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6 key reasons why house prices aren't plummeting despite the recession


  It’s official. COVID-19 restrictions have pushed Australia into recession – unemployment is rising, people are spending less, businesses are firing instead of hiring and economic output is falling.    Despite this, and contrary to many early predictions, house prices are not plummeting. In fact, in every capital city except Darwin, prices are now higher than they were a year ago.   Why is this the case and what could turn it around? There are six key reasons why house prices aren’t plummeting, yet.   1. Banks are being supportive   Well-capitalised banks with the ability to offer six-month mortgage payment freezes have been a key factor in supporting struggling home owners through the pandemic and preventing price declines. The loan holiday period expires this month meaning those people who are able to start repaying their loans will be expected to do so, although those who still can’t pay their mortgage will be give...


Hardy plants perfect for Australian gardens


  We live in Australia, where the climate and conditions can be tough on plants. My golden rule when designing a garden is to recognise the local conditions and choose plants to match.   If you’re after minimal effort with maximum impact, then making the most of hardy plants is always a good idea.   What do you need to consider when selecting tough landscaping plants that will work in your garden? I think there are a few important factors, including the climate zone, rainfall, soil type and how exposed your site is to sun and wind.   It’s also important to decide what you’re trying to achieve with your plantings. For example, do you want to create a shaded area, a sense of privacy with screening, a garden with minimal water demands, or splashes of colour in a garden bed?   Whatever your garden goals, there are many hardy plants to suit your needs.   Let’s look at three of my favourite landscape plants that will flourish i...


Keeping perspective around mortgage risk and the 'September cliff'


  COVID-19 exacerbates the risk that high housing debt has to the Australian economy. In the March quarter, the ratio of household debt to annualised household disposable income sat at near-record highs of 142.0%. With widespread unemployment, there is increased likelihood borrowers could fall behind on mortgage repayments, with the potential to generate forced sales. This in turn could increase the supply of listings, and put further downward pressure on dwelling values. Many banks offered a pause on mortgage repayments early in the pandemic to reduce this risk. As of June 2020, the value of housing loans deferred was $195 billion, or 11% of total housing loans. These ‘mortgage holidays’ are temporary, and were initially in place for 6 months from March 2020. This led to concerns over a ‘September cliff’, where mortgage holiday repayments and fiscal support policies would be repealed as the economy was yet to recover. However, it ...


Three reasons why COVID-hit home owners should consider selling now


  The thought of selling your home because of financial hardship is heartbreaking, and while it’s always preferable to hold property, particularly in the midst of a recession, for some COVID-hit home owners, the decision to sell in the current market conditions could prevent long-term pain.    Back in March, the Australian Banking Association announced six-month mortgage holidays to assist home owners that were unable to make mortgage repayments because of job losses during COVID-19. As the loan deferral period nears its end, lenders are encouraging borrowers to restart repayments, if they can. For those still struggling, the mortgage holiday period has been extended by a further four months to January 2021.   However, as Australia officially enters its first recession in almost three decades as a result of the health crisis, further job losses are expected with some industries expected to take years to recover. That means a loan holiday for som...


Things to spend money on - and things not to spend on!


When it comes to selling a home everyone knows that some preparation is required. This ranges from simply tidying the bathroom to making some renovations.   Presentation plays a key role in how people view your home and there is no doubt that some renovation work in an older home can play a significant role in what people are prepared to pay for it.   In achieving a good return for investment in renovation work, it is important to know what will give a return and what won’t. In other words – what prospective buyers value and what they do not.   An obvious one is the state of the bathroom.   A bathroom that has peeling paint or is showing signs of mould or is simply ‘state of the Ark’ will result in a big mark- down so renovation in this area pays dividends.   There are other aspects not worth spending money on because they simply do not weigh significantly high in people’s minds.   It is for this reason that anyone...


Have you made plans for what will happen Ito your home when you die?


    If there is one thing becoming increasingly problematic in family relationships today, it is the dividing of family assets after people have died.   Complications have become far more common as a result of people buying a property before they have married, or a couple having separated from former spouses subsequently buying a property together, or one partner moving into the home of another.   It pays to consult a solicitor to plan the details of a Will because outcomes can become extremely messy.   There are two key ways of jointly owning a property: ‘Joint Tenancy’ and ‘Tenancy in Common’. Both systems provide individuals with a share of the property but there are significant differences.   Joint Tenancy    The most common method of ownership is with a 'joint tenancy' which means the ownership is held equally together and neither party can take precedence of the other - eve...