Weekend reads – Must read articles from the last week

There are more interesting articles, commentaries and analyst reports on the Web every week than anyone could read in a month.

Each Saturday morning I like to share some of the ones I’ve read during the week.

The weekend will be over before you know it, so enjoy some weekend reading.

Why this spring selling season will be different

Spring has sprung which usually means the property market will also bloom.

But according to an article on Realestate.com.au this season will be different.

Spring is almost always peak selling season – sellers are keen to offload their homes, buyers are more active, the sun is out and gardens are blooming.

What is apparent this year, is how quickly property market conditions have turned around.

Prices are slowly starting to increase and we are looking at vastly different demand conditions from spring 2018. Houses In The Clear Sky

Buyers are back and are experiencing ideal buying conditions.

They have more cash to spend and are finding it cheaper and easier to get finance.

The challenge buyers now face is that there are so few sellers.

With listings remaining low, sellers are in a market of opportunity and should take advantage of the lack of competition.

We’re seeing unique conditions that are in many ways both a buyer’s and seller’s market.

This supply and demand imbalance will result in price growth and a much more positive spring than last year.

After 12 months of uncertainty, vendors are increasingly confident they will sell their home.

Why the buyers are back

There has been a 25% increase in searches on realestate.com.au over the past 12 months.

Workshop 2019

The biggest jumps occurred following three major events.

The first was the result of the federal election – the Coalition win provided greater certainty around tax incentives and led to improved market confidence.

The second and third biggest increases in search activity followed the two most recent interest rate cuts.

When there are buyers in the market, we start to see positive signs flow through to other indicators.

Clearance rates in Melbourne and Sydney are particularly high and we are seeing early signs of price growth in premium suburbs across the country.

Expect to see a ripple effect to other parts of the market throughout spring.

Getting a home loan is cheaper

After two interest rate cuts, getting a home loan is now much cheaper than it was last year.

This means people can borrow more, or alternatively, it makes their repayments lower.

Search activity on realestate.com.au always jumps when there is an interest rate cut, likely driven by buyers becoming more confident. Australian Money In Wallet On Real Estate Background

In the next 12 months, it is looking highly likely we will see another two rate cuts.

Provided unemployment doesn’t rise rapidly, this low interest rate environment will continue to be positive for buyers.

Access to finance is getting easier

The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) implemented restrictions around home loan lending in 2015.

Anyone looking to get a loan, particularly investors, would have found it a lot harder than previously.

Once the Royal Commission was announced in December 2017 and the focus on responsible lending ramped up, it became even tougher to secure a loan.

So far this year, APRA has removed three restrictions to lending – the speed limit imposed on banks on investor lending growth, the cap on interest only loans and the 7.5% stress test imposed on borrowers.

Banks are still cautious about lending and it’s likely the focus on responsible lending will continue.

But in all other respects, access to finance will ease over spring.Land Tax

Income tax cuts give people more to spend

Tax cuts came into effect at the start of this financial year.

Although modest, they do put money into the pockets of most Australians and there will be further income tax cuts in four years’ time.

With consumer confidence a big problem in Australia at the moment, more money in people’s pockets gives them an opportunity to spend (or save).

It is likely that it will also provide some people with extra cash to spend on a home or even go a little way to helping make buying a home a reality.

Read the full article here

Economy flat as a tack

What is the state of our economy?

This Blog by Pete Wargen looks at the statistics.

Economy splutters

The economy skirted away from its so-termed ‘per capita recession’ in the June 2019 quarter in growing by +0.5 per cent.

The quarterly growth was driven by net exports (including weakness in imports) and public demand (government spending on healthcare initiatives) so it was all pretty lacklustre.

Year-on-year growth in the economy has been just about flat when adjusted for population growth.


Nominal GDP has held up better, but while there’s been a lift in profits – especially mining profits – household income growth has remained slow (not helped by taxation being too high).

Read the full article here

Melbourne home buyers borrowing up to $100,000 more are bidding up auction prices after bank rule change

It looks like Melbourne auctions are about even more competitive.

This article from Domain.com.au explains how recent changes to lending have changed the game.

Some Melbourne home buyers are pushing auction prices well above the reserve as they can borrow as much as $100,000 more following recent changes to bank lending rules.

Buyers are paying well above the expected sale price as sentiment picks up, and purchasers fight it out for the few homes on the market.

An increase in borrowing power is behind the large premiums paid, brokers say, along with interest rate cuts and improved confidence in the market. Propertyupdate Victorian Property Melbourne

Banks have been lowering the hypothetical interest rate at which they assess whether home buyers can pay back a mortgage if interest rates were to rise.

