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.
Property Outlook report: Market faces correction for 2019, not crash
What can we expect from the property market in 2019?
This article from realestate.com.au looks at some of the predictions for the year ahead.
Australia’s property market is in the midst of a housing price correction but year-on-year declines in Melbourne and Sydney were less severe than expected, new analysis shows.
Realestate.com.au’s January 2019 Property Outlook report reveals conditions remain highly variable across the country, with most capital cities either stabilising or recording moderate growth for the year and December quarter.
Sydney had the largest median price fall year-on-year for December, with an annual change of -5.9%, followed by Darwin and Perth (both on -3.6%) and Melbourne (a mild 1.5% decline).
For the three months to December 2018, Sydney’s price dropped by 1%, followed by Darwin (-0.7%), Perth (-0.6%), Melbourne (-0.5%), and Canberra and Brisbane (both down by a minimal 0.2%).
Hobart, Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane all bucked the trend with annual growth for 2018, rising year-on-year by 8.4%, 1.4%, 1.1% and 0.4% respectively.
Both Hobart and Adelaide continued this momentum with moderate growth of 0.7% and 0.6% in the December quarter.
Median price per capital city (as of December 2018)
- Adelaide: $437,511
- Brisbane: $490,000
- Canberra: $591,000
- Darwin: $440,000
- Hobart: $420,000
- Melbourne: $665,000
- Perth: $475,000
- Sydney: $840,000
Nerida Conisbee, realestate.com.au’s Chief Economist, says the national market is now “well and truly in the midst of a downturn”.
“Only four capital cities saw price increases in 2018, with the rest recording declines.
Across regional Australia, conditions are even more variable,” Conisbee says.
“The realestate.com.au House Price Index is showing that declines are far less severe than what many other commentators are saying.
There is no doubt we are seeing price declines in Melbourne and Sydney, but they are not as pronounced as first thought; and we are certainly not seeing the worst conditions in 30 years.”
However, Conisbee says Melbourne and Sydney are still expected to see price falls for the first half of the year, but the outcome of the Financial Services Royal Commission and the Federal Election will affect the market’s direction for the second half of 2019.
“At this stage, it is looking like restrictions on home loans will not be a big focus of the final (Royal Commission) report.
It is unlikely it will get any tougher for home buyers looking to borrow,” she says.
“It is now likely we will see a change of Government sometime in the first half of 2019.
While a more stable Government is good news for property, it is the potential changes to negative gearing and capital gains concessions that could continue to lead to price falls.”
Australia’s most popular suburbs
For the December 2018 quarter, the 10 most in-demand areas represented four states – Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales – with popularity determined by the number of views per listing on realestate.com.au.
Here were the most in-demand suburbs on-site for the three-month period:
- Middle Park, VIC – 6,058
- Battery Point, TAS – 5,923
- Aldgate, SA – 5,785
- Crafers West, SA – 5.658
- Collaroy Plateau, NSW – 5,580
- South Hobart, TAS – 5,460
- Belair, SA – 5,251
- East Geelong, VIC – 5,169
- Killarney Heights, NSW – 5,061
- Red Hill, VIC – 5,034
“The other sign that Melbourne is holding up a lot better is that we are seeing a number of Melbourne suburbs with very high views per listing.
Middle Park and Red Hill are even making the national list, a position usually reserved for suburbs in strong performing markets,” Conisbee says.
Read the full article here
Lowest NSW & VIC unemployment rates on record
Employment growth in New South Wales and Victoria continues to go from strength to strength.
Job gains continue
Employment growth continued to reflect elevated job vacancies in the two most populous states in December 2018, with seasonally adjusted employment up another +21,600 in the month.
And after a minor upwards revision to the preceding month’s figures employment gains for the final quarter of calendar year 2018 were very solid at +87,000.
Looking at the smoother trend figures, over the year employment grew +285,000 or +2.3 per cent, comfortably a strong enough level of growth to push down the unemployment rate, even if part-time employment was a fair chunk of the increase.
Read the full article here
Is it time to lock in your rate? Where home loan rates could move next
When it comes to your home loan – is it time to lock your rate?
According to an article on Domain.com.au there could be a potential rise to rates from the banks.
Home owners have been warned to tread with caution when considering whether to lock in their home loan rates after several out-of-cycle rate rises from major and junior banks.
