Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How will the carbon tax affect you - click here

There is a LOT of debate about the Carbon Tax. Ultimately it will come down to us - the voters, and how it will affect our hip pocket. An example of unexpected consequences is the GST. We voted it in, however I don't believe anyone realised the far reaching affects it would have on the way we do things. I believe ultimately, the GST has been good for Australia. Will that be the case for the CT!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is Wollongong actually heaven?

I recently attending the Australian Real Estate Conference at the Sydney Convention Centre . This outstanding two day event (alongside two and a half thousand estate agents and agency owners) showcased speakers such as Alan Jones, Rudi Giuliani (ex Mayor of New York City) and the very inspirational Nick Vuyicic (look him up). These people complemented industry specialists who humbly told their stories. And shared brilliant ideas!
But I also walked away with something else...
Years ago - whenever I spoke about Wollongong to attendees at this type of event, the answer was either 1. 'Where's that?' or 2. 'Why would you want to live there?'
Those responses have materially changed. Now it's...'what a beautiful place to live', and 'I love going there'. And this is from estate agents all over the country.
And...a lot of talk amongst the industry on the weekend was about working in a tough market. As an area, our property prices have remained firm with steady turnover. Just look at the sold signs.
Why would you want to live anywhere else?!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

To Style or Not to Style - Click here!

The opinion accessed by the link at the start of this post is a very interesting one. I don't believe this captures the true picture or the point of the exercise. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Recently we put a unit to the market...in the same complex in the same month of a recent almost identical unit sale. Upon advice from us, the owners replaced carpet, repainted walls and hired display furniture. The outcome was a sale $17,000 above the recent unit sale. So...for an investment of about $4,400, the owners returned 3 times that money.
We have advised owners in the past to move out of their homes and let our consultants loose. In one instance we achieved a stunning $65,000 better than our original estimate. All because the home presented properly.
So, Lucy Macken...would you let us loose on YOUR property?!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Success Story of the week!

Jason Capelo provides expertise in knowing how to make your property stand out from the rest and thinking outside of the square is Jason’s trade mark.
Jason’s recent property sale of $17,000 more than the most recent sale within the block, highlights his strategic and unconventional thinking. Through an effective marketing campaign and providing accurate advice he was able to provide endless benefits to the vendors. The power of professional photography and inclusion of professional styling services/display furniture allowed Jason to maximise the properties price to record levels. Jason’s way of thinking provided many benefits to the vendors and in turn created a better sale. From start to finish Jason went above and beyond to provide exceptional service and knowledge. To achieve maximum property price you need your property to stand out from the rest and Jason’s way of thinking will always help design a higher property price.


I recently engaged the services of Jason Capelo to sell my Unit in Wollongong. I needed to receive a certain sale price for my investment property so Jason advised be on the best way to present the unit to achieve this. He suggested a fresh coat of paint, replacement of the carpet and to hire rental furniture for an overall visual effect.

I could not believe the difference these few small improvements made to the unit. Jason was able to assist me with organising everything that was needed to put the property to the market looking it's best. The unit sold within the first couple of days of it being on the market and we received a sale price just under the asking price but well over what we had ever expected. I don't believe this would have happened had we not followed Jason's advice. He marketed and priced the unit correctly for the current market and had suitable buyers to view the unit. Overall we could not fault his services. The entire sales procedure was very smooth.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 13 May 2011
Delicious at the desk

Sometimes, the reasoning behind trading sandwiches in the school playground hits too close to home.

How many days at work can you eat the same boring lunch? Sure, ham on white bread is easy, but is "easy" what you want for lunch every day? And that frozen tray you march to the microwave. Whether it is "lean" or not can be debated, but it really isn't anything resembling "cuisine".

Here are some tips to spicing up a bagged lunch. Follow them, and you won't trade your sandwich with anyone.

Read the article

Apartments lift approvals
Approvals for new home building rose by almost a quarter in March 2011, led by a hefty jump in apartments, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Total residential building approvals increased by 9.1 per cent in March 2011 although they were down by 8.9 per cent over the quarter, due to low numbers in the first two months of the year.

There was a significant rise in approvals in the highly volatile private sector `other dwellings' segment, which were up by 26.1 per cent in March. Approvals for detached dwellings fell 1.3 per cent in the month.

Victoria recorded a considerable jump of 26.8 per cent rise in the number of approvals (seasonally adjusted), while increases were recorded in NSW (up by 8.5 per cent), Western Australia (up 3.4 per cent) and Tasmania (5.8 per cent).

Queensland and South Australia reported a decrease in approvals in March 2011, dropping by 15.0 and 22.5 per cent respectively. In trend terms approvals in the ACT were up by 0.3 per cent and Northern Territory approvals were up by 3.2 per cent.

Total approvals in the three months to March 2011 were 15.8 per cent lower than in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Women are thriftier homeowners

Australian women may still be less likely to own property than men, but they will do whatever it takes to keep paying their mortgage, according to a new survey released this week by the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA).

Women homeowners are significantly more likely to start taking their lunch to work after an interest rate hike than their male counterparts (56.1 vs. 46 per cent), the MFAA-Commonwealth Bank Home Finance Index survey found. Likewise, women who feel the burden of rate rises are much more likely to buy food in bulk or from cheaper sources than males (50.6 vs. 38.9 per cent),

MFAA chief executive Phil Naylor remarked that the results show just how personal a mortgage can be.

"Mortgages are not one-size-fits-all", he said.

