Friday, March 11, 2011

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 11 March 2011
Unleash your inner genius

Science is finding new ways to get the creative juices flowing.

Tony Park was not always the prolific author he is today. Before his name adorned a string of best-selling novels, he often struggled to write anything at all.

Read the full article

Bright start for new home sales
New home sales posted a modest rise in the first month of 2011, the Housing Industry Association (HIA) announced this week.

The latest HIA/JELD-WEN New Home Sales Report, a survey of Australia's major residential builders, shows that the number of new homes sold increased by 2.5 per cent in January 2011.

Detached house sales increased by 2.2 per cent while the sale of multi-units rose by 5 per cent.

HIA Chief Economist, Dr Harley Dale, said the modest increase in new home sales in January was encouraging, especially since the level of sales tends to be thin during the Christmas-New year break.

"New dwelling starts are expected to be lower in 2011", Dr Dale said.

"However, the prospect of official interest rates holding for some time, signalled yesterday by the Reserve Bank, could help to mitigate the decline in new dwelling starts and slow further widening in Australia's new housing shortage.

"Following a protracted period of depressed building activity in New South Wales, there are early indications that the industry could be lifting itself off the canvass", he added.

In January 2011 the New Home Sales Report found that detached new house sales increased by 10.3 per cent in New South Wales, 9.6 per cent in Victoria, and 6.3 per cent in Western Australia.

Sales fell by 2.6 per cent in Queensland, a result likely to have been influenced by the floods. Sales in South Australia continued their under-performance, falling by 6.3 per cent in January.

Total detached house sales increased by 3.7 per cent over the three months to January 2011, but remained down by 9.8 per cent when compared to the three-month period to January 2010.

Dwelling approvals fall in January 2011

January was not a good month across the country for building approvals, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The figures show that the total number of dwellings approved fell 15.9 per cent in January 2011, in seasonally adjusted terms, after rising 10.0 per cent in December.

Understandably, Queensland recorded one of the biggest drops, with almost a third (29.9 per cent) fewer approvals, however all states and territories recorded fewer dwelling approvals this month.

New South Wales (down by 12.1 per cent), Victoria (down 9.5 per cent), South Australia (down 20.9 per cent), Western Australia (down 4.6 per cent) and Tasmania (34.9 per cent) all recorded falls in seasonally adjusted terms.

Private sector houses approved fell 2.4 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms for January with falls in Queensland (down 20.0 per cent) and South Australia (down 3.6 per cent), while New South Wales (1.8 per cent), Victoria (2.5 per cent) and Western Australia (0.2 per cent) all increased.

The value of total building approved fell 26.5 per cent in January in seasonally adjusted terms. The value of total residential building fell by 13.3 per cent while non-residential building fell by 48.7 per cent.

The ABS warns that widespread flooding in the eastern states and other recent natural disasters have not adversely affected participation by providers in the Building Approvals collection or the quality of estimates in this release.

"However, these events have had an impact on the number of approved dwellings and the value of approved work in January 2011. As revisions may occur to these data in future releases, care should be taken when interpreting month to month movements", the ABS wrote in a release.

Dinner will now be served in the command centre

Most of us put a high price on privacy, especially when it comes to our own homes - and what better way to stay out of the public eye than by living 20-feet below ground.

Safety may have also been a consideration for Charlene and Don Zwonitzer, who have made their home in a converted Atlas E missile site in western Nebraska. The couple converted the 26,000 square-foot former military facility into a residential estate.

Besides boasting escape hatches and 120-foot-long tunnels, the Zwonitzer's living room used to be the command centre and former crew quarters are now guest rooms. They've even converted the flame pit (a room made to contain the flame from a rocket launch) into a conservatory.

Youngsters save for home

More than one third of young homebuyers are putting aside at least 20 per cent of their pay packet, according to research released this week by Bankwest.

The latest Bankwest/Mortgage and Finance Association (MFAA) Home Finance Index shows that most of these first time buyers appear slightly more optimistic about their chances of climbing the property ladder soon, with 37 per cent of Gen Y homebuyers feel their financial situation has improved in the last 12 months.

The survey also revealed:

* Only 32 per cent of first-time buyers are worried about job security (down from 41 per cent in July 2010)
* Fewer first-time buyers (39 per cent) are putting their home ownership dreams on hold due to the current economic situation than the survey in July 2009 (43 per cent)
* Nearly three out of every five first-time buyers (59 per cent) are changing their behaviour and trying to save more money.

"For those with job security, a flattening in house prices and competitive mortgage deals are increasingly spurring first time buyer intention in the real estate market," said MFAA CEO Phil Naylor.

Bankwest Head of Specialist Banking Ian Rakhit remarked that the national savings rate has pushed through 10 per cent and it seems that young buyers putting money aside for a home deposit are part of this trend.

"Given that prices are higher and government grants lower, it may be a while yet before these extra savings match the level of first time buyer activity seen in 2009", Rakhit said.

"However, the signs are more positive for this segment of the market", he added.

The survey polled more than 1,100 people across Australia and is the eighth Index taken since 2004.

Green investment growing

Clear evidence that buildings with an environmental rating outperform non-rated buildings is now available, the Property Council of Australia announced this week.

Launched at the recent Green Cities conference, the new Property Council of Australia/IPD Green Property Investment Index shows the importance in the marketplace of green investment.

Outperformance was seen across each star rating, with the strongest returns observed in 4-star rated assets, according to the report.

The index tracks investment performance of commercial buildings that have been awarded an environmental performance rating from Green Star, NABERS Energy and NABERS Water, with the current results covering the last two years to December 2010.

Dr Anthony De Francesco, Managing Director of IPD in Australia and New Zealand said the results demonstrate a clear win for green investment.

"The return spread between rated and non rated buildings is around 400 basis points.

"In addition, rated office buildings have a lower capitalisation rate than non-rated buildings, in the order of 40 basis points. The outperformance in returns is consistent across various market segmentations.

"As a whole the pool of rated NABERS Energy assets outperformed the unrated assets.

Interestingly, the 4-5 star rated properties outperformed the non-rated assets while the 0.5-3.5 star rated properties underperformed the non-rated assets.

"Also, these NABERS rated properties delivered lower capitalisation rates than the non-rated properties, although only marginally," he said.

Shades of wet

Everyone knows fresh fruit is part of a balanced diet, but it is not always easy to have around. If you're not quick to eat it, chances are the heat will dry it out, or those pesky flies will get to it. If only you had your own lush, hidden waterfall to keep your fruit safely behind until you were ready to devour it.

It's not exactly a hidden waterfall, however designer Yitu Wang is expanding on the concept to achieve similar ends. The Water Shade provides a constant, cyclic shield of water feature around a bowl. Acting as a fly net would, the water keeps the moisture in while keeping flies and dust out, and built in censors stop the water from flowing in any area your hand approaches so you can get to the fruit without being soaked.

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