Thursday, December 16, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 17 December 2010
Happy Holidays!

Southern Estates management and staff would like to wish all clients and friends a very Merry Christmas, and safe holiday break!

Our office will be closed from 12pm Thursday, 23rd December 2010 and re-opening on Tuesday, 4th January 2011.

For any sales enquiries during this time, please contact Jason Capelo on 0424 372 722. For property management enquiries, contact Karen Simpson on 0419 611 926.

Best Wishes for the festive season!

The Southern Estates Team.

Home loans bloom in Spring
The year has ended on a high note for housing loans, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Housing Finance figures show an increase in October 2010 in both the number and value of housing finance commitments for owner-occupied and investment housing finance. There was also a considerable rise in the number of new dwelling purchases.

The total value of dwelling commitments rose by 2.2 per cent from September to October 2010.
The number of loans for owner-occupied housing increased 1.9 per cent, while the value increased 2.8 per cent.

The number of first-home buyer commitments as a percentage of total owner-occupied commitments dropped slightly from to 15.4 per cent in October from 15.9 per cent in September.

The number of loans for the purchase of new dwellings increased 9.4 per cent, which is a significant gain on the 3.2 per cent and 2 per cent drop experienced during September and August respectively.

The number of loans for the purchase of established dwellings rose by 1.8 per cent and the number of loans for the construction of dwellings rose 0.1 per cent. At the same time, the value of investment housing/fixed loans increased 1.1 per cent.

Mortgage Choice CEO Michael Russell remarked that it is a relief to see that mid-Spring brought about a second consecutive monthly rise in the value of housing finance commitments.

"This was perhaps due to a rise in consumer confidence alongside a greater willingness from lenders to lend, particularly for new dwelling purchases", Mr Russell suggested, adding that it is "great news for many in the residential building industry".

The heavy weight of Christmas lights

There's just over a week to go till Christmas and the signs are all around us. Some just stand out more than others. If you're concerned your Yuletide display may be a bit over the top, find comfort in knowing there are others who share the passion for decorating, and they blow the budget by a lot more than you do.

Giving Clark Griswold a run for most extravagant Christmas displays, one American family has decked their home for the past quarter century with a million festive lights.

HouseLogic, a free source website of housing-related information and tools, has done some number-crunching on the Faucher family's pride and joy, estimating the cost of powering the display is around AU$688 an hour.

With an average showing of 4 hours a night for a month, the family would face a bill of $82,560.

When an estimate of how much the family would save if they converted to LED lighting was worked out, the spending came up as $89 an hour or $10,680 a month - an astounding saving of $599 an hour, or $71,880 a month.

We're in it for the luxury
Australians could spend a record $12.3 billion next year on more luxurious kitchens and bathrooms, according to a report released this week by the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

The HIA Kitchens and Bathrooms Report shows that the past financial year was a positive one for the industry. There were more than 1.2 million kitchen and bathroom installations (new and renovated) in 2009/10 and roughly the same number is predicted for the 2011/12 financial year.

In value terms, the kitchen industry was worth $6.9 billion in 2009/10, a strong lift of 9.2 per cent on the previous year.

There were 509,400 kitchens (new and renovated) installed by Australians in 2009/10 - that's an increase of 7.5 per cent on the previous year.

HIA Chief Economist Dr Harley Dale predicts that the value of kitchen installations will rise to $7.6 billion in 2011/12.

"We are forecasting growth of nearly 11 per cent in the total value of kitchen installations over the 2010/11 - 2011/12 period," Harley Dale said.

"That is a healthy outlook."

The bathroom industry also grew strongly last year. The report found it was worth $4.2 billion in 2009/10, which represents a healthy 10.9 per cent increase on the previous year. This figure is predicted to increase to $4.7 billion in 2011/12

The number of bathrooms installed (new and renovated) was 711,200 - an increase of 9.2 per cent on the previous year.

So what are we spending all this money on? The report also looked into the types of materials and appliances consumers are demanding in their kitchens and bathrooms and notes the following trends.

Benchtops: engineered and stone benchtops were most popular followed by solid-surface and granite. There was a decline in use of stainless steel, concrete and timber benchtops.

Door types: Polyurethane doors, followed by low-pressure laminate doors, were more popular in 2010. Glass doors and vinyl wrap/vacuum-formed doors also increased in usage. On the way out were roller shutter doors, natural timber doors and timber veneer doors.

Splashbacks: Glass and engineered-stone splashbacks are in. Granite and tiles are out. Perspex coloured splashbacks and acrylic splashbacks also declined in use.

Appliances: New appliances that are hot in our kitchens include LCD/plasma TVs, two-door fridges with icemakers, wine cooler/fridges and European freestanding stoves.

Tap ware: Budget tap ware and insinkerators are no longer in vogue. Over the past year, the fastest growth was in lever tap ware followed by premium tap ware and multiple sinks and taps in bathrooms.

Sinks: Under-mount sinks continue to be the fastest growing sink, but there was also an increase in use for double-bowl and square-form sinks. Water filtration systems are becoming much more popular. On the way out are solid surface, round bowl and single bowl sinks.

Drawers: Soft closing drawers and deep and wide drawers for pots and plates are now hot. Concealed garbage bin/disposal units are also popular.

Housing starts drop

National dwelling commencements fell sharply in the September 2010 quarter, particularly for the volatile investment housing sector.

Figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the seasonally adjusted estimate for the total number of dwelling units commenced fell 13.2 per cent in the September quarter, following a rise of 2.1 per cent in the June quarter.

The number of commencements on new private sector houses fell 4.3 per cent in the September quarter, but the seasonally adjusted estimate for new private sector `other residential building' fell by a huge 13.5 per cent in the September quarter following a rise of 16.8 per cent in the June quarter.

The number of housing starts (including conversions) in the September 2010 quarter fell by 14.5 per cent in New South Wales, 25.2 per cent in Queensland, 5.7 per cent in South Australia, 19.9 per cent in Western Australia and 30.5 per cent in the ACT.

Housing starts rose by 1.5 per cent in Victoria, 22.0 per cent in Tasmania, and 27.6 per cent in NT.

World's most expensive Christmas tree

Carollers would have you believe that the prettiest sight to see this season is the holly that will be on your own front door.

While that may be the case, you should keep an open mind until you've seen Ginza Tanaka's 24K gold Christmas tree. Weighing over 21 kgs, the tree is adorned with over 240 jewels including diamond baubles and strings of pearls, and has definitely pulled its weight with the World Records Academy as the AU$1.8M price tag has earned it the title of World's most expensive Christmas tree.

Last minute tips to give your home a festive feel

This is such a busy time of the year and with work, play and Christmas shopping, it's easy to let things slip under the radar. If you love to get into the spirit of the season by decorating your house but just haven't found the time this year, here are some simple tips for creating the mood at the last minute - without breaking the budget.

  • Drape strings of lights around the mirror in bathrooms, over doorways and along railings around the house. When purchasing lights, look for ones that burn cool instead of hot and work through battery power - even solar, if you're going to use them outside.
  • Dress up dolls and teddy bears with ribbons and holiday fabrics to bring a festive feel to your home. Group them under the tree, on mantels and on windowsills.
  • Start wrapping presents now and put them out in full view to create that Christmas morning excitement every time you enter a room.
  • Place a few glass balls, some Christmas baubles and a candle or two in a bowl and embellish with a few sprigs of greenery or some leftover ribbon.
  • Give furniture some seasonal style with red and green slipcovers and throw pillows in gold silk fabrics or fabric with Christmas designs.

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