05 February 2020
Get ahead of the curve by dipping your brush into 2020’s most coveted colours Photo: Annie Sloan
Looking to update your home? Fresh colour is an easy DIY and affordable way to up-style any home.
Get ahead of the curve by dipping your brush into the most coveted colours and steal these insider tips for the perfect painterly refresh, inside and out.
Lilac, pale pink and mint
Why: “With neutral colour schemes dominating the last few years, it’s time for some soft, subtle hues,” says designer Justine Brown from Chocolate Brown. “They complement neutrals and tie back with on-trend pale timbers, terrazzos and marbles beautifully.”
Where: A wash of mauve, rose, blush or mint adds colour and whimsy, and lives easily in any space as a neutral or pretty backdrop. “Introduce via your bed linen and soft furnishings,” says Brown. “Combine with tarnished brass or try a mint green laminate with pale timber and white cabinetry in the kitchen.”
We love: British Paints Lilac Lies, Dulux Mint Twist, Chalk Paint in Paloma.
Expert Tip: “These colours work harmoniously together,” says colour and paint expert Annie Sloan. “Add a stronger hue to prevent them looking too sweet, or white for contrast. For boldness, introduce yellow, black and white, or incorporate pastel floral fabrics for an English Countryside look.”
‘I love dirty mustard tones with pale timbers and concrete.’ Photo: Robert Walsh
Vibrant yellow and mustard
Why: “Yellow is so uplifting,” says Brown. “I love dirty mustard tones with pale timbers and concrete.”
Where: Yellow works anywhere and suits all furniture, artwork, and decor. It even works in kids’ bedrooms for a space they won’t outgrow. “It’s fabulous with tarnished brass bathroom fittings,” says Brown. “Or layer with blues, pinks and whites in the bedroom.”
We love: Dulux Dandelion Yellow, British Paints Yellow Mania, Porters Paints Amber.
Expert tip: “Mustard takes neutrals one step further in terms of depth,” says Brown. “It’s the perfect addition if your palette is looking bland.”
When the correct tones are applied, this is a palette that can be applied inside and out with ease. Photo: Felix Forest
Why: With grey on the wane, the combination of grey and beige provides fresh sophistication. “Greige evokes calm and stillness,” says designer Madeleine Blanchfield. “It’s subtle but gives the impression a space has been thoughtfully decorated. It’s warm without being overwhelming.”
Where: Greige looks beautiful with classic white trims or applied from top-to-bottom for real luxury. “It’s the perfect neutral and foil to add colour to,” says Sloan. “It works in most rooms and looks brilliant with reds, pinks and greens. It sits elegantly in the background, allowing colours to pop out from it.”
We love: Porters Paint in Grey Pepper, Chalk Paint in Country Grey
Expert Tip: “Taking photos of the beach and gardens allows us to pick colours within the greige spectrum,” says Blanchfield. “We use these natural tones to find a closer match in different paint ranges.”
A wash of mauve, rose, blush or mint adds colour and whimsy. Photo: Robert Walsh
Why: Rich and moody, this palette provide an effortless connection between interiors and outdoors.
“Orange, red, tan and brown feel grounding,” says designer Nickolas Gurtler. “They feel good to live with because they are characteristic of nature which is always constant in our lives,”
Where: When the correct tones are applied, this is a palette that can be applied inside and out with ease.
“For opulence, choose dark unsaturated tones,” Gurtler says. “You can manipulate these colours to do almost anything.”
Expert Tip: Choose different shades and fine-tune the mood of your room. “Select one hue and use its multiple tones in different textures,” says Gurtler. “Be sparing or go bold. Both work.”
We love: Taubmans Barrel O Rum, Delta Clay
From grassy shades to desert hues, green delivers impact whilst feeling soothing to live with. Photo: Felix Forest
Back to nature green
From grassy shades to desert hues, green delivers impact while feeling soothing to live with.
Why: “Green is soothing and honest, or opulent and luxurious,” says Gurtler. “It depends on how it is used.”
Where: Apply everywhere, from walls and doors to pots and cabinetry. “I like green in the bedroom, bathroom and living spaces,” he says.
Expert Tip: High-gloss finishes provide luxury and impart a soft glow by bouncing light around a space.
“Combine deep hues with black, white and brass for opulence,” suggests Gurtler. “Unsaturated greens, like eucalyptus, pair well with greys, whites and blonde timbers.”
We love: Porters Paints Cosmos and Nori, Dulux Dinosaur
13 November 2019
Residential master bedroom designed by Meli Studio
Downsizing is a part of life, as well as part of your property journey. But, just because you are moving into a smaller space, doesn’t mean you have to downgrade on the visual appeal.
We spoke with interior design expert, Julie Ockerby of Meli Studio who specialises in sophisticated living for seniors nationwide, who said downsizing is the perfect opportunity to design your ‘forever home’ exactly the way you want it.
Here are Julie’s 10 tips to help you downsize in style, while making the most out of your smaller space.
1. Only keep the things you love
Downsizing gives the perfect opportunity to give away or even sell anything in your life that doesn’t make your heart sing.
It may well be that you’ll need to buy smaller furniture items anyway, so consider this as an opportunity to let go of tired old pieces and replace them with the furniture that you’ve always wanted, especially when you don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone but yourself!
2. Don’t be afraid to be bold
When picking fabrics for any new furniture, throws, bedspreads, curtains or cushions, don’t be afraid to go bold with colours and textures, as this can help bring smaller spaces to life.
To really future-proof your new abode, pick fabrics that are stain resistant and with waterproof backing.
3. Height matters
Make sure that any new furniture is at a height that suits you. Ensure your bed is not too low or too high, while sofas and armchairs should not be too low, for ease of access as you get a little older.
4. Give yourself space
To create a home you can live in for as long as possible, space is essential.
This may seem counter-intuitive when downsizing, but even though you’re probably losing two or even three bedrooms, make sure your rooms are not too small to allow good access around your bed, dining table, chairs and sofas. You’ll be especially thankful for this if you or your friends end up needing a walking stick.
Julie Ockerby holding the fabric collection of her new range
5. Deck the walls
One area you might need to edit a bit, but don’t need to cull dramatically, is your artwork.
Create a dramatic feature wall by covering one wall with your favourite pieces, potentially combining art from several rooms in your old house.
6. Avoid clutter
Clutter is the enemy of good interior design and easy living. Cluttered tables and shelves are harder to keep clean, easier to mess up or knock over, and can actually be confusing on the eye and thus the mind.
You’ll appreciate and enjoy having just your favourite trinkets on display – even if you have to rotate them every now and again.
7. Don’t slip up
Use non-slip tiles wherever possible. Definitely use them in the bathroom, but also consider the kitchen and laundry, where spills can quickly become just as much of a hazard as a wet bathroom floor.
8. Light up your life
Good lighting, especially in often neglected areas like the shower or the dressing space in front of your wardrobes, can make a huge difference to the functionality, aesthetics and safety of essential areas that are used daily.
9. Say no to sharp corners
This applies to all ages and can give you more room to move without worrying about bumping into any nasty corners. It’s also an especially handy tip for when visiting grandchildren are toddling around.
10. Spoil yourself
Finally, splash out a with just a bit of the financial equity you hopefully free up when downsizing on an interior feature you’ve always dreamt of but could never quite afford.
Perhaps it’s a top-of-the-line steam oven, his and hers vanities or a stunning statement piece of art.
Are you looking to downsize in Perth? See what’s for sale.
24 October 2019
Jessica Bellef is the author of the book Individual. Photo: Sue Stubbs.
Do you know what your favourite colour is? Ask a kid that same question, and the answer is instant and unwavering. As adults, we may have forgotten that an allegiance to a certain shade was symbolic of so much when were young.
Declaring a favourite colour was our way of defining ourselves and telling the world what we were about. We requested everything – outfits, bedroom walls, pencil cases, birthday-party decorations – in our chosen chroma. Our hero hues made us happy, even though we were likely to move on to another colour within a month’s time.
Fast-forward to our adult years, and we no longer spend time discussing our favourite colours. Sadly, our personal spaces often lack direct reference to the colours that make us joyful.
Declaring a favourite colour was our way of defining ourselves and telling the world what we were about. Photo: Sue Stubbs.
The thing is, we make decisions every day that unconsciously highlight and reinforce the palettes to which we are naturally drawn. From the clothes in our wardrobe to the food we put on our plate (and heck, even the plate itself), our choices about colour continue to tell the story of who we are.
If our homes work best for us when they reflect what makes us happy, secure and comforted, then shouldn’t we try to inject our own colour palette into the space?
Most interior stylists and designers will tell you that working with colour is the most immediate way to change the mood of a room. Countless articles, workshops and textbooks have delved deep into the technicalities and nuances of colour, breaking the complexities down into rules and prescriptive palettes, and often not leaving room for creative interpretation.
Most interior stylists and designers will tell you that working with colour is the most immediate way to change the mood of a room. Photo: Sue Stubbs.
It can be a daunting and stifled way to learn about something that is so personal. It’s no wonder that lots of adults are afraid to play with colour in their homes – they’re too scared to jump in and express themselves with paint and decor, fearing that they will get it “wrong”. When it comes to colour, however, it isn’t so black and white.
We all have primal, physiological responses to certain colours that we can’t control. High-energy reds get the heart racing, while soft blues slow us down. We also have very individual thresholds when it comes to how much colour we can take before nausea sets in.
Some people love the feeling of being enveloped in a colour-saturated room, while others would prefer to spend their time in a colour-neutral space.
We all have primal, physiological responses to certain colours that we can’t control. Photo: Sue Stubbs.
Our perception of a colour is tinted by our own life story and learned associations. All our memories, positive or negative, will have a connection to colour in some way: the school uniform that was begrudgingly worn, the facade of a crumbling building admired on an exotic holiday, the walls of the dentist’s waiting room.
It is these fragmented moments that form our preferred colour palettes.
We should unapologetically colour our home environments in palettes that are unique to us, in ways that mean something to us. We need to spend a little time thinking about the colours that give us joy, just as we would have done as bright-eyed young things in the school playground.
Some people love the feeling of being enveloped in a colour-saturated room, while others would prefer to spend their time in a colour-neutral space. Photo: Sue Stubbs.
These are not rules, but things to think about:
Get in tune with the colours to which you react positively. Recall places and moments that made you feel good, and create a mood board (digital or physical) that represents these memories. Take note of recurring colours and themes.
Adding colour to a room doesn’t have to mean you must paint the walls in vibrant hues. Colour can be added to a neutral-walled room through artworks, textiles and decor, and you can add as much or as little as you want.
Individual by Jessica Bellef, Murdoch Books. Photo: Murdoch Books.
Know that you can have too much of a good thing. Overusing one colour in a space will either overwhelm you with its intensity or be so monotonous that you will find the space boring and flat. Play around with a mix of colours in a space until you find a balance that pleases you.
Understand that paint is temporary and decor is easily swapped out. There is no harm in trying new things, as “mistakes” can be erased swiftly.
Observe the scene outside your windows and the way the light works its way through the house. I love having a green quilt cover in my bedroom, as it connects the room to the treetops directly beyond the window, drawing the outside in and grounding me in nature.
Our preference for certain types of colour will evolve as we grow and advance through our life stages. Embrace these changes, and never stop experimenting with colour in your home.
21 August 2019
I’ve learnt a few lessons and gleaned good advice from colleagues. Photo: Stocksy
After almost a decade in the same house, I’d forgotten how painful it can be to move.
The sort, the pack, the kids circling around your feet – and, in our case, a stressed cat who marked his territory somewhere but smelt like everywhere – and clearing the last of the household dross before a manic clean.
We would have loved to have outsourced every aspect of the move but budget constraints came into play so we were forced to take on the task ourselves.
In a few months we have to do it again, and this time we’re going to do things differently. I’ve learnt a few lessons and have gleaned good advice from colleagues. This is what we’ve learnt:
1. Hire movers (or rope in friends with beers and pizza) early
We found many of our preferred moving companies were already booked. What’s more, you need to research their costs and reputation. Ours charged on an hourly rate, but once the big hand crossed from 10am we were pinged for the full 60 minutes’ labour.
Gather a packing kit early. This includes tape, plenty of boxes and permanent markers. Photo: Stocksy
2. Change your address details in advance
Contact insurers, the bank, the council and so on. Embrace Australia Post’s mail forwarding service, which will notify some parties like banks, energy and phone providers.
3. Assemble your packing kit
Hoard boxes in many sizes. We were lucky to have a friend who’d recently moved, but also try supermarkets and liquor stores which often have spare boxes available. Cheap but large bags, the type you find at $2 shops, are great for soft big items such as linen, pillows, clothing and rugs.
You’ll also need packing tape, a tape dispenser (no one likes hunting for the start of the roll), bubblewrap or – just as good and more environmentally friendly – old newspapers for wrapping breakable and fragile items. We sorted out our linen cupboard fairly early on and found towels, pillow cases and flannels to be great items to wrap things like wine glasses and plates. Make sure you have a few permanent markers to label boxes.
Hire movers (or rope in friends with beers and pizza) early. Photo: Jason South
4. Marie Kondo the hell out of your home
Tackle packing and sorting your belongings with this room-by-room approach almost the moment the house contract is signed. Even if you pack just one box a day during this process, that will ease the pressure on moving day. This is the perfect time to donate or sell that chest of drawers, and rid yourself of excess kitchen equipment or unwanted clothing.
Start with things you don’t really need on a day-to-day basis. Books and trinkets can be packed early. And you’ll be surprised how little your kids will miss their toys.
Tackle the kitchen at the beginning. How many wine glasses, mugs, utensils and cooking gadgets do you really need? Think like a motel owner and leave the bare minimum to make your meals for the next few weeks.
Start organising and packing your home room-by-room almost the moment the house contract is signed. Photo: Stocksy
5. Colour-code the boxes relating to your rooms
If only we had done this, it would have made things so much easier to find our iron, hair dryer and Alexa – they are still missing …
6. Remove boxes immediately
If there is space, perhaps in a secure garage or basement, start placing the packed boxes away. This clears the house, and stops the urge to break into them to hunt for something later. If this isn’t an option, pack a full room or clear a large space where boxes can be left untouched.
7. Clean as you pack
Vacuum behind the beds, and give the doors and cupboards a wipe down – this will save time and effort on moving day.
Always designate a special place for your house keys. Photo: iStock
8. Pay someone to clean the oven
If your budget stretches to any outsourcing, let it be for this. Cleaning the oven is a crappy job at the best of times, let alone at one of the most stressful. I can think of little worse than wiping oven cleaner and scrubbing metal racks on the evening we left. Awful.
9. Eat your way out of your home
Refrain from big grocery shops in the weeks leading up to your move. Try to use whatever you’ve got on hand, which will make the move (plus the cleaning of the fridge, freezer and pantry) all that much easier.
10. Stuff, seal and shut drawers
There’s no need to empty your clothing drawers. Get as much in them as possible, then simply seal them shut and ship them off.
Boxes with lids are great for those essentials you’ll need on the first night at your new home including toiletries, breakfast for the next day and tea and coffee. Photo: iStock
11. Avoid an electrical assemblage nightmare
Place electrics in their own separate box. Take a picture before disassembling these items to see how the now-jumbled cords should be plugged in when you arrive at your new abode. Clear, resealable sandwich bags are great for screws and small parts that will be needed later.
12. Pack ‘the next day’ essentials
Invest in some large clear boxes with lids. These are great for those essentials you’ll need on the first night at your new home including toiletries, breakfast for the next day and tea and coffee. It’s a good idea to include two changes of clothing for you and the family, one work outfit and the school uniforms (including shoes), bedding for your first night, some towels and details of a good takeaway joint – cooking is going to be the last thing on your mind.
13. Make a place for your keys
And be vigilant about putting them back there during the shift. My set ended up in my son’s school bag.
If you can, hire a babysitter. Photo: Stocksy
14. Hire a babysitter
If that’s not an option, ask friends and family to mind the kids on the day of the move. We are forever grateful to our friends who took our young children for this stressful day.
15. Leave cleaning equipment and supplies somewhere handy
You’ll need them on shifting day and at your new house – we now have two of everything.
14 August 2019
It’s tax time and that means many Australians are finding a bit of extra cash in their bank accounts. Whether you’re planning some DIY projects or using it to inject some style into your home, here are some tips for getting more bang for your buck.
While it’s no secret that investing in good quality homewares is worth it in the long run, what are some cost-effective ways to make a major style update in the home?
Lead interior designer at Porter Davis Homes Victoria Patrizia Romeo says investing in a mature indoor plant is a great way to instantly change the look of a space.
“Investing in a taller, more mature plant can be a great way to add a focal point within the space,” she says.
“Different areas of the home will provide different conditions for your plants, so make sure you research the needs of the plant you want to buy. This will ensure that your investment will, literally, grow over time.”
If you are looking at making subtle changes to your home, consider adding house plants. Photo: Porter Davis
The bedroom is your sanctuary, so investing in bedding is a no-brainer. Romeo says choosing a natural colour tone is best for making the most of your money.
“Natural fabrics such as linen, bamboo and silk are great to use, they’re durable,” she says. “Pairing these with feature cushions and chunkier statement throws is a great way to add layers within the room.”
Garden expert Bonnie Grants says now is a good time to get out in the garden and prepare for spring, and you can’t go wrong spending your tax dollars “exploring what your green thumb can do”.
“Planting now and prepping the soil, spending money on trees, grass and fertilisers is the best way to set yourself up for spring,” she says. “There’s nothing you can do to your garden that won’t be worth the money in the long run.”
Topping up your garden shed now means you’ll be ready for spring.
When it comes to what to plant, flowers with bright colours are always a winner.
“I love the Alyssum flower because it’s such a good insect attractor and it can withstand just about any climate, so you’re not risking much planting it while it’s still cold,” says Grants. “It’s also unusually small so it can be planted anywhere, even in veggie patches or in planter boxes.”
Getting the garden furniture sorted out before spring sets in minimises the risk of any surprise damages.
“At the very least take a look at your garden furniture see if anything needs replacing, and make the most of the end-of-financial-year sales,” says Grants. “It’s also the perfect time to spend a little extra on gardening tools. Plus, pruning is best done at the end of winter, so you’ll need some good gear.”
Utilise different colours and textures to create an inviting and peaceful atmosphere. Photo: Porter Davis
The old saying you get what you pay for applies to homewares too, so putting your tax return towards something with a higher price point than you normally would is something to consider. Romeo says a sofa is a big ticket item that shouldn’t be passed up for a cheaper alternative, but it’s also important to think about your lifestyle when choosing one.
“Leather is more durable but can be costly and a white sofa may look great, but it’s unforgiving when it comes to children’s messy fingers,” she says. “Stick to neutral tones and a sofa which suits your style and can adapt to changing trends.”
19 July 2019
The world’s biggest, heaviest gold coin was made here in Australia but it’s been sent to the Big Apple for a day.
The world’s biggest coin was crafted in Australia. Picture: Twitter/Perth MintSource:Twitter
The world’s biggest, heaviest gold coin, which was crafted by the Perth Mint, has been delivered to the New York Stock Exchange to promote physical Australian gold being made available to US investors.
The colossal one tonne gold coin is 99.99 per cent pure gold and measures 80cm wide and 13cm deep.
It is recognised by Guinness World Records as the largest coin ever created.
It was worth $A50 million when it was cast in 2012 but its value has risen to more than $A60 million given the soaring price of the precious metal, which recently has been hitting all-time highs of more than $2,000 an ounce against the Aussie.
The coin is being displayed outside the stock exchange on Wall Street to mark the official launch of the Perth Mint Physical Gold Exchange Traded Fund, which will trade under the code AAAU from tonight.
Perth Mint chief executive Richard Hayes will ring the bell to signal the end of the trading day.
“Every AAAU share is backed by physical gold stored in our central bank-grade vaulting facilities in Perth, so at any time investors may choose to exchange part or their entire holdings for a delivery of physical gold to their door,” he said.
Its inscription reads: AUSTRALIAN KANGAROO 1 TONNE 9999 GOLD and the year-date 2012.
The other side of the coin portrays the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and the monetary denomination of one million dollars.
“The colossal coin is a magnificent Australian icon symbolising one of the Mint’s most extraordinary accomplishments since it was established in 1899,” the Mint’s website states.
The coin was issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965.
Prior to the coin’s visit to the NYSE, it made an exclusive trip across Europe and Asia in 2014 and has mostly been housed at the Mint’s Gold Exhibition.
30 May 2019
Australia’s housing market downturn is coming to an end, with leading economists predicting a spike in house prices as soon as July.
Property prices fell one per cent nationally in January, with CoreLogic data showing a smaller decline of 0.5 per cent in April – a result tipped to be repeated for May.
It comes after Commonwealth Bank’s incoming, home loan applications jumped to a 10-month high and strong predictions of interest rates cuts.
Expect to see a whole lot more of these in the coming months. (AAP)
“Australia’s house price growth reached its worst on an annualised basis in January. Prices have continued to fall since then, but the rate of decline has slowed,” the bank wrote in a statement.
“If you look at prior cycles, an increase in house prices occurred five to seven months after the trough in the annualised growth rate. Using the average of six months, prices could rise by July.”
The bank said in every Australian house price cycle since 1989, price growth followed within seven months after the monthly annualised price decline bottomed.
Graph showing the trend repeating over the past 30 years. (Supplied)
Macquarie’s prediction extends further than past performance, with the bank also attributing looming interest rate cuts, relaxed lending conditions and the recent election result to its positive outlook.
“With the surprise Coalition election win, APRA’s policy change and an expected June RBA rate cut, we are more confident Australian house prices could rise within months,” the note read.
“This should flow through to better growth in housing finance and building approvals.”
AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver shares similar sentiments.
“The combination of the removal of the threat to property tax concessions, earlier interest rate cuts, financial help for first home buyers and APRA relaxing its 7 per cent interest rate test points to house prices bottoming earlier and higher than we have been expecting,” he said in a note.
“We now expect capital city average house prices to have a top to bottom fall of 12 per cent— of which they have already done 10 per cent — rather than 15 per cent and to bottom later this year.”
A swing in property prices has been supported with the Commonwealth Bank saying last week it saw the highest level of home loan applications in ten months.
This also coincides with CoreLogic data from the same period showing median home prices in Sydney and Melbourne increased by 0.3 per cent and 0.1 cent, respectively.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s victory has helped the market, economists say. (AAP)
Nine finance editor Ross Greenwood said the threat of changes to the tax treatment on Australian housing created a lot of uncertainty in the market, but since Scott Morrison’s victory this has shifted to a “sense of immediate euphoria”.
“It is actually good news if people kind of feel OK about things,” he told Today.
“But the one thing about this is it now comes back to the old-fashioned leaders of the economy – what the Reserve Bank does, whether we get tax cuts.
“These are the things that put cold hard cash in people’s pockets. At the end of the day, that’s the thing that counts.”
Greenwood added tax cuts would have a bigger impact long-term on household budgets and finances than a decline in interest rates.
“The problem is because one-third of families have a mortgage, whereas two-thirds of families are trying to save for a mortgage to own their home and they have savings in the bank,” he said.
22 November 2018
Great news for the Western Australian economy, read the article below.
If we can be of help or offer advice on selling & leasing give us a call on 9475 9622!
By Josh Zimmerman Via: https://www.perthnow.com.au/business/housing-market/house-price-rise-on-cards-as-economy-confidence-improving-says-wa-premier-mark-mcgowan-ng-b881023908z
PREMIER Mark McGowan has this message for West Australians: buy a house now because the good times are coming back.
Exactly one year after The Sunday Times heralded early signs of life for WA’s stagnant economy, the results are in — and they are conclusive.
Data released on Friday showed the State’s domestic economy expanded 1.1 per cent in 2017-18, a remarkable turnaround after plummeting 7.1 per cent in 2016-17 and four consecutive years of decline.
This week another big step was taken towards WA reclaiming its AAA credit rating when Federal Parliament enshrined in law the hard-fought $4.7 billion GST reform package, which The Sunday Times has campaigned for since 2014.
Nearly every month this year has brought news of renewed activity in the mining sector. Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group and BHP have all announced new workforce-hungry iron ore projects and the State now boasts seven lithium mines, with a second $1 billion lithium processing plant on the way near Bunbury.
Mr McGowan said he had not felt more confident about WA’s economic prospects since sweeping to power early last year.
“Every day you are seeing good signs,” he said. “The confidence is back in WA. You can feel it, you can see it and certainly it is an improvement on where it was.”
Mr McGowan tipped a turnaround in the long-declining property market and a jolt to stagnant wages would follow hot on the heels of renewed business investment.
“It is actually a good time to buy (a house),” he said.
“I would encourage people. Prices are low yet economic activity is picking up and so that will inevitably be followed by (demand for) housing.”
The Sunday Times joined Mr McGowan in Wiluna on Thursday to visit the oft-maligned Paroo Station lead mine, where a $US150 million investment in world-first processing technology is set to bring the operation back to viability while eliminating environmental issues previously associated with transporting lead concentrate.
The Rosslyn Hill Mining venture has just received environmental approvals to expand and build an advanced hydrometallurgical facility, which will convert lead concentrate to bars without the traditional smelting process.
Lead is among the suite of minerals abundant in WA that Mr McGowan hopes will catapult the State into global leadership in the renewable energy sector.
To that end, his Government has set aside $5.5 million for a future battery research centre, but recognises that WA-made batteries are a long way off. “That would be a longer-term initiative,” Mr McGowan said.
15 October 2018
Affordability in Perth’s residential sales market improved during the September 2018 quarter, with house and unit prices softening marginally.
REIWA President Damian Collins said there was excellent opportunity for buyers and investors to take advantage of current market conditions to secure their next home or investment property.
“While the worst of the market downturn appears to be behind us, the results of the September 2018 quarter reveal conditions are favourable for buyers and investors,” Mr Collins said.
Median house and unit price
reiwa.com data shows Perth’s median house price should settle at $505,000 for the September 2018 quarter.
“This is 1.9 per cent lower than the June 2018 quarter median and one per cent lower than last year’s September quarter,” Mr Collins said.
“While quarterly median figures can be more subject to stock composition changes, the fact that the annual change is only one per cent lower suggests that we are at or near the bottom.
“It was a similar story for the unit market, with the median expected to settle at $395,000, which is 1.3 per cent lower than the June 2018 quarter and 2.5 per cent lower than the September 2017 quarter.”
While the overall market experienced a decline in median house price during the quarter, 57 suburbs across the area bucked this trend.
“The top performing suburbs for median house price growth were Swan View, East Cannington, Como, Hillarys and Cottesloe.” Mr Collins said.
“In the unit market, Maylands, Midland, Tuart Hill, Fremantle and Claremont were the suburbs with the strongest price growth.”
There were fewer sales in the September 2018 quarter than there were during the June 2018 quarter.
Mr Collins said reiwa.com data showed 6,428 sales for the quarter, which was 4.9 per cent lower than last quarter.
“It’s not uncommon to experience a decline in sales during the September quarter, with West Australians typically less inclined to search for property during winter. We tend to see activity slow during the winter months before increasing again as the weather warms up,” Mr Collins said.
The share of house sales in Perth has increased, with reiwa.com data showing houses now comprise 74 per cent of all sales, compared to 65 per cent at the same time last year.
Perth’s top selling suburbs for house sales during the September 2018 quarter were Baldivis, Canning Vale, Morley, Dianella and Gosnells, while the suburbs to record the biggest improvement in house sales activity were Cooloongup, The Vines, Alexander Heights, Mirrabooka and Wattle Grove.
“It’s a good time to buy, which is reflected in the fact a higher proportion of houses are now being sold. This shift in the composition of sales (houses, units and land) indicates buyers are more inclined to purchase a house than they might have otherwise been. This can be attributed to housing affordability improving across the metro area, which has made buying a house a more attainable property purchase,” Mr Collins said.
“We’ve also seen an increase in activity between the $350,000 and $500,000 price range during the September quarter, which is pleasing as it indicates first home buyers remain an active component of the Perth market.”
Listings for sale
There were 13,850 properties for sale in Perth at the end of the September 2018 quarter.
Mr Collins said stock levels across the metro area had declined 3.7 per cent during the quarter.
“It’s pleasing that, although there were fewer sales this quarter, listing stock continues to be absorbed.
“This is the third consecutive quarter we’ve seen listings for sale decline, which is a positive step forward in the market’s recovery,” Mr Collins said.
08 October 2018
Almost one in five Aussies are missing out on bargains because they are scared off by auctions.
Source: Real estate insiders
Buyers are throwing great property bargains onto the scrapheap before they have even seen them because they’re scared off by auctions, experts say.
Universal Buyers Agent property expert Darren Piper said buyers are missing out on bargains of up to 25 per cent because they are frightened off by auction sales.
“It can be daunting if you don’t know what you’re doing,” Mr Piper said.
“With television shows turning up the theatre and adrenaline of an auction it can cause buyers quite a lot of anxiety.
“But for those who aren’t put off it can be a great way to get in the door and find a real bargain.”
A recent survey by finder.com.au found one in five Aussies are “terrified” of auctions with many buyers passing over listings with an auction process.
Although the process can be intimidating Mr Piper said professional buyers agents can help to do the heavy lifting for buyers by attending auctions, making bids and finding properties worth inspecting.
“The first reaction many people have when they see a listing set as an auction is to give it a miss.
“We cut through the smoke and mirrors and ask the hard questions to determine if the auction if worth pursuing and just what kind of bargain you could get.
Mr Piper said a client had discounted a listing at 27 Cowper Street, Bulimba believing the auction listing was likely out of their price range.
But after enquiring with the estate agent and working out the value the client was able to secure the property at auction for $50k less than their max price range.
Mr Piper said it is also worth finding out how many bidders are expected to manage expectations and avoid falling into a price war.
“Most buyers turn to water at the thought of standing in a public place staring down other buyers and engaging with a boisterous auctioneer.
“We make the process less scary so buyers have the choice of handing over bidding to an expert and ensuring they get the best deal possible.
“There’s nothing worse than being out bid after you’ve spent time and money on a property, but with the right help you can snap up a real bargain.”
01 October 2018
Author: REIWA President Hayden Groves
Real estate transactions are complex. For many West Australians, it can be a challenge to determine their individual rights and responsibilities when it comes to dealing with property issues.
REIWA launched a public information service in 1992 to assist buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords navigate their property journeys. This valuable service allows members of the WA public dealing with a REIWA agent to find answers to their real estate queries and concerns.
Last financial year more than 20,000 phone calls were placed to the REIWA Information Service (2,000 more than the previous financial year), with West Australians seeking clarification and assistance from the Institute on a wide range of real estate matters.
As the WA market has slowed these past few years, the REIWA Information Service has seen call volumes increase. Residential property management continues to be the most common topic the public ring about, with 70 per cent of all phone calls for the year to date received from tenants and landlords. The remaining 30 per cent of calls have generally related to residential sales.
When it comes to WA tenants, they most commonly call REIWA to discuss the early termination of their rental lease. They also want to know what rights their landlords have to enter their property while tenanted and what rights they have with regards to repairs and maintenance.
Landlords, on the other hand, most commonly call to seek information on a tenant’s obligation to pay rent, to find out how the court system works in order to claim damages and to clarify their rights around abandoned goods.
In the residential sales market, buyers who call the REIWA Information Service generally do so to get information about their obligation to obtain finance approval within a period of time. They also commonly call to clarify their rights for the pre-settlement inspection. While WA sellers most frequently ring to find out about the settlement process, satisfying contractual conditions and to discuss buyer requests which are not addressed in the contract for sale.
The REIWA Information Service team is comprised of two full time staff members and 70 local REIWA agents who give three hours of their time every few months on a voluntary basis.
When you call up, you are given direct access to these local property experts who can educate you on areas you’re unsure about and help resolve any tricky property matters you might be facing.
If you are dealing with a REIWA agent and have a real estate query you want answered, I’d highly recommend contacting the REIWA Information Service on 9380 8200 for assistance.
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.