheppard said that despite reticence from a number of potential buyers, auction clearance rates remained fairly high on average over the June quarter, with the prestige market slowing and the more affordable areas picking up pace.

"As we move into spring this continues to be the case", she added.

"We have also seen some positive results in the form of our Mortgage Choice 2010 Refinancers Survey, which posed questions to 1,028 Australians who refinanced their home loan in the last year."

The survey found that 68 per cent of respondents who refinanced saw their interest rate drop upon doing so and, of these, almost one quarter (23 per cent) were now saving more than $300 per month.

Close to nine in every 10 (88 per cent) were saving more than $50 per month.

Rents for three bedroom houses remained unchanged in most capital cities over the June quarter, with the exception of Brisbane, Hobart and Darwin.

Over the year, house rents increased in all capital cities, with the greatest increases evident in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.

"We can expect a healthy property market for the rest of the year, with an increase in activity in the medium and long term," concluded Mr Airey.

Builder sentiment takes a dive

Builder sentiment dropped in the September quarter, according to a recent survey released by Master Builders Australia.

The latest National Survey of Building and Construction shows that this drop in sentiment corresponds with declining expectations for building industry activity.

Master Builders Australia Chief Economist, Peter Jones, said that builders are becoming increasingly concerned about the outlook as government stimulus programs begin to wind down.

"Builders expect overall industry activity to be lower over the next six months relative to the past six months", Jones said.

"They are much more circumspect about their own future business activity, see their profits deteriorating over the next six months and expect to reduce their workforce in the period ahead."

Green buildings: local and global

Buildings consume between 30-40 per cent of global energy, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. There is no single larger global contributor - and thereby potential reducer - of carbon than the building sector.

This is the main message in a new report from the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) launched to coincide with World Green Building Week (20-24 September 2010).

The building sector directly employs 5-10 per cent of the workforce in most countries.
Tackling Global Climate Change, Meeting Local Priorities highlights how green buildings can play a valuable role in meeting local needs worldwide, including in areas hit by natural disasters, as well as providing the most cost-effective way of tackling climate change.

"In the past some thought we could only address environmental concerns when the going was good and that 'green' had to take a back seat to economic growth when times got challenging," notes Jane Henley, Chief Executive Officer of the WorldGBC.

"This report shows that to be a false choice. We have a growing evidence base of international examples in which homes, buildings and communities are addressing pressing local needs and reducing carbon emissions at the same time."

Green buildings can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 35 per cent - and in some cases can be carbon neutral. They can also reduce waste output by 70 per cent, water usage by 40 per cent, and energy usage between 30-50 per cent - in some cases producing energy that can be sent back to the grid.

"Buildings are simply the most cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions and policy-makers around the world must recognise this at the upcoming international negotiations at COP16 in Mexico," Jane Henley says.

Tony Arnel, Chairman of both the WorldGBC and the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) says the report provides a timely message of what proactive government and private sector initiatives can do to harness the potential of green buildings to deliver important social, economic and environmental benefits for people around the world.

The report brings together case studies from across four world regions and provides evidence of how green buildings have been used effectively to meet local needs, while cutting carbon, including:

Disaster recovery:

The recovery effort following disaster is a crucial time. It is an opportunity for communities to be at the heart of planning, creating homes and buildings that meet social and economic needs, enhance quality of life and also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The report shows how green building councils have worked with local NGOs to do just this, for example in Australia through the 'Build it Back Green' program following wildfires that destroyed thousands of homes and killed over 100 people in Victoria; and in the USA where, after Hurricane Katrina, the USGBC brought local communities together with experts in urban planning, waste and water management, engineering and architecture to play an active part in lower carbon reconstruction after the floods.

Job creation and local economy:

The financial crisis and ensuing recession has hit some countries harder than others and countries have responded in different ways to the challenge. But a common theme is the extent to which construction and refurbishment of existing buildings has been recognised as an important way of stimulating local economies.

South Africa is using the Kyoto Protocol's 'Clean Development Mechanism' (CDM), in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, to retrofit 2300 homes in an established low-income housing area.