Naylor said that while women did not have as much borrowings as men (they are far less likely to own both their own residence and an investment property) they were more focused once they did have a mortgage.

For instance, women mortgage borrowers were more likely to sell unused household goods than men after a rate-rise (30.5 vs. 22.6 per cent).

Mr Naylor said the HFI survey revealed some interesting differences between the genders when it came to mortgage finance, for instance women were significantly more realistic about the impact of economic events on household finances.

Women were less likely than men to say an interest rate rise had `little impact' on their household (21.4 vs. 28 per cent) and they were also less likely to say that rising petrol prices had little impact on their household (23.2 vs. 32.1 per cent).

The survey also found that women were also more optimistic about interest rates, with less of them (43.3 per cent) predicting interest rates will rise by 0.5 in the next year, than men (51.2 per cent). At the same time, they were more likely than men to consider that they will never buy property (43.1 vs. 25.8 per cent).

Women also expected higher standards of customer service when it came to their home loan, the survey found. Women borrowers were more likely to have experienced problems with a loan account and then had communication problems when they dealt with it, than males did (53.1 vs. 27.3 per cent); women borrowers were also significantly more likely to be unhappy with the overall customer service than men (51 vs. 30.3 per cent).

Mr Naylor said the female concern about customer service and being able to communicate about their mortgage perhaps explained why women borrowers, more than men, were more likely to go to a mortgage broker to find the right loan for their circumstances.

Home alone again!
Having burglars stop by isn't something we would usually laugh about, unless it's in the movie Home Alone, which brought an inspired sense of humour to the topic. Now the house in which all those hijinks went down has been put up for sale.

The blockbuster movie featured Macaulay Culkin as a young child who was inadvertently left at home when the family left for the Christmas holidays, and who then had to face up to some pretty inept burglars with toy-infused booby-traps and a wicked sense of humour.

The 1920s' mansion on Chicago's North Shore in which a lot of the movie was filmed is now on the market for AU$2.25 million, the UK Daily Mail reports. The three-storey home is described as having plenty of nooks and crannies in which to hide and no need for a security system - the new owners can just watch the movie again for a few pointers.

Values soften, rents up

Australia's capital city home values barely changed in March, but generally softened over the quarter, according to the latest RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index.

In contrast to these results, weekly rental rates are up 4.6 per cent over the last six months.

The Index shows that capital city dwelling values were flat in the month of March (down by just 0.2% seasonally adjusted). However, over the March quarter capital city home values dropped by 2.1 per cent.

Over the twelve months ending March 2011, Australian capital city dwelling values were broadly unchanged (-0.6 per cent).

According to RP Data research director Tim Lawless, while residential property owners may not have seen any capital growth over the past 12 months, many are realising robust increases in rental yields.

"In contrast to the fall in home values, gross rental yields have been improving with apartments and houses now delivering a gross return of 4.9 per cent and 4.2 per cent, respectively, in March 2011 according to RP Data-Rismark's estimates," Mr Lawless said.

In the non-capital city regions the story has been similar. In the year to end March 2011, `Rest of State' house values were relatively unchanged (-0.5 per cent). However, the March quarter was a weaker one, with house values declining by -1.8 per cent.

At the end of the March quarter, in the capital cities the national median dwelling price was $455,000. For all regions across Australia, the national median dwelling price substantially lower at $410,000.

The moderation in Australian housing valuations is likely to be warmly welcomed by prospective home buyers, particularly first timers who have been confronted with affordability barriers, Mr Lawless remarked.

He added that the tightness in the rental market combined with flat to negative change in home values is providing a boost to rental yields.

"Based on the RP Data-Rismark Total Return Index, we estimate that weekly asking rents are up 4.6 per cent over the last six months.

"While the highest yields are found in the Darwin apartment market (5.7 per cent), apartments in Hobart (5.4 per cent), Canberra (5.4 per cent), Brisbane (5.2 per cent) and Sydney (5.1 per cent) also offer attractive yields," Mr Lawless said.

He concluded by saying that key leading indicators point towards a sedate capital growth environment for the remainder of the year.

Courteous curtains

We love windows because they allow the flow of light and air into our homes, however in many cases they also let in outside noises.

Birds and small children may delight, but for those of us who live near airports, construction sites or busy roads, noise can be unbearable at times, so curtains that allow light in but block sound out are truly great news for the aurally afflicted.

Swiss researchers at Empa have developed lightweight, translucent curtain materials, which not only absorb five times more sound than regular curtains, they actually improve the acoustics within the room.

Check smoke alarms

Winter is the time of year when accidents caused by heaters or open fires can destroy homes or even result in the death of householders.

So, before the cold sets in, check smoke alarms to ensure they're in good condition and are working properly. State laws now decree that all homes must have smoke alarms installed, but they won't work with flat batteries!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Australia - the Great Nanny State

I can't believe the media have recently published articles on my two pet gripes: The Great Nanny State and bike lanes in Sydney!
Skinned knees and sometimes broken arms were a rite of passage when growing up. There is a large body of opinion that the removal of 'risk' has consequences later in life as kids don't learn cause and effect at an early age.
With the very best of intentions, lawmakers have created a 'safe' society - thereby eliminating risk. Our children have being cottonwooled.
But what will the long term effect be...are we also eliminating commonsense from evolution? And freedom and fun!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Finally! Someone taking bike lanes seriously.

More action on Sydney bike lanes...Perhaps Tim Blair from the Telegraph could agitate to improve Sydneysiders amenity by backing calls to provide an overall bike lane flow plan.
Go Tim!