17 September 2018
The property industry is continuing to drive the Australian economy according to the latest economic growth data.
The Australian economy grew by 0.9 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms in the June 2018 quarter National Accounts released last week, with annual growth of 3.4 per cent.
Investment in new dwellings increased 3.6 per cent for the quarter, with strong results in Victoria and South Australia.
The construction industry grew by 1.9 per cent for the quarter.
Construction within the residential property sector grew by 3.1 per cent and non-residential property sector by 1.3 per cent over the quarter.
The ABS noted that the recent pickup in new dwelling investment reflected strong approvals in early 2018 which are now flowing through to commencements.
“The property industry is helping to propel economic growth to its highest level since 2012, highlighting its importance as a driver of jobs and economic prosperity,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council.
“Our national economic well-being depends on a strong property industry, supported by smart investment in vital public infrastructure for our growing cities.”
“The benefits of growth are overwhelmingly positive, but must be locked in and supported by good planning and smart infrastructure investment to ensure all Australians reap the gains,” Mr Morrison said.
10 September 2018
Malcolm Gunning, President of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA), and Leonard Teplin, Director of Marshall White debate the potential implications the most recent leadership spill could have for the residential property market.
It feels like we’ve had more leadership spills than seasons of The Bachelor, and some industry leaders are worried that Australia’s reputation for changing Prime Ministers at the drop of a hat is having negative consequences across the property market.
Director of Marshall White, Leonard Teplin says the constant change of leadership in Australia is driving residential buyer sentiment to an all-time low, and it’s the Australian public who are left to sit back and watch the fallout, again and again.
“There are no real winners, only losers. The Australian public must once again sit and watch while the effects ripple across our economy and property market,” Mr Teplin said.
“It’s no secret that every time there is an election, market sentiment drops, people delay purchases and put off big decisions until the new leader has been decided, and election promises turn into policies.
“In real estate, this sentiment is reflected in weaker conditions as buyers cautiously await the inevitable policy changes and market overcorrections that are sure to follow suit.
Industry leaders are concerned about the potential implications the leadership spill could have on the property market. Image by Adz via WikiCommons
“As Scott Morrison gets set to take over as the nation’s leader, property purchasers both locally and abroad will be questioning what this change in direction will mean for them and their investments,” Mr Teplin told WILLIAMS MEDIA.
But Malcolm Gunning, President of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) doesn’t believe the leadership spill will have a drastic impact on the property market.
“I don’t think there will be any change because Scott Morrison was really the architect of the current economic policy,” Mr Gunning told WILLIAMS MEDIA.
“Tougher lending criteria introduced by the APRA, and the banking royal commission is what’s really having the biggest influence on the market at the moment.”
Jock Kreitals, CEO of the REIA agrees.
“In terms of the recent changes of Prime Ministers and Ministers, I do not see any impact on the market attributable to this. The policy of the Coalition regarding negative gearing and CGT remains unchanged.
“The PM as the previous Treasurer has reiterated the position a number of times. Further, the PM well understands the impact of changes in policy having worked in a policy role in the property sector,” Mr Kreitals told WILLIAMS MEDIA.
Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) CEO, Tim McKibbin says the new Prime Minister should put good fiscal policy ahead of economically damaging, populist politics.
“Those advocating for removing the deductibility of expenses incurred in earning assessable income in the residential property market are damaging people’s ability to acquire a home,” Mr McKibbin told WILLIAMS MEDIA.
“This is adversely impacting the property industry – Australia’s biggest employer – and playing petty politics in the misguided belief it will promote their personal brand.”
Potential implications for foreign investment revenue
Mr Teplin believes the latest leadership spill could impact international investment revenue.
“A stable government is a pillar of optimised liveability and one of the main reasons Australia has enjoyed a consistent influx of foreign investment into the real estate market, in turn driving the delivery of new infrastructure and economic progress,” Mr Teplin said.
This recent setback could be detrimental for Australia’s international investment revenue, “which serves a much-needed portion of the market that drives new residential supply and delivers stock to the rental market,” Mr Teplin continued.
Mr Gunning told WILLIAMS MEDIA the message the government is sending to overseas investors is what worries him the most.
“Our government seems to be very stable – and I’m not talking about leadership changes – but both parties are reasonably well aligned in policy. What sends the discouraging message is the tightened immigration and the taxing of foreign investors,” Mr Gunning said.
“Chinese investment into Australia’s residential property market has stopped, and I can say with conviction that the message this sends back to China is that they’re not welcome. So it’s more about the message it sends by the government rather than the changes in leadership.”
“It will take investors out of the market”
If Labor were to win the next election, as it appears they will, Mr Gunning says the rental market will suffer.
“Labor is absolutely rusted on to negative gearing. They are of the opinion that it will help affordability, which is completely incorrect. What it will do is drive up rents because there will be fewer people buying investment property,” Mr Gunning said.
“There has been 13 per cent growth in rent over the last five years, which is historically low and below inflation. If Labor gets in, it will take investors out of the market which will hinder supply – up goes the demand and the cost of rent.”
Mr Kreitals told WILLIAMS MEDIA that if Labor were to be elected, the current market falls would be “exacerbated”.
“Labor has on many occasions, including recently, reiterated the position that it took to the 2016 election to change negative gearing and CGT arrangements. In the lead up to the 2016 election, a number of studies were undertaken to examine the impact of such changes. In short, housing prices will fall and rents will go up.
“SQM Research, for example, forecast that in the first year of the policy, prices would fall by up to 3 per cent, and by up to 8 per cent and 4 per cent in the following two years.
“It needs to be remembered that at the time of the 2016 election, property prices were rising. Introduction of Labor’s measures would exacerbate the current market falls and flow on to the construction industry and economic growth,” Mr Kreitals said.
Industry leaders debate the implications the leadership spill could have on the property market. Image by Maxmillian Conacher via Unsplash.
And if stability is the cornerstone of sound investment, Mr Teplin says buyers will look to take their money elsewhere for more predictable returns in safer markets.
“As sentiment plummets and the population continues to grow faster than new stock can be delivered to meet the market, now more than ever we need a strong, stable, united government to help rebuild the real estate market and deliver stock to where it is most needed,” Mr Teplin said.
“Political in-fighting isn’t just bad for business on a global scale – its effects are felt right across the property market long after party room vengeance has been executed.”
Affordability improving for renters, first home buyers
The June quarter 2018 edition of the Adelaide Bank/REIA Housing Affordability Report found that affordability has improved for renters and the number of first home buyers increased during the second quarter of 2018.
The number of first home buyers increased to 28,401 – an increase of 7.3 per cent during the quarter and an increase of 20.6 per cent in the June quarter of 2017.
First home buyers now make up 17.8 per cent of the owner-occupier market, compared with 14.3 per cent at this time last year.
Rental affordability improved in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, remained steady in Western Australia and declined in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.
New South Wales remains the least affordable state for renters, where the proportion of income required to meet rent repayments is 28.8 per cent – 4.7 percentage points higher than the national level.
Scott Morrison admitted last year that Australia has a housing affordability problem and announced a number of measures in the May budget.
“There are no silver bullets to make housing more affordable. But by adopting a comprehensive approach, by working together, by understanding the spectrum of housing needs, we can make a difference,” Mr Morrison said at the time.
Mr Kreitals told WILLIAMS MEDIA it’s worth considering the importance of property to the economy, highlighted by the latest GDP figures.
“For the quarter, the economy grew by 0.9 per cent and 3.4 per cent for the year, which is the fastest rate of growth since the September quarter 2012.
“The property industry is continuing to drive the Australian economy with investment in new dwellings increasing 3.6 per cent for the quarter. The construction industry grew by 1.9 per cent for the quarter and 5.5 per cent over the year,” Mr Kreitals said.
04 September 2018
Jon Bahen, director of Abel Property – Cottesloe told WILLIAMS MEDIA about building inspection reports in Western Australia, including what they are, why you need one, and what they cover.
What is a building inspection report? And do you need one?
For most people purchasing a property is one of the biggest financial decisions they will make in their life and it is always important to ensure due diligence on the home has been done. A building inspection report can be part of this process and is a great way to protect your interests and peace of mind.
