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Stress-free Moving

PPG_Blog_Feb_image 2_stress free moving

Most of us have moved home at some stage in our lives. And research shows that it can be extremely stressful, on par with divorce and bereavement for many people.

Being organised and as efficient as possible will go a long way in reducing anxiety and stress. Here are 5 top tips for a hassle-free move:

1. Budget – gain a clear understanding of the costs you will incur so you are not hit with any hidden surprises.

2. Create a checklist – if you know you cope poorly when pressured by time, try creating a schedule of tasks. Start as soon as you can and tick off jobs once they are completed.

3. Hire a professional removalist – When you are moving house you are placing all your worldly goods in the hands of your removal company, so make sure the company transporting your belongings is professional and experienced. Consider hiring professional packers too.

4. Treat yourself – if possible take breaks and allow some time to enjoy yourself and relax. Eat well and try to get ample sleep.

5. Survival kit – before moving day try packing a survival kit of essentials. This can contain items that will get you through the move day unscathed e.g. toiletries, phone chargers, bottles of water and snacks.

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PPG_Blog_feb_image 1_REIV seminar

Looking to buy a property in Melbourne for the first time but don’t know where to start? You’re not alone! And for that reason, The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) is holding a free homebuyer’s seminar on Wednesday 19 April.

The seminar is an exclusive opportunity to hear from expert property professionals on how to go about purchasing a home in the Melbourne market. Key topics to be covered include:

· A local market overview

· All things finance

· Understanding the contract of sale.

This is a fantastic occasion to gain a greater understanding of the process involved in finding the right home for you. There’s a lot to consider when buying real estate and it’s the biggest investment you are likely to make over your lifetime. When armed with the right information the process seems much easier and far less stressful.

The REIV seminar runs from 6-8pm on the 19th April and will be held at The State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne. Seats are limited so to register to attend call 03 9205 6666 or go to www.reiv.com.au

The seminar is supported by Bendigo Bank and Parke Lawyers.

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RBA

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent.

In Australia, the economy is continuing its transition following the end of the mining investment boom. GDP was weaker than expected in the September quarter, largely reflecting temporary factors. A return to reasonable growth is expected in the December quarter.

The Bank’s central scenario remains for economic growth to be around 3 per cent over the next couple of years. Growth will be boosted by further increases in resource exports and by the period of declining mining investment coming to an end. Consumption growth is expected to pick up from recent outcomes, but to remain moderate. Some further pick-up in non-mining business investment is also expected.

The outlook continues to be supported by the low level of interest rates.

Labour market indicators continue to be mixed and there is considerable variation in employment outcomes across the country. The unemployment rate has moved a little higher recently, but growth in full-time employment turned positive late in 2016. The forward-looking indicators point to continued expansion in employment over the period ahead.

Inflation remains quite low. The December quarter outcome was as expected, with both headline and underlying inflation of around 1½ per cent.

Conditions in the housing market vary considerably around the country. In some markets, conditions have strengthened further and prices are rising briskly. In other markets, prices are declining. In the eastern capital cities, a considerable additional supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years. Growth in rents is the slowest for a couple of decades. Borrowing for housing has picked up a little, with stronger demand by investors. With leverage increasing, supervisory measures have strengthened lending standards and some lenders are taking a more cautious attitude to lending in certain segments.

Story source: www.rba.gov.au/

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Less Stuff, Less Stress

PPG_Blog_Jan_image 2_Less Stuff Less Stress

It’s entirely understandable that as we progress through life we accumulate more possessions. But according to a study of Australian homes by the Australia Institute we are accumulating far too much, and to the detriment of our health.

The problem begins when we surround ourselves with stuff that we either don’t need or don’t use. The Australia Institute found that one in five people had built a shed or garage to store excess things, whilst one in eight had even moved house to accommodate their excess clutter. Crazy!

The study also discovered that “women feel more stressed, depressed and anxious when their home is cluttered. Being surrounded by excess items not only wastes your time as you search for things, but it also promotes the consumption of comfort foods, reduces sleep quality, limits creativity, and makes you more indecisive about which of your daily work or household tasks to carry out.” Sound familiar?

So as we enter the new year and resolve to make certain changes in our lives going forward, why not take a look around your home and see if you might need to ease your stress with a major declutter. You’ll feel the benefits instantly. For further inspiration check out The Minimalists. These guys are extreme but can offer great tips on how to reduce the amount of stuff we own.

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PPG_Blog_Jan_image 1_Home Buyer Delay

The Australian Bureau of Statistic has just released figures indicating Australians are entering the property market later than ever before.

The 2013-14 data, shows that less than 50% of Australians bought their first home between the ages of 25 and 34 years old. Back in 2000-01 that percentage was up over 60.

One of the more obvious downsides to buying later in life is the prospect of lingering mortgage repayments well into retirement. The proportion of households aged 65 and over still paying off their mortgage has more than doubled, having risen from 3.6% of all households aged 65 and over in 2000–01, to 8.2% in 2013–14.

Buying later can certainly be attributed to a booming Australian property market whereby many young Australians simply cannot afford to pay the impossibly high prices. There are ways to combat this growing trend though. Here are 5 ideas for first home buyers to consider:

1. Investigate all government grants and incentives – there are fewer options available than in the past but some help is still there to take advantage of

2. Look at a unit/apartment rather than a larger house – start small and work your way up over time

3. Ask a parent to guarantee your loan – that way you can borrow up to 95% of your loan without paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance

4. Formulate a strict savings plan – and stick to it! If you can manage to set aside $350 a month, within two years you’ll have saved $20,000!

5. Co-borrow – many first home buyers have shared the costs with a friend, partner or family member with great success. Exercise caution and always seek legal advice.

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housing affordability

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) says that in the September quarter of 2016, housing affordability in Australia declined marginally with the proportion of the median family income required to meet average monthly loan repayments increasing to 29.5% from 29.4% in the previous quarter.

REIA President Neville Sanders said, “The recent Adelaide Bank/REIA Housing Affordability Report shows that whilst the proportion of the median family income required to meet average monthly loan repayments increased by 0.1 percentage points, it is still at the lower end over the last seven years. Unfortunately, historically low interest rates were unable to offset the increasing size of mortgages resulting in the rise in the proportion of the median family income required to meet average monthly loan repayments.”

“Over the September quarter, affordability improved in Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. New South Wales remained the least affordable state or territory for home buyers. Tasmania had the smallest average loan size while the proportion of first home buyers on the owner-occupier market was the largest in Western Australia.”

“The September quarter brought good news for renters. The proportion of the median family income required to meet median rents decreased by 0.6 percentage points to 24.2% during the quarter and South Australia was the only jurisdiction where rental affordability worsened.”

“The Australian Bureau of Statistics has recently revised its housing finance survey with the changes affecting statistics on owner-occupied and investment housing, the number of first home buyers and housing loan outstanding to households. These changes affected our September quarter publication.”

“The revision downgraded the proportion of first home buyers in the total number of owner-occupier housing finance commitments. It is extremely disappointing that the revised figures show fewer first home buyers since 2012 than previously reported. First home buyer financial commitments are down to 13.1 per cent of total owner – occupied housing in September. This is the lowest figure since the ABS series was commenced in June 1991 and compares to an average of 18.5 per cent over the period. With the average loan sizes continuing to rise REIA is concerned that the proportion may fall even further in the coming quarters,” said Mr Sanders.

Story source: www.reia.asn.au

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PPG_Blog_Nov_image 4_ 2 mil is new 1 mil

The Melbourne property market is driving a national spike in $2million+ property prices.

Not that long ago, $1 million guaranteed the purchase of an exceptional family home – a property where you could settle in and expect to be comfortable for life, only looking to down size when the nest became empty.

Over the past 12 months until June, the national figure for the number of properties selling for greater than $2 million exceeds 11,000 according to figures released by Core Logic. And this is more than double the number from five years ago. Twenty years ago, there were just 236 $2 million + sales across Australia.

The breakdown between houses and units in the $2 million+ range shows 9,882 were house sales and 1,437 were units. The largest concentration, not surprisingly, was in Sydney and Melbourne. Australia’s other states and territories combined represent only one tenth of all $2 million+ house sales and a quarter of $2 million+ unit sales in the past year.

In the June 2016 quarter, the REIV has released figures showing that there were five Melbourne suburbs that recorded a median price of greater than $2 million*.

Core Logic’s Cameron Kusher says this data provides dramatic evidence that the cost of housing in Melbourne and Sydney is detaching itself from the rest of the country.

*This is based on 30+ sales. Other Melbourne suburbs also recorded medians of $2 million+, but these figures were based on fewer than 30 sales.

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PPG_Blog_April_image 3_first quarter market update

REIA recently released the REIA Real Estate Market Facts for the September quarter 2016 which shows that the weighted average capital city median price increased by 1.4% for houses and 1.6% for other dwellings.

“The weighted average median house price for the eight capital cities is now $712,776. Reflecting the differing fortunes of state economies, over the quarter, the median house price increased in Sydney and Melbourne while the rest of the capital cities recorded decreases. Compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year, the median house price went up by 2.2% and, with the exception of Perth, Canberra and Darwin, all the capitals contributed to the increase”, said Mr Malcolm Gunning, President of the REIA.

“At $1,076,878, Sydney’s median house price is the highest among the capitals whilst Hobart retains the lowest at $385,000 – the figure is 46% lower than the national average ”

“The weighted average median price for other dwellings for the eight capital cities was $558,565 in the September quarter 2016. Sydney, Melbourne and Perth contributed to the quarterly increase while the rest of the capitals had decreases. When compared to the same time last year, the weighted average eight capital cities median price for other dwellings increased by 2.0%. Increases were recorded in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra”.

“Over the quarter, median rents showed varied results. In Canberra rents remained unchanged despite the vacancy rate dropping to 1.3 per cent during the third quarter of 2016. Rents in Adelaide and Melbourne increased whilst in Perth, Darwin and Hobart they decreased.

In Sydney rents in some locations remained unchanged whilst in others they decreased and in others increased.”

“Over the last three years the proportion of investors purchasing houses has increased and at the same time developers have responded to the increased demand by building more apartments. This has resulted in falling rents.

The ABS’s CPI figures support this. The September quarter 2016 CPI shows that the annual increase in rents to September has been the lowest since December 1994.”

“Providing further evidence that the current taxation arrangements which provide many Australians with the opportunity to invest in property adds to the housing supply and keep rents lower than they would otherwise be”, concluded Mr Gunning.

Story source: www.reia.asn.au

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Mortgage Mistakes

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Most mortgagees will refinance their home loan several times over the period of the loan. In fact, loan experts agree it’s important to reassess your loan every 5 years or so to ensure you are still on the right financial path.

Be careful though, many borrowers make one of more of the following mistakes when looking to refinance:

1 Stick with their current lender for no real reason – Don’t be afraid to look around and change lenders providing the alternative is a better option for your needs. Lenders don’t generally make an effort to keep your business so don’t feel obliged to stick with them.

2 Choose the lowest interest rate – Assuming the lowest rate is the best option is sometimes short-sighted. Be sure to choose the loan that meets all of your requirements e.g. offset account, redraw facility etc. The overall package is what’s most important.

3 Apply with several lenders – a common mistake is applying with a great deal of lenders and brokers to find the best deal. The more you apply, the more often a lender or broker conducts a credit check. More credit checks, more often actually harms your credit history and may lead to rejection or less than ideal interest rates.

4 Don’t read the fine print – a mortgage is a huge financial commitment. Not fully understanding what you are signing up for can come back to bite you later. Check the terms and conditions of the loan carefully, this is your money at stake.  And never be afraid to ask for explanations of fees you are being asked to pay.

5 Blindly trusting the inexperienced – lenders that have been in the mortgage market for a short while may not offer the same level of service or ongoing competitive pricing. Lack of flexibility in loan products can also add significantly to the cost of a loan especially for property investors.

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PPG_Blog_Nov_image 2_most liveable city

Did you know we reside in the world’s most liveable city? Yes, that’s right, Melbourne has been honoured with this accolade by the EIU for the last six consecutive years.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is a British business providing forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis, such as monthly country reports, five-year country economic forecasts, country risk service reports, and industry reports. The EIU also produces regular reports on livability and cost of living of the world’s major cities that receive wide coverage in international media.

Contributing to our ongoing top ranking from the EIU is Melbourne’s consistent performance across five broad categories – healthcare, education, infrastructure, stability and culture & environment.

This year we achieved a perfect score in healthcare, education and infrastructure whilst we outranked the nations other major cities in the areas of stability, and culture and environment.

Melbourne’s scores out of 100:

• Stability: 95

• Healthcare: 100

• Culture and Environment: 95.1

• Education: 100

· Infrastructure: 100

Melbourne was rated 97.5 out of 100, just ahead of Vienna. Adelaide came in equal fifth with Calgary in Canada, followed by Perth at seventh. Sydney came in 11th.

Whilst Melbourne is not without some imperfections, you have to admit we are very fortunate to call this beautiful city home.

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