After the recent ruling from bank regulator APRA, many lenders are now stress-testing borrowers against a 6.5 per cent rate, down from 7.25 per cent, broker and director of ProSolution Private Clients Stuart Wemyss said.

This meant people were now able to borrow between $50,000 and $100,000 more on an average mortgage, he said.

“The amount they can borrow has increased by 10 to 20 per cent depending on the borrower and their situation,” he said.

Banks can now assess loans at 2.5 per cent above the interest rate they offer, which can be just above 3 per cent.

Some Melbourne home buyers are pushing auction prices well above the reserve as they can borrow as much as $100,000 more following recent changes to bank lending rules.

Buyers are paying well above the expected sale price as sentiment picks up, and purchasers fight it out for the few homes on the market.

An increase in borrowing power is behind the large premiums paid, brokers say, along with interest rate cuts and improved confidence in the market.

Banks have been lowering the hypothetical interest rate at which they assess whether home buyers can pay back a mortgage if interest rates were to rise. Melbourne property skyline

After the recent ruling from bank regulator APRA, many lenders are now stress-testing borrowers against a 6.5 per cent rate, down from 7.25 per cent, broker and director of ProSolution Private Clients Stuart Wemyss said.

This meant people were now able to borrow between $50,000 and $100,000 more on an average mortgage, he said.

“The amount they can borrow has increased by 10 to 20 per cent depending on the borrower and their situation,” he said.

Banks can now assess loans at 2.5 per cent above the interest rate they offer, which can be just above 3 per cent.

Recent auctions covered by Domain in June and July revealed how much more buyers were bidding. At 60 Brinsley Road, Camberwell, the buyer offered $200,000 above the reserve.

While at 4 Burch Street, Blackburn North, the winning bidder paid $190,000 above the vendor’s hopes and 11a Timber Ridge, Doncastersold for $180,000 over the reserve.

The sales came as Melbourne’s property market showed signs of a turnaround in the June quarter when median house prices lifted by 0.8 per cent on Domain figures. It pointed to an end to the most significant property downturn since the 1980s.

CEO of Aussie James Symond said improved confidence in the property market was seeing buyers now ready to bid.sold sale

“Following the election, there’s more certainty around housing market policies, so Aussies are now ready to get back into buying and selling,” Mr Symond said.

Since then, brokers including Mr Symond had seen a rise in the number of enquiries, from people who had previously been sitting on the sidelines.

“The current market conditions are unique: the market has plateaued, we have low interest rates, and APRA has changed its lending standards,” Mr Symond said.

Although people were able to get mortgages and to borrow more, the process had become much tougher since the financial services royal commission was held.

During the hearings, banks were heavily criticised for relying on modest estimates of household spending when approving mortgages, rather than looking more closely at what borrowers were doing with their finances.

Lenders have now been looking closely at applicants’ personal spending – Uber Eats habits, Netflix accounts, credit card debt and any gambling habits – making it far more difficult for buyers when applying for a mortgage.

“In comparison to two years ago, it’s a million times worse,” Mr Wemyss said.

Read the full article here

A buoyant Spring property season ahead

What will spring brings to the property market?

In this article for Switzer, John McGrath looks at what we can expect.

It’s the first week of Spring and the beginning of what is traditionally the busiest season in property. House Model Toy Miniature On Grass Blurred Background. Real Estate, Rent, Sale Or Buying Property Concept

It is clear that confidence is returning to the market across Australia, with several positive elements -all national in nature, having an impact on every capital city and regional area.

First came the election result, which meant no changes to negative gearing or capital gains tax for investors; then two interest rate cuts; and an easing in lending that has allowed some borrowers to access tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra finance compared to last year.

This has led to the first green shoots of recovery on the East Coast.

In June, Sydney and Melbourne recorded home value increases for the first time since their respective market peaks in 2017.

In July, five of the eight capital cities all had a subtle rise in values, according to CoreLogic data.

This included an 0.2% increase in Brisbane home values – the first increase since November 2018.

In mid-August, the combined capital cities recorded a final auction clearance rate above 70% for the first time since May 2017, albeit on significantly lower volumes of stock. And the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute ‘time to buy a dwelling’ index is at its highest level since early 2014. 43154379_l

This new momentum points to a buoyant Spring season ahead, however listing volumes are down by up to 30% – a decade low, so we anticipate fewer Spring sales but continually rising auction clearance rates in the major cities and particularly in the most desirable suburban pockets.

As we start to see consistently stronger prices being achieved, more sellers will be inspired to put their homes on the market, indicating a potentially later Spring/Summer selling season this year.

Due to the stock shortage, buyers are proactively calling agents to see what new listings they have coming up so they can try and get a jump on the best properties for sale.

They can see the bottom has passed and want to buy now before prices start rising again.

Besides calling agents, the best way to get first option on new listings is to register your contact details and buying criteria with as many individual agencies and agents as possible.

This is important because many agents like to conduct ‘preview inspections’ for their database clients. auction buy property bid sell house sale

In this case, you will at least get first email notification of each new listing – and maybe even the opportunity to inspect it before the public marketing begins.

This will give you about half a week’s head start on other buyers.

You can make an offer to try and take it off the market or you can just use this extra time to consider the home.

Agents do previews for a couple of reasons.

They get valuable price feedback from genuine buyers before public marketing begins; and they can potentially attract strong pre-campaign offers.

It is not uncommon for sellers to take a good pre-campaign offer as there are many benefits for them, including avoiding advertising costs and being able to make their next purchase sooner.

Of course, you should still register on the big portals of realestate.com.au and domain.com.au to cover all bases, as not all agencies conduct preview inspections. globe-economy-growth-health-world-heart-decline-map

Here are some potential Spring trends…

  • There is already anecdotal evidence of more buying activity amongst ex-pats, especially from Hong Kong and the UK.
  • Following recent volatility on the sharemarket and falling interest rates making deposit earnings very weak, will investors return to property for stability and reliability now that the bottom has passed?
  • McCrindle Research says seachanging is getting younger, with more working age people leaving Sydney, in particular, for coastal and treechange locations. With city stock so low, sellers can leverage this to get a great sale price and buy in a much cheaper regional area this Spring

Easier access to finance and historically low interest rates will power demand this Spring.

Read the full article here

25 Super-Successful Leaders Give Their Best Career Advice for Millennials

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

When it comes to a successful career an article from Business Insider shared the best advice from 25 successful leaders.

If you’re young and your career is in its early days, you’ve likely been privy to plenty of career truisms and clichés.

But if “follow your passion,” “give 110%,” and “be true to yourself” just aren’t cutting it for you anymore, perhaps advice like, “don’t work too hard” and “relax” are more up your alley.

These successful people have offered some of the best — and oftentimes least conventional — advice for people in their 20s:

1. Warren Buffett: Exercise humility and restraint.

In a 2010 interview with Yahoo, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett said the best advice he ever received was from Berkshire Hathaway board-of-directors member Thomas Murphy. He told Buffett:

“Never forget, Warren, you can tell a guy to go to hell tomorrow — you don’t give up the right. So just keep your mouth shut today, and see if you feel the same way tomorrow.”

During this year’s Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, Buffett alsotold a curious seventh-grader that the key to making friends and getting along with co-workers is learning to change your behavior as you mature by emulating those you admire and adopting the qualities they possess.

Optimist Issue Warren Buffett Shares Secrets Wealth

2. Maya Angelou: Make your own path.

In her bookThe Best Advice I Ever Got, Katie Couric quotes author, poet, dancer, actress, and singer Maya Angelou:

“My paternal grandmother, Mrs. Annie Henderson, gave me advice that I have used for 65 years. She said, ‘If the world puts you on a road you do not like, if you look ahead and do not want that destination which is being offered and you look behind and you do not want to return to you place of departure, step off the road. Build yourself a new path.'”

3. Richard Branson: Never look back in regret — move on to the next thing.

Richard Branson’s mother taught him that.

“The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures, rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me,” The Virgin Group founder and chairman told The Good Entrepreneur. “I have fun running ALL the Virgin businesses — so a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.”

4. J.K. Rowling: Embrace failure.

J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter series, knows a lot about achieving success — and failure.

“I don’t think we talk about failure enough,” Rowling recently told Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today. “It would’ve really helped to have someone who had had a measure of success come say to me, ‘You will fail. That’s inevitable. It’s what you do with it.'”

Before Rowling became one of the wealthiest women in the world, she was a single mom living on welfare in the U.K. She began writing about her now famous character, the young wizard Harry Potter, in Edinburgh cafes, and received “loads” of rejections from book publishers when she first sent out the manuscript, The Guardian reports.

5. Eric Schmidt: Say yes to more things.

In her book The Best Advice I Ever Got, Katie Couric quotes Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt as advising:

“Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learn something new. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids.”