Rising mortgage prices come at the same time as experts are starting to suggest the Reserve Bank could move in the opposite direction and cut rates, which could prompt banks to change course and follow suit.
NAB on Thursday increased rates on its owner-occupier principal-and-interest loans by 12 basis points, and also hiked by 16 basis points its owner-occupier interest-only loans, investor principal-and-interest loans and investor interest-only loans.
The bank last September announced it would hold its rates steady as long as possible, pledging to restore trust with existing customers, in the wake of hikes ranging from 14 to 16 basis points by rivals Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ.
The move by the major lender follows a string of hikes from second-tier lenders in recent weeks, as the banks face higher funding costs.
Some 13 junior lenders have lifted rates on some products by up to 20 basis points since December, including Macquarie Bank, ME Bank and Bank Australia, analysis by comparison platform finder.com.au found.
“With the RBA cash rate stagnant and the costs of international borrowing increasing, many banks will increase their lending rates,” Finder insights manager Graham Cooke said.
But in a competitive market, other lenders may “seize the opportunity” to get an edge over their rivals and reduce rates, he said.
Citi Bank and IMB Bank have recently lowered their mortgage pricing.
But even as the cost of funding for banks goes up, economists have begun predicting the Reserve Bank may need to move the other wayand lower the official cash rate to boost the sagging property market and lagging economy.
Weak inflation, downward revisions to GDP growth, slipping consumer confidence, falling dwelling prices and a slower global economy will weigh on the Reserve Bank’s outlook.
Mr Cooke said home owners looking for the lowest rate should consider holding off locking in their mortgage rate, in case the RBA cuts later this year.
“If you’re worried about a rate hike, get on the front foot and look at a fixed-rate mortgage, but keep in mind that a growing number of economists in our monthly forecast predict the next RBA movement may be a rate cut,” he said.
Chris Foster-Ramsay, principal finance broker at Foster Ramsay Finance, said borrowers thinking about whether to fix their rate should consider the features of the individual loan product, aside from the interest rate outlook.
“In the case where there’s a super-cheap fixed rate for two or three years, the benefits may seem amazing,” he said.
“But you really have to take into consideration the other side as well, which is potentially higher break costs [and] potentially restrictive refinancing options during the fixed-rate period.”
Someone thinking about locking in their mortgage rate would be unwise to fix 100 per cent of their loan, he said.
Instead, several of his clients keep 30 to 40 per cent of their loan as a variable rate, which allows them to make additional repayments on the variable component and pay down their debt faster.
Read the full article here
Australia’s house price downturn is showing few signs of easing
Could things be easing for Australia’s housing market in 2019?
An article on Business Insider analyses the results.
Australian capital city home prices fell by 1.3% in December, according to CoreLogic’s Home Value Index, registering the largest one-month percentage fall since 1983.
The declines largely reflected steep and accelerating falls in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s largest and most expensive property markets, where median home prices slid by 1.8% and 1.5% respectively.
In the absence of an unlikely and unexpected lift in prices over the next few days, it looks like those trends will continue in January.
According to CoreLogic’s daily Home Value Index, median prices in Sydney and Melbourne have fallen 1.2% and 1.5% respectively so far during the month, including 0.3% and 0.4% drop just last week.
Despite flat to slightly higher prices in Australia’s remaining state capital cities last week, median prices in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth have also softened from December, ranging from 0.3% to 0.8% so far in January.
Combined, median values in Australia’s largest capital cities have fallen 1.1% so far this month in average weighted terms, extending the drop over the past year to 7.1%.CoreLogic
The annual decline, like the monthly data seen so far in January, reflects steep falls in Sydney and Melbourne, along with continued losses in Perth.
While tighter home loan lending standards has been the chief catalyst behind weaker demand, along with other factors such as lower foreign investor activity and expectations that prices are likely to fall further, supply is another factor behind the drop in prices in Australia’s largest markets.
According to CoreLogic, there are currently 25,038 and 31,766 homes on the market in Sydney and Melbourne, up 23.7% and 34.1% respectively on the levels of a year ago.
That growth has come despite a steep fall in new property listings in both cities over the same period, underlining just how weak demand is at present.CoreLogic
Over the past year, it’s been a similar story in most other Australian capital cities with stock sitting on the market higher despite a decline in new listings.
The only exception has been Hobart, Australia’s hottest capital city housing market in terms of price growth over the past year, where new listings are increasing compared to what what was seen a year ago.
