Thursday, February 3, 2011

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 04 February 2011
A Mother's Touch

Making fun art for her children's bedrooms provided the creative spark for this stylist to enter a charming niche market, writes Harriet Alexander.

Julz Beresford never imagined that the artwork she made for her baby daughter would go much further than being just that. The stuff in the shops - graphic prints and children's names - was not to the taste of Beresford, a professional stylist. She hung two clocks in her daughter's room, one that told the time for her husband's home city of London and one that told the time for Sydney, and painted raspberry red and pink circles on the wall behind them.

Read the full article

Reserve - no change

Borrowers breathed a sigh this week when the Reserve Bank (RBA) announced its decision to leave the official cash rate unchanged at 4.75 per cent.

In a statement announcing the decision, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said that the Bank expects that inflation over the year ahead will `continue to be consistent with the 2-3 per cent target'.

As would be expected, the Bank recognised that the flooding in Queensland and Victoria is having a temporary adverse effect on economic activity and prices, but does not expect it to have any major impact on inflation.

"In setting monetary policy the Bank will, as on past occasions where natural disasters have occurred, look through the estimated effects of these short-term events on activity and prices", Governor Stevens said.

"The Bank's preliminary assessment is that the net additional demand from rebuilding is unlikely to have a major impact on the medium-term outlook for inflation.

He concluded that while the Bank will continue to assess the effects of the floods and the subsequent recovery, it judged that the current stance of monetary policy remained appropriate in view of the general macroeconomic outlook.

Home values up in 2010

House values rose around five per cent last year, according to figures released this week.
Preliminary estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the price index for established houses for the weighted average of the eight capital cities increased 5.8 per cent in the year to December quarter 2010.

Annually, house prices increased in Melbourne (up by 10.8 per cent), Sydney (up 7.4 per cent), Canberra (6.5 per cent), Adelaide (3.5 per cent), Darwin (1.7 per cent), Hobart (1.0 per cent) and Brisbane (0.7 per cent) and decreased in Perth (a drop of 2.0 per cent).

Research by data analyst firm RP Data reveal similar results. Based on more than 357,000 sales in 2010, the RP Data-Rismark Hedonic Home Value Index reported 4.7 per cent growth over the 2010 calendar year across Australia's combined capital cities.

In the `Rest of State' markets, which cover the (approximately) 40 per cent of homes not located in the capitals, dwelling values rose by just 0.8 per cent during 2010.

Across all regions throughout Australia, RP Data-Rismark estimates that the national median dwelling price was $420,000 in the three months to December. In the capital cities, the median dwelling price was a higher $475,000.

Across the cities, the most expensive capital city is Sydney ($525,000), followed by Canberra ($510,000), Melbourne ($505,000), Darwin ($481,000), Perth ($465,000), Brisbane ($435,000), Adelaide ($387,000) and Hobart ($325,500).

Almost all of the growth in capital city home values was experienced in the first quarter of 2010, when dwelling values grew by 3.6 per cent (compared with 4.7 per cent over the year).

In the December quarter, Australian dwelling values were broadly stable. In the capital cities, RP Data-Rismark's National Hedonic Index rose by only 0.4 per cent (seasonally-adjusted). In the `Rest of State' markets, house values were down by -0.4 per cent in seasonally-adjusted terms.

Melbourne dwelling values led the way in the December quarter with 1.1 per cent capital growth, followed by Sydney (+0.9 per cent), and Adelaide (+0.4 per cent).

In contrast, home values in Perth (-1.9 per cent), Darwin (-1.7 per cent), Canberra (-1.3 per cent) and Brisbane (-0.5 per cent) all went backwards in seasonally-adjusted terms during the final three months of the year.

Over the 12 months to end December 2010, the best performing cities were Melbourne (+8.4 per cent), Sydney (+6.6 per cent), and Darwin (+4.8 per cent). The worst performers were Perth (-2.3 per cent) and Brisbane (-1.0 per cent). Canberra (+2.5 per cent) and Adelaide (+3.6 per cent) fell slightly short of the national, value-weighted capital growth rate.

RP Data's director of research, Tim Lawless, remarked that while capital gains have been uninspiring, investors are benefiting from a tight rental market.

"Nationally, gross yields for apartments and houses are 4.7 per cent and 4.0 per cent, respectively", Lawless said.

"The most attractive apartment yields are found in Darwin (5.7 per cent), Brisbane (5.3 per cent), Canberra (5.3 per cent), and Sydney (5.0 per cent).

"Melbourne and Perth have the lowest apartment yields, with returns of just 4.1 and 4.3 per cent, respectively."

Mr Lawless pointed out that leading up to Christmas the number of homes being advertised for sale ramped up very quickly with the capital city markets peaking at just under 127,000 listed properties compared with 89,000 homes for sale at the same time the previous year.