Energy efficiency measures include insulated ceilings, energy-efficient light bulbs and solar water heaters. Not only does this reduce energy use and carbon, but the revenue from the CDM is used to fund a trust to employ and train local residents.

In Bogotá Colombia, one of the largest residential projects in the country, Green City, is a mixed-use project that supports the generation of economic activities and jobs for residents and surrounding areas. In the first stage the investment in infrastructure will rise to USD$30.2 million, create 21,000 direct and indirect jobs, and offer public facilities for the community.

Affordable housing and fuel poverty:

In both developed and developing countries, there is often a shortage of affordable, secure and healthy homes, particularly for low income or vulnerable people. Developing new or refurbished greener homes can offer benefits to both residents and the environment.

In Europe, the 'Pay As You Save' idea is rising up on the agenda. The UK Green Building Council has campaigned for the introduction of an innovative financial mechanism that allows homeowners or landlords to access finance to improve the energy efficiency of a property, with the capital repaid over a long period of time from the savings on energy bills. The greatly reduced energy bills mean the resident is better off immediately, despite having to repay the initial cost of the refurbishment. The UK government will introduce legislation to enable this policy in November 2010.

Similarly, the Romanian GBC is working with several banks to develop new financial products that could boost the retrofitting of green buildings in Romania along similar lines.

The full report is available for download from the WorldGBC website.

Ride to Work Day

This month Aussies everywhere get a chance to join the commuter revolution on Ride to Work Day 13 October 2010.

Whether you ride to work to save money, do something good for the environment or for your health it's important that you make your ride count and register online at the Ride to Work website. Every registration helps improve bike facilities across Australia.

This could be the start of something wonderful!

Five home security basics

These days home security has become increasingly important to prevent theft, break in, or even personal injury. When planning home security there are a few simple things you can do to protect your home, even before you spend any big money.

Lock the garage and shed

Garden sheds or garages present thieves with the tools they need to break in to your home. For example, a ladder left lying around the garden will not only offer a thief something they can sell, it also gives them the perfect tool to break into your home. Therefore, ensure your garden shed or garage is locked when not in use with a case-hardened padlock or high grade chain. This will also help to secure items such as lawn mowers, bicycles, surfboards or garden tools.

Fit sensor lights

Sensor lights on the outside of your house can work as a wonderful deterrent. Sensor lights are activated when something moves across their path, so any burglar who is considering breaking in to your home should be discouraged by the possibility of exposure. Sensor lights can be wired to your electrical mains, or they can be powered using an extension lead running from inside the house. Obviously the former option is preferable. When setting up sensor lights, make sure they are not so sensitive that the family pet will set them off.

Use good quality door & window locks

When starting down the home security path, good quality door and window looks are an essential starting point. You may also consider fitting a wire mesh security screen door to front and rear doors. This way you can still let breezes flow through your home whilst remaining secure.

Be aware of cheap imitations. When security is at stake, it can often be better to bite the bullet and buy the best quality available. Steel roll down shutters can also be fitted to windows.

Clear the line of sight

Overgrown branches, thick bushes, large trees and high fences all provide thieves with the perfect cover from the street and give them all the time they need to open a door lock or window. To help protect your home, clear the line of sight from the street to doors and windows.

Engrave your valuables

Items such as digital cameras, televisions or stereo systems should be engraved with their unique serial number. Keep a record of all serial numbers in a secure location, preferably outside your home (e.g. a bank security deposit box). Your local police should be able to advise you on the best way to store serial numbers. If you have a lot of valuable jewelry, consider locking it in a bank security deposit box, or at least take a photo of each valuable item with a description and ask your solicitor to keep a copy of this information for you.

The arts go marching one by one

Remember those ant-farms from your childhood? The formicariums (enclosed ant colonies) seem to make their way in and out of our lives, providing a fascinating, albeit brief, study of another life-form.

In a modern and elegant twist, FRAMEicariums have taken the ant farm concept and given it a makeover by way of salvaged picture frames and colour-coordinated schemes of sand. The contemporary design is likely to suit adults and children alike, with natural art that is constantly changing.

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