In most circumstances, a building inspection report is included as a condition of the Contract for Sale. The investigation for this report needs to be carried out by a qualified building inspector, surveyor or builder and the cost for this report is borne by the buyer.
There are a number of different types of building reports with different cost structures. For example, a basic structural inspection can be obtained for $280 for a single level three bed, two bath, brick and tile/metal home with slab on the ground, while a premium inspection which is usually used is around $495. This expenditure is a wise investment considering the potential cost of buying a property that needs extensive unexpected restoration and repairs.
What does a building inspection report look like?
The report will include photos and address of the property, name of the applicant, the time and date and the age of the home. It also lists the name, contact details, and qualifications of the inspector, including their WA Builders Registration number.
Next, a summary of the significant findings will be highlighted to ensure the prospective buyer can easily see what necessary or immediate repairs are required.
The report will contain explanations of the definitions used by the inspector to record the condition of the property and any disclaimers and information about what is not reported on.
The remainder of the pages will contain photos and detailed room-by-room information on the condition of the floors, walls, ceilings, doors, and all fixtures including bathroom and kitchen appliances.
What does a building inspection report cover?
The inspection covers a visual assessment of the property and provides an opinion regarding its general condition. An estimate of the cost to repair the defects is not within the scope of the Australian Standard and does not form part of a report. If the property is part of strata or company title, the inspection does not cover common property, only the immediate interior and exterior.
The electrical and plumbing systems are only checked for basic functioning. If the buyer requires a more detailed report on these systems, they will need to employ licensed professional plumbers or electricians.
20 August 2018
Reaching the 25 million population milestone should be the catalyst for the creation of productive, vibrant and liveable cities that will underpin Australia’s future prosperity.
Australia’s future rests overwhelmingly with our cities and their ability to become high amenity, high liveability engines of our economy,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.
“Our population is growing strongly and most of that growth is occurring in our cities. We need to redouble our focus on policies that support investment, planning and collaboration to create the great Australian cities of the future.
“Population targets, decentralisation policies or adjusting immigration rates can’t allow us to take our eyes off the main game which must be our ability to create great cities for current and future generations of Australians.
“The growth of our cities is part of an international trend for cities to be a magnet for people, business, investment and economic and cultural activity.
“We’re not alone in needing to plan, invest and manage for change as the worldwide trends towards urbanisation gathers pace in this ‘metropolitan century’,” Mr Morrison said.
The drivers of urban growth were set out in the ‘Creating Great Australian Cities’ research published by the Property Council earlier this year.
It highlighted the growing economic importance of cities around the world, and set out a series of principles and recommendations based on the experience of other fast growing cities of similar size to Australia’s. These cities are capturing an expanding share of business, immigration, visitors, talent and capital flow.
The report found that Australian cities had strengths, including their economic performance investment attraction, higher education and natural environment but they were performing poorly in several key areas critical to success in the metropolitan century, including issues such as transport congestion, fragmented systems of governance, infrastructure investment and limited institutions at a metropolitan scale to manage growth.
“Our cities are at the heart of Australia’s economic, social and cultural life, attracting people, investment and services that drive innovation, creativity and enterprise,” Mr Morrison said.
“Any population policy that doesn’t strengthen Australia’s ability to create great cities of the future is completely missing the mark.
“Our cities are already a great competitive advantage for Australia, bringing together the people, services and infrastructure to drive our economic competitiveness.
“We need to keep investing in the right infrastructure, plan for a growing future and put in place smarter systems of metropolitan governance to capture the full potential of the metropolitan century while sustaining the quality of life and access to services that Australians value.
“We need to take on both the challenges and opportunities of the ‘metropolitan century’ and not run away from the reality that growing cities can be successful cities and great places for people to live and work.
“With the right planning, policies and ambition, we can create truly great cities for a growing Australia,” Mr Morrison said.
13 August 2018
As we head into 2018, I believe this year will be one of market transition across the country.
It will also be a year of finance, with those who can secure it likely to be the ultimate winners. It’s no great surprise that Sydney and Melbourne are transitioning out of the strong price growth they’ve experienced over recent years.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going backwards. Instead, their growth may fall back to one or two per cent annually. That market transition will be driven by reduced consumer confidence, which is a reflection of the price of money as well as how easy it is to secure finance. Confidence also usually wanes when the media starts speculating about softer market conditions.
It’s clear that Sydney’s market has already come off the boil and Melbourne’s is likely to follow suit but in a more moderate way.
It’s important to realise that transitions happen in both directions, with some markets slowing while others are strengthening. I believe this will certainly be the case for Brisbane, which is on track to transition to stronger market conditions.
That said, Brisbane is a city of different markets with the inner-city in the midst of it’s well-publicised new unit oversupply. It is Brisbane’s outer suburbs that represent good value and cash flow, as well as attractive lifestyle drivers, that will experience the most improvement in my opinion.
Of course, there are already increasing numbers of interstate migrants into Queensland given it’s housing affordability as well as it’s many attractive lifestyle opportunities.
SA and WA back in the game
I also believe it will be a year of positive transition for South Australia and Western Australia. South Australia always seems to lag behind other capital cities and by the time most investors realise what’s happening it’s too late. The truth is that South Australia’s transition is already happening.
In Adelaide, however, it’s only the 15-minute ring around the CBD as well as areas like Christies Beach that are worth considering. We all know WA has been woeful over recent years, but this could be the year it finally turns a corner. The State Government has been concentrating on jobs growth, with employment numbers reportedly starting to improve. If locals start spending money because they’re more confident about their livelihoods, then, that in turn will stimulate the market.
However, when I say WA, I mean Perth and select areas within the city as well. If interest rates increase, even if only by a blip, those green shoots of confidence might evaporate as fast as they appeared. Tasmania will continue to percolate until cash flow doesn’t look as attractive as other areas, such as Brisbane. I remain skeptical about Tasmania’s growth because it’s mainly being driven by investors chasing investors purely because of affordability.
Owner-occupiers aren’t the ones who are pushing up prices.
I believe it may lurch from under-supply to over-supply pretty quickly – and then you’ll probably have 10 years of no price growth at all.
A question of money
We’re now into our third calendar year of lending restrictions and I don’t believe they’re going anywhere anytime soon. Investor numbers have only recently started to slow so there will need to be more evidence before APRA loosens it’s grip on investment lending. Banks might want more flexibility but it’s unlikely to happen. So 2018 will be a year of market transition but it will also be a year of finance. The price of money remains cheap but it’s availability continues to be constrained.
That’s why I believe it will be the sophisticated investors who know which markets are transitioning to the positive – and who can secure finance – who will be the property victors by the end of the year.
10 August 2018
Image Source: Studio McGee
Wouldn’t it be so nice to know what an interior designer actually notices in your home? Having this information would make it that much easier when you clean or decorate new spaces, or even when you decide what to renovate and what to leave as is. It can be somewhat difficult to take a critical eye to your own space that you see consistently day after day, but knowing where to place your focus and creative energy would certainly help to take out some of that guesswork, so we decided to reach out to design professional Shelly Gerritsma from Canter Lane Interiors instead. Read on to learn the five design elements she always notices first and wants you to focus on first as well.
Image Source: A Beautiful Mess
As soon as she steps into your home, Shelly notices what’s beneath her feet. “Flooring is a major item. If carpet is dated/worn/sagging/etc, it really devalues the home,” Shelly says. So, instead of using that area rug that has probably seen better days, opt for a brand new design in a fun print, or if you want to really get creative, try adding hardwoods in a funky colour. Shelly will notice!
Wall Colour & Finish
Image Source: Inspired by Charm
Once she’s assessed the flooring, Shelly is onto your wall colour and finishes. She advises that “using the proper paint finish for spaces is huge. Do not use a semi-gloss or a gloss paint finish on main living walls as it cheapens the space and looks too harsh. Stick with a flat or matte finish.” She also reminds us that nothing draws negative attention quicker than sloppy paint lines, so always ensure that those appear neat and finished.
Image Source: A Beautiful Mess
Another foundational element that will draw major attention from Shelly is your ceiling. Whether you want to modernise the appearance of your ceiling or you just need to open up the space a bit, this is one area that you won’t regret putting some time into. Shelly confirms that “smoothing out popcorn ceilings is a great way to add home value and to make spaces feel larger due to the shadows cast by this dated finish.”
