What women want

30.10.08 A stylish kitchen that is the heart and soul of the home!!!! How times have changed. Once the kitchen was a separate room where the woman (sometimes the man) of the house cooked a wonderful meal with only herself for company. The family would all be busy in different parts of the house and only come together when the meal was being served. When entertaining, friends would all sit in the formal dining room enjoying great conversations and sipping wine while once again leaving the poor ‘chef’ all alone. Now when women are house hunting one of the major requirements is a central kitchen with everything close at hand as needed. Easy to clean surfaces, innovative appliances and clutter free space so family or guests can socialize in the kitchen before sitting down for a meal. The kitchen today is where most Australians spend 50% of their waking hours, so time has come to get smart and streamline our kitchens. When house hunting I personally find that kitchens play a major part in a house a woman chooses. Most woman love the open plan feel of a kitchen where family and friends can gather for a quick cuppa and discuss the news of the day. If you are thinking of selling then give your kitchen a critical overview, sometimes just a new bench top can make a difference. Today a mix of reconstituted stone and polyurethane finishes brings glamour and a fresh new look. Or maybe you have decided to replace your kitchen before putting your home on the market, whatever your decision remember that a modern look with the latest European Stainless Steel Appliances and a 2-pac Cabinetry is one great makeover. Make no mistake, woman definitely love a modern kitchen that adds a stylish edge to a home where entertaining is easy and enjoyable. Until next week, Jocelyn Frost

Getting back to fundamentals

23.10.08 With a lot of talk this week again focused on the world economy and whether or not we are headed into global recession I wanted to take a look at what the impact some of these global issues will have on our local market. I’ve ranted on before about the simple economic principle of supply and demand and how property prices are driven purely and simply by this maxim. That hasn’t changed and nor is it likely to. But exactly what does that mean? Well, the good news is that we don’t have an excess of supply. In fact, we don’t have enough dwellings to meet demand. The consensus is that housing demand is continuing to grow at around 180,000 units per annum across Australia with supply averaging out at about 150,000 representing a shortfall of almost 17%. Locally it’s not much different. For example, in Chapel Hill about 220 homes are sold every year whereas estimated real demand sits slightly higher at 250 homes per annum. With similar levels of demand remaining unmet across the area modest price growth is most likely. Another reason why we aren’t likely to suffer the same fate as some other countries, most notably the USA, is that we aren’t likely to see a large number of forced sales at any price hitting the market. In Australia sub prime loans are known as non conforming loans and they account for a little over 1% of the mortgage market. In the USA they are estimated to represent about 15%. Should all of them fail at the one time then we would see a spike in activity but the net effect would be short lived. Now is as good a time as any to consider making a move and you should do so knowing with confidence that the fundamentals are still strong. If you would like more information on what your market place is doing, or if you would like to discuss how to make a smart move today please feel free to call us anytime. Till Next Week...

Putting the “more” in Kenmore

16.10.08 - It’s terrific to see this week, two outstanding opportunities available for sale at Auction here in Kenmore. 15 Fortrose Street is first off the line being open for inspection from 9:30am and auctioning on-site at 10:00am. A perfectly presented family home in a quiet street where the local children regularly play cricket (even though there is a fabulous park at the end of the street!), this property provides a great opportunity to secure your family’s future with easy open plan living and great entertaining and play areas. Complimented by a large shed and 5,000l water tank this is an opportunity not to be missed. 46 Gem Road follows immediately afterwards, with inspection from 10:30am, and auction on-site at 11:00am. Ideally suited for the executive family, this sprawling modern home presents great options for a growing family, and with numerous play and entertaining areas complimented by a fabulous swimming pool to train future Olympians in, this property represents a rare opportunity in a central position close to everything. Astute buyers have recognised that Kenmore represents untapped future growth potential because of its terrific position, great schools, shops and transport option. Originally the “it” suburb of the Western Suburbs, Kenmore has been usurped in recent years by the younger Chapel Hill, but as new land becomes more and more scarce in Chapel Hill, and older property are being improved in Kenmore, we forecast that Kenmore will again become the suburb of choice in the future. For more details about these properties or any other real estate matter, please feel confident to speak with me or any of the expert team here at CENTURY 21 Westside. Until next week…

Opportunity Knocking

11.10.08 - It’s been a roller-coaster ride in recent weeks on global financial markets, and many commentators are predicting that there’s more turbulence to come. Encouragingly, however, property remains a comparably stable investment, as people realize that “bricks and mortar” is a long term necessity and more likely to deliver sustained capital growth over the long term. In addition to this, the Reserve Bank’s welcome decision to drop interest rates by a full 1% earlier this week and talk of further rate decreases of up to a further 2% in the near future, mean that Buyer confidence in Real Estate is soaring at the moment. As mentioned in a previous message a couple of week’s ago: “One often hears the catch cry of “position, position, position”, and that is the key to the stability of the Western Suburbs as a whole. Homes in this area benefit from great schools, terrific shopping, improving transport infrastructure, wide open spaces, lovely parks, and all within close proximity of the city and easy access to the gold and sunshine coasts.” These are the “fundamentals” that underpin the value of the area and the future is looking even brighter too, with further proposed infrastructure for roads, transport and amenities, which will only add to the livability and therefore the value of the area. So if you are looking to secure your future in the area, we are pleased to present a selection of quality properties for your attention. For more details about these properties or any other real estate matter, please feel confident to speak with me or any of the expert team here at CENTURY 21 Westside. Until next week…

Let’s get real!

4.10.08 - I was watching the business news and taking in all the banter about ailing financial institutions, the USA’s bail-out strategies, finance ministers and opposition leaders duelling over whether or not the banks should and will pass on interest rate cuts and I got to thinking about our own real estate market place. Firstly let’s take a look at supply and demand. Ordinarily spring is a well supplied time of the year when it comes to housing stock. With the exception of 2006, spring has always lead the way in terms of volume on the market and volume sold. It makes sense – the lawns and gardens look good, the temperature is about right and our available time to purchase a home is pretty good as winter sports are over and summer ones haven’t really started in earnest yet. So, supply is starting to get back in line and you will notice that we are already bringing a number of good homes to market at the present. So what about demand? Well the buyers are out and they are buying. If you’re a buyer then I am sure you would agree with me that there are more buyers about now then there were a month ago and if you were looking this time last year you know that in the next few weeks those numbers will bolster even further. Historically at the time when buyer activity starts to energise the competitive nature of environment invariably results in prices rises. With most of the talk this week on liquidity and interest rates we have to give proper consideration to what effect these will have on real property demand and prices. Over the past few years getting the necessary finance to get into your preferred home has been relatively simple – if you make the grade and your risk profile is acceptable then lenders were competing for your business. Not so now though. With interest rates heading south but with bankers and lenders still nervous about risks and their returns we are noticing that their lending is tightening. They are asking for more evidence to support the mortgage and they are inherently more conservative with valuations. The effect is that for those with strong financials getting the finance shouldn’t be an issue but for some of us we need to act more cautiously. So what should you do? If you are ready to move then my advice would be to meet with your lender, broker or financial advisor and seek pre-approval, that way you can have every confidence to make a sound decision. Next, get out there take a look at some of our great homes and be prepared to act when you find that right home – else, you might regret not making the smart move.