Viewing by month: December 2011

Happy Christmas from Century 21 Real Estate

With tinsel strung up and Christmas carols playing softly throughout the office, it seems that once again Christmas has come around quickly and is almost upon us.  As I say every year, the years do not appear to be slowing down, and with this year drawing to a close, 2012 looks to be busier than ever for the Australian residential property market. 


To those people who made a property purchase throughout the year, I congratulate you.  Whether buying for the first time or adding to a burgeoning portfolio, purchasing real estate is a significant step and represents an investment in yourself and your future – something to be proud of.    


Alternatively, for those who, for whatever reason, didn’t manage to secure a property purchase in 2011, I encourage you not to give up your search, if property ownership is an important goal for you.  With interest rates down (and the potential for further cuts) and recent improvements seen in housing affordability (amongst other factors), 2012 could be the year where you find your dream home or investment property. 


On the topic of interest rates, for those of you who wish to take advantage of the Reserve Bank’s cut to rates in both November and December and are looking to purchase a property prior to Christmas, I hope the process of organising the necessary elements is a smooth one.  There is no doubt that property transactions in the lead-up to Christmas can be somewhat busy and stressful with many people preparing to go away, and I would advise you to ensure that all elements (such as property inspections, strata reports, etc) are completed before the necessary providers close for extended breaks over Christmas and the holiday period. 


To all of my readers, I hope you have a fun and relaxing time over the holiday season.  I will be taking a little bit of time off writing these blogs to enjoy a nice break but will return in 2012 to make sure you remain up to date with happenings in the Australian residential property market. 


From myself and the entire team at CENTURY 21 Real Estate, I would like to extend warm wishes to all readers for a happy and safe Christmas and holiday period as well as a successful year to come.

4 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 21/12/2011 at 4:28 PM | Categories:

Home security over the holidays

As we draw closer to Christmas and ready ourselves for a relaxing festive season, it is important for property owners to remember that this period can also present a heightened risk of theft and home break-ins, as people spend an increased amount of time away from home.  Property owners need to therefore remain vigilant, and take note of the various security measures that can be used to protect your property, valuables and loved ones. 


The following tips may assist you in securing your home this season. 


Inform your neighbours

When going on holiday, by simply asking your close neighbours to keep an eye on your property, you can help ensure that any unusual activity is noticed and that you are made aware of it.  You may also like to ask a neighbour to collect your mail, avoiding obvious signs of your absence being apparent from the street front. 


Set your home alarm system

With the rush of preparing to go on holiday, some people may forget to switch on their home alarm systems.  For those who have such a system in their property, it is important to ensure that it is on prior to your departure, as an alarm is a good tool which can serve to frighten away intruders. 


Hide valuables

Jewellery, expensive electronics and cash are unnecessary beacons that can attract unwanted attention to your property.  Ensure that valuables are out of sight during the holiday season to reduce the risk of your home being broken into.   


Avoid leaving obvious signs of your absence

Some obvious signs that a property owner is away can include prolonged periods of lights being off and curtains being drawn.  It can serve you well to leave some curtains open, and perhaps even install automatic timers for your lights (these can be purchased inexpensively), to create the impression that a property remains inhabited.          


There can be nothing worse when returning from a holiday to find that someone has broken into your property and stolen your valuable belongings.  By taking simple security measures such as those outlined above and others, you may be able to protect your home and prevent the theft that is so common during the festive season. 

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 21/12/2011 at 4:28 PM | Categories:

Latest inflation indicators

It is well known that inflation has been a key influencer of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate decisions over the course of the year with the Bank aiming for a target range of 2 – 3 per cent over 2012 and 2013. 


While the official inflation data, the Consumer Price Index released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, is not due until early 2012, the recent release of the TD Securities-Melbourne Institute Monthly Inflation Gauge for November also provides an indication as to how inflation is faring. 


The Inflation Gauge fell by 0.1 per cent in November 2011, following a 0.1 per cent rise in both October and September.  In the 12 months to November, the Inflation Gauge rose by 2.1 per cent, following a 2.6 per cent rise for the 12 months to October. 


The Inflation Gauge showed that this overall change was due to price rises for household appliances, utensils and tools, furniture and furnishings and new dwelling purchases by owner-occupiers. 


Such increases were offset by falls in fruit and vegetables, automotive fuel and holiday travel and accommodation. 


In his statement following the Reserve Bank’s decision to cut interest rates to 4.25 per cent last week, Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens confirmed that “the Bank’s current judgement is that inflation is likely to be consistent with the 2-3 per cent target in 2012 and 2013, abstract from the impact of the carbon pricing scheme.”


While further news on the movement in inflation for the December quarter will be available from the ABS early next year, this Inflation Gauge and the outlook of the Reserve Bank (in terms of the direction of inflation) looks to be good news for many mortgage holders and prospective buyers who are in a financial position to purchase a property.  


For more information about suitable properties available for purchase in your area, please stop by a CENTURY 21 real estate office for expert and professional advice.  

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 12/12/2011 at 10:19 AM | Categories:

Rate cut provides Christmas relief for property buyers and mortgage holders

At its December meeting held in Sydney last week, the Reserve Bank of Australia elected to cut the official cash rate by 25 basis points to 4.25 per cent.  This was the second consecutive cut to rates made by the Reserve Bank, after a year of keeping rates on hold at 4.75 per cent. 


This decision should assist both prospective residential property buyers and current mortgage holders in the lead-up to Christmas, particularly now that each of the big four banks (ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and NAB) have passed on the rate cut to their customers in full. 