Image Source: Studio McGee
Properly scaled furnishings are key when it comes to creating a harmonious flow that’s sure to get noticed in your home. Shelly says, “Make sure that your furniture is not overwhelmingly large or so small that it looks out of balance in the space.” A huge sectional that is crammed into a space or a dainty nightstand displayed in an oversize master bedroom will do nothing but draw negative attention.
Image Source: Studio McGee
And lastly, we finish up with none other than that attention-grabbing eyesore: clutter. Yes, clutter! Shelly promises, “Keeping spaces clean and clutter to a minimum is a huge plus. Our spaces truly affect our well being, and spaces that are messy and dirty can have major psychological and physical impact.” Plus, not only will your guests appreciate your clutter-free home but you too will benefit from your Zen space.
03 August 2018
In this practical series, we ask experts to answer your burning home and design questions. Here, Luke Menzel, chief executive officer at the Energy Efficiency Council, shares some practical tips for keeping a lid on your winter heating consumption and costs.
Stop heat escaping
For most homes in colder parts of Australia, heating is by far the biggest slice of the energy bill pie. Insufficient insulation and draughty homes mean that heaters have to work much harder to keep you warm, which adds to power costs.
Draught-proofing your home to prevent heat escaping is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to save energy, allowing you to stay warm and toasty without cranking up the thermostat.
Turn the thermostat down
Turning the thermostat too high can be a huge drain on energy and your finances, with each degree adding around 10 per cent to your heating bill. For maximum efficiency, aim to set it between 18 and 20°C. If this feels too chilly (most of us prefer a more comfortable 25 or 26°C in winter), try moving away from uncovered windows, sealing draughts and popping on a jumper.
Having too many cold surfaces in your home can add to the chill factor too – in fact, it can have just as much of an effect as air temperature.
To make your home feel warmer, consider installing secondary glazing and adding heavy curtains to windows, laying rugs on cold, hard floors, and moving your favourite armchair so it’s not right beside a cold window.
Open curtains during the day to allow the winter sun to warm the surfaces in your home. Draw curtains at night to keep the heat in.
Only heat the rooms you’re using
Rather than heating your entire home, zone your heating so it only warms up those rooms you spend time in. Do this by closing doors to keep the heat where you need it. If you’re installing a new heating system, consider a ducted system that can be zoned for individual rooms.
Tip: Check ducting before the start of winter to check that it’s leak-free, well-insulated and in proper working condition. This can sometimes be done with thermal imaging cameras, to save crawling around in dark spaces.
Halogen downlights can be a huge energy waster in winter. Aside from their high energy consumption, these lights need to be kept far away from insulation as a fire-safety precaution. This means there is an uninsulated patch of ceiling surrounding halogen downlights that provides an easy escape route for heat.
The heat that rises from each downlight can also create a chimney effect and suck warm air out of your house, which leads to chilly draughts.
Replace old appliances
That old, second fridge in the garage or dated reverse-cycle air conditioner in the living room could be costing you more than you realise. Consider the numbers; a new, energy-efficient fridge can cost half as much to run as one that’s 15 to 20 years old – this equates to a saving of about $150 per year. Meanwhile, most reverse-cycle heating/cooling systems are between 30 and 40 per cent more efficient than those of 15 years ago.
Splashing out on new energy-efficient appliances can cut your energy costs considerably.
Be star savvy
Most major appliances, such as fridges and reverse-cycle heating/cooling systems, come labelled with an energy-star rating, which tells you how efficient they are and how much energy they’ll consume. It ranges from one to six stars (although in recent years, four additional high-performance stars have been added to many products). The more stars, the more efficient the product. Appliances with more stars may cost a little more, but you’ll save the money back in running costs.
Be aware that if you have an older appliance at home with a three-star label, it might only rate as two stars by today’s standards – and may not even be allowed to be sold under current minimum standard rules.
The number below the stars on the label is a calculation of how much electricity the appliance will typically consume in a year. Multiply this number by your electricity tariff to get annual running costs.
Tip: Tariffs can differ significantly at different times of day, so choosing when to use your appliance can help save you money. You might find it more cost efficient to run your washer, dryer or dishwasher at night or early in the morning.
Reduce pump time
If you have a swimming pool, halving the pump-timer duration in winter can result in substantial savings. However, do check with your local pool or spa specialist to ensure you maximise energy efficiency while still meeting all the health requirements required with a pool.
What’s your winter energy-saving tip? Tell us in the Comments section below. And don’t forget to like this story, share it and save the photos. Join the conversation.
30 July 2018
via The West Australian
The West Australian economy is “out of the woods”, one of the nation’s most respected forecasters has declared, with housing and wages finally gaining traction.
Amid warnings the Turnbull Government was making the same mistake of the Howard government by spending a temporary revenue bump on expensive personal income tax cuts, Deloitte Access Economics said the outlook for WA was definitely brightening.
The State endured its worst year on record through 2016-17 while the domestic economy had been in the doldrums for the past four years. But a string of data, including job figures, point to an important turnaround.
Deloitte Access director Chris Richardson said it was now clear WA was recovering from the economic “wave” that was the end of the mining boom.
He expects a lift in retail sales, population growth, wages and housing construction will all improve through this year and accelerate into 2019-20.
Wage growth alone is tipped to more than double the insipid 0.6 per cent growth endured by private sector workers last financial year. “WA’s economy is out of the woods, but it isn’t quite yet out of the doldrums,” Mr Richardson said.
“The good news is that WA’s economy is gradually making its way on to a more settled and sustainable path. The State is restructuring and rebalancing and looking for non-mining related sources of growth.”
While most focus has been on the collapse in engineering spending by the mining sector, Deloitte Access highlighted the step-up by the State Government to fill the void.
It said the first stage of the $3 billion Perth Metronet, which includes 72km of rail line and 18 stations, would give a needed boost to the local economy. The situation is a little different for the Federal Budget, with Deloitte Access concerned that recent tax cuts are built on a mirage of improved tax revenues.
Mr Richardson said tax cuts were built on an increase in tax revenues that was likely to be transitory. The Budget was also expecting to absorb the cuts while it was still in deficit.
He said a gradual slowdown in China would eat into the better tax collections from the resources sector while a tightening of credit would hit east coast property markets. “Oz has repeated an old mistake: spending a temporary revenue boom on permanent promises,” he said.
27 July 2018
Furniture that does more than one job is a godsend in a small home – here’s what you need to know before you buy.
In this practical series, we ask experts to answer your burning home and design questions. Here, Christine Gough, interior design leader at Ikea Australia, shares her top tips for selecting multi-functional furniture for a compact home.
If you’re struggling with clutter, a lack of space or a shortage of storage in your home, multi-functional furniture can really help. So what makes for a multi-functional piece? It is flexible, performs more than one function, and it can be moved around or customised to suit your needs. It often also includes storage, giving you a useful home for clutter so you can create a clear and inviting home.
Here are a few of the most useful designs to consider.
Image: Delaktig range at Ikea
Modular sofas allow you to personalise your seating so that it fits your space – and your needs – perfectly. Choose from a ready-made combination of sofa pieces, or create a new combination to suit your home.
Modular sofas are designed with many functions and possibilities in mind. Many contain hidden storage, while others can be converted into a sofa bed to house an overnight guest. You’ll also find styles with removable covers so you can update the look of your sofa with ease.
‘Open-source’ furniture takes the idea of personalisation one step further. Ikea’s new modular Delaktig sofa (designed in conjunction with British designer Tom Dixon) has an aluminium frame and the set-up can be endlessly configured to suit your changing needs – add a side table, a lamp or two, move an armrest or change the cover, for example.
Storage or nest tables
If space is tight, pieces that do double duty, such as a coffee table with shelves or a storage basket, are a boon. They provide the perfect spot to store cushions, magazines and kids’ toys. Choosing a design on castors means you can also move it to different spots in a flash.
A nest of coffee tables is also a great option for a small space. It offers endless possibilities – pull the trio apart and use as separate side tables when you have friends over for drinks, or place them side-by-side to create one long coffee table for takeaway pizza night.
Furniture with concealed storage
Ottomans are an incredibly useful piece of furniture for any living room – they can act as seating, footstools or even a makeshift table to pop a book or magazine on. Select one with hidden storage inside, and it will provide you with a handy extra spot to store blankets, throws and the kids’ play things.
What are the most useful features to look for in a multi-functional piece?
- Customisable: You should be able to personalise it to suit your style and living needs.
- Neutral colours: Shades of grey, taupe and stone will co-ordinate with most colour palettes, and can easily be updated seasonally with the addition of pattered and coloured cushions and throws.
- Flexibility: Look for features such as removable covers and castors that make it easy to move pieces around or switch up the look of your space.
It’s not just furniture that’s gone multi-functional, it’s rooms too. With many of us moving to smaller homes and open-plan living increasingly the norm, the number of activities that happen in each room has increased. Once upon a time, our living rooms were used for socialising or watching television, but today you might eat dinner there, play games, listen to music, fold laundry and even exercise.
To get the best from a multi-functional room, position furniture to create zones for different activities, such as dining, socialising, work and exercise. Be led by the space and your lifestyle needs, and not by convention. If it works better in your space to have a pair of modular sofas positioned back-to-back or side-by-side rather than a traditional sofa set-up, go for it.
When positioning furniture, factor in foot traffic too. There should be enough room to move through the room comfortably.
23 July 2018
Real estate in Perth is at its most affordable on record, as falling prices give first home buyers their best chance of stepping onto the property ladder, according to the Housing Industry Association (HIA).
37 Marita Road, Nedlands, Perth under offer with Michelle Kerr from Abel McGrath as featured on Luxury List. Abel McGrath
Figures from the Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) Affordability Index show Perth is the most affordable of the nation’s capital cities.
In the June 2018 quarter, the Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) Affordability Index registered 74.9, up by 0.4 per cent over the quarter and up by 0.8 per cent compared with a year earlier when affordability had reached its poorest level in nearly six years.
The HIA Affordability Index is designed so that a result of exactly 100 means that precisely 30 per cent of earnings are absorbed by mortgage repayments.
Higher results signify more favourable affordability – those above 100 signify that mortgage repayments account for less than 30 per cent of gross earnings, whereas scores below the 100 mark mean that more than 30 per cent of average earnings are absorbed by mortgage repayments.
According to HIA’s analysis, Perth is the most affordable capital city to buy a home in with an affordability rating of 111.7, closely followed by Darwin (95.6), Brisbane (93.4), and Hobart (94.4).
37 Marita Road, Nedlands, Perth under offer with Michelle Kerr from Abel McGrath as featured on Luxury List.
“Perth continues to present good opportunities for buyers, especially in the more affordable end of the market,” President of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) Hayden Groves told WILLIAMS MEDIA.
In news that will surprise approximately no one, Sydney remains the least affordable capital city to purchase in, with a miserable affordability rating of 53.7.
Key findings from the HIA Affordability Report
- Easing price pressures are driving the improvements in housing affordability
- Housing affordability improved in five of Australia’s eight capital cities for the June 2018 quarter – Hobart, Melbourne and Adelaide were the only capital cities to see a deterioration
- Perth is now Australia’s most affordable capital city, followed closely by Darwin and Hobart
- Mortgage repayments account for 42.1 per cent of earnings in capital cities and 34.3 per cent in regional markets
HIA Economist Diwa Hopkins says affordability is hugely improving considering this time last year, affordability was at the lowest level in over six years.
“Easing house price pressures are providing some affordability relief for home buyers.
“Previous strong price increases were met by an unprecedented level of building which is now starting to come online. This is providing much-needed additional supply in key markets, helping to reduce price pressures and ultimately improve affordability for home buyers,” Hopkins said.
But the current plunge in house prices is unlikely to last for long, Hopkins warns.
“With an even balance in overall housing supply and demand in these key markets, the current downturn in dwelling prices is unlikely to be prolonged or severe.
“We could expect this downturn in prices to play out like previous cycles. They typically last 12 to 18 months, with the size of the fall modest relative to the immediately preceding expansion,” Hopkins said.
Ongoing fallout from the resources boom and bust cycles to thank for price plunge
Both rent and dwelling prices have been falling in Perth and Darwn for the last five years, amid the ongoing fallout from the resources boom and bust cycles.
While this is great news for renters and buyers in a market previously notorious for poor housing affordability, Hopkins warns it may be symptomatic of wider economic problems and in particular slowing population growth.
The weak economic conditions in both of these cities are seeing more people leave for interstate than are arriving, Hopkins says.
In particular population growth has followed these cycles and currently both cities are seeing more people leave for interstate than are arriving, resulting in spare capacity in their respective housing markets.
New home building activity has also fallen sharply in both cities as a result of the price declines, which risks causing an undersupply to emerge over the longer term in Perth and Darwin.
Groves told WILLIAMS MEDIA buyers are cautious right now.
“Trade-up family home buyers are lamenting they didn’t buy six months ago when the bottom of the market was apparent. Sellers who’ve been considering selling over the past few years are now cautious about coming to market too soon in anticipation of selling for more in the short-term future, especially down-sizers looking to maximise their capital-gains-tax-free benefit.
“Investors are likely to remain cautious until they see tangible growth which is likely to be towards the end of this year,” Groves said.
The best suburbs in Perth to invest in
According to data from REIWA, the rental yield for the Perth Metro region for houses currently sits at 3.6 per cent based on the overall median house rent price of $359 per week and median house price of $512,500.
This means on average, a typical property investor can expect to generate a 3.6 per cent annual return on their house purchase price.
REIWA says the suburbs of Bullsbrook, Medina, Parmelia, Armadale, Cooloongup, Maddington, Stratton, Camillo, Warnbro and Merriwa are house rental hotspots, offering investors the best return on their investment.
9 Bates Way, Warnbro available for rent through Property Osborne Park, as featured on Thehomepage.com.au
“Whilst the Perth property market is showing signs of a recovery in 2018, buyers and tenants remain the beneficiaries of the current environment, with a good supply of housing and rental stock to choose from at the more affordable end of the property market,” he said.
“With our local market on the cusp of recovering, now is the time for buyers and investors to take advantage of favourable conditions before our local market becomes less affordable,” Groves told WILLIAMS MEDIA.
Chief Operations Officer for Professionals Real Estate Group in Western Australia, Shane Kempton agrees.
“In the vast majority of areas in Perth, property prices are very low and buyers should now move quickly to secure a property before the recovery in the market gains further momentum to avoid buyers regret,” Kempton told WILLIAMS MEDIA.
View the Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) Affordability Index here.
20 July 2018
Passionate about technology? A home-automation system is likely to be on your wish list – here’s what you need to know
In this practical series, we ask experts to answer your burning home and design questions. A premium home-automation system – also known as a smart-home system – allows you to control multiple functions in the home, such as lighting, heating and cooling, audio, security, door locks and even kitchen appliances – from a single device, be it a touch-screen remote control or an app on your phone or tablet, from wherever you are in the world.
Tempted? Here, Trevor Rooney, director of residential markets at Crestron, reveals everything you need to know about setting up a home-automation system in your own abode.
Home automation is all about convenience. Having the ability to control core elements in your home remotely, such as lighting, heating, entertainment and front-door access, can save time and make life run more smoothly.
What sort of things can a home-automation system do?
- Give you remote access to door locks so you can control who has access to your home when you’re not there.
- Switch lights on and off remotely or connect them to a timer or sensors, so they go on automatically (also great for security when you’re not home).
- Control heating or cooling so you can come home to a warm interior in winter or a cool one in summer.
- Give you remote access to alarms and surveillance systems; you will be notified if anyone approaches your home and can see who is at your front door. You can also switch surveillance on and off remotely.
- Change the television channel or switch the set on or off via voice command.
- Set your coffee machine to turn on automatically in the morning (it will even brew you a cup before you get out of bed).
- Automate your pool and pond cleaning, with the ability to adjust settings from your smart device while you’re not at home.
