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.
Eyes on the prize: How to avoid common buying mistakes this spring
Spring has well and truly sprung – and so has the real estate frenzy season.
But if you’re stressed about the right strategy to take – don’t panic!
An article from Domain.com.au looks at all the do’s and don’t to ensure you don’t make the common buying mistakes.
The blossom trees are blooming, the temperature is rising and “open for inspection” signs line the streets.
Purchasing a home in the thick of the spring selling frenzy can be a daunting and overwhelming task.
While the end of the cooler months typically brings increased stock to the market, it also encourages a whole new host of buyers determined to find a home before the busy Christmas period.
“If you’re not committing early and aggressively enough, you could find yourself with nothing at the back of spring,” Inan says.
Speaking to some of the top agents reveals common mistakes prospective buyers make and advice to overcome them on auction day.
Number one on the list is attempting to find the “perfect” property.
“My rule is this; if it’s seven or eight out of 10, buy it straightaway.
Make that decision! If it’s three or four out of 10, let it go.”
Likewise, Heavyside says don’t expect the price of your dream home to fall exactly within your budget.
“Don’t have an exact number in mind.
If you are financed to buy up to $1.15 million and your forever home sold for $1,158,000 how would you feel the next day?
Most buyers who talk to me after three months of regretting that ‘one that got away’ tell me they would have found another $8000,” he says.
Second on the common buyer mistakes list is not having a thorough understanding of the sales process.
This includes not having your finances in order, failing to budget for additional costs and misunderstanding auction formats.
“Many buyers believe that at an auction, if they do not bid, that they are giving themselves a tactical advantage.
However, this is certainly not the case,” he says.
“By law in Victoria, the highest bidder at an auction has the first right of negotiations.
Having a pre-approved loan in place is another buying must, especially when purchasing at auction (the most popular sales method in spring).
“There is nothing worse than buying a property and having the bank come back and say they won’t lend you that much,” says Bullen Gervasi director Nikki Gervasi. It is important to know what capacity you have right from the start.”
Read the full article here
Listings rise in Sydney
It would seem that the Sydney property market is seeing a little a balance with a rise is property listings.
The Sydney housing market now looks to be becoming much more balanced, with total listings now +12.3 per cent higher than a year ago, according to SQM Research figures.
Despite this, asking prices still rose in all capital cities in the month.
Interestingly, asking prices for houses in Perth (+1.3 per cent) recorded the biggest jump in September.
Perth listings are also now a bit lower year-on-year (-2.6 per cent), so that’s another tick in the box for the Perth market having turned a corner, albeit gradually.
No such luxury for prospective home buyers in Hobart, where listings continue to dive, to now sit some -25.5 per cent lower than in September 2016.
SQM records asking prices for houses in Hobart as +26 per cent higher over the past three years, and +21 per cent higher for units.
Read the full article here
UBS thinks Australians have borrowed billions for housing without realising they’re interest-only loans
Australian home owners need to take a closer look when it comes to their borrowing statements.
According to an article on Business Insider many borrowers have interest only loans and don’t even know it.
The UBS banking team has highlighted another potential red flag in Australian housing, interest-only loans, and more specifically, the number of borrowers who don’t actually know they have one.
The latest note follows their “Liar Loans” research about inaccurate mortgage applications, which was based on a survey of 907 mortgagees around Australia.
The team took another look at the data and one thing stood out:
“Of the 907 respondents only 23.9% by value stated they were Interest Only (IO). This is substantially lower than the APRA system statistics at 35.3%,” UBS said.
Having double-checked the statistical robustness of the sample, the analysts took a closer look at the cause of the discrepancy:
We believe the most likely explanation for the lack of respondents indicating they have IO mortgages is that many customers may be unaware that they have taken out an interest only mortgage. In fact, our survey suggests that around a third of interest only borrowers do not know that they have this style of mortgage.
The team noted that some may consider their conclusion “far-fetched”, however they said the result was concerning when placed against the backdrop of two broader themes:
1. The lack of financial literacy in Australia; and
2. The implications of high household debt levels amid tighter lending conditions and a market that’s showing signs of cooling.
UBS cited a recent survey by ME Bank which found that 60% of Australian respondents failed a basic literacy test, and 38% had no understanding of interest only repayments.
They said such a lack of literacy would be less concerning if Australia didn’t have a record-high level of household gearing.
Furthermore, for the one third of borrowers UBS estimates don’t know they are only paying interest, an unexpected 30-60% jump in mortgage repayments is on the cards at the end of the interest-only lending term.
Of the respondents from the UBS survey who were aware that they had an interest-only loan, 71% said they were either under moderate or high repayment stress.
When asked how they would respond to that stress, more than half said they would reduce spending and consumption:
Furthermore, among those who were under high repayment stress, 23% said they were considering selling their property.
Read the full article here
House prices in Sydney drop for the first time in 17 months
For over a year now the property prices is Sydney have continued to rise, but could that all be changing.
An articles on News.com.au has reported that for the first time in 17 months, Sydney property prices are seeing a drop.
HOME prices across Australia’s major cities rose only marginally for a second month in September, with a rare dip in Sydney offering more evidence that tighter lending rules were working to head off a debt-driven bubble in the sector.
Property consultant CoreLogic said its index of home prices for the combined capital cities rose just 0.3 per cent in September, from August when they edged up 0.1 per cent.
Annual growth in prices slowed to 8.5 per cent in September, from 9.7 per cent the month before and 10.5 per cent in July.
“This slowing in the combined capitals growth trend is heavily influenced by conditions across the Sydney market where capital gains have stalled,” said CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless.
Prices in Sydney eased 0.1 per cent in September, the first decline in 17 months, dragging the annual pace back to 10.5 per cent from 13 per cent in August.
