Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - Wollongong, the preferred riders destination

I took some time out to watch the world class cycling field on Satuday afternoon at Wollongong lighthouse. I noticed a few things:
  1. The road surface was superb - it was obvious someone had focussed on getting this right
  2. It was a class field - Stage winners on European Grand Tours, Olympic Gold Medalists, World Champions on both track and road, and the Russian Olympic Cycling Team to name a few
  3. They are damn quick - I clocked the Elite Men circulating at 42km/hr average and up to 48km/hr average in the last couple of laps
  4. It's difficult to get 90 elite riders around a near hairpin bend together at 42km/hr
  5. Hotmix is not very forgiving when you come off
  6. I forgot to put suncream on my thonged feet!
I've also subsequently read the Russian Team was so impressed with Wollongong, they've extended their stay by a week for more training.
I believe the drive to get the event to Wollongong came from David Farmer and Gordon Bradbery...well done leaders. Wollongong is ideally set up for sportsmen and women and with a rich tradition of elite sportsmen from the area this can only enhance our reputation.

Real Estate Matters:
Again we noticed Open House attendances were generally down with a fairly robust rain storm on Saturday morning contributing to the outcome. This was actually in contrast to the Sydney experience where afternoon auctions were fairly well attended with active and successful bidding.
We saw 2218 unique visits to our properties on-line for the week ending Saturday 26th November.
Auction clearance rates - Sydney 55% and Melbourne 50%

Quote for the week:
Think globally, act locally.
- Rene Dubos

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - Wonderful news for Wollongong - Lets build on it!

Over the years, the Wollongong Mall and its environs have copped their fair share of flack. And it would be very hard to argue against the present mall being well past its use by date.
GPT is about to start the West Keira project, the Mall is getting a wonderful Christmas makeover and positive energy is returning to the CBD.
So how do we build on this?
It's time to revamp the total look of the city.
An example of the incredible change to habits can be seen with the Blue Mile project on the waterfront. Have you noticed how many people are using this now? And the coastal nay sayers who didn't want change are very quiet.
Should the old Illawarra County Council building on the corner of Burelli and Church Street be demolished? The argument is it blocks access to McCabe Park both visually and literally. What about the atrocity that is West Crown Street? How do we build on the lifestyle aspects of living in Wollongong (a Sydney based friend recently complained on line that his commute to work was now 2 hours each way - that equates to 40 x 24hr days per year out of his life. Tell me who has THAT worry living and working in Wollongong?). Bring it on!

I like the strategic themes as outlined in the Wollongong Futures Strategy Report 2025
  • Living City – urban environment, local communities, natural environment policies, lifestyle
  • Innovative City - regional economy, cultural industries
  • Connected City – transport, telecommunications
  • Inclusive City – social plan, equity, governance, community engagement
Real Estate Matters:
Our team has secured 4 sales over the past two weeks with open house attendance a little down on previous weeks. Is this a reflection of reduced stock levels or an early Christmas trend?
We saw 2321 unique visits to our properties on-line for the week ending 19th November.
Auction clearance rates - Sydney 52% and Melbourne 47%

Quote for the week:
A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.
- Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekly wrap up: Kiwi Spectacular

This weeks post is coming to you from Lake Tekapo on the South Island of New Zealand. Julie and I are here to attend a wedding at The Church of the Good Sheppard. http://alpinecottage.co.nz/pics/church2_fraser_gunn.jpg
And taking a little bit of time out too. There are a few things evident.
1. New Zealanders are some of the most 'house proud' people on the planet. Everything is spotlessly clean, no vandalism and some of the friendliest smiles anywhere.
2. Christchurch and environs are suffering from EAS. Earthquake Avoidance Syndrome. Christchurch got smashed on Feb 22 this year. They are slowly reestablishing the city with many buildings still to be demolished.
3. We are known as FIT's. Free Independent Travellers...not attached to a tour group.
4. There are All Black flags EVERYWHERE! Still!  
5. You don't need to go to Europe to see some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. It's just across the ditch.
6. There are some 35,000 kiwis a year moving to OZ to pick up great salaries as part of the mining/resource boom. That's how bad our skill shortage is.
7. Ad creators in eNZed have a wonderful sense of humour. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtWirGxV7Q8&feature=youtube_gdata_player  
8. The lamb is sensational!
Let me expand on EAS a little. This is my term however Christchurch numbers are down incredibly. Even travelers are avoiding flying into the place. Generally they are flying into Wellington, catching the ferry across to Pucton, travelling down the west coast and flying out of Queenstown thereby avoiding the earthquake area altogether. And Christchurch is suffering. Property values have plummeted, much needed tourist dollars are missing and there's a collective paranoia. Jules and I will be travelling back to Christchurch tomorrow and in the tradition of kiwi ingenuity look forward to walking around the Cashel Street Mall.  http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-news/think-outside-the-square-20111102-1mvar.html 
As for real estate stuff in Wollongong? I have been kept in the dark by our wonderful team while we enjoy some time out. I have no doubt they are kicking some serious goals in our absence. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - Sydney to the Gong and beyond

Completed the Sydney to the Gong ride yesterday and apart from making sure sufficient oxygen to sustain life reached my vital organs on the climbs, I had 3hrs 30 mins to reflect on a few things.
We really have world class scenery. Botany Bay, Georges River, the wonderful rainforest of Royal National Park and then the stunning Illawarra coastline to the finish. We do live in an amazing part of the planet - sometimes taken for granted.
I was gobsmacked by the quality of the organisation that delivered 10 thousand of my fellow bike riders to the finish at North Wollongong. Major roads were closed including National Park, dedicated bike lanes operated for most of the 90kms and every important intersection had Police and volunteers to guide us safely through.
And then the fundraising bit. I've raised $1090 so far and this was made even more poignant via a post by a Facebook friend. She thanked me for the contribution as she was a recipient of the MS fundraising. Makes it that much more personal - Thank you, Maya.
To real estate matters!
We sold three properties through the week (including one at Auction) with 35 people through 5 open houses.
Auction clearance rates: - Sydney 56% and Melbourne 55% reflecting a steady turnover.
First home buyers are expected to remain the main sales turnover force until the end of the year and the Reserve Banks decision to drop official interest rates by 0.25% will inject a little more confidence into the market.
Once again - thank you to all my sponsors for the ride. There is still time to contribute if you feel so inclined. Just click the link in today's Blog title.
Quote for the week:
"It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself."
- Eleanor Roosevelt