Watching interest rates has almost become a sport in Australia. Will they go up, or won’t they? It seems to matter to a lot of people each month, many of them mortgage holders.
One reason for this is the country’s general obsession with property and how money is borrowed to pay for that property. For example, close to 80% of mortgages are purchased on a variable interest rate, according to broker Mortgage Choice, and this means any rise in official rates will likely impact the monthly payments on those loans.
And so, as speculation increases that the ‘cash rate’ set by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will go up in the coming months, there’s not surprisingly been a gradual uptick in fixed loans taken out (around 22% overall in February), as per recent Mortgage Choice data. In light of an improving global economy, however, Australia’s economic situation seems steady right now, based on the RBA’s statement this week.
Importantly, the RBA also notes varied property market conditions around the country, which is why, in part, it’s leaving the cash rate at 1.5%. Other factors contributing to its recent decision include inflation remaining low, labour costs being subdued and mixed employment conditions.
“Taking account of the available information the board judged that holding the stance of policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time," said RBA governor, Phillip Lowe.
Worrying about the economy
The official interest rate also matters broadly because it impacts how people spend and save. As such, the RBA uses it as a tool to either stimulate the economy, or to curtail consumer activity. One reason to worry about too much spending is that it can cause the cost of goods and services to rise, pushing up inflation. High inflation can then negatively impact the efficiency of the overall economy. When the RBA anticipates this, it often increases the cash rate to keep a lid on inflation.
Right now inflation is at 1.5%, as per the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the changing price consumers pay for goods and services. Keep in mind that the target rate is 2-3%, which, according to the RBA’s website, is “sufficiently low that it does not materially distort economic decisions in the community.”
Well, the target can wait. The economy is ticking along and the RBA is trying to keep everything balanced. Indeed, the current monetary policy setting remains appropriate for sustainable growth in the economy, the RBA governor said this week.
For a start, gross domestic product in the December quarter rose 1.1% from September, consumer sentiment was up slightly in February, based on the Westpac Melbourne Institute Index, and the RBA says the overall economic outlook is encouraging.
Of course, the RBA “still has the ability to cut rates if underlying inflation stubbornly remains below the low end of the 2-3% target band,” according to CommSec.
So where’s the problem?
While the RBA exercises close control over the cash rate through its financial-market operations and policies, banks and credit providers set their own rates and can choose to increase or decrease rates regardless of the cash rate, according to ASIC's Moneysmart.
This has been a source of debate over the last year. The RBA is continually grappling with the idea that record low rates are causing a prolonged selling and construction boom in some property markets, while at the same time they are trying increase activity in quieter ones.
"The predicament for the RBA is clear,” says CoreLogic RP Data’s head of research, Tim Lawless. “They are unwilling to drop rates because this would likely add further fuel to the housing market. [But] they don’t want to push rates higher as this will stifle consumption and investment more broadly as well as potentially place some upwards pressure on the Australian dollar.
"While interest rates remain at their current low level, and in the absence of additional macro prudential measures, we should expect housing demand from investors and owner occupiers to remain strong, particularly in those cities where economic conditions remain strong and migration rates remain high.”
From a funky granny flat in a suburban back yard and architect-designed homes, to a sand bypass system, and a dam that stores the region's drinking water, the Gold Coast Open House 2017, which starts on 4 November, has something for everyone.
The Gold Coast Open House will open 40 buildings to the general public, including heritage treasures and Commonwealth Games-ready sports venues.
The region is well known for its interwar and post-war development boom and recreational industries, and the buildings and places in this year's events reflect these influences. The program provide a snapshot of the evolution of architecture on the Gold Coast. Some buildings date as far back as the late 1800s, and the program also includes cutting-edge design by some of the Gold Coast’s top architects.
Gold Coast Open House is a free event and suitable for all ages.
This article was found in The Real Estate Conversation - https://www.therealestateconversation.com.au/2017/10/10/gold-coast-open-house-2017-40-houses-buildin...
It was the little house on a small block that country music singer Adam Brand jokingly referred to as “The Shack”.
The tiny two-bedroom house was riddled with asbestos and in desperate need of some TLC when Adam found it – and it was exactly what he was looking for.
As a touring artist, Adam is on the road a lot. But in between gigs he found himself with quite a bit of downtime and a strong desire to ﬁnd a property project to work on.
“Many years ago, I bought a couple of rental properties, did some very basic renovations where I ripped up carpets, repainted and cleaned up the yards,” Adam explains.
“I found that I loved the whole process of ﬁnding something rundown that’s dirty and neglected that everyone drives past and looks at the place and thinks they wouldn’t go near it.
I enjoyed pouring love into it, and having people go ‘Wow!’ at the end result.”
He hadn’t yet tackled a major renovation, but with a little time on his hands between tours, “I just needed a good project to sink my teeth into,” he says.
So he bought a house to renovate in his hometown on the Gold Coast.
“It was located in Palm Beach, a beachside suburb, on a very small 408sqm block. It was really a tiny little shack with two bedrooms and one bathroom that was built in the
’50s,” he says.
“It’s on the other side of the highway, something that will make sense to people who know the area – so it’s not on the real fancy side overlooking the beach. But the ﬁrst dozen avenues in the suburb are basically five minutes’ walk from the cafes in Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth [Avenues], and it’s so close to the water you’re literally a few minutes’ walk away.”
Pounding the pavement in search of property
Adam approached his renovation project in a strategic manner by planning what he wanted to achieve well before he began browsing the classifieds
You want to do everything you can to help your home sell for a high price, right? Well, you can put the demolition tools down and take a step back from the bathroom remodel.
Mozo has surveyed over 1,000 Aussies to find out what’s most likely to stop them buying a property, and it turns out small fixes can mean a big difference when it comes to selling your home for a good price.
But it’s not always easy to know where to start - so here are the top 10 things that might turnoff a prospective buyer and some tips on how you can fix them in your home
These are the hottest renovation projects in the country this year, and they also have some of the hottest kitchens.
Seven homes, including two from Queensland, made the National Architecture Awards shortlist for Residential Architecture — Houses (Alterations & Additions), with competition described by the jury as being at “its most fierce” this year
Building our city
The 'Building our city' project is a long term research and reporting project being undertaken in conjunction with Griffith University’s Urban Research Program that measures how specific parts of the Gold Coast are changing over time. The project will track the benefits of investment in certain areas by the City, the Commonwealth and State Governments, and provide input into public policy decision making as future reports are published.
The methodology is simple. Specific locations are selected; indicators (economic, urban planning, social and environmental) are identified, measured and mapped to establish a baseline. The indicators are then measured again every two years and the results are compared to identify changes. The key to the project is the simplicity and clarity of the presentation of the data in a highly visual report with the aim of making the data accessible for a wide range of stakeholders.
The overall aim is to track the impact of infrastructure planning and investment in these specific locations over time, and to utilise this data to inform future public policy development and decision making, as well as allowing for successes to be measured and communicated.
For further information please contact our Office of City Architect on 07 5582 8875.
Light Rail Corridor - Parkwood to Broadbeach
The Gold Coast light rail project is one of the biggest public transport projects in the country, and the biggest transport infrastructure project ever undertaken on the Gold Coast. As Queensland’s first ever light rail system, it represents a major step forward in transforming the city into a modern, accessible destination. Fast, frequent trams now connect 16 light rail stations along a 13 kilometre route from Broadbeach to Gold Coast University Hospital.
Read the Light Rail Corridor 2013 Baseline Report to see the statistics prior to the operation of the light rail.
Read the Light Rail Corridor 2015 Status Report to see what’s changed since 2013.
The 'Building our city – Light Rail Corridor 2017 Status Report' will be due for publication in early-mid 2018.
Southport was declared a Priority Development Area (PDA) in October 2013 with the Southport PDA Development Scheme being approved by the State Government in September 2014, marking a major milestone in planning for the Gold Coast CBD and significantly boosting the City’s plans to revitalise Southport.
Read the Southport PDA 2015 Baseline Report to find out more about the benefits of this project.
The 'Building our city – Southport PDA 2017 Status Report' will be due for publication in early-mid 2018.
Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct (GCHKP)
The Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct is a vibrant community where people live, learn and work. The 200 hectare health and knowledge precinct, located at Parklands in Southport, is rapidly growing and includes the state-of-the-art Gold Coast University Hospital, Gold Coast Private Hospital, and Griffith University.
Works have begun for the development of the 29 hectare Commonwealth Games Village (adjacent to Griffith University), which will accommodate 6500 athletes and team officials in the lead up and during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ .
Read the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct 2016 Baseline Report to find out more about the benefits of this project.
Li ght Rail Corridor - Broadbeach to Coolangatta
The Southern Light Rail Corridor will extend the existing route from Broadbeach South station to Coolangatta. Extending the light rail will make it easier to get around the city, reduce congestion on the roads and improve commute times. Connections to residential areas, workplaces and the airport will see continued economic growth, jobs and opportunities. Residents and tourists will benefit from improved access to beaches, parks, dining and entertainment.
The development of the ‘Building our city – Southern Light Rail Corridor 2017 Baseline Report’ is currently under development and is due for publication in early to mid 2018.
A syndicate that includes former Crocodile Dundee star, Paul Hogan, is set to pay $21 million for Brisbane's Queen's Arms Hotel, on trendy James Street in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley.
It is understood the syndicate is headed up by Sydney publican and former Lewis Hotels’ head, Peter Ashelford, and Nick Politis.
The new fund is believed to be worth $100m, and recently purchased Tree Tops in Burleigh, and bought the Robert Frazer-Scott’s Boat House Tavern, Coomera, from receivers.
The vendor of the Queen's Arms is Chris Condon.
Condon, who has owned and operated the Queen's Arms Hotel for eight years, recently refurbished the pub to the tune of $5 million, taking particular care to modernise the building, but preserve its history.
It is understood Tony Bargwanna, director hotels Savills Australia, negotiated the sale on behalf of the syndicate, but he declined to comment.
The sale is expected to settle in September.