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PPG_Blog_sept_image 2_warehouse conversions

Melbourne’s inner city has a rich industrial past. This makes it a playground for developers and home buyers keen to remodel some of the most beautiful historical factories and warehouses into modern residences.

A warehouse conversion can create the funkiest of abodes for singles, couples and growing families. If you are thinking of tackling a warehouse conversion for yourself there are some big considerations to ponder before calling in the builders.

A remodelling on this scale is not a project you want to take without some serious professional advice. Even if you are a veteran in other types of renovations, it certainly pays to ask an expert in this case. There are many Melbourne architects who specialise in warehouse conversions. A quick search online will provide contact details and a display of images showcasing their incredible work.

Key elements an architect will understand and advise you on include: structural issues, insulation (both thermal and acoustic), ventilation, sustainability and energy efficiency, how best to divide the space, capitalising on the existing characteristics of the building, waste management and design of an outdoor or rooftop area if applicable. Creativity is essential which is where an architectural team can really shine.

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Smoke Alarms Save Lives

PPG_Blog_Sept_image 4_smoke alarms save lives

When a house fire starts, it’s working smoke alarms that provide the critical early warning needed to save lives and minimise property damage. So as we now have daylight saving, it’s an ideal time to check all smoke alarms and ensure they are in perfect working order.

· Test each smoke alarm using the test button.

· Replace the smoke alarm immediately if it doesn’t respond properly when tested.

· Make sure everyone in your home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.

· Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

· Mains powered smoke alarms must be fitted by a licensed electrical contractor.

· For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, replace only the battery.

If you don’t feel confident checking your own smoke alarms try utilising a professional service. There are experts across all Melbourne suburbs who can visit your property annually and if you are a landlord, at each tenancy change (as required by law) to inspect all alarms. Firstly they check to ensure your property has the correct number of alarms according to the building code and that they are located correctly and that they haven’t expired. Secondly, they clean and install new batteries, test with artificial smoke and when alarms are expired, faulty or damaged replace them with new Australian Standard approved alarms. And finally they issue a report and a compliance certificate to be kept on file.

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

The global economy is continuing to grow, at a lower than average pace. Labour market conditions in the advanced economies have improved over the past year, but growth in global industrial production and trade remains subdued.

Low interest rates have been supporting domestic demand and the lower exchange rate since 2013 has been helping the traded sector. Financial institutions are in a position to lend for worthwhile purposes. These factors are all assisting the economy to make the necessary economic adjustments, though an appreciating exchange rate could complicate this.

Supervisory measures have strengthened lending standards in the housing market. Separately, a number of lenders are also taking a more cautious attitude to lending in certain segments. Growth in lending for housing has slowed over the past year. Turnover in the housing market has declined. The rate of increase in housing prices is lower than it was a year ago, although some markets have strengthened recently. Considerable supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years, particularly in the eastern capital cities. Growth in rents is the slowest for some decades.

Story source: www.rba.gov.au

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PPG_Blog_Sept_image 3_innercity cottages attract downsizers

Small period homes are surging in value across the inner ring in recent months – as reflected in current data compiled by the REIV.

In recent months, period homes in inner Melbourne have sold for as much as $10,000/square metre as buyers focus on securing small, character home in good locations.

The most sought after area for these smaller – one and two bedroom – homes in recent months is in Melbourne’s north and inner west, where buyers continue to look for value.

Northcote has seen a $200,000 rise in the past three months (from 1 June to 20 August) compared to the same period last year.

This growth, of close to 30 per cent, is just ahead of Footscray which has seen a $253,000 increase (25 per cent ahead of the same period last year).

REIV CEO Geoff White said that character homes were ever-popular in inner Melbourne.

“With development growth in the inner suburbs, there are fewer of these homes than there were in the past,” he said.

“Yet they seem to be just as popular as ever before – with the demand, and lower supply, leading to prices close to or above $1m for these smaller homes.”

Mr White said that the market is currently “ripe” for this sector of the inner city market.

“Period style homes are particularly attractive to downsizing homebuyers, offering character living in a smaller property,” he said.

“The ‘downsizer’ demographic continues to grow, as children leave home and empty nesters look for CBD fringe, smaller homes.”

