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…and please forward to your friends by clicking the social link buttons.

Is it better to buy an apartment in the CBD, or a house in the outer suburbs?

Location or property type? That is the question…

When it comes to choosing your next property purchase – which factor is more important?

An article on Domain.com.au looks into what you should be considering.

There is one rule of thumb when it comes to deciding between a house and apartment: growth and yield. Sydneysuburbs 496037222

This is not applicable in an owner-occupier scenario, but worth considering if circumstances change.

Apartments tend to generate better rental yields, and investors looking for that high yield rather than capital growth tend to opt for high-rise.

Melbourne rental yields were 3.48 per cent for a house and 4.52 per cent for a unit during the June quarter, according to Domain data.

If your long-term goal is to keep your first home as an investment, remember it is all about location for a tenant. 


At this stage of your property journey it is best to re-evaluate and opt for a property ripe for investment.

Tax issues are a fundamental component – so do your sums.

Houses tend to command better long-term capital growth and, for an owner-occupier, this is the ideal scenario.

Capital growth equals greater equity in the long run, which will help a leg-up the property ladder at a later date.

It is the land component of a house purchase that boosts the long-term capital growth and, generally, the building that depreciates over time.

Let’s put it into perspective.

Melbourne median house prices gained a staggering $113,629 and units $21,022 in the 12 months to the June quarter.

Both healthy gains. melbourne

However, I know which I’d prefer.

There are many factors to consider.

Strata fees come with apartment living and are designed to cover the maintenance and common services equally across all residents.

By contrast, buying a detached house means all maintenance cost lies firmly with the owner.

Non-essential maintenance can be delayed, unlike strata fees that have to be paid regularly and not deferred.

A major drawcard of apartment living is the proximity to amenities and transport, as well as the inclusions offered in many developments, ranging from a pool and gym, to tennis court and gardens.

Read the full article here

Spirit in the sky?

How is the high rise apartment market really looking?

This Blog by Pete Wargent shows the statistics behind the results.apartment

It had become quite apparent by late 2014 that there was something extraordinary underway with regards to new ‘high-rise’ apartment construction in Australia.

Outside Sydney, we’re now coming down the other side of that mountain.

Over the past 18 months, the trend in the number of new apartment starts in Queensland has continued to fall, and fall, and fall.

Dwelling Commencement

In inner city Brisbane, new project commencements have slowed to a crawl.

This is one of several ways in which that the apartment market in inner Brisbane is adjusting, as it needs to.

Read the full article here

Time to take stock of housing debt

It looks like Aussie’s are going to need to learn how to save more – much more…

In this article for Switzer, John McGrath looks the status of our household debt and what it really means for the economy. 40392725 L

We’ve been hearing a lot about record household debt in Australia, however statistics show that the bulk of this debt relates to housing and importantly, the value of our properties far outweighs that of our debt.

For the number crunchers out there, CoreLogic has provided an analysis of the Reserve Bank’s latest quarterly report on household finances.

The key statistics are as follows:

  • The ratio of household debt to disposable income was 193.7% at the end of June – a record high Property Investment Checklist 300x199 300x199
  • The ratio of housing debt to disposable income was 136.4%
  • The ratio of household assets to disposable income was 935.6% – a record high
  • The ratio of housing assets to disposable income was 516.5% – a record high
  • The ratio of household debt to assets was 20.7%
  • The ratio of housing debt to assets was 26.4%

What does this all mean?

Basically, we’ve got a lot of debt but most of it is due to housing.

Property is a stable and reliable asset class, so as long as unemployment remains low, I don’t believe there’s a doomsday scenario in terms of our record household debt.

However, every now and then we do need to think about our debt and how we’re managing it. property buying costs

This is especially important because of the size of our debt and the inevitability of interest rates rising, though they have a long way to go given we’re still at record low levels.

On top of this, the property markets in Sydney and Melbourne are cooling, which means asset values are going to stabilize while interest rates are likely to rise (either via the banks independently or via the RBA).

This can make people nervous – not so much owner-occupiers but certainly investors.

They’re the most volatile group of property owners and given the enormous number that entered the market during the boom in Sydney and Melbourne, I think it’s important for investors to take stock of their financial situation and be comfortable with their position.

Read the full article here

This indicator suggests the RBA will have trouble lifting interest rates next year

Will they rise – or continue to fall?

That’s been the questions on the minds of many when it comes to interest rates.

But according to this article from Business Insider – things won’t be looking ‘up’.

Australia Economy Concept

Australia’s Leading Index, released by Westpac in conjunction with the Melbourne Institute, continues to paint a fairly dour outlook for Australia’s economy next year, indicating that  growth is likely to be well below the levels forecast by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

The indices six-month annualised growth rate, a guide as to the likely pace of economic activity looking three to nine months into the future, fell again in September, sliding to -0.21% from -0.16% in August.

Westpac leading index chart September Source: Westpac

At that level, it suggests that Australian economic growth is likely to be 0.21 percentage points below its historic trend, widely perceived to be around 2.75% per annum. recession-australia-note-money-economy-squeeze-tighten-save-saving-budget-cut

So the index is currently pointing to growth of around 2.5%.

Not horrible by any stretch, but hardly stellar either.

In comparison, the RBA is currently forecasting that GDP growth — currently running at 1.8% — will accelerate to 3% by the middle of 2018.