6. Marissa Mayer: Pick something and make it great.

In a 2011 interview with the Social Times, current Yahoo president and CEO Marissa Mayer revealed the best advice she ever received:

Road To Success

“My friend Andre said to me, ‘You know, Marissa, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to pick the right choice, and I’ve gotta be honest: That’s not what I see here. I see a bunch of good choices, and there’s the one that you pick and make great.’ I think that’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten.”

7. Steve Jobs: Don’t just follow your passion but something larger than yourself.

In a recent Business Insider article, Cal Newport, author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You, referenced Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson, who recalled an exchange he had with Jobs shortly before he passed. Jobs reportedly told Isaacson:

“Yeah, we’re always talking about following your passion, but we’re all part of the flow of history … you’ve got to put something back into the flow of history that’s going to help your community, help other people … so that 20, 30, 40 years from now … people will say, this person didn’t just have a passion, he cared about making something that other people could benefit from.”

8. Suze Orman: With success comes unhelpful criticism — ignore it.

In a LinkedIn article about the best advice she ever received, motivational speaker, author, and CNBC host Suze Orman wrote that success has often made her a target of nasty criticism “entirely disconnected from facts.” At first these attacks made her angry, but she eventually learned to ignore them.

“A wise teacher from India shared this insight: The elephant keeps walking as the dogs keep barking,” she wrote.

“The sad fact is that we all have to navigate our way around the dogs in our career: external critics, competitors, horrible bosses, or colleagues who undermine. Based on my experience, I would advise you to prepare for the yapping to increase along with your success.”

9. Bill Gates: Keep things simple.

In a 2009 interview with CNBC, Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates admired Warren Buffett’s ability to keep things simple.

“You look at his calendar, it’s pretty simple. You talk to him about a case where he thinks a business is attractive, and he knows a few basic numbers and facts about it. And [if] it gets less complicated, he feels like then it’s something he’ll choose to invest in. He picks the things that he’s got a model of, a model that really is predictive and that’s going to continue to work over a long-term period. And so his ability to boil things down, to just work on the things that really count, to think through the basics — it’s so amazing that he can do that. It’s a special form of genius.”

Richard Branson

10. Arianna Huffington: Don’t work too hard.

In a LinkedIn post last year, The Huffington Post president and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington revealed that she’s often asked if young people pursuing their dreams should burn the candle at both ends?

“This couldn’t be less true,” she writes. “And for far too long, we have been operating under a collective delusion that burning out is the necessary price for achieving success.”

She says she wishes she could go back and tell her younger self, “Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can commit to not only working hard but also unplugging, recharging, and renewing yourself.”

11. Stewart Butterfield: Have an experimental attitude.

Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of Flickr and chief executive of Slack, one of the fastest-growing business apps of all time, recently shared his best advice for young people with Adam Bryant of The New York Times:

“Some people will know exactly what they want to do at a very young age, but the odds are low,” he said. “I feel like people in their early- to mid-20s are very earnest. They’re very serious, and they want to feel like they’ve accomplished a lot at a very young age rather than just trying to figure stuff out. So I try to push them toward a more experimental attitude.”

12. George Stephanopoulos: Relax.

“Almost nothing you’re worried about today will define your tomorrow,” Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos told personal finance website NerdWallet.

“Down the road, don’t be afraid to take a pay cut to follow your passion. But do stash a few bucks in a 401(k) now.”

13. Marla Malcolm Beck: Remember that you won’t end up where you start.

Marla Malcolm Beck, CEO of Bluemercury, told Adam Bryant of The New York Times that she always reminds students that “nobody ends up in the first job they choose out of college, so just find something that is interesting to you, because you tend to excel at things you’re interested in. But just go do it. You have nothing to lose.”

Her other piece of advice: Go into tech. “If you look at all the skill sets companies need, they involve a comfort level with technology,” she told Bryant.

14. T.J. Miller: Work harder than anyone else around you.

T.J. Miller, comedian and star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, told personal finance website NerdWallet this is truly the formula to success. “It worked for me, and I have mediocre talent and a horse jaw.”

15. Alexa von Tobel: Get up, dress up, and show up.

What Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest and the author of The New York Times bestseller Financially Fearless, means is that it’s important to wake up excited for what’s coming, dress the part, and always show up ready to go.

success invest“As a new hire, you will likely find yourself in tons of new situations, and it’s up to you to figure out how to navigate them,” she wrote in an article for Business Insider.

“Remember that your manager is strapped for time, so know when to ask questions. Are you unsure of the objectives for an assignment? Asking her to clarify is crucial, since it’s pretty hard to make the mark if you don’t know where it even lies.

