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.

More ‘rent bidding’ apps to launch in Australia as rental revolution looms

It’s no secret we’ve become reliant on ‘phone apps’ for a lot of our daily activities; maps, memos, alarms etc.

Now it would seem the ever growing popularity of the rental market will have its own app too.

This article from Domain.com.au reveals which app will be hitting the Australian rental market.

Online rental marketplaces – where would-be tenants go head to head with offers for properties – are becoming an inevitable reality for Australian renters, with the upcoming launch of two Aussie-specific apps. iphone-410311_1280

Live Offer, by US-based real estate tech company Property Connect, and Australian start-up Rentwolf will both roll out platforms in coming months in Australia.

It follows an announcement by controversial US rent-bidding start-up Rentberry that it will launch in Australia this year, with tenant unions slamming the idea as an exercise in rent inflation.

Australia’s two largest rental markets, Sydney and Melbourne, are already competitive and expensive, with Domain Group data showing Sydney’s median asking house rent increased $25 a week to $550 in the 12 months to March, while Melbourne’s median weekly house rents rose $20 to $420.

A recent study showed tenants in both cities are going extreme measures to make ends meet against a backdrop of rising rents, including pawning items or going without meallocation map house suburb area finds.

Landlord insurance specialists have also spoken out since Rentberry’s announcement, raising fears renters will financially over-commit themselves in the process of a “rent auction”.

“Impulsive, eBay-style bidding on rental apps like Rentberry may see Australian tenants fall into financial difficulty when vying for their preferred rental property,” said Carolyn Parrella, executive manager of Terri Scheer Insurance.

“Tenants who use these apps could be lulled into the thrill of the chase and get caught up in the bidding process and commit to paying a rental amount that they can’t afford in the long term.”

There were concerns such apps encouraged renters to pay more than the market rate for rental properties, Ms Parrella said, which could end up putting renting out of imac-606765_1920reach for many tenants.

But the former Australian property manager behind Rentberry’s Australian competitor, Live Offer, says his site will create a much fairer market value rent than its US rival.

“The approach Rentberry has taken is trying to get as much disruption as possible and they’ve rubbed people the wrong way,” Property Connect founder and chief executive Tim Manson said.

“I’ve seen companies come and go in this space and where they falter is they don’t offer enough features for the renter.”

Read the full article here

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Land prices accelerate to record high

It would seem that land prices are not slowing down, in fact they are just getting higher.

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

Land prices surge

The weighted median vacant lot value rose by 4.8 per cent in the December quarter to a record high of $254,406, according to the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

Vacant lot prices rose by 9.3 per cent over the year, while volumes are declining sharply, implying a shortage of shovel ready land for homes in some capital cities.


Source: HIA

The rise was driven by massive annual increases in Melbourne (+16.3 per cent), Sydney (+10.7 per cent), and Adelaide (+10.3 per cent).

There were however also increases in Brisbane (+5.4 per cent), Hobart (+3.1 per cent), and Perth (+0.9 per cent).

Sydney has the most expensive median vacant land price, rising by 65 per cent over the last five years to $455,000, which is about 45 per cent of the median house price in the harbour city.

Read the full article here

CBA leads hike: 13 lenders increase home loan interest rates

Despite there being no changes to the interest rates form the RBA – it would seem that some banks are taking it into their own hands.

According to this article from Money Magazine the Commonwealth Bank has taken lead in increasing interest on home loans.

Several of Australia’s major banks have increased their home loan interest rates by up to 0.5%, despite no movement in the cash rate.low interest rates

Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s largest mortgage lender, has raised rates on fixed-rate investment home loans, effective from April 21, affecting both principal-and-interest and interest-only loans.

Most fixed interest-only investment loans have seen a steep increase of 0.5%, with only the one-year fixed rate having risen by a smaller 0.25%.

Fixed-rate principal-and-interest investment loans with terms ranging from two to five years have also seen a  rise of 0.25%.