There’s also growing evidence to suggest that weaker home prices in Australia’s largest cities are starting to impact household behaviour, weighing on spending levels and sentiment.
Read the full article here
Here’s How Different Types Of Coffee Drinks Impact Your Body And Brain
How does your favourite cup of coffee affect your brain?
This article from The Huffington Post explains the various affects different types of coffee can have on your body.
If you’re a coffee drinker, you know there’s nothing more blissful than that first sip of hot (or iced) coffee in the morning.
Sure, it tastes delicious, but that’s the least of it: With coffee running through your veins, you suddenly feel energized enough to take on the day ahead.
Most studies have found that coffee is also pretty good for your health.
As long as you’re not overdoing it (by that we mean more than six cups per day), coffee has been correlated with decreased risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
And some research has found it could even decrease your risk of depression.
So we know — thankfully — that most of us don’t have to give up coffee.
But most coffee drinkers have tipped over into uncomfortable territory at one point or another, whether that means the jitters, spikes in anxiety or a stomachache.
And it never feels great.
If you’re on a mission to enjoy your favorite comforting, steaming-hot beverage without the negative side effects, read on — because we may just have some answers for you.
Let’s Talk About Caffeine
First and foremost, everybody’s body is different, and we all metabolize caffeine differently. So while one person may be able to drink four cups of coffee after lunch, feel great and get an excellent night of sleep, another person might drink a smaller amount first thing in the morning, suffer a massive case of the jitters and stay up all night.
There’s no way to figure out exactly how you react to coffee until you try it, but most people can experience some not-so-great side effects from the caffeine ― like the jitters, insomnia, a racing heart or even a full-blown panic attack.
“Caffeine has several physiological effects on the body, one of the most potent being its ability to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system to produce adrenaline from your adrenal glands,” nutritionist Tamar Samuels told HuffPost.
“Adrenaline is a powerful hormone that is part of the ‘fight or flight’ response.
The release of adrenaline into the bloodstream increases blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate, all of which may contribute to the jittery feeling some get when they consume too much coffee.”
As a general rule, the higher the caffeine content in your coffee, the more likely you are to experience these symptoms.
Interestingly, while we may associate espresso shots with a jolt of caffeine, two shots (which is a standard serving for many coffee shops) actually has significantly less caffeine (about 150 mg) than a 16-ounce cup of Starbucks coffee (at 330 mg).
If you’re a cold brew fan, you’re getting 200 mg of caffeine from Starbucks’ standard 16-ounce cup.
If you’ve hopped on the nitro brew train, you’re looking at caffeine content that’s similar to that of drip coffee: 325 mg for a 16-ounce cup.
What About Acidity?
While the biggest indicator of how coffee will make your body and brain feel is caffeine, if you’ve ever struggled with stomach problems while drinking coffee, acid content could be the culprit.
“People with inflamed esophageal, stomach and/or intestinal tissues may be especially sensitive to higher acid drinks like coffee because the acidity from coffee drinks can cause a burning sensation upon exposure to sensitive tissue,” Samuels said.
If that sounds like you, consider opting for coffee drinks that are less acidic.
“One study found that espresso, French roast and other dark-roasted coffees may be less irritating because they contain a compound — N-methylpyridium, which is only produced during roasting — that inhibits stomach acid production,” said Samuels.
That Triple-Shot Caramel Coffee Thing …
Another thing that complicates coffee?
All the stuff we add to it.
For example, pouring a lot of milk into your coffee could increase its acidity.
We’re also adding sugar, artificial sugar, butter, MCT oil — and all of that is affecting our bodies and brains in one way or another.
“In the case of Bulletproof coffee [which is supposed to be made with butter and MCT oil], MCTs may increase metabolism and improve mental clarity, but can also cause indigestion,” Samuels explained.
“Coffee drinks with added sugars can cause weight gain and potentially increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes,” she said.
“It really all comes down to the individual and what works for their body.”
Coffee Alternatives To Try
If you find that coffee simply doesn’t jibe with your body, that’s OK — there are tons of options out there that are just as delicious and can provide a little caffeine jolt without the side effects.
Matcha, for example, delivers caffeine and a compound called L-theanine, which produces a feeling of “calm alertness” in the body.
Read the full article here
Weekend video: 5 Easy Magic Tricks That Will Blow Your Mind
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