Viewing by month: April 2012

Fire safety at home a must this winter

Fires that occur in the home can be truly tragic events.  In many cases much of the heartbreak lies in the fact that the episode potentially could have been avoided altogether.  As the weather gets colder and the risk of household fires escalates, I encourage all home owners and tenants to be aware of the dangers of fires in the home and to take preventative steps to protect family members, property and possessions. 

Charles Tarbey, Chairman and Owner of CENTURY 21 Australia, recently commented on the risk of fires in winter.  “As the temperature drops, people tend to increase their use of heaters, clothes dryers and the like at home, all of which can pose a serious fire threat if not managed in a careful manner.   

“There are some terrible examples of preventable residential fires occurring because, for example, a heater has been left unattended or hasn’t been maintained properly.  These incidents can tragically result in loss of life and major property damage, all of which could have been avoided if various safety measures had been practiced.”

In order to prevent a serious fire occurring, all home owners and tenants should ensure that heating equipment and clothes dryers are cleaned and maintained prior to and throughout the winter months and monitored when in use. 

In addition, it is essential that smoke alarms are installed and in working order throughout a home so as to alert a property’s occupants should a fire occur. 

“Working fire alarms and proper fire protection equipment such as extinguishers and blankets can be the difference between catastrophe and a fire that is put out quickly, resulting in minimal damage to people and property,” continued Charles Tarbey. 

“It is important to get fire safety right.  Recognising potential fire risks within your property and acting to minimise them will help to ensure the safety of all occupants as well as the dwelling itself this winter,” concluded Charles Tarbey. 

Household fires can be devastating – so be prepared and take the necessary steps to avoid one occurring in your property this winter. 

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 24/04/2012 at 3:43 PM | Categories:

First quarter of the year sees home values stabilise

The recent release of the RP Data-Rismark Hedonic Daily Home Value Index results for March showed that national home values rose 0.2 per cent in March 2012 – a potential sign that the Australian housing market is stabilising.  The market has remained unchanged for the quarter ending 31 March 2012; this flat result is the strongest result since March 2011 when values increased by 0.7 per cent.  

According to the managing director of Rismark International, Ben Skilbeck: “While the housing market remains soft, the zero per cent change over the first quarter of 2012 demonstrates that it is consolidating its position following the decline seen in the calendar year 2011.”

Over the month, the resource rich states delivered the strongest gains with Perth rising 1.4 per cent, Darwin up 1.1 per cent and Brisbane increasing by 0.8 per cent.  

The Index saw that the flat result seen over the March quarter was largely driven by the Sydney housing market which achieved the strongest gains over the quarter, with values rising 1.1 per cent.  Values were down across many of the other capital cities with the most significant drop recorded in Adelaide where dwelling values were down 1.5 per cent.  

Rismark’s Ben Skilbeck points out a number of factors that indicate an improvement in housing market conditions may have occurred over the past few months.  

“The ratio of national house prices to household disposable incomes is currently below the decade average.  Additionally, according to the ABS housing finance data, both the value and number of loan approvals for the purchase of established dwellings are at levels not seen since November 2009.  First home buyers as a proportion of home loans approved are back to levels not seen for two years,” said Mr Skilbeck.  

Charles Tarbey, Owner and Chairman of CENTURY 21 Australia said of the results: “While we must note that much of the improvement seen in the housing market is due in part to the Sydney market which rose 1.1 per cent over the quarter, we are nonetheless seeing signs of a potential stabilisation of home values. 

“Other factors such as strengthening auction clearance rates and improving demand from first home buyers are certainly encouraging indicators of both the current state of the national housing market and the potential for continued improvements over the course of 2012,” concluded Mr Tarbey.  

For more information about available property purchase opportunities in your area, please contact your local CENTURY 21 agent. 

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 10/04/2012 at 10:17 AM | Categories: Finance - Property Management - Investors - First Home Buyers - State of the Market -

A finance health check could save you thousands

The home loans market is a competitive one, with a plethora of lenders offering various incentives and low rates to encourage you to borrow from them to purchase a new home or investment property.  And while property purchasers will likely dedicate a good deal of energy to ensure they have secured the best mortgage, it can then be easy to put a home loan to one side once finalised, without checking regularly to see if there are improved, more cost effective options available.  

A lot can happen over the life of a mortgage and an individual’s circumstances now may be very different to when he or she first purchased a property.  For example, income may have changed, or you may have held the same job for a longer period.  These factors and others can have a material effect on the mortgage package and interest rate you are eligible for.  

And with movements in interest rates and banks varying their lending criteria and introducing new products, it’s certainly a wise move to regularly approach a mortgage professional for a home loan health check. 

According to Harry Bozin, the Head of CENTURY 21 Home Loans, a finance health check is important for both home buyers and investors.  In the case of investors, “a finance check-up is vital as the loan package is a major contributing factor to a successful real estate investment.”