As the name suggests, the index uses leading economic indicators from Australia and overseas to provide an early indication on the performance of the economy in the future.

These include readings on commodity prices, the performance of Australian stocks, changes in the shape of Australia’s bond curve and various economic data indicators. RBA

Bill Evans, Westpac’s Chief Economist, says that much of the deterioration in the index this year has been due to weakness in Australian stocks and steep decline in commodity prices.

“The Leading Index growth rate has slowed from 0.93% above trend in April to 0.21% below trend in September, a deterioration of 1.14 percentage points (ppts),” he says.

“The slowdown has been driven by multiple components including commodity prices (–0.96ppts), the ASX200 (–0.42ppts), the yield spread (–0.19ppts) and US industrial production (–0.15ppts).”

Weakness in those readings has completely offset stronger readings for Australian consumer confidence and labour market indicators.

Read the full article here

21 Apps to Boost Productivity, Accountability and Success

Are you often unmotivated? Tired? Or find it hard to concentrate?

Then these apps may just be what you’ve been looking for.

An article on Entrepreneur.com looks at the top 21 apps to get you motivated and reach success.

No matter how you work or what type of business you run, being productive is a must.

But techniques and strategies aren’t enough if you don’t have the tools needed to implement them. iphone-410311_1280

Fortunately, there’s an app for that!

Here are 21 apps that are guaranteed to boost your productivity, accountability and success:

1. Asana

While there are tons of different project-management apps out there, Asana is by far one of my favorites. Once set up, this app helps you reduce internal email, delegate tasks and check the status of your projects from one central dashboard.

2. Venmo

If you need to send payments quickly and securely, this is your app. With no forms to fill out and no fees for payment, Venmo is a great alternative to solutions such as Paypal.

3. TripIt 31963453_m1

Tracking travel is important — not just for organizational purposes, but for expense and tax filing as well. TripIt succeeds in keeping all of your important information in one place.

4. [email protected]

Distraction is a huge challenge facing most business owners, but it’s one that can be avoided. If you like to listen to music while you work, check out [email protected], an app that provides special playlists designed to improve focus and bolster creativity.

5. UberConference

Conference calls on the go can be hit and miss, but not with UberConference. This app lets you to see participants’ LinkedIn profiles and record your meetings so you don’t lose an important point.

6. Evernote

One of the most versatile note-taking and storage apps available, Evernote is accessible from any device. The cloud-based app allows you to store, edit and tag documents for effortless organization. smartphone-570507_1920

7. Square

Whether you need to take payments on the go occasionally or frequently combine work and travel, Square is the app that can make it happen.

8. Producteev

Delegation is an important part of business success, whether your team is large or small. Producteev, a powerful task management program, allows you to easily assign tasks to other team members, as well as hold them accountable.

9. FlipBoard

Staying up to date on news and industry changes is easy with FlipBoard. Don’t waste time flipping between a dozen different websites — this app summarizes your favorite feeds in one place.

10. Pocket Analytics

Every business owner should know the status of his or her business at all times, and that includes web analytics. This app provides an easy-to-read mobile overview and a dashboard that tracks multiple services. apple-1841553_1920

11. Contactually

Keeping in touch with members of your network is important, and Contactually makes it easy. Allowing you to segment your contacts and assign follow-up cycles to each category, this app makes sure you never lose touch with your team or your prospects.

12. Refresh

Ever shown up to a meeting, only to be embarrassed by your lack of knowledge about the person you’re connecting with? With Refresh — which syncs with Facebook, LinkedIn and other services — you’ll have all the information about the person you’re meeting and your past interactions at your fingertips.

13. Sunrise 

If you’ve got multiple calendars floating around, you need Sunrise. This easy-to-use calendar app connects seamlessly to all major calendar services, allowing you to stay on task and productive.

14. TrackMaven

Staying ahead of your competition is a challenge, but TrackMaven can help. The app can optimize your content distribution and help you identify marketing opportunities, while also tracking your competitors’ content and strategies.Iphone 830480 1920

15. Invoice2Go

Never forget to invoice a customer again! This app enables you to send professional-looking invoices quickly, no matter where you are, ending overlooked billing and forgotten amounts due.

16. Skitch

Skitch makes it effortless to add markup or annotations to existing content. If your job involves providing frequent feedback, this app makes it easy to give and simple to understand!

17. Mint

Proper money management is important, whether you’re saving up personally for an upcoming expense or a Fortune 500 company managing a vast number of people and resources. With Mint, you can get a quick snapshot of your financial situation any time you log in to your account.

18. EchoSign

Never find yourself scrambling for a scanner again! EchoSign lets you to sign vital business documents electronically and records your document history, making future document audits painless. Nokia 623939 1920

19. Hootsuite

Save time on your social media marketing efforts by managing all of your social profiles in a single app with Hootsuite. It’s an easy way to take the pain out of maintaining and updating multiple accounts.

20. Box

Box is a cloud storage system that helps you track your projects in real-time — an essential feature if you work with a remote team. Even better, the program’s responsive design allows Box to be effective no matter what device you use.


A great app with a huge range of applications, IFTTT allows you to create programs that respond to events with a certain action. For example, the app can be used to send an Instagram post to Facebook, or to send you a text if a weather event is brewing in your area. The possibilities truly are endless.

Read the full article here

Weekend video: How To Learn Faster


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