"Auction clearance rates were hovering slightly below 50 per cent at the end of last year, and average selling times and vendor discounting had both been trending in favour of buyers.

"These factors imply that we should see further improvements to buyer leverage in 2011, subject to the course of interest rates", he concluded.

Moving house with pets

Many people move house at this time of year, and it can be a stressful, hectic experience - especially if you have children. Imagine how confusing and distressing it must be for your pets, who have no comprehension of what is happening, let alone why their world is being turned upside down.

Here are some tips for making the move less distressing for your pet and consequently easier for you.

* Visit your vet for a final checkup and get your pet's records for its new vet.
* Keep to routines where possible, particularly with feed times and walking.
* On moving day, make sure your pet is secure and away from the chaos. If possible, have a child keep it company - this will keep them both settled and out from underfoot! Cats in particular will sense disruption and may run away or hide, so it's a good idea to keep them inside the night before.
* Pack your pet's belongings (rugs, bowls, toys) last, and keep them together so that they are easy to find at the other end of the move.
* If moving your pets by car, keep them secure and calm. Cats, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs etc should be transported in cages covered with a dark cloth, while fish can be moved in a special fish bag (available from your local pet shop) contained in a bucket to restrict the motion. Avoid sedating your pets where possible, as this will affect the way they feel for the first 24 hours in their new home.
* A professional pet transporter is useful if the trip is a long one, as they will deal with all aspects of the move and make it as easy as possible for both you and your pet.
* To settle a dog into a new home, take it for a walk round the house and garden, letting it sniff and take its time. Give it a feed and show it where it can go to the toilet.
* Cats, being territorial, take a little more work to settle into a new environment. Find a room where your cat will be least disturbed by the unpacking, and fill it with familiar things such as a comfy chair or old t-shirt as well as its own belongings. This will change the unfamiliar smells and let the cat understand that its family is in the house. An old wive's tale wisely suggests wiping the cat's paws with butter so that the first thing it does is lick them, establishing both acceptance and gratification.
* Have your cat use a litter tray and keep it inside for the first few days until it understands that the family is here now and all is going to be okay. When you let it outside for the first few times, stay nearby and keep it company while it explores. Be aware of any aggressive locals who may try to assert their superiority - this is almost inevitable, but better if it happens once your cat is confident and established.

Finally, remember to get your dog or cat registered in the new location, and tagged with their new address and phone number. This is especially important as cats and dogs may wander and get lost in their new surroundings.

Rental scheme should be spared: REIA

Industry bodies are not happy that with the Government's recent announcement that the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) will be wound-back to provide funds to the re-building effort of flood-affected regions of Australia.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week named the NRAS as one of the initiatives that will be reduced through spending cuts - a move that the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA), says will reduce the proposed number of homes from 100,000 to 35,000.

REIA President David Airey said that while he recognises that the Government needed to cut expenditure, so as not to place pressure on interest rates, the Institute questions the choice of programs targeted.

"We understand that flood-affected areas need to be re-built, however the result of the proposed change to the NRAS will greatly affect affordability in the property market across Australia, including Queensland, by placing upward pressure on rents and greater strain on the demand-supply imbalance", Mr Airey said.

Australia has a chronic shortage of housing. Even before the current flood disasters, the Housing Supply Council forecasted the demand-supply gap increasing by more than 50 per cent, from just over 200,000 dwellings in 2010 to over 300,000 by 2014.

"One of the greatest needs following the floods will be affordable housing", Mr Airey continued.

"The longer-term goals of the NRAS have been overlooked which will be detrimental to improving affordability in Australia - such a crucial issue at present", he said.

"Indeed, it would have been appropriate to review the Housing Affordability Fund (HAF) and NRAS programs to address their effectiveness and see if improvements were possible", Mr Airey concluded.

Banks battle for home turf

It can be scary managing a mortgage at any time, but this week another story has come out of the United States that exemplifies the mess that is currently America's mortgage system, with too many claims laid on one stake.

It seems one suburban house is caught in a legal battle between financial lenders Home123 Corporation and U.S. Bank, the UK Dailymail reported recently. Apparently both have launched separate bids to foreclose on the property, leaving the homeowner caught in the middle.

While U.S. Bank isn't close to backing down, it has had to admit to having lost the original mortgage documents concerning the property.

Cutlery maketh the table

It's often said that clothes don't make the man. The Precious Famine table twists the old standard by taking the cutlery that would be found adorning a table, and using it to create the table itself.

Made with found Cristolfe silverware, the table is a shapely mess of knives, spoons and forks. It may be an eye-catching centrepiece, but we could imagine some confusion when setting the table for dinner.

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