The home loan review process can achieve a number of things.  Firstly, it could result in lower repayments.  Secondly, it could lead to the identification of a more suitable package for your current situation, or end up saving you thousands of dollars in interest because a review of your circumstances results in a loan with a lower interest rate being selected. 

Harry Bozin also notes that for investors, working with a mortgage professional to consider the health of your mortgage could “present an opportunity for you to unlock the equity you’ve accumulated and acquire another investment, or make upgrades to your property.”

Whichever way you look at it, it’s definitely a good idea to review your finances regularly, particularly in changing times.  An accredited mortgage consultant can help you to identify the best loan product for your circumstances, which may be the product you currently have or a new one, taking into account not only the interest rate but also a variety of other critical factors.  

If a finance health check interests you, the accredited mortgage consultants at CENTURY 21 Home Loans provide a free, no-obligation home loan health check service.  To take advantage of this service and make sure you have the best loan package for your situation, please visit to contact the company.  

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 10/04/2012 at 10:17 AM | Categories:

Rate hold accompanies stabilising housing market

At its April meeting held last week the Reserve Bank of Australia elected to keep the official cash rate on hold at 4.25 per cent for the third consecutive month.  From our perspective at CENTURY 21 Australia, this move will help to create ongoing stability for those Australians considering the purchase of a property.  

According to CENTURY 21 Chairman and Owner, Charles Tarbey: “This move suggests that the Reserve Bank of Australia is relatively comfortable with current economic conditions for the time being and, at a time of comparatively low interest rates, will encourage many Australians to act on a property purchase.”

In his statement following the announcement, Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens noted that recent information does not suggest that a deep downturn in the world economy is occurring, while also recognising that it is expected to grow at below-trend pace this year.  

He also touched on the Australian economy, saying that growth in domestic demand ran at its fastest for four years in 2011, driven by private spending.  Despite this, “the balance of recent information suggests that output growth was somewhat below the trend.” Glenn Stevens also noted that there are differences in performance between sectors, and considerable structural change is occurring.  

Regarding inflation, a key influencer of monetary policy, Governor Stevens mentioned that inflation was expected to be within the 2 – 3 per cent range over the coming one to two years.  According to the Governor: “At its next meeting the Board will have a chance to reassess the outlook for inflation, taking into account not only data on demand and output but also forthcoming information on prices.”

Interestingly, in concluding Governor Stevens noted that the Board’s view was that should demand conditions materially weaken, the inflation outlook would provide scope for easier monetary policy.  According to the Governor: “At today’s meeting, the Board judged the pace of output growth to be somewhat lower than earlier estimated, but also thought it prudent to see forthcoming key data on prices to reassess its outlook for inflation, before considering a further step to ease monetary policy.”

Thus, depending on the nature of key data sets which are to be released prior to the Reserve Bank’s May meeting, there may be the potential for a rate cut next month.  The next few weeks will certainly be an interesting time of information release and commentary to say the least.  

For more information on real estate in your area, please feel free to contact your local CENTURY 21 Australia agent.  

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 10/04/2012 at 10:17 AM | Categories:

Get to know your new neighbourhood before buying

There are several features about an individual property that can influence your decision to purchase it.  It is for this reason that many prospective buyers will visit numerous properties, and then a property of interest on a few different occasions, before finalising their purchase decision.  

And while the attributes of a home are very important, so too is the area in which it is situated.  After all, they don’t say ‘location, location, location,’ for nothing.  The area surrounding a home, including physical landscape, and access to public transport and lifestyle facilities, can have a sizeable impact on how suited a property is to your needs and situation.  Location should therefore be considered to ensure your purchase is a successful one.  

There are a number of different ways by which you can look to investigate a suburb of interest.  One such method is to visit the area at different times of the day and night and over a weekend.  This will give you an indication about the traffic the area experiences, for example, in morning and evening peak hours.  It will also help you to see if the area is a busy one, and give you some idea of the demographics of the residents who live in the area.   

If access to public transportation is important to you, such as for travelling to work, you may like to test out the area’s various services before committing to a purchase.  This might include driving to your area of interest one day and catching a bus or train to and from work – as though you live in the area.  This should help paint a picture of travel times, conditions and accessibility to you.  

If lifestyle is an important consideration for you, you might like to visit a local dining precinct and investigate an area’s restaurant, café, and pub and bar offerings to see what you would be able to enjoy if you were to live in the suburb.    

All in all, by considering both the individual features of a home, as well as the area in which it is located, buyers can better ensure that their property purchase is a successful one.  By investigating elements such as accessibility to public transportation, lifestyle amenities and the general feel of an area, buyers will likely be able to form a more holistic opinion about a potential property.  

For more indepth information about properties available for purchase, as well as regarding an area of interest, please feel free to contact your local CENTURY 21 real estate office for professional, expert advice.  

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 10/04/2012 at 10:17 AM | Categories: