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May 30, 2012

Shock horror – some positive data

Brothels, union credit cards, crying MPs. Doom and gloom in Europe, America and the United Kingdom. Sharemarket fluctuations wilder than a “dinner party” at Silvio Berlusconi’s weekend villa. Sheesh. Subject yourself to a newspaper or evening bulletin these days and you’ll probably need some Bex, a cuddle and a lie down.


But wait… what’s that? Over there, just past more rumblings of leadership tension (yawn) and Lara Bingle’s new reality TV show (cautiously intrigued) – it’s a string of promising property data.

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May 29, 2012

As far as forms go, this one’s a doozey

There are many things, people and red tape included, that we’d be better off without. One of those things is Queensland’s Form 27c. In layman’s terms, Form 27c of the purchase contract must be completed and given to a buyer before they sign on the dotted line.


It discloses all fees or favours incurred as the result of a property sale including commissions, marketing fees, management overriders and referrals. It even requires details of introductions to other parties (i.e. finance brokers and solicitors) who could assist the buyer, regardless of whether it’s verbal or written and with no fees paid.

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May 25, 2012

Richer people are happier

What is happiness? According to Lucy from Peanuts, it’s a warm puppy. But what are the secrets from the happiest people on the planet? Some are pretty obvious – be wealthy, get married and have a job. From there, it gets more complicated.


While happiness isn’t easy to quantify, Columbia University’s Earth Institute attempts to do just that in its World Happiness Report, which has the ambitious goal of surveying the state of happiness in the world today.

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May 23, 2012

Are we talking ourselves into more panic?

The closest most Australians will get to a Greek crisis is a dodgy late night souvlaki, yet so many seem spooked about the debt brouhaha that’s dragging out a few thousand miles away. A recent experience leaves me unconvinced the average punter even knows what’s going on, let alone how it affects them. Are we scaring ourselves into another slump?


I was at a barbecue recently when someone lamented the current “dire” state of the property market. She eagerly looked to me – suddenly the resident property Yoda among my circle of acquaintances – for confirmation of her outlook. When I referenced a slew of recent positive market indicators, and spoke about my interest in buying another investment, the entire gathering came to a halt.

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May 21, 2012

Action on affordability isn’t working

The mining boom is great on paper, but like the unsinkable Titanic on calm waters, no one seems to see the great iceberg ahead. There’s an old Jewish proverb, which – roughly translated – goes: “People come to poverty in two ways, accumulating debts and paying them off.”


You don’t need the brain of a statistician to work out why political polls are low. It’s not just about lowering hospital waiting lists and reducing rising electricity bills. Neither is it about handouts to appease changes in policy such as the carbon tax.

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May 18, 2012

Where is Australia’s most liveable city?

Australia’s cities are vital to the prosperity of our nation. So how are we going? The Property Council asked 5200 people to judge their city’s performance in 17 areas, including design, safety, education, housing and government, as part of the My City survey. Surprisingly, we barely achieve a pass mark on the most important measure: liveability.


Here’s how the major cities fared this year.

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May 11, 2012

Interest rates are falling. What about house prices?

You’d have to be living under a rock not to know the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut the official cash rate by 0.5 per cent last week. Most economists think there is likely to be another one or two cuts later in the year. So what does this mean for property values and investors?


Earlier this year, the RBA left interest rates on hold because they were expecting the mining boom to stimulate our economy. They were worried this may lead to inflation and thought they’d have to balance this stimulus out with higher rates.

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May 9, 2012

‘Can Do’ needs to become ‘Undo’

The Queensland Building Boost kicked off last August under the previous State Government with the usual fireworks and rockets, and a promise of help for the housing industry. Oh, that is way too tame – it was actually a political wedge designed to shut up the development industry. And it worked a treat.


The grant was promoted as a panacea that would lift demand and help get more new development under way. Too many believed that would be the case, with some – even in the development industry – calling for the boost to be extended. And it was.

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Police Academy and some boom spots: who knew?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but there are just some things in life you can’t anticipate. Like the critically acclaimed Police Academy – who would’ve thought its sequels would fail to redefine cinematic brilliance to the same extent? Property is similar, albeit with less slapstick, in its ability to produce some truly “who knew?” moments.


The well-rounded and charming fellow whose words you read today was shaped in Queensland towns like Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Mackay. They were typically regional – relatively small, a bit out of the way and easy to forget.

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May 4, 2012

Is 2012 the year of rental growth?

At times of slower property price growth, or no price growth in some areas, property investors count on rising rents to boost their investment returns. The fact is, since the beginning of 2006 rental growth across the combined capital cities has outpaced the growth in home values.


The following table from RP Data shows that over the last six years capital city home values have increased by 34.5 per cent, compared to rental rates that increased by 46.8 per cent.

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