A slowdown is much desired by the country’s main bank watchdog which has tightened standards on investment and interest-only loans, leading banks to raise rates on some mortgage products.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has also been concerned that debt-fuelled speculation in property could ultimately hurt both consumers and banks.
Melbourne fared much better, however, with prices rising 0.9 per cent for September and 12.1 per cent on the year.
“The stronger housing market conditions in Melbourne are supported by auction clearance rates which have consistently remained above 70 per cent,” said Lawless.
“Additionally, advertised stock levels remain remarkably low and private treaty sales continue to sell rapidly, averaging 30 days on market.”
Conditions varied widely across other cities, with Hobart rising 14 per cent on the year while prices in Perth fell 2.9 per cent.
Outside the cities, prices edged up 0.1 per cent in September to be 5.6 per cent higher for the year.
The RBA holds its October policy meeting on Tuesday and is considered certain to keep rates steady again, in part because any further easing might only encourage more borrowing by already heavily indebted households.
Click here for the full article
The Kitchen And Dining Trends To Look Out For In 2018
With a new season and a new year just around the corner – many of us are looking to give our home a little update.
So what’s the latest trends when it comes to kitchen?
This article form The Huffington post looks at the latest kitchens trends to give your home that perfect ‘new feel’.
Who else scrolls through Pinterest, creating dream boards of all your favourite kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms?
Whether they come to fruition or not is beside the point — either way, you have the perfect home pictured in your mind.
As with fashion, interior trends change, so what you like the look of will most likely alter as new colour palettes, hardware, appliances and shelving trends emerge.
If you’re wondering which kitchen and dining room trends we’ll be seeing and Pinning in 2018, interior designers Judy Elliott and Jess Bandiera from Verandah House are here to help.
“Natural oak timbers have resurged back into our kitchen joinery and that’s an exciting trend we’ve started to implement into our designs,” Elliott told HuffPost Australia.
“We’re not just talking timber on the external cupboards, but on the inside of the cupboards too.
Tapware and joinery hardware
“Brass tapware and joinery hardware is still going strong, but the classic polished chrome finish is still as popular today as it was a decade ago,” Bandiera said.
“Upgrading your joinery hardware will instantly update the look and feel of your kitchen. Go for either chrome, matte black or brass pulls or knobs.”
If you’re wanting to refresh your kitchen and dining room colour palette, try shades of blue, moss or sage green, or neutral tones.
“All shades of blue, especially navy, is a hot trend that doesn’t seem to be losing its charm,” Bandiera said.
“Our favourite way of using colour is on island benches and under bench cupboards, and keeping the overhead cupboards white. This gives colour and impact without feeling too dominant.
“Other colour trends in kitchens that we can’t get enough of is moss and sage green. I think we are going to see a lot more of this colour in 2018.”
But don’t worry if you prefer more neutral, soft tones.
“While colour is definitely a strong influence, so are neutral tones. Grey is popular but we are starting to see it being replaced with the colour greige, a softer grey with a dose of taupe added to the mix.”
Pendant lights can add warmth, mood and focus to kitchens and dining rooms, and are available at affordable prices.
“Create a focal point for your kitchen by adding feature pendant lights. Choose lighting that compliments your hardware in either hand blown glass, matte black, chrome or brass finishes,” Bandiera said.
“Try adding wall sconces above open shelves to provide a lovely ambient effect and designer look.”
When it comes to shelving trends, Bandiera recommends adding storage and charm with open shelves.
“Rather than cluttering your cupboards and pantry, invest in some glass jars and pull out your cookbooks, favourite crockery and add some potted herbs to display on open shelving. This is a cost effective option that will create impact and a homely feel.”
While bold-coloured and matte pastel appliances are in vogue at the moment, if you don’t want to replace your appliances often, Bandiera recommends sticking to classic colours.
“Appliances are no longer just stainless steel. While bold-coloured appliances are all over our Pinterest boards, we are still strong advocates for timeless colour. After all, appliances are a big investment and not so easy to replace when trends change,” Bandiera said.
Hand-painted coloured joinery to showcase your dinnerware, a bar cart and statement hand-painted wallpaper are all ways to add detail to kitchens and dining rooms. If these aren’t in your budget, fresh flowers and herbs, wooden chopping boards and candles are great options.
“The return of the bar has been a welcomed addition to our dining rooms,” Elliott said. “A bar cart can add charisma and ambience to your dining room. These days bar carts are used for all purposes. Try mixing your favourite spirits with décor books and candles, and also use as a serving tray when entertaining.
“Our favourite look is adding Gracie hand-painted wallpaper to our dining room walls, either framed as panels or the complete room. Wall panelling and wall art are hot looks we are seeing at the moment. Fresh flowers and candles are a must.”
“The most inexpensive way to dress up your kitchen is to prop up a few wooden chopping boards on your bench top. Group your everyday pieces in a rattan tray and add potted herbs to your bench top,” Bandiera added.
What to avoid
Although kitchen and dining room trends are moving away from minimalism, Bandiera suggests sticking to the ‘less is more’ rule when it comes to the appliances and utensils in the kitchen.
“If you have appliances on display, only display the absolute necessities and try to coordinate these in with your décor,” Bandiera said. “Don’t spread your daily utensils and condiments all over the bench. Group them in a tray and add canisters.
“Also, a big ‘no’ to mirror or glass splashbacks. Instead replace with a classic subway tile.”
Dining rooms, on the other hand, should radiate warmth and openness by way of candles, trays, flowers and plants.
“Don’t make your dining table look sterile and empty — style it with placemats, candles, a potted orchid or fern to give it life.”
Read the full article here
Weekend video: Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends 2018
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