For owner-occupiers, the news isn’t much better with all interest-only fixed-rate home loans rising by 0.25%.

Principal-and-interest home loans, on the other hand, are not affected, offering a reprieve to some.

The big question is what these changes look like in dollar figures.bank reserve interest rate save money finance loan

For example, a new $500,000 interest-only investment loan over 25 years, with a three-year fixed-rate term, which has risen by 0.5% would mean investors today could be $2500 a year worse off based on current interest rates.

Similarly, a $500,000 interest-only  owner-occupier loan over 25 years, with a three-year fixed-rate term, which has risen by 0.25% would make borrowers today about $1250 a year worse off than if they took out the same loan before the rate changes.

Commonwealth Bank says the rate changes have been prompted by new requirements from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

The APRA regulatory changes, announced in late March, aim to limit the proliferation of interest-only loans, which can become dangerously unaffordable for customers once rates begin to rise from their current record lows.

Read the full article here

Melbourne vs Sydney coffee prices – Who pays the most?

Coffee culture has certainly become a way of life – particularly in the states of Sydney and Melbourne.

And while out taste buds can’t get enough – our pockets for that delicious coffee fix are just getting deeper.

But who’s paying more?

An article for The Weekly Review has compared coffee prices in both states to find the result.

Eye-popping median house prices just released show Melbourne at a record $843,674 and Sydney at a staggering $1,151,565coffee cafe

However, the figure that really gets people fired up is the cost of coffee!

So how does Melbourne compare with Sydney when it comes to a good old cuppa?

According to the latest data from online coffee and food ordering app Skip, Sydneysiders are paying nine per cent less for a large coffee and seven percent less for a medium size, compared to their Melbournian counterparts.



Skip crunched the numbers from more than 150,000 coffee orders across Victoria and New South Wales and found that keeping up the caffeine habit is not only more expensive in Melbourne, tastes and coffee craving days differ greatly with cappuccinos being the beverage of choice in Sydney compared to a strong latte for Melbournians.



If you want to get your coffee geek on, check out these fascinating statistic about coffee consumption across all states, now vs. a year ago:

Cost of coffee:

  • On average, the cheapest coffee across states is NSW @ $4.13 for large and $3.91 for medium interesting articles
  • Average cost of coffee has reduced in both NSW and QLD vs. the same period the year before:
    • Medium: $3.91 vs $3.83
    • Large: $4.13 vs. $4.18
  • Whereas in VIC, the average cost of a medium and large coffee has risen:
    • Medium: $4.19 vs. $4.12
    • Large: $4.50 vs. $4.41

Popular coffee:

  • Most popular coffees by state:
    • 3 out of 7 states prefer the classic Australian Flat White as most popular coffee (ACT, QLD, WA)
    • Sydneysiders and South Australians are cappuccino lovers
    • VIC and TAS love a latte
  • Interesting trends by state:
    • VIC – Magic beverage-1842596_1920
    • NSW – Piccolo
    • In general: ‘designer’ coffee choices have declined since 15/16 e.g. WA featured batch brew and QLD liked a Cold Press, both of which no longer feature in their list

Most popular day to order coffee:

  • Sydney sees higher orders on a Thursday, vs. Melbourne which sees highest number of orders occur on a Wednesday

Size of coffee:

  • NSW = most likely to order a small coffee vs. VIC (39% vs. 36%)

Milk preference:

  • Skim still most popular across every single statemelbourne-1639332_1920
    • NSW – 52% opt for skim
    • VIC – 51% opt for skim
  • Soy = still most popular dairy free alternative

Strength of coffee:

  • Both NSW and VIC = most likely to ask for their coffees strong overall, VIC = most likely to ask for their coffee weak, out of the two
  • Tasmanians are most likely to have their coffee strong (nearly half – 47%)
  • SA and ACT are most likely to ask for their coffees regular strength, with the remaining states asking for theirs strong

Click here for the full article

Weekend video: 6 Ways To Appear Smarter Than You Are ft. Lilly Singh


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