In response to the decision, CENTURY 21 Australian Chairman and Owner Charles Tarbey said that for prospective property buyers who have been in a position to make a purchase this year yet have refrained from doing so, the rate reduction could be the final encouragement needed to act on a suitable purchase. 


In his statement following the decision, Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens in part attributed the rate cut to conditions in financial markets and cautious behaviour by firms and households, saying that:


“Financial markets have experienced considerable turbulence, and financing conditions have become much more difficult, especially in Europe.  This, together with precautionary behaviour by firms and households, means that the likelihood of a further material slowing in global growth has increased.”


Charles Tarbey noted of the decision that conditions in the international financial markets continue to have an ongoing impact on many Australians, with many home owners and investors exposed either directly or indirectly. 


As mentioned, now that the rate cut has been passed on in full by the four major banks, this reduction will hopefully help to ease the financial pressures felt by many Australian property owners and mortgage holders, particularly in the lead-up to the often expensive Christmas period. 


For those prospective buyers who have sought the appropriate professional advice and are financially positioned to do so, the rate cut may also help to make a property purchase more viable. 


For more information about suitable properties available for purchase in your local area, please stop by one of the hundreds of CENTURY 21 real estate offices nationally to speak to an experienced property professional.  

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 12/12/2011 at 10:19 AM | Categories:

Housing shortage or oversupply – an attempt to clear some confusion

The debate surrounding Australia’s housing shortage versus its oversupply is one that seems to regularly pop up in commentary regarding the residential property market.  The Australian public can be forgiven for being somewhat perplexed – it often feels like one moment there are too many properties on the market and buyers are scarce, while the next report sees fears raised that there won’t be enough homes to accommodate the Australian population moving forward.


It is my feeling that often confusion can arise as sometimes the distinction is not made between the short term and long term issues at hand.  It is no secret that in many areas of the Australian housing market of late, property sales activity has not been as strong as we would have liked, particularly over the spring selling season which has just passed – spring has historically seen an increased number of buyers and sellers act in order to have a property transaction completed in time for Christmas. 


The continuing financial concerns we are seeing in global financial markets, particularly the European debt situation, combined with the interest rate uncertainty that hung around for much of the year, has likely led to the decision by many Australian property buyers to sit on the fence for much of 2011 – refraining from making a property purchase, particularly with regards to properties at the top-end of the market.  This has resulted in a situation where a number of properties have remained on the market without selling for longer periods of time – thus creating a situation where there are potentially more properties on the market than usual. 


In contrast, the Australian population is set to grow over coming years, which logically will create a demand for more housing.  I thought Tim Lawless, RP Data’s Head of Research, summarised it quite nicely in a recent blog post ‘Housing demand set to increase on the back of higher population growth’ (25 November 2011), in which he used data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to calculate that overall the Australian population increases by one person every 1 minute and 31 seconds. 


As Lawless puts it, “Population and more importantly, the change in population, is intrinsically linked with housing demand.  To put it simply, more people means more homes”. 


According to the National Housing Supply Council’s State of Supply Report 2010, the gap between demand and supply stood at 178,400 dwellings as at June 2009, to which it had increased from 99,500 dwellings in June 2008. 


Thus, Australia’s growing population suggests that more dwellings need to be built, and at a rate that surpasses the current property shortage, for the nation to be able to house its citizens.  The types of dwellings constructed will likely need to be designed to accommodate changing demographics and social needs (such as an aging population and an increasing preference for energy efficiency), and will need to be situated in well serviced locations.


For more information about the properties available in your locale, please feel free to stop into your local CENTURY 21 real estate office to speak with a dedicated property professional. 

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 07/12/2011 at 8:56 AM | Categories:

Market conditions provide opportunities for pre-Christmas real estate purchases

Last week saw the beginning of December – who can believe how quickly the year has gone by? In real estate terms December marks the end of the spring selling season, and is also often a time where many buyers and sellers pick up the pace and work to have any relevant inspections and property transactions finalised before Christmas and the end of the year. 


Now it is certainly no secret that the Australian residential property market has experienced somewhat of a downturn this year, with the heightened activity usually seen over spring not as marked this year.  Although CENTURY 21 has seen that levels of enquiries from buyers about properties are still high, prospective purchasers continue to remain understandably cautious about acting, due in part to ongoing uncertainty surrounding global financial markets and concerns about housing affordability.


Having said this however, there still remain strong opportunities in many areas of the housing market for those looking to buy a property before Christmas.   


CENTURY 21 Chairman and Owner Charles Tarbey recently said that with interest rates down and a good deal of high-quality properties spanning a number of price brackets on the market, conditions look to be fairly attractive for many of those people who are positioned to buy and would like to do so before the year is through. 


While prospective buyers may have read recent reports of low auction clearance levels across the country, these need not necessarily be a deterrent from making a property purchase.  In fact, the passing-in of homes at auction can often give a serious buyer increased purchasing power or even the possibility of securing a property through post-auction discussions. 


 “In today’s market many pleasing results can be achieved with parties working together after a property has been passed in at auction to reach a mutually beneficial sales agreement,” said Charles Tarbey. 


Charles also said that buyers should not make the mistake of thinking that properties are not selling at all.  Those dwellings that are at a good price point, promise safe rental returns and are well located don’t usually stay on the market for too long. 


So for those readers who are considering a property purchase, there is a good possibility that there are promising buying opportunities available in the current market for you to look at, giving you time to act before Christmas and allowing you to look forward to moving into your new property in the new year. 


For more information about suitable properties available in your area, please feel free to stop by one of the hundreds of CENTURY 21 Australia real estate offices across the country, to speak with an experienced property professional. 

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 07/12/2011 at 8:55 AM | Categories: