Living in a box: homes made from shipping containers

 

shipping container homes 500x330 thumb Living in a box: homes made from shipping containers

Forget about bricks and mortar, shipping container conversions are the latest trend in housing.

They’re cheaper to build than your average house and quicker to assemble than a conventional home. It’s no wonder they’re winning over home buyers.

Jamie Van Tongeren, chief executive at Container Build Group, a company that transforms shipping containers into houses, cafes and offices, has seen increasing demand for these funky homes.

He says buyers include homeowners looking to put a granny flat in their backyard and first home buyers trying to get a foothold on the property ladder.

“Last year we turned over $9.6 million, and this year is probably going to be close to double that,” he says.

Van Tongeren says prices for container homes range from $23,600 for a granny flat cabin to $300,000 for a house, but this doesn’t include additional expenses such as transporting the building to the site, council fees and connection to water and power services.

The total cost for the cheapest unit is about $35,000, he says.

Brad Lyons, marketing director of Sydney-based Container Homes Designer Domain, says clients also include baby boomers looking for a cheaper option away from the city.

Rural areas are popular because of the affordability and availability of land, but Lyons says container homes have also been built in suburban areas and in the heart of the CBD.

While some may love the grungy feel, homes made from recycled shipping containers doesn’t necessarily have to look like one.

“We can sit these $180,000 container homes …beside a multi-million dollar home, you wouldn’t know the difference,” Lyons says.

“You can stack these sky-high; we can build hotels out of these.”

For people seeking the cheapest option, a student accommodation unit could take a mere two hours to assemble.

“It’s basically pushing them together. You lift up the roof, push up the steel corner posts, bolt them in place, push up the walls and you’re done,” he says.

Story by Christina Zhou Domain reporter. Story source: www.domain.com.au

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Australian banks focus on real estate at expense of business

Banks thumb Australian banks focus on real estate at expense of business

A report from analysts at UBS highlights just how focused Australian banks have become on real estate.

Looking at lending data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, the UBS banking analysts Jonathan Mott and Adam Lee say the vast bulk of new loans have gone to property in the period since the US Federal Reserve launched its latest stimulus program – the so-called QE3 – in September 2012.

The analysts estimate that 95 per cent of lending growth has gone into residential or commercial property, with only 2.6 per cent of new lending, or $3 billion, going to non-property related business loans.

Credit growth has remained subdued over the period at just 6 per cent, but half of this new lending has gone to owner-occupied housing.

The boom in property investment has seen another 37 per cent of new loans going to residential investors.

The only strong area of business lending growth has also been in real estate, with commercial property loans accounting for 8 per cent of total credit growth.

The UBS analysts conclude that the concentration of bank loans into real estate is not a danger yet, but could cause problems later.

"We believe the changes to the banks’ loan books and further concentration into resi and commercial property are likely to lead to issues down the track," the report cautions.

"However, near term, with ongoing improvements in asset quality, the banks’ earnings outlook remains robust."

Story:   Michael Janda    Source:    www.abc.net.au

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RBA Leaves Rates on Hold – For Now!

interestrates thumb RBA Leaves Rates on Hold – For Now!
 
Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent.

Growth in the global economy is continuing at a moderate pace, helped by firmer conditions in the advanced countries. China’s growth appears to have slowed a little in early 2014 but remains generally in line with policymakers’ objectives. Commodity prices in historical terms remain high, but some of those important to Australia have continued to decline of late.

Financial conditions overall remain very accommodative. Long-term interest rates have fallen further and risk spreads remain low. Emerging market economies are once again receiving capital inflows. Volatility in many financial prices is currently unusually low. Markets appear to be attaching a very low probability to any rise in global interest rates over the period ahead.

In Australia, the economy grew at a below-trend pace in 2013 overall, but growth looks to have been somewhat firmer around the turn of the year. This has resulted partly from very strong increases in resource exports as new capacity has come on stream, but smaller increases in such exports are likely in coming quarters. Moderate growth has been occurring in consumer demand and a strong expansion in housing construction is now under way. At the same time, resources sector investment spending is set to decline significantly. Signs of improvement in investment intentions in some other sectors are emerging, but these plans remain tentative, as firms wait for more evidence of improved conditions before committing to significant expansion. Public spending is scheduled to be subdued.

There has been some improvement in indicators for the labour market in recent months, but it will probably be some time yet before unemployment declines consistently. Recent data confirm that growth in wages has declined noticeably. If these and other domestic costs remain contained, inflation should remain consistent with the target over the next one to two years, even with lower levels of the exchange rate.

Monetary policy remains accommodative. Interest rates are very low and for some borrowers have edged lower over recent months. Savers continue to look for higher returns in response to low rates on safe instruments. Credit growth has picked up a little. Dwelling prices have increased significantly over the past year, though there have been some signs of a moderation in the pace of increase recently. The earlier decline in the exchange rate is assisting in achieving balanced growth in the economy, but less so than previously as a result of the higher levels over the past few months. The exchange rate remains high by historical standards, particularly given the further decline in commodity prices.

Looking ahead, continued accommodative monetary policy should provide support to demand, and help growth to strengthen over time. Inflation is expected to be consistent with the 2–3 per cent target over the next two years.

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Homeowners don’t always tell the truth about how much they spent on their property

tellinglies thumb Homeowners don’t always tell the truth about how much they spent on their property

Discussing the property market is a popular Australian past-time but when it comes to revealing how much we spent they are a little more tight-lipped.

A survey by online property listing website realestate.com.au has revealed while some like to keep the information to themselves others are quite prepared to lie.

About 4 per cent of buyers say they may have inflated the purchase price when discussing what they paid for their property.

Men are twice as likely than women to try and make out their property is worth more, while younger buyers also talk it up more than buyers aged over 35.

State-wide the survey found that 5.2 per cent were likely to say they paid less than they did.

State-wide, Victorians are the most honest, while Queensland and South Australia were found to be a little partial to a white lie.

Story Source:    www.news.com.au

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What home buyers really want differs dramatically between states

kitchens2 thumb What home buyers really want differs dramatically between states

Victorian property buyers fancy themselves as potential MasterChef’s while Queensland buyers are more worried about whether their property will turn a profit in the future.

New analysis of what it is that buyers want in their home and won’t compromise on, reveals significant differences between the states.

The only thing buyers in every state can agree on is that buying at a reasonable price is a top priority.

The study by realestateVIEW revealed Victorian home buyers wanted a big or good quality kitchen, followed by sufficient garage space and a substantial property size.

In Sydney buyers were more interested in not having to line up for the loo with a second toilet was more important to them. They were also keen on second bathrooms.

Western Australia buyers want to get to work quickly and easily, seeking a home with good access to public transport and something close to work.

As well as wanting to turn a profit in the future Queensland buyers are keen on plenty of outdoor space and being close to family and friends.

In South Australia outdoor space ranked highly followed by being close to work.

Asked on a scale of one to ten how important things were in a home, Queensland buyers rated potential for property price growth and air conditioning as important features.

Airconditioning was a must for South Australia and Western Australia buyers who also want plenty of storage space.

Almost a third of Victorian buyers will not compromise on being close to shops, cafes and restaurants.

In New South Wales buyers won’t compromise on property size, but only about a fifth thought it important to be close to shops and cafes.

Petra Sprekos of realestateVIEW says it appears Melburnians have been swept up by the MasterChef phenomenon by favouring big kitchens.

“True to its European reputation Melbourne buyers are also happy to live smaller but close to their favourite eateries and shops.’’

Ms Sprekos says Sydney buyers favoured multiple bathrooms, which are perfect for shared living.

“Particularly among young professionals, who want the Sydney high life without the hefty price tag.’’

Ms Sprekos says she is fascinated by the differences between cities.

“Victoria and New South Wales are quite similar, but I think the other states do vary because they are quite unique.

“Smaller cities such as Adelaide and Perth obviously factor things such as traffic less than buyers less than in Sydney and Melbourne.’’

Story Source:   www.news.com.au

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Keeping sane during ‘sale’ season

Forsaleretail thumb Keeping sane during ‘sale’ season

Is it me, or does there always seem to be a sale on in your local interiors/furniture store?

The sale season seems to be in full swing all year round and many of us are being bombarded with alluring emails, colourful catalogues and decoy signage about the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ bargains which promise to transform our homes, ourselves and our lives.

Most of us have at times been lured into bargain hunting by seductive offers of 2 for 1, up to 30% off, or buy 1 get 1 free – and the deals appear to be hotting up season on season.

FOMO

Well, while we may believe we are in control of grabbing a bargain, more often the retailer still holds the reigns, cleverly packaging up goods in a way which thrills all our senses, overwhelming us with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and clouding our judgement. Thanks!

Don’t be fooled by the thrill of the chase

If the thrill of the sales season always catches your attention, take a moment to consider how you are feeling when you are in bargain hunting mode; bored, anxious, empty, disconnected, lonely, or perhaps not good enough?

These feelings are part of the normal spectrum of emotions we all experience at times, so instead of undertaking a retail binge, try to find ways to acknowledge these emotions, sit with them, talk about them, or even write them down.

Research shows that the emotional regions of the brain light up when we secure a bargain or chase a deal, and as humans we are programmed to do what feels good.

Before you hit the shops – or the internet…

Yet buyer’s remorse can sting, as can spending beyond our means. So if you feel the need to redecorate your home, or kit up in a new wardrobe, consider the following tips before you go shopping or hop online:

  • Beware of becoming overly focused on the thrill of the chase, in turn losing sight of what it is you really need.
  • Take five minutes to consider what you will do with/how you will use your potential new purchase, even if that means going for a quick coffee or walk before opening your wallet.
  • Always take a list with you to minimise being seduced by the retailers.
  • Manage temptation by cancelling your email subscriptions and reminders from retailers to avoid being enticed into buying something you don’t need or want.

Now you’re mentally ready to hit the sales, and if there’s really nothing you need, but you fancy a look – maybe leave your credit card at home!

Story:    Sabina Read     Source:    www.realestate.com.au

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Gap widens between houses & units in capitals

housevsunit thumb Gap widens between houses & units in capitals

New data suggests the gap between house and unit values is widening across Australia’s capital cities, with houses recording greater value growth than units.

RP Data figures show that at the end of the first quarter of 2014, combined capital city house values were 28% higher than combined capital city unit values.

In the 12 month period house values increased by 10.7%, whereas unit values increased 9.4%.

“The faster rate of value growth for houses is likely to result in a growing differential between house and unit values,” Mr Kusher said.

The contrast was pronounced in premium Perth suburb Peppermint Grove, where house values are 687% (approximately seven times) more expensive than unit values.

Sydney’s Centennial Park posted a 523% between houses and units, and in Melbourne, Toorak homes were 283% pricier than units.

Adelaide suburb of Toorak Gardens had a differential of 280%, while Ascot in Brisbane recorded 236%. Forrest in Canberra recorded 242%.

In Darwin and Hobart the difference was less stark, but still considerable – at 156% and 105% respectively.

Story:   Venessa Paech    Source:   www.realestate.com.au

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RBA leave interest rates unchanged

RBA thumb RBA leave interest rates unchanged

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent.

Growth in the global economy was a bit below trend in 2013, but there are reasonable prospects of a better outcome this year, helped by firmer conditions in the advanced countries. China’s growth appears to have slowed a little in early 2014 but remains generally in line with policymakers’ objectives. Commodity prices in historical terms remain high, though some of those important to Australia have softened further of late.

Financial conditions overall remain very accommodative. Long-term interest rates and most risk spreads remain low. Equity and credit markets are well placed to provide adequate funding.

In Australia, the economy grew at a below-trend pace in 2013. Recent information suggests moderate growth is occurring in consumer demand and foreshadows a strong expansion in housing construction. Some indicators of business conditions and confidence have improved from a year ago and exports are rising. But at the same time, resources sector investment spending is set to decline significantly and, at this stage, signs of improvement in investment intentions in other sectors are only tentative, as firms wait for more evidence of improved conditions before committing to expansion plans. Public spending is scheduled to be subdued.

The demand for labour has been weak over the past year and, as a result, the rate of unemployment has risen somewhat. More recently, there has been some improvement in indicators for the labour market, but it will probably be some time yet before unemployment declines consistently. Growth in wages has declined noticeably and this has been reflected more clearly in the latest price data, which show a moderation in growth in prices for non-traded goods and services. As a result, inflation is consistent with the target. If domestic costs remain contained, that should continue to be the case over the next one to two years, even with lower levels of the exchange rate.

Monetary policy remains accommodative. Interest rates are very low and savers continue to look for higher returns in response to low rates on safe instruments. Credit growth has picked up a little, while dwelling prices have increased significantly over the past year. The decline in the exchange rate from its highs a year ago will assist in achieving balanced growth in the economy, but less so than previously as a result of the rise over the past few months. The exchange rate remains high by historical standards.

Looking ahead, continued accommodative monetary policy should provide support to demand, and help growth to strengthen over time. Inflation is expected to be consistent with the 2–3 per cent target over the next two years.

In the Board’s judgement, monetary policy is appropriately configured to foster sustainable growth in demand and inflation outcomes consistent with the target. On present indications, the most prudent course is likely to be a period of stability in interest rates.

Story :  Statement by Glenn Stevens   Source:   www.rba.gov.au

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Landlords pay the price of druggie tenants

Landlords and drugs thumb Landlords pay the price of druggie tenants

IT’S every property owner’s worst nightmare.

Just this week almost 100 kilograms of amphetamine-type substances, manufacturing equipment and $2.5 million in cash were found in eight search warrants executed across Perth, Sydney and the Gold Coast.

A significant portion of this was found in homes in Queensland and Sydney, with one taking two days to complete because of the volume of drugs, equipment and chemicals at the house.

While the homes in question weren’t rentals, the majority of clandestine drug labs are found in residential areas according to the Australian Crime Commission Illicit Drug Data Report.

More than 757 residential drug labs were found around the country in 2012-13, which range from crude and makeshift to highly sophisticated operations.

“Regardless of their level of sophistication or size, clandestine laboratories pose significant risks to the community as a consequence of the corrosive and hazardous nature of the chemicals used,” the report states.

They can also rack up significant damages for property owners and cause financial ruin for the unfortunate landlord who happens to own the home.

Terri Scheer Insurance executive manager Carolyn Parrella said tenants involved in cultivating illegal drugs, such as cannabis, methