Viewing by month: January 2012

Inflation figures support case for February rate cut

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently released its official inflation data – the Consumer Price Index – for the December 2011 quarter.  The figures showed that the Index was unchanged over the quarter, as compared with a rise of 0.6 per cent in the September quarter 2011.   

According to the ABS, the quarter saw price increases in domestic holiday travel and accommodation, rents, telecommunication equipment and services, beer and automotive fuel.   

These increases were balanced by price falls in fruit, pharmaceutical products, vegetables, audio, visual and computing equipment, international holiday travel and accommodation and motor vehicles. 

From an annual perspective, the ABS noted that the CPI rose 3.1 per cent over the year to the December quarter, as opposed to the 3.5 per cent increase in the year to the September quarter. 

This inflation data is eagerly anticipated and reported, as it is a key consideration of the Reserve Bank of Australia when it deliberates on the official cash rate. 

Such a result whereby the CPI was unchanged helps to support the case that the Reserve Bank could move to cut interest rates for the third consecutive month at its February meeting to be held next week.

I will certainly be watching for the Reserve Bank’s decision as I’m sure will many prospective home buyers and current property owners and investors

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 30/01/2012 at 4:47 PM | Categories:

Professional building inspections – an important step in the buying process

For many Australians, the purchase of a property is one of biggest, and likely most expensive, commitments made over the course of a lifetime.  It is for this reason that it is important to take certain steps to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible from the buying process. 


I have always held the opinion that professional building inspections are an important step in the property buying process.  By having a qualified professional evaluate a property under consideration you will likely find yourself in a better position to make an educated and informed decision about the value you feel comfortable assigning to a property and whether or not to go ahead with the purchase. 


A thorough building inspection prior to the purchase of a property can reveal much about a dwelling that may not be immediately visible including potential issues that could result in the need for repairs in the future.  Having a professional inspection could thus be considered a safeguard – giving you the information needed to feel comfortable in your purchase decision. 


In addition, a property inspection can also highlight the attractive aspects of a property, such as superior construction, the use of good quality materials, and other excellent features associated with the dwelling.   


It must be remembered that the resulting report from the inspection you have conducted should be taken in the context of the property’s age.  Not surprisingly, as a property gets older repairs and maintenance may likely be needed, and these should be considered when making the final decision to go ahead with the purchase.  


I have come across buyers in the past who feel comfortable conducting a building inspection themselves in order to avoid the additional cost it adds to the overall purchase of a property.  However, unless the person conducting the inspection has the appropriate and necessary qualifications and insurance in place, it is recommended that a professional be appointed to the task.   


There are numerous, qualified property inspection companies operating all around Australia.  A good starting point to find a reputable, professional business to use may be to enquire with a real estate agent who should have a list of suggested contacts they have worked with previously.  Again, it is important to make sure the professional appointed is qualified and insured appropriately.  


Ultimately the decision as to whether or not to have a professional building inspection conducted prior to the purchase of a property is completely up to you – the buyer.  However in the long run, the added comfort of knowing the true state of the property you are buying – both the positive aspects and possible issues – in the context of the property’s age, helps to ensure you are comfortable with the purchase price and reduces the potential for any surprises to arise in the future. 


Whether you end up going ahead with a property purchase or not on the basis of the results of the inspection, the important thing is that you had the necessary information at hand. 

For any further information about how to go about having a professional inspection conducted on a property of interest, please feel free to contact any of the CENTURY 21 offices around the country for accessible, clear and expert advice

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 30/01/2012 at 4:46 PM | Categories:

2012 off to positive start for residential real estate with dwelling approvals up

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released its building approval data for November 2011 – a key statistic for the residential property industry as it provides an indication as to how many private sector residences have been approved for construction. 

 The ABS data for November showed an uplift in dwelling approvals, which the team at CENTURY 21 believes to be welcome news for the Australian property market as we commence 2012. 

 According to the ABS, the number of residential properties approved nationwide increased by 8.4 per cent in November.   According to CENTURY 21 Australia Chairman and Owner, Charles Tarbey, who commented on the data, this increase is pleasing, particularly given the declines seen over the previous months of September and October. 

 While advising that it could not be ignored that approvals remain 18.9 per cent lower than they were a year previously in November 2010, Charles commented that the data is positive news for the market and investors in the New Year. 

 Studying the data further, it can be seen that the national increase was largely driven by increases in the states of Victoria (up 39.9 per cent), Queensland (up 6.6 per cent) and New South Wales (2.0 per cent).  A decline in approvals was seen in Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia (in seasonally adjusted terms). 

 Charles noted that it will be interesting to see the movement of approvals into 2012 as we start to get more of an idea about the market reaction to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s cut to interest rates over November and December. 

 All in all, such upwards movement in building approvals is pleasing to see and hopefully market conditions over the year will support the continuation of this lift – helping to put Australia in a better position to meet the projected demand for housing moving forward.

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 23/01/2012 at 9:48 AM | Categories:

Prepare for an autumn sale

Who can believe how quickly this year has started? One minute it feels like everyone is going on their merry way for Christmas, and the next we’re already into the third week of January – with only one month left of summer! 

For those Australians who have earmarked the 2012 autumn period for the sale of their property, I would suggest that now is an ideal time to get things moving.  With the appointment of an agent, allowing time to advertise and not to mention the preparation of your property itself, there is much to be done before most of you will be ready to go to market. 

The first step is obviously to appoint a sales agent with which to list your property (assuming you will not be selling the property yourself).  In choosing the best agent for your circumstances, my suggestion would be to choose someone with whom you feel comfortable, and who you feel will be honest with you regarding expectations (both theirs and yours) regarding price and market conditions in your local area. 

It is not uncommon for many properties to require a bit of a ‘sprucing up’ so to speak before being officially offered to the market.  It is entirely up to you to decide the quantity of funds that will be dedicated to the endeavour; however a general rule is that you should follow the rules of a cost-benefit analysis. 

It is often the case that extensive renovations are unnecessary as many people like to move into a new property and integrate their own touch and preferences.  You could find that you spend a large amount on repainting and reflooring, etc, only to have new owners move in and start again. 

With this in mind, many properties will benefit immensely from just a coat of fresh paint and a decluttering of all personal items.  When painting, light colours are often best as they can help to create a sense of spaciousness and light – often improving the appeal of the property to prospective buyers. 

Although the steps to prepare a property for sale will differ from dwelling to dwelling, with an agent in place and slight visual changes complete, many properties will now be ready to take to market.  I wish you the best of luck and hope that you are pleased with the end result achieved.

For more information or to speak with an experienced property professional about selling a property this autumn, please don’t hesitate to stop by any of the hundreds of CENTURY 21 real estate offices located around Australia.

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 23/01/2012 at 9:42 AM | Categories:

Buying a self-renovated property

With the plethora of television shows focused on home improvements substantially increasing in popularity over recent times, so too are many Australians being inspired to engage in Do-It-Yourself renovation projects in their own homes. 

While many of these renovations are no doubt completed with finesse, there may be the possibility of some such projects potentially containing faults if they have not been undertaken by a professional, experienced builder.  For prospective buyers considering properties – such potential issues may not always be immediately clear. 

It is for this reason that I would encourage all buyers to go through a thorough building inspection before committing to the purchase of a property. 

Engaging a professional company to undertake a thorough examination of a property will enable buyers to not only identify any pertinent issues that exist in the property now, but also those potential issues that may arise in the future. 

As a result of such an inspection, prospective buyers can gain a sound understanding of what (if any) repair work is necessary now, along with an indication of the remediation which may be needed at a later date – as well as with any associated costs.  

Such an upfront, realistic appraisal of a property gives buyers peace of mind and confidence in the knowledge that they know exactly what they are purchasing.  Whether buyers decide to purchase the property regardless of any faults, or if they feel that the potential costs outweigh their love for the property and do not take the purchase any further – the important thing is that they were in a position to make an informed decision.

In summary, there is no doubt that many DIY projects are spectacular renovations that have been completed in a cost effective, safe, professional manner.  However, with the risk of a faulty project having been conducted in a property you are considering the purchase of, it is recommended that you have a thorough, professional property inspection conducted prior to purchase. 

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 16/01/2012 at 10:12 AM | Categories:

Enjoy privacy in your home

When building or choosing a new home, it is not uncommon for many Australians to try to capture the feeling of open space.  For some this can mean a preference for properties with features such as large windows and seamless inside to outside areas. 

Unfortunately a potential issue that can arise for residents of properties with such features is that of privacy.  So, how can property owners and renters ensure that their property is well protected from unwanted prying eyes?

Aesthetically pleasing blinds
While many people don’t like the thought of obstructing their view with blinds or shutters, there are a number of options on the market that are both pleasing on the eye and can ensure adequate levels of privacy.  There are sure to be a variety of suitable options for your property and purpose.  For renters who do not wish to outlay a large sum for such installations – there are many cost effective blind solutions as well.   

Covering for outside areas
Australians can still entertain and enjoy the outside areas of their homes without fear of their privacy being invaded by simply erecting coverings over seating areas – such as a pergola or even large umbrella.  This is particularly important for ground-floor residents of apartment buildings for whom an outside area is overlooked by other neighbours. 

Trees and hedges
If you have a low or picketed fence surrounding your property, you could find that both a practical and visually appealing solution could be to plant a hedge or trees against your boundaries.  When doing so it is important to be aware of any height restrictions in your local council area. 

All in all, there are a number of ways for you to enjoy your home and open space, while ensuring the privacy of yourself and your family.  Simple, cost effective solutions such as those listed above and others can make a significant difference to your day to day experience at home.   

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 16/01/2012 at 10:11 AM | Categories:

House prices rise in November

The end of December marked the release of the RP Data-Rismark Hedonic Home Value Index results for November, which saw, according to the two companies, the first rise in home values since December 2010. 

 The Index showed that Australia’s capital city home values rose by 0.1 per cent in November (seasonally adjusted), while regional house values recorded a 0.3 per cent (seasonally adjusted) rise over the month – also the largest increase since December 2010. 

 These results for November seem to suggest that the residential property market is responding to the interest rate cut made by the Reserve Bank in November, the first of two consecutive cuts made in 2011, which is pleasing.   

 While the year to November 2011 saw an overall decline in housing values, according to RPData-Rismark, the performance in November helped to improve the year-to-date result.  While in October it was reported by RP Data-Rismark that capital city dwelling values had declined by four per cent in the first 10 months of 2011, November’s results brought the change to just -3.7 per cent (seasonally adjusted). 

 Regional markets showed a seasonally adjusted decrease of -2.8 per cent over the year to November 2011.   

 For those Australians preparing to sell a property in 2012, while slight, this increase to the Index (and the potential for further improvement in values) is welcome news.  It will certainly be interesting to watch for the possibility of further improvements in this trend.   

 On the flipside, for those Australians looking to purchase in 2012, these results could indicate that now may be a good time to consider a property acquisition, particularly if the Reserve Bank elects to further cut interest rates in February as some pundits are predicting.  

 All in all, 2012 looks like it is set to be an interesting year for the property market.  If you would like an expert opinion regarding your property plans for the year ahead, please don’t hesitate to visit any one of the hundreds of CENTURY 21 offices around Australia.

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 12/01/2012 at 11:58 AM | Categories:

Preparing for what the 2012 residential property market has to offer

Welcome to 2012! I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas and New Year period.  Even for those who didn’t manage to take some extended time off, I hope you were able to celebrate with family and friends. 

2012 is now officially underway and the team at CENTURY 21 Australia are gearing up for what is sure to be an exciting year for the Australian residential property market.  I know that for many people the start of the year sees decisions made about whether to purchase or sell a property; for those with real estate plans for the year - I hope 2012 allows you to achieve your property ownership goals. 

So – what does 2012 have in store for the property market? Firstly, I think it is fair to say that 2011 concluded with a bang as the Reserve Bank of Australia moved to reduce interest rates in both November and December, giving many buyers a bit more comfort surrounding the prospect of buying a property. 

Will rates continue to come down? Many pundits certainly seem to think this will be the case, particularly if the situation in Europe is not resolved definitively.  While movement cannot be guaranteed and conditions can change, I would continue to watch this space, particularly as the Reserve Bank meets in February to review the official cash rate. 
Even if rates do not come down again, the two consecutive cuts in 2011 seem to have opened the door for many buyers, particularly those first timers in the property market.  However, while there continue to be many quality purchase opportunities available across the country, properties typically targeted by this market segment have performed well in recent months, particularly those in the $400,000 to $800,000 range.  In addition, CENTURY 21 has seen negative growth in the number of properties being listed of late – which could mean that we see a heightening of competition levels in 2012. 
As such, participants in this part of the market may do well to look to act decisively and have the appropriate finance in place so as to be ready to take advantage of purchase opportunities when they arise. 

I suspect that along with first home buyers, investors will also be taking advantage of reduced interest rates in at least the first half of 2012, with many engaging in portfolio building property acquisitions.  With a tight rental market across the country and rental rates rising, now could be a prime time to purchase your planned investment property.

All in all, 2012 is looking to be quite a busy period for the Australian housing market, and my team at CENTURY 21 Australia and I look forward to assisting many Australians in achieving their property ownership goals.  Please feel free to stop by any of the CENTURY 21 offices situated around the country to talk to a property expert about your purchase plans for 2012.

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 12/01/2012 at 11:55 AM | Categories: