Thursday, October 21, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 22 October 2010
A Taste of Viva La Gong

Enjoy a taste of the Viva La Gong Festival with a special preview on Saturday 30 October at the Crown St Mall Amphitheatre from 12 noon-2pm.

Riogh is a six-piece ensemble specialising in Irish and Celtic music, combining classic ballads and upbeat favourites with a fresh take and contemporary sound. Featuring some of the country's finest musicians, Riogh is fast becoming a `must see' in the Australian Folk scene - from classic Irish ballads to Celtic jigs and modern pop tunes, there's something for everyone! Their soaring harmonies and infectious melodies will transport you to another time and place.

Pipeline bursts with building work
Building orders that have been `in the pipeline' for the last twelve months have now resulted in a solid stream of work, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show that the seasonally adjusted value of total building work done in the June 2010 quarter rose 5.7 per cent, to $21,571.8m, following a rise of 7.3 per cent in the March quarter.

New residential building work done rose by 9.4 per cent to $10,181.7m in the June 2010 quarter.

Work done on new houses increased 7.7 per cent to $6,898.4m, while new `other residential' building rose 13.1 per cent to $3,283.3m. Alterations and additions rose 1.8 per cent to $1,660.4m.

Excluding alterations and additions, new residential building lifted 8.7 per cent in the June quarter, 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, up by 1.8 percent, although the rate of growth has slowed relative to earlier quarters.

In the June 2010 quarter, seasonally adjusted new residential work done increased by 7.5 per cent in NSW, 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.

Aussies working fewer hours

The long-held notion that Australians are spending longer hours at work has been challenged by new research showing the country's 11.3 million workers spend less time in the office than they did ten years ago.

While millions of Australians feel they are working longer than ever before, the Bankwest "Working Times" report shows full time workers put in an average 41.4 hours a week over the past year to August 2010, compared with 42.7 hours a week a decade ago - representing a 1.3 hour decrease in hours worked over the decade.

This has handed Australians back an equivalent of more than eight working days over the course of the year compared to 2000.

The research also showed that small business owners worked the longest hours in Australia (50.7 hours), while government employees in the public sector worked fewer hours than other Australians (36.8 hours).

Once again Gen-Y bucked the trend, working fewer hours than any other age group in Australia, at an age when traditionally Australians worked longer hours in a bid to try and establish their careers.

Bankwest Business Chief Executive Ian Corfield said the Bankwest analysis of the latest quarterly labour force data openly challenges what many Australians have long taken for granted - that we are all working longer and harder than ever before.

"I'm sure many of us would be astounded to learn that as a nation we each are actually working fewer hours than we were back in 2000," Mr Corfield said.

"Some of this appears due to Gen-Ys who have opted for work-life balance at an age when people traditionally worked long hours to try and get ahead and establish in their careers.

"I think there's little doubt that many of us are working harder than ever before, but our research shows this doesn't mean we are necessarily working longer.

"The thing to remember of course is that for many of us the day doesn't end when we switch off the computer and go home, many Australians are still working with blackberries and laptop computers at home at night and over the weekend.

"Even so, our research shows we are actually spending 68 hours less in the office every year, which equates to more than eight working days off compared to 2000.

The major employment trend over the past decade has been a shift into part-time from full-time work. Now, 30 per cent of workers are employed part-time, compared to 27 per cent a decade ago. The average hours worked by part-timers has increased by 0.9 hours per week over the past decade from 16.1 to 17.0 hours per week.

The average hours of all workers - both full-time and part-time - has fallen by 1.5 hours per week over the past decade from 35.6 hours in August 2000 to 34.1 hours currently.

Land sales ease

Land sales eased in most Australian capital cities over the June 2010 quarter, according to the latest residential land report from the Housing Building Association (HIA) and property information and analytics provider

The weighted median residential land value for Australia eased by 3.6 per cent over the quarter, but was up 2 per cent over the year to June.

Sydney remains the most expensive residential land market in the nation with a median value of $280,000. The Sunshine Coast in Queensland is the second most expensive land market with a median value of $261,750, followed by the Gold Coast ($235,000), Richmond Tweed ($228,700) in New South Wales, and Perth ($227,000).