“On the flip side, avoid bombarding your manager with petty questions that could be answered by your peers or a quick Google search.”

16. Mark Bartels: Map out a timeline when you start a new job.

“We talk about budgets; we talk about planning your finances; but what a lot of people don’t do is plan out the next 12 to 18 or 24 months of their careers,” StumbleUpon CEO Mark Bartels tells Business Insider.

He says that lack of planning can be costly, both professionally and existentially, while having an agenda provides a metric for evaluating your success.

17. Hermione Way: Start your own business.

“There has never been an easier time to start a business,” Hermione Way, founder of WayMedia and star of Bravo’s Start-Ups: Silicon Valley, told NerdWallet.

“There are so many free online tools. Just start, and if you fail you can always go and get a normal job, but you will learn so much along the way it will be a great experience.”

18. John Chen: Being a superstar can hurt your career.

“Most employees think that the best way to show value to their boss and get promoted is to aggressively claim credit and ownership over everything they do,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen wrote in a LinkedIn post earlier this year.

“While it’s important to be recognized for what you do and the value you add, grabbing the glory is going to turn off your co-workers.” It can also turn off your boss, he warns.

“Trying too hard to show you’re a superstar tells me that you only care about what’s best for you, and not the company as a whole.”

19. Salli Setta: Never eat lunch alone.

Red Lobster president Salli Setta tells Business Insider it’s important to get out from behind your screen at lunchtime because lunch is a prime networking opportunity.

The benefits of always having lunch plans with someone are two-fold: You can get information that will help you “think about your job differently,” and you also get on your companion’s radar.

“It isn’t about saying ‘hi, what are we going to talk about, let’s talk about sports,'” Setta says. “It’s about identifying the object of this lunch in your mind” and going in armed with “a couple of things that you want to ask, and a couple of things you want to share.”

20. Deepak Chopra: Embrace the wisdom of uncertainty.

In a LinkedIn post last year, Deepak Chopra, author and founder of The Chopra Foundation, said he wished he embraced the wisdom of uncertainty at a younger age.

“At the outset of my medical career, I had the security of knowing exactly where I was headed,” he wrote. “Yet what I didn’t count on was the uncertainty of life, and what uncertainty can do to a person.”

“If only I knew then, as I know now, that there is wisdom in uncertainty — it opens a door to the unknown, and only from the unknown can life be renewed constantly,” he wrote.

21. Cynthia Tidwell: Be patient enough to learn, but impatient enough to take risks.

Cynthia Tidwell, CEO of insurance company Royal Neighbors of America, told Business Insider her favorite piece of advice for young people is to be patient enough to learn, but impatient enough to take risks. “I encourage taking risks,” she said. “What is the worst thing that can happen? You can go back and do what you were doing before.”

22. Brian Chesky: Don’t listen to your parents.

Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, told The New York Times‘ Adam Bryant that recent grads shouldn’t listen to their parents.

“They’re the most important relationships in your life, but you should never take your parents’ career advice, and I’m using parents as a proxy for all the pressures in the world,” he told Bryant. “I also say that whatever career you’re in, assume it’s going to be a massive failure. That way, you’re not making decisions based on success, money and career. You’re only making it based on doing what you love.”

23. David Melancon: Ask three important questions at the end of every interview.

When a hiring manager turns the tables at the end of an interview and asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” David Melancon, CEO of btr., a corporate-rankings platform that focuses on holistic performance, says there are three questions far more important for you to ask than what the salary is or what the job requirements are.

1. What qualities will a person in this role need to be successful in your company culture — as an individual and as a worker?

2. What’s the company’s position on education and development, including student-loan reimbursement and tuition assistance?

3. How does the company keep employees excited, innovative, and motivated?billgates

24. Diane von Furstenberg: Keep it real.

In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of The New York Times, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg says she has learned that trusting yourself is the key to success.

“In order to trust yourself, you have to have a relationship with yourself,” she told Bryant. “In order to have a relationship with yourself, you have to be hard on yourself, and not be delusional.”

25. Rick Goings: Be nice to everyone.

Rick Goings, CEO of Tupperware Brands, which brought in $2.6 billion in revenue last yearshared his favorite pearls of wisdom for young people with Business Insider. One of them was be nice to everyone when you go on a job interview.

“I like to check with the driver, our receptionist, and my assistants on how the candidate interacted with them. How you treat others means the world!”

Read the full article here

Weekend video: Parrots incredibly talk to one other like humans


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