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Maintenance Matters

Plumber hands with water tap.

As we approach the warmer months, landlords are encouraged to take the opportunity and tick off some important maintenance jobs.

These jobs might include: checking drains and gutters, looking for signs of mould or damp, having air conditioners serviced, mending any broken or leaking fixtures, examining fences and garden walls to ensure that they remain in sound condition and inspecting the roof (and chimneys if applicable) for signs of damage.

Simple gestures such as a fresh coat of paint or gardening assistance can also help to attract house-proud tenants and ensure the property remains well cared for.

In market news, the REIV has released latest rental data highlighting some very minor adjustments to median rents and vacancy rates.

Here’s a summary of the latest figures:

· Melbourne’s overall vacancy rate is at 2.7% – down 0.2% since May

· Inner Melbourne’s vacancy rate is 2.4%

· Middle Melbourne’s vacancy rate is 3.3%

· Outer Melbourne’s vacancy rate is 2.4%

· Victoria’s vacancy rate dropped slightly from 2.9% in May to 2.8% in June

· The weekly median house rent across Melbourne is stable at $401

· The weekly median unit price rose from $390 to $395

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Aerial view of intersection in residential area

Homebuyers can often feel disheartened when the suburb they desperately want to buy in is simply out of their financial reach. Rather than despair, however, they should be looking right across the high street in the neighbouring postcode.

New REIV data shows there is a significant difference in the median house price of multiple adjacent suburbs across the state, despite similar characteristics and amenities. Take Templestowe and Lower Plenty in Melbourne’s north-east for example. The current median house price in Templestowe has risen substantially over the last few years to $1.4 million. Bordering Lower Plenty, on the other hand, has a median of just over $800,000 making it a significantly more affordable area for buyers to get a foothold into the market. Lower Plenty still hosts a great mix of new and older style properties. There are also several public transport options, schools, parks and shops throughout the neighbourhood.

Another example closer to the city is West Melbourne and Footscray. The median house price in West Melbourne has risen to $1.26 million whilst Footscray has a median of $742,500. Footscray is a lively and culturally diverse neighbourhood with and abundance of culture and character. And it’s all just 5kms west of the CBD.

The same pricing variations are occurring in many other pockets including Heidelberg and Heidelberg heights, Mt Waverly and Notting Hill, Mt Eliza and Mornington. Buying in the cheaper, adjacent suburb not only saves money, it leaves plenty of opportunity for future capital growth.

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

Commodity prices are above recent lows, but this follows very substantial declines over the past couple of years. Australia’s terms of trade remain much lower than they had been in recent years.

Financial markets have continued to function effectively. Funding costs for high-quality borrowers remain low and, globally, monetary policy remains remarkably accommodative.

In Australia, recent data suggest that overall growth is continuing, despite a very large decline in business investment, helped by growth in other areas of domestic demand and exports. Labour market indicators continue to be somewhat mixed, but suggest continued expansion in employment in the near term.

Inflation remains quite low. Given very subdued growth in labour costs and very low cost pressures elsewhere in the world, this is expected to remain the case for some time.

Low interest rates have been supporting domestic demand and the lower exchange rate since 2013 is helping the traded sector. Financial institutions are in a position to lend for worthwhile purposes. These factors are all assisting the economy to make the necessary economic adjustments, though an appreciating exchange rate could complicate this.

Supervisory measures have strengthened lending standards in the housing market. Separately, a number of lenders are also taking a more cautious attitude to lending in certain segments. The best available information suggests that dwelling prices overall have risen moderately over the past year and growth in lending for housing purposes has slowed. Considerable supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years, particularly in the eastern capital cities.

Story source: www.rba.gov.au

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White contemporary kitchen with island

Melbourne’s property market has offered up a gold medal performance over recent weeks. The auction clearance is soaring, reflecting a huge boost to buyer confidence. A surge of investors and further cuts to interest rates are significant factors behind this late-winter, post-election rush.

486 auctions were held over the week ending 14 August with a clearance rate of 85% for houses and 75% for units (81% overall). 281 properties were sold privately. The most expensive property reported sold at auction was a six-bedroom home at 15 Barry Street, Kew, which sold for $6.5 million. The most affordable property reported sold at the weekend was a one-bedroom unit at 2/21 Grice Crescent, Essendon, which sold for $253,000. 73 properties were sold prior to auction and 94 were passed in on a vendors bid.