For even greater convenience, you can pre-determine the settings on your automated system for lighting, heating and entertainment to suit different situations. For example, you could set the system to control various elements simultaneously, so that when you go to bed it turns off all the inside lights, switches on the security camera at the front door, adjusts the kids’ night lights, and switches off the heater – all with one swipe of your smart-screen remote or an app on your phone.
Can automation cut my energy bills?
Absolutely. Here’s how:
- Accidentally left your lights on when you left the house? With home automation, you can switch lights off from wherever you are.
- Connecting blinds to a sensor-controlled system means they’ll close automatically when the temperature reaches a certain point, keeping your home cooler and reducing air-conditioning costs. You can also keep your home naturally cooler by setting up an automated shading system for overhead or exterior window shades.
- No more overheating your home unnecessarily; by installing a smart thermostat, your heating will switch off automatically when the temperature reaches a certain level.
How is a home-automation system different to a smart-home assistant?
Devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo are great for convenience. They can perform simple tasks by using voice recognition, such as checking the weather, reading out the day’s headlines or performing Google searches.
A premium home-automation system is far more sophisticated. It allows you to automate several different devices through one simple-to-use interface or an app on your phone. So, instead of having five different remote controls to manage your various devices, you just have the one platform, which can be controlled by voice or touch.
How does voice control work?
Systems such as those at Crestron can be connected to Amazon Echo’s Alexa Voice Service to enable voice control. This allows you to give voice commands, such as ‘Alexa, turn off the kitchen lights’ or ‘Alexa, raise the temperature in the family room by five degrees.’
You can also control multiple systems simultaneously through a number of preset scenes. For example, in the morning you could say ‘Alexa, tell Crestron to activate Morning Theme,’ and the blinds will slowly open, the lights will switch on and a warm shower will start running in the bathroom. Or, if you want to set the mood for an intimate dinner party, simply say, ‘Alexa, tell Crestron to activate Intimate Dinner.’ The dining room lights will dim, the window coverings will adjust and soothing music will play from your speakers.
What should I expect to pay?
This depends on the level of automation you want. Crestron’s new PYNG 2.0 platform (available later this year), which controls audio/visual functions, such as the television, Foxtel, Apple TV and Sonos, starts from around $3,500. This would include the processor and a touch-screen remote control. Incorporating lighting and shading solutions into a home-automation system would see this cost rise to around $10,000, depending on the size of the space.
A fully connected smart-home system starts from around $25,000, depending on the size of the property.
Can I retrofit an automated system?
It’s best incorporated during the building phase. However, it’s certainly possible to install after the build.
16 July 2018
Be a smart investor and have a loan strategy.
You have saved away and have enough cash to consider purchasing property as an investment. Like any purchase, it is a huge one so having a strategy in place will keep you focused and ensure that you are doing as much due diligence as you can for a successful investment.
Not many successful investors became successful by accident – we recommend you start by seeking professional financial advice to really determine what your borrowing capacity is and how realistic your investment is.
Debt does not have to be scary, unless it is the wrong type of debt. In an ideal situation, you will want your debt to be productive and if you have planned how your cash flow will be affected, then you can have a clear understanding of how purchasing that next investment will affect your lifestyle. Productive debt in our eyes can be used as an advantage to buy an asset or generate income such as rental income.
Understanding your loan strategy
If you are looking to invest in multiple properties, we think it’s important to understand the short and long term perspective of property ownership. You have to think about how this next loan or investment is going to influence your life and your cash flow as well as what the situation might look like with your third or fourth investment. We say this as it can really make a difference in the type of property you purchase in the first place.
Think about how positively or negatively geared loans will affect what you purchase or how you live in the future. It may seem odd to be thinking so far in advance, but we think it is important to really understand your financial situation and also the results you would like to achieve as a property investor.
This is where we think it is important to be surround by the right advice. The right financial advisor for you will be able to help you plan the various scenarios to suit your end goal – after all everyone has different goals in their lives.
12 July 2018
With Australia’s major supermarkets banning the plastic bag it’s a good time to get on board #PlasticFreeJuly.
The initiative, whereby people pledge to reduce plastic from their lives for a month, is a great opportunity to learn about plastic-free eco alternatives beyond the tote bag.
Founder of the Plastic Free July Foundation, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, says while plastic is an extremely useful material the fact it’s designed to last forever causes problems for the environment.
One of the biggest impacts is, of course, on wildlife. But plastic is a huge problem for humans too. Plastic bags contain a cocktail of chemicals that leach into the environment and increase up the food chain. “The UN Environment said it’s one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time,” Prince-Ruiz says.
Images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch might suggest it’s a problem happening elsewhere. “CSIRO research found plastic in every beach in Australia,” Prince-Ruiz says. “And because we have high concentrations of wildlife, we’re the area in the world where seabirds are most at risk.”
Only 9 per cent of all plastic we’ve made on our planet is recycled, according to Prince-Ruiz. “This is a problem we can’t recycle our way out of. We need to rethink our use of this material.”
She suggests eliminating all single-use throwaway plastic such as plastic lollypop sticks, bottle caps, drink bottles and bags. “These are what we’re finding in our environment. It’s not about being perfect, or a competition. It’s about saying ‘hey, I’m going to try’.”
Frustration with sourcing plastic-free products led Sydney-based Lottie Dalziel to found an online marketplace where consumers can purchase plastic-free products all in one place. Launched in March, banish offers more than 460 products across 22 eco-friendly and cruelty-free brands, and is part of a growing movement to rein in the problem of plastic waste.
From the quirky and old-fashioned, to the funky and plain brilliant, here’s a glance at what’s out there to help you replace plastic in the home in July and beyond.
Use to replace cling wrap. “It comes in funky colours and is a piece of fabric coated in beeswax,” Dalziel says. “Using the heat in your hand, it moulds. You just unwrap and rinse in cold water and use again.”
Beeswax wraps can replace cling wrap. Photo: Beeutiful.com.au
The lightweight fabric bags come with a velcro closure and replace plastic lunch and snack bags.
Reusable produce bags
“Take these shopping with you and put your fresh produce into them, Dalziel says. “Keep them in their bags and it helps separate them in your crisper.”
Knitted and fabric cleaning cloths
Washable and re-usable, these replace your Wettex or Chux.
Coconut fibre scourers
A trendy accompaniment to your au naturel wooden chopping board.
Choose from bamboo or stainless steel options.
Reusable bamboo straws. Photo: Banish.com.au
Combine the old-fashioned metal tea strainer with loose-leaf teas to banish plastic from your morning cuppa.
Bamboo takeaway cutlery
Chuck these in your lunchbox or buy in bulk for parties instead of the plastic variety.
Add a tablet to your dishwasher compartment and use as normal. Lil Bit sells a Cajeput-scented, Himalayan salt tablet.
Eco-Max offer a handmade and biodegradable recycled timber and coconut fibre dust brush.
Himalayan salt dishwashing tablets. Photo: Lil’ Bit
Bathroom & personal hygiene
Shampoo and conditioner bars
Handmade, full of yummy ingredients and sure to start a trend. Get them at Lush and Beauty and the Bees.
Scent up with this option from Good & Clean. A portion of profits goes to your conservation project of choice.
“Cut off the bristles and the bamboo is completely biodegradable,” Dalziel says.
Made from Mulberry silk and mint-flavoured, it comes in it’s own refillable glass and stainless steel container. Get it at Ecostainable.
Built to last, you probably have one in your cabinet. For something new and nifty try the Parker Safety Razor.
100% natural deodorant paste. Photo: Good & Clean
Made with soft, medical-grade silicon, menstrual cups are used like tampons. Find them at Banish and other stockists.
Biodegradable cotton buds
Go Bamboo sell biodegradable bamboo cotton buds.
Tooth and gum powder
Natural ingredients mean this is also better for you. Buy it online at Banish.
Soap nuts/soap berries
The saponin-rich shells of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree nut produce foam when mixed with water. “Add about seven nuts to your washing load in a bag,” Dalziel says. (Micro-plastics in traditional detergents end up in the world’s waterways).
Pop one in the toilet for five minutes, scrub and flush away. Get them at Lil Bit.
Biodegradable trash bags
Hurrah. These do exist! Find them online at Biotuff and Flora & Fauna.
Biodegradable cotton buds. Photo: Shop Naturally
09 July 2018
Are you looking to jazz up your home but don’t have the available funds? Maybe you are planning to sell, or just want to give it a facelift?
Either way you don’t need to spend an arm or a leg, you just need a little bit of inspiration.
Here are five ways you can give your home the ultimate make-over without breaking the bank.
1. Clean out/de-clutter your home
Start by a good old clean out – this you can do for free. Living in a messy, cluttered house will have you feeling anxious and itching for a change of atmosphere, plus it won’t make a good first impression on visitors.
rid of junk you don’t need, wash the walls, doorways and clean all the dust and cob-webs! This will have an immediate effect on the oxygen circulation of the house – breathing in fresh air is the start to feeling good in your home.
2. Paint the walls
Whether you want to change the colour all together or just want to lift the look,the most effective way to rejuvenate your home is to apply a fresh coat of paint.
Light to neutral colours gives you more flexibility with furniture and décor, and creates the illusion of space. Plus, painting your home is relatively cheap, unless you want to seek a professional painter to do the job.
While you have the paint out, it is also a good idea to re-paint the doors, door frames, skirtings and ceilings in simple white, to freshen up the aesthetic of your house.
For some inspo, find out how to select the right paint colour for your home.
It is ridiculously affordable to decorate your home these days, you just need to trigger your creative side.
Adding plants and some pottery to your home is a great way to set the mood and can be very affordable and easily maintained with a little bit of TLC. Adding a splash of greenery to your space is not only aesthetically appealing, but pot plants also help purify the air, just make sure you buy plants suitable for indoors.
Candles, incense and infusers also have dual purpose when it comes to décor. They look good, and smell good, once again adding that infused delicious aroma to your home.
When it comes to the bedroom and living rooms, pillows, throws and new linen is something that will always catch the eye. What better feeling is there than purchasing fresh new bedding? Try and coordinate this with whatever colour you paint the walls or keep the same colours but you can mix up the styles.
Remember, simple can sometimes mean more, so try keep all decorations minimal but effective.
4. Rearrange furniture
If you already love your furniture but still feel sick of it, a simple re-organise of the couches, TVs beds, tables etc can make you feel like you’re in a whole new house.
Making different uses out of the things you already have in your home will save you money. You think you might be sick of an item, but put it somewhere else and you might fall in love with it all over again.
5. Update light fittings
Lighting is the key to making any home stand out, and you would be surprised what a simple swap of the light fittings will do.
If you’re on a budget consider going for one or two designer light fittings in the main living areas, then cheaper ones for the other rooms.
While we are on the topic of lighting, you can also replace the light switch covers which won’t cost you a lot at all. Swap out those old fashioned, plain switch covers for silver, stainless steel or modern white covers.
06 July 2018
Image Source: A House in the Hills
If there are rules that you as a renter must follow, make it these 10 commandments. Because, while paying your rent on time is important, so too is making sure your place is personalised and stylish. Working within the boundaries of your landlord, it’s little things like a new light fixture that will make an impact without costing a lot of time or money. And, the best part about this entire list is that you’ll leave with your security deposit intact once it’s time to move up and on.
- Thou Shalt Add Storage
Let’s get real, custom cabinetry is not an option if you don’t own the place. Since rentals usually lack storage, add your own with affordable Ikea bookcases, simple shelves, or these organising solutions.
- Thou Shalt Change the Hardware
Rental hardware is basic . . . your style, not so much. Switching out cabinet pulls and bathroom hardware will make a huge difference. Just remember to keep the original pieces to swap back in before moving out.
- Thou Shalt Ditch Vertical Blinds
Image Source: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
They are the ultimate decorating sin! To prevent your space from looking like a hospital room, take them down or hide them under curtains. Again, don’t toss — they’re essential if you want your security deposit back.
- Thou Shalt Line Cabinets
This might seem trivial and a bit annoying, but lining your cabinets is a must. Not only will it make your kitchen look clean, but also it will mask worn and grungy cabinets without having to paint. Adhesive liner works, but a softer grip liner is better because it’s easy to install; it will also prevent glassware from chipping.
- Thou Shalt Accessorise Like Crazy
It’s true, and that’s the only way you’re going to get a truly personal space. Go to town with throws, pillows, and accents that reflect your style.
- Thou Shalt Avoid Wallpaper
Well, in most cases. Sure it’s stylish, but in all honestly, wallpaper is really inconvenient to remove, especially if you won’t be in your place for long. If you love the patterned look, consider the removable wallpaper seen in this studio or these alternative wallpaper ideas.
- Thou Shalt Hang Art
Image Source: Love Grows Wild
No excuses — get your art on the walls! Patching up a tiny hole come move-out day is nothing compared to the impact it will make on your space. No need to create a full-blown gallery wall either. Try hanging one statement piece and resting photos on a mantel or shelf, similar to this home.
- Thou Shalt Invest in Rugs
Especially if your place has carpet! Rugs are an easy way to cover up that not-so-cute carpet and can be packed up with you come your next move. Rugs are also a necessity to keep noise down, especially in older apartments with wood floors.
- Thou Shalt Emphasise Lighting
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
This is another trick that many renters often overlook. Take it from HGTV stars Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri who suggest you use lighting to set the tone and make an impact in a rental. Get creative with floor and table lamps that can easily be moved from place to place.
- Thou Shalt Make the Most of Plants
No yard? No problem. Pots are a great way to achieve the bohemian jungalow look or even have your own urban garden. The best part is you won’t have to fret about leaving any of them behind.
02 July 2018
An interior designer reveals the essential rules for achieving a perfectly balanced interior.
Have you ever walked into a room and it just felt right, but you couldn’t put your finger on exactly why? Chances are that proportion was a key factor – whoever designed the room would have paid careful attention to getting the size and scale of the furniture and accessories just right for the space.
We talked to Rohan Smith, senior interior designer at Coco Republic Interior Design, to find out how you can create beautifully proportioned rooms in your own home.
Why does proportion matter?
Because furnishing a room is more involved than simply placing a few pieces of furniture in a space – some fundamental rules of design need to be considered, one of the most important being proportion. You need to consider not only the proportional relationship between the pieces themselves, but to the space that contains them.
A room looks and feels right when the proportions are good, and there’s neither too little nor too much furniture. If furniture is too big, the flow of the room can feel awkward. If it’s too small, the space won’t feel cosy or inviting.
What are the most common mistakes people make?
Having all the furniture and furnishings in a room the same height, colour and style. The room ends up looking dull and static. This is easily rectified. A tall floor lamp, for example, can add some height to a corner, while providing a lovely ambient light source. A tall cabinet or bookcase can add visual interest as well as handy storage.
How do you assess proportion?
One of the easiest ways to assess whether a sofa, dining table or bed will suit the size of your room is to map it out with newspaper and lay it on the floor. This will give you a sense of how much floor space the piece will take up. Living with this template for a few days will give you a definite feel for how it will be to live with the piece.
A more technical method would be to use the Houzz Sketch tool or an app such as Magicplan. You simply take photos on your smartphone, which the app then translates into a plan of the space. You can then add objects, annotations and attributes to create a complete plan of your room.
What proportions do you need to consider for a living room?
Living rooms can be tricky to get right, especially in open-plan spaces.
If the room is your main television viewing space, then you’ll need to factor in technology as well as furniture. Is the TV too big for the room? Is the entertainment unit balanced with the size of the TV, and the room as a whole? A common mistake is to have a small entertainment unit with a large TV – it should be the other way around. Also, consider whether the sofa is the correct distance from the TV for viewing comfort. It should be about 2.5 times the screen width in distance away, and no more than 5 metres. The centre of the TV should be about 1 to 1.1 metres from the floor.
A large sofa and a small rug also look unbalanced.
For living rooms, the furniture arrangement should be conducive to conversation. Two sofas facing each other or a U-shaped arrangement are ideal. The coffee table should also be the right height for the sofa. You should be easily able reach the coffee table from a seated position so you can rest a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
What about a bedroom?
One of the main considerations in the bedroom is the size of the bedside table in proportion to the bed. For a king-size bed, go for a large-scale beside table of about 70-90 centimetres in width, depending on the size of your bedroom. For a queen-size bed, a bedside table of around 50-60 centimetres is ideal.
Bedside lamps should also sit proportionally with the bedside table and bedhead. Again, for a king-size bed, a larger lamp will work best.
Are there any golden rules for hanging pendant lamps?
When pendant lamps are hung too high or low, they can look completely out of place in a room. You need to consider the size and style of the pendant, the ceiling height, and the space in which they will be hung.
Despite these variables, there are still a few hard-and-fast rules that can help when hanging pendants. For kitchen benches, hang lights around 70-80 centimetres above benchtops. This height allows the pendants to provide a useful light source for working, without intruding on the line of sight from the kitchen to the adjoining living or dining room.
For your dining table, sit pendants at 75 centimetres above table height to create an intimate and cosy dining space. For entries and hallways where people will be walking beneath the pendant lights, space allowing, the ideal hanging height is 240 centimetres from floor level.
What about hanging art?
Choosing artwork that is the wrong scale for a room is a common mistake, with most people erring on the small size. Checking to see whether a gallery will allow you to bring a piece home on approval is the best way around this. If you fall in a love with a piece that is too small for your room, have it re-framed with a larger mount.
Another common mistake is to hang artwork too high on the wall. If a piece is hung too high it will have no connection to the furniture below it, and if it’s above eye level it can ruin the look of a room.
Ideally, artwork should be hung so that the centre of the piece is at average eye level or about 150 centimetres from the ground. In a dining room you might want to hang the pieces slightly lower to factor in the seated viewing height.
Also remember that having some negative space is important. Leaving some walls bare not only puts more significance on the pieces you’ve hung, but creates a calmer feel in the room.
Rugs are a great way to bring a furniture grouping together. They provide a border for furniture to sit on and can help you create individual dining and living zones in an open-plan room where furniture has a tendency to ‘float’. Ideally rugs should sit under the front legs of the sofa and occasional chairs – this helps visually link the pieces together.
What about the proportions for colour in a room?
When making your selection, consider the 60-30-10 rule, which is a timeless decorating principle that can help you create a balanced colour scheme. Your 60 per cent is the main colour for a room, which anchors a space and provides a backdrop for the other colours. In a living room this would be walls, sofas and rugs.
Your 30 per cent is the secondary colour, which would encompass occasional chairs, bedlinen, window furnishings and occasional furniture. It should support the main colour, while being different enough to set it apart and give the room interest.
The final 10 per cent is your accent colour. For a living room, this would include scatter cushions, decorative accessories and artwork. For a bedroom, think throw pillows and artwork.
Do the rules of proportion apply to the little details too?
Keeping an eye on the proportion of decorative accessories is another important consideration. One large bowl on a dining table might be all you need in that space to create drama. Conversely, combining small objects with other similar objects can create just as much impact. A collection of ceramic pots makes one big statement, whereas a few pots scattered about will look disconnected and out of proportion.
Lamps should not overshadow the table on which they are placed. A large lamp on a slender table, for example, would appear top heavy. Too much variety of scale can cause visual chaos in a focused area, such as a bookshelf. Instead, group items of similar type and scale together, and line up like-sized books for a balanced look.
25 June 2018
Many investors steer clear of vacant land because they mistakenly believe they can’t claim interest repayments on it.
In fact, the biggest thing that most accountants get wrong when advising clients on vacant land is that the interest component on it isn’t tax deductible.
I’ve had many arguments with many accountants about this topic over the years!
The key component is the clear intent to build a property within a reasonable timeframe. If the investor was audited, the investor would need to prove that the timeframe – whether it’s a few weeks or months – was necessary to enable to construct the investment property.
I’ve heard this ‘non-advice’ so many times over the years and that’s why it’s so important that you get advice from a property accountant with a strong understanding of the relevant legislation.
Which land is best?
With vacant land, there are a number of different strategies that you could implement.
The first one is residential land that is being carved up by a developer, but you buy before the titles for each individual block have been registered. Effectively, you’re buying land off the plan, but it’s important to understand that there are pros and cons to this strategy.
The pro is that if it’s in a high-demand area and you’ve bought during the early stages of development, you tend to make some money. You also generally only need to put down a few hundred or thousand dollars as the deposit. Naturally, because you are very much dependent on how fast the developer can register each block, you’re at the whim of the market, which can be a con. For example, in my portfolio, I once bought 18 blocks of land that were not yet registered.
In fact, registration wasn’t supposed to happen for another two years. However, it happened in just eight months and I wasn’t ready. So all of a sudden I had 18 parcels of land that I had to settle on, but I didn’t have my finance organised.
After discussing it with the developer, I ended up settling on four of them and he released the other 14 back to the market, which worked out well for him because the market had improved.
So, if the land is registered well ahead of time, you can be left scrambling.
On the other hand, if registration takes longer than expected, the market could have slowed down. Like any off-the-plan project, you only need one bad valuation to negatively impact
the entire subdivision or development. Plus, everyone will be building at the same time, which means you’re competing for trades and will likely be finished at the same time, too, and that means a strong likelihood of softer prices.
What about greenfield and infill sites?
When I say greenfield sites, I mean blocks of rural land that you intend to rezone for residential usage. Now this is a strategy for more advanced investors because there is more risk as well as a higher financial component required for earthworks and approval costs. Greenfield sites can be bought for an affordable price, but if you can’t get the subdivision approved you need to have the money behind you to fight all your way up to the Environment Court if necessary.
A better strategy is to target infill sites within already established residential areas.
In this scenario, you buy a larger block of land, usually with a house on it, to carve off the land at the back or the side to sell as vacant or with a new property on it.
The other option is to subdivide, then construct a new dwelling and then keep both. Infill developments can also lean towards knocking the old house down, splitting the block into two and selling the vacant land, or building two houses or even multiples. It must always come back to whether there is a market for your project and whether the numbers add up, because you must take into account all of the costs on the way in and on the way out.
That way you can make an educated decision whether to keep holding long term or take your profits to invest elsewhere.
Whichever strategy you choose, you must do your figures on the worst-case scenario to see if it adds up. That’s because land generally has a lower, or no yield to start off with, which means your holding costs can be higher than with a house, for example.
At the end of the day, vacant land as a strategy, does work. You just need to have your eyes wide open to ensure your figures are correct and you must understand that it might be a while before income rolls in.
Finally, it goes without saying that you must get tax advice from a specialist accountant who understands property. If you don’t, you could end up with pockets just as vacant as the land you’re investing in.
22 June 2018
If searching for your keys is a part of your morning ritual, it’s time to break the cycle. Being organised is more than just a personality trait, it’s a lifestyle decision that’s easier to achieve if you stock your home with the right tools. These 15 clutter-busting essentials will make your days feel longer and less stressful. Cheers to that!
Idea: If you don’t want to hang a key hook, do yourself a favour and get a key catchall. Having a designated place to place your keys when you walk through the door will save you from the “running late” syndrome. Don’t be that person.
Get it: Making your own leather catchall is easier than you’d think. Follow this tutorial on A Beautiful Mess to DIY your own
Image Source: Bahar Yurukoglu for Domino
Idea: You know how it goes . . . You take the time to meticulously fold sheets and towels, and by the end of week, it looks like a bomb exploded in your linen closet. Here’s where clear shelf dividers come in. They’ll keep your stacks of linens in order without creating an eyesore.
Get it: Stock up on these acrylic shelf dividers to tame your most unruly closet.
Idea: Put your pantry on display by keeping dried goods and other treats in lidded glass jars.
Get it: You can get her kitchen jars at Ikea.
Idea: If you’ve seen these used to hang pots and pans, you’ll be happy to know that the idea translates for any room in the house. We love how Sugar + Cloth blogger Ashley Rose used one for above-the-bed storage and decor.
Image Source: Paul Costello for Domino
Idea: If shuffling through a drawer to find a tube of lipstick gives you anxiety, you’ll be amazed by the efficiency that a simple drawer organiser can offer.
Idea: Forget the space-saving allure of forgoing a knife block — we’re crazy about the fact that you can see the shapes and sizes of your most utilised knives while keeping them in reach.
