Friday, March 18, 2011

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 18 March 2011
Give your study an air of distinction

You can imagine the scenes: Darwin in his study writing his theory of evolution, Winston Churchill preparing his wartime radio speeches in his office, Franklin D. Roosevelt planning his recovery measures to free the US from the Great Depression. Deep thinkers in their own deep, dark rooms filled with rich timber panelling and softly worn leather furnishings.

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Commitments found lacking

The building industry was less-than-impressed with Dwelling Commitments data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The number of loans for construction fell by 9.4 per cent in January 2011, while loans for the purchase of new dwellings dropped by 13.5 per cent.

In seasonally adjusted terms, in January 2011 the number of owner occupier loans for new housing fell by 8.4 per cent in New South Wales, 14.5 per cent in Victoria, 20.9 per cent in Queensland, 14.5 per cent in Tasmania, 8.1 per cent in the Northern Territory and 30 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory.

Loans for new housing increased by 3.1 per cent in Western Australia and 1.7 per cent in South Australia in January 2011.

The figures show that, in seasonally adjusted terms, the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions fell 5.3 per cent.

Awarding sustainability
Do you know a builder, plumber, architect or related firm whom you believe should be recognised for the work they are doing in promoting sustainable housing? BPN (Building Products News) magazine wants to hear from you.

BPN is once again calling for nominations for its Sustainability Awards, in recognition of building professionals who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

Categories include single dwellings (new or renovations), low, medium or high-density residential buildings, commercial, public, urban design and landscape design.

Submissions will be judged on several criteria, including energy, water and resource efficiency, recycled content and materials and areas of innovation.

To be eligible to apply, projects need to have been completed in the period January 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011. Products or services being entered in the Innovation of the Year category must have been launched in the same period.

Finalists will be announced in the September issue of the magazine. The winners will be announced in October and featured in the December issue.

Entries close July 12.

ACCC throws good money at bad paint

A pilot scheme to reduce the environmental impact of waste paint was given a boost this week, with the decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to allow a levy to fund it.

The Australian Paint Manufacturers Federation (APMF) has proposed to conduct a 12-month waste paint collection trial in Victoria. This will now be funded by a 2 cents per litre levy on the wholesale supply of Architectural & Decorative (A&D) paint in Australia.

The APMF is an industry association representing the majority suppliers of A&D paint in Australia.

Data collected through the trial is likely to facilitate the development of a national waste paint collection scheme. The APMF has indicated that, following the conclusion of the trial, it plans to introduce this national scheme on a progressive basis.

Collection of domestic waste paint in Victoria is currently conducted through the Victorian government's Detox Your Home program. Under the waste paint collection scheme, the APMF will take financial responsibility for the waste paint portion of this program and will establish a new service to collect waste paint from trade painters, free of charge.

"This trial has the potential to reduce the environmental harm caused by the improper disposal of paint, as well as making the collection of waste paint in Victoria more efficient," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said.

The ACCC proposes to grant authorisation for the 12-month duration of the trial, until 1 June 2012.

A foot in my own door

`Getting a foot in the door' continues to be the biggest motivation to buy a home for the first time, new research shows.

More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of the 1,013 respondents in the annual Future First Homebuyer Survey* commissioned by mortgage broker Mortgage Choice said that the key reason behind their upcoming purchase is `to set myself up financially for the future by getting my foot in the property market door'.

This was followed by:

* Rising rents are making owning a property more attractive - 51 per cent.
* I see more benefit in investments such as property than I do in the share market - 30 per cent.
* Advice received from family, friends or a financial advisor - 18 per cent.
* Capital gain - 15 per cent.

Mortgage Choice spokesperson, Kristy Sheppard, said that bricks and mortar is still an attractive investment option for a diverse range of Australians, pushed along by a growing sense of necessity thanks to rental costs continuing to rise and, presumably, the ongoing `squeeze' in rental vacancy rates.

"For many, the notion of continuing to pay someone else for a roof over their head - and paying more for that every year - is an increasingly unappealing option when measured against the commitment of repaying a mortgage for the privilege of living in their own home", she added.

As for the type of home first timers are looking to buy, more than half (52 per cent) will buy an established one and 13 per cent will buy new. A handful (5 per cent) plan to purchase land and build on it and 29 per cent were not yet sure what they will buy.

A well-lit plan

How many of us can say no lights get left on unnecessarily at home? Between the kids, housemates and our own busy lives, moving from one room to another without flicking the off-switch is easy to do.

If enough light weren't shed on the subject by the radiant globes themselves, designer Taewon Hwang has developed a way to change our lighting usage by showing us the whole picture. The Floor Light switch uses a custom panel in the floor plan of your home to show you which rooms are lit up, and allow you to turn them on and off with a single touch.

All quiet on the home front

Most landlords would agree it's better to have their house well looked-after than have to withhold bond for repairs when tenants move out. But what do you do if there's no house left to repair?

An unfortunate series of events has left a Malaysian man without tenants, nor house.

According to local Malaysian news The Star, the owner of a double-storey wooden house came to collect the rent, only to find his home had vanished, along with furniture and appliances inside. Twenty-four concrete pillar holders, scattered pieces of wood and a damaged TV set were the only remnants left to show the home had been there previously.

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