841 auctions were held over the same weekend last year with a clearance rate of 76%. Whilst Melbourne is obviously experiencing lower auction numbers than previous years, numbers are on the rise again, with the first major auction weekend since June last weekend of 27/28 August – when more than 900 homes went under the hammer. The strengthening market looks set to continue as we edge closer towards the bumper spring season.

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PPG_Blog_August_image 3_own your own home this spring

The spring property market is fast approaching, and if you are looking to purchase a new home or investment, here are few tips to prepare you for success.

The key to a successful home purchase is using research and facts – not emotions – to make the right choice. The process may require patience, but here are three keys steps to helping you make the right decision:

1. Decide on your budget

Looking carefully at your finances will determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. Look at your income, assets and current debt level. Don’t be swayed by what a lender may offer you, it’s what your financial position says you can afford that matters. If your lender says you can repay $1,200 a month, but you know you are struggling with a rental of $1,000 a month, you probably know that you don’t need any more than you already have.

Don’t forget to consider the 10% deposit required to secure your home at purchase, plus legal costs and stamp duty – usually about another 7% of the purchase price will cover these amounts depending on rates in your state.

You don’t have to have a house in mind before you apply for a mortgage. It is a good idea to be pre-approved when you are looking for a home. It will give you the security of knowing that you have funding and the buyer will know you mean business.

2. Research

Spend the time to find the home you want. Talk to your local PPG agent who can help guide you through the home search. Start by checking out neighborhoods and then narrow it down to a few streets. You should consider the schools, parks, public transport and lifestyle advantages.

When choosing between homes, look at the size, number of bedrooms and baths, design and amenities. Decide what your "must haves" are and what the "nice to haves" are. For example, you might be willing to trade a large kitchen for a swimming pool.

3. Negotiate the right price

Once you have the funding in place and have found one (but hopefully more) potential properties, you will need to either make an offer (private sale) or bid at auction. Even if a property is listed for auction, the vendor may be receptive to offers before. You will need to discuss with the agent representing the seller.

Whichever method you must use, don’t get caught up in having to get the home and lose sight of how much you can afford. You don’t want to pay more for the home than it is worth. Recent sales in the area will give you a fairly accurate guide to the home’s value. If you are bidding at auction, make sure you have attended a few before you bid yourself. This will help you understand the process and develop confidence. You can also choose to have a friend or professional buyer’s agent bid on your behalf.

Terms of settlement are usually outlined in the contract. It is recommended that an independent legal representative look over the contract before making an offer privately or at auction. Once the contract is signed, it’s a matter of waiting until settlement date when the bank, your legal representative and the real estate agent finalise the transaction and your dream home is yours!

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PPG_Blog_July_image 1_rising damp

Rising damp is a global phenomenon and can be the source of decay to masonry materials such as stone, brick and mortar. It can cause crumbling of exterior masonry as well as staining of internal finishes. It may also cause musty smells in poorly ventilated rooms which can lead to health problems for the property’s occupants. Here in Melbourne, older homes are more likely to succumb to rising damp than newly constructed ones.

Rising damp occurs when moisture from the ground is sucked up into the porous building materials. The moisture evaporates from either side of the wall (inside or outside), allowing more to be drawn from below. Rising damp may be visible as a high-tide-like stain on the interior finishes or as blistering of paint and loss of plaster.

To prevent rising damp it is now normal practice to build-in a watertight barrier at the base of the wall just above ground level. This is known as the damp-proof course (DPC) or sometimes as the damp course. Unfortunately, many 19th century buildings in Australia were built without DPCs, and some early DPCs have proved ineffective. As a result, a substantial proportion of our historic buildings have inadequate damp-proofing.

If you are planning to purchase an older home, or any home for that matter, it’s wise to have the property inspected by a fully qualified building inspector who can quickly determine if rising damp is an issue. A specialist is required in order to fix rising damp. They may use such remedies as improving ventilation, adding new DPCs, and refining the property’s drainage.

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