Idea: It’s amazing how quickly a tray can corral clutter. Bonus points for turning the top of your toilet into an extension of your medicine cabinet (with the addition of a slim bud vase and framed picture, of course).
Image Source: Cahan Eric For Domino
Idea: Labelled boxes are a great way to organise the things you want out of sight.
Idea: Sure, you can use them to hang a curtain, but they work wonders in making the most out of shelves. Follow Martha Stewart’s lead, and use them to organise kitchen items like pot and pan lids, trays, and cutting boards.
Image Source: Lesley A. Unruh for Domino
Idea: Whether you need more storage space for clothes or craft supplies, these wall-mounted mesh drawers allow you to customize your storage and easily see what you’re storing.
Makeup Brush Cups
Idea: Instead of cramming makeup brushes into a messy drawer or makeup bag, keep them within easy reach in a stylish cup.
Idea: Whether it’s a drawer filled with neat rows of spices or a creative DIY that frees cabinet space, every organized cook seems to have their spice collection under control.
Get it: A Beautiful Mess has an easy-to-follow tutorial for making these nifty magnetic spice jars.
Clever Toilet Paper Storage
Idea: Running out of it when you need it is the worst, but stacking it in plain sight can cramp your bathroom’s style. Kill two birds with one stone by turning a basket into a toilet paper organiser and dispenser.
Image Source: Monica Wang for The Everygirl
Idea: A lack of cabinet space doesn’t have to stop you from owning bulky appliances like KitchenAid mixers and high-powered blenders. Some of the cutest rentals we’ve seen use stainless steel shelves for stylishly organization, making it easy to keep everything within sight. The best part? You can extend them or shorten them for a customized height.
Get it: This shelving unit is a great starter package.
18 June 2018
Buying and selling property in WA has traditionally been by way of a conventional private treaty arrangement, however buyers and sellers are missing out on a more pure form of transaction, and that’s the auction.
Granted, auctions are becoming a more accepted selling method and the numbers of weekly auctions in WA has increased significantly over the past five years, but still lag a long way behind private treaty sales and the Eastern states. So why is that we’ve been slow to jump on the auction bandwagon?
Firstly, WA’s law for property transactions using the current “Offer & Acceptance” method protect both buyer and seller and in the majority of cases are easy to follow. The system works effectively for all parties to the transaction including the buyer, seller, settlement agent/conveyancer and banks. The downside of this system is that is can be time consuming and in many cases is conditional upon buyers obtaining finance, property inspections, having to sell their current home, etc.
More importantly, the system has a major flaw in it and that’s the asking price is disclosed and typically buyers knock the price down to where they feel comfortable – so it’s not good for sellers.
So why should we look to auctions? The auction system is the most pure form of selling and buying as there are no “secrets” surrounding price or selling terms; all terms are provided in the marketing campaign and the buyers set the price on where they see value. Selling by auction in most cases is quicker than private treaty. And the seller has three bites of the cherry; sell before auction day, on auction day or usually within 30 post auction day.
There are two main misconceptions surrounding auctions:
1. They cost too much. The cost of the auction is merely the auctioneer’s fee for calling the auction and working with the seller, buyer and agent to achieve the desired result. Typically, an auctioneers’ fee is in the vicinity of $700 to $1000. All other costs are associated with the marketing campaign to promote the property.
2. Auctions only “work in expensive areas”. That’s just a suburban myth. There’s many examples of properties below the current Perth median price of $510,000 selling at auction.
WA is one of only two states, the other being Tasmania, that don’t have a cooling off period in our property contracts. A cooling off period allows the buyer to “break” the Offer to Purchase usually between 2 to 5 business days after the offer has been signed. In other words, if the buyer changes their mind for whatever reason they can legally break the offer and walk away for a very small consideration to the seller, usually between 0.2% – 0.25% of the purchase price.
As WA doesn’t have cooling off provisions in our property contracts, this makes it far too easy for sellers and agents to default to Private Treaty transactions. If cooling off provisions were introduced to our property contracts, I’d predict a huge increase in the number of property auctions taking place in WA.
Finally, too few real estate agents embrace auctions and the auction process with vigor. They lack confidence and in some cases, the ability to explain the different marketing options available to sellers and automatically default to Private Treaty. This is a marketing injustice to sellers and the sooner we can demystify and legitimise the auction process for both buyers and sellers, the better.
14 June 2018
If you’ve ever bought a heating appliance only to find it woefully inadequate for the task at hand, you need Christian Hoerning’s advice. A technical expert at EECA Energywise, he tells us how to stay toasty without getting burned by the end-of-month bill:
For larger rooms you want to heat regularly, it’s worth paying a bit more upfront for a fixed heater with lower running costs and more heat output than a small electric heater can provide.
Electric heaters may be enough for smaller rooms and rooms you only heat occasionally.
Hang on the wall electric fires can be two or three sided and have floating shelves such as those in the Skope Trento Suite from The Fireplace. Photo: The Fireplace
Avoid unflued gas heaters (either portable or with pipes fixed to the walls) that release toxic fumes and moisture, and open fires that are draughty and inefficient.
Match the size of your heater to the space. An oversized or undersized heater won’t work effectively, and can cost more to run.
To minimise the environmental impacts, choose a heating option that uses renewable energy, like wood, wood pellets or electricity (which is about 80 per cent renewable on average).
An Escea outdoor cooking fire completes this outdoor kitchen by Dravitzki Brown Architecture, it comes with an adjustable cooking plate for flame grilling. Photo: Escea
Choose the most efficient model for the job, and use and maintain your heater properly – for example, have heat pumps serviced and regularly clean the filters.
Fireplace: The expert advice
One reason wood fires have fallen somewhat out of favour is increasing clean air regulations in our cities. But wood is a renewable resource – and a real wood fire has romance on its side. So if you’re a sucker for the crackle and the ritual of stoking the logs, look for one that is clean air approved for urban areas.
“For large, open-plan rooms you can’t go past double-sided fireplaces as room dividers. They visually connect two spaces, and add intimate zones to the setting.” – Alex Hodge, Escea.
Escea’s double-sided DX1500 gas fireplace adds its magic to both the kitchen and living space of this home, designed by Product X Architecture. Photo: Escea
“Electric fireplaces, using sophisticated LED technology that mimics flames with different effects and colours, are no longer confined to in-wall options. Products such as the Gazco Skope Outset fires can be installed as a two- or three-sided fire so they make a stunning visual centrepiece.” – Geoff Dunn, The Fireplace
“A fireplace in the bedroom is the ultimate luxury, but definitely a better option with gas due to its on/off button convenience and controllable temperature. No one likes to sleep in a room that’s too hot. Escea’s multiroom DX Series has the ability to duct heat into different rooms – a good option for bedrooms as 90 per cent of the heat is ducted, not radiant. – Alex Hodge, Escea
“A fireplace in an outdoor room will add value to your home and extend your living space. Fireplaces provide a central social hub and make alfresco dining a lot more inviting. Escea’s EF5000 outdoor gas fireplace is an easy-to-install option that doesn’t need a flue, so it’s great for balconies and roof gardens that have views you don’t want to obscure.” – Malcolm Burton, Stoke Fireplace Studio
If you love the authenticity of wood fireplaces but live in the city, you’ll need one that’s clean air approved. Stovax Studio wood fires can be in-built or freestanding. Photo: The Fireplace
Other ways to heat
Sarah Moore from Rinnai says whole home heating (or central heating) is can be unusual, as most of us are used to spot heating just the living area. “Whole home heating allows you to have a warm, comfortable dry house and we have seen strong growth in this space over the last few years. We expect this trend to continue as more people understand the benefits of heating their whole home.”
Fan heaters are ideal for small spaces such as home offices or powder rooms that measure around 15sqm. Installed in a bathroom, they also reduce steam and should be turned on before you take a shower.
Wall mounted and perfectly quiet, convection panel heaters are a good choice for hallways and bedrooms. Choose one with a timer and an accurate digital thermostat.
Radiant heaters are for personal warmth; if you work from home in an open-plan space you could possibly do with one in the depths of winter but they will make no difference to the ambient temperature of the room.
Don’t forget to move the heat outdoors. A 2400W electric outdoor patio heater, for instance, provides heat for areas up to 10m away.