There are twelve markets across Australia with median land values of $100,000 or less. The most affordable land market in Australia is the Mallee region of Victoria ($72,250), followed by the Murray Lands ($75,000) and South East ($78,850) regions in South Australia, and the Mersey-Lyell ($80,000) and Southern ($87,000) regions in Tasmania. senior research analyst Cameron Kusher said falling land volumes and values are mirroring the experience of the established housing market.

"Values of established residential dwellings have been easing in recent months, as have volumes, and the market for vacant land is experiencing a similar slowdown", Mr Kusher said.

"Despite the fact that sales volumes have fallen, it does not necessarily indicate falling demand and has more to do with affordability factors and the high price of serviceable land.

"Australia's growing population is providing plenty of demand for vacant land, the issue is the price and location of the available land."

Mr Kusher anticipates that the weakness in sales activity for vacant land will persist over the September quarter.

"Although economic indicators such as employment and consumer confidence are positive, the key housing market data including: building approvals, housing finance and values of houses and units are all flat or falling.

"Overall, this data suggests that sales activity for vacant land will continue to soften over the coming months," Cameron Kusher said.

LG to compensate for energy efficiency

Consumers have just a few weeks left to take advantage of an offer of compensation from whitegoods manufacturer LG on certain models of refrigerators, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warned this week.

LG Australia was found to have breached the Trade Practices Act 1974 by misrepresenting the Comparative Energy Consumption (CEC) of various refrigerator models.

Over the course of 2007 and 2009, LG applied for energy label registrations for three refrigerator models, all of which included an energy saving feature which switches the refrigerator to a more energy efficient mode of operation, storage mode, when it is left for a sustained period without opening the refrigerator door.

LG did not remove or disable the storage mode during testing prior to applying for the energy label registrations. These initial tests indicated a CEC of 738kWh/year. Subsequent tests conducted by LG showed a CEC of 820kWh/year when storage mode is disabled.

ACCC conducted an investigation as to whether LG Australia's marketing of the various models with a CEC of 738kWh/year gave rise to concerns under the Act. In particular, the Commission was concerned that:

LG may have represented that the CEC of the various models was 738kWh/year when it was not
LG may have represented that the CEC of the various models was significantly lower that it was
LG may have misled the public as to the energy efficient characteristics of the various models, and

LG's compliance program did not pick up and/or prevent the conduct from occurring.

"The cost of electricity is paramount to all consumers in Australia such that energy efficiency claims can significantly influence consumer purchasing decisions," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said this week.

"Companies need to have in place measures to ensure their claims are accurate."

In March 2010, LG Australia announced that it would offer all consumers who bought one of the refrigerator models compensation. As part of the undertaking, LG will keep this compensation offer open until at least November 2010.

In addition, LG has undertaken to establish and implement an upgraded trade practices law compliance program, and conduct additional testing on a selection of refrigerators, televisions, clothes washers, clothes dryers and dishwashers prior to release into the Australian market.

True colours

Like taxes, damage to crockery is a part of life and we always seem to end up a few plates or cups short. Not any more, however, since CMYK tableware - based on the color model cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black) - transforms the inevitable into the imaginative, by turning broken crockery into a work of art.

Made with coloured ceramic (styled in CMYK) and coated with a white glaze, the tableware shows its true colours when the plate is cracked, chipped or worn down over time.

Not a bad move

The richest man in the country that brought Bollywood to the World has now brought us perhaps one of the most extravagant houses in the world.

Fifty-three-year-old oil tycoon Mukesh Ambani isn't just the richest man in India, he is also the fourth richest man in the world, which is possibly why the UK Telegraph reported recently he has spared no expense on his new home in Mumbai.

Standing 27 storeys high and worth over AU$1.07B, the building contains a health club, gym, ballroom, guestrooms, a range of lounges, 50-seat cinema and requires 600 staff to keep things in order.

For a breath of fresh air, there is the elevated garden with ceiling space to accommodate small trees; and for guests there are three helipads on the roof and enough underground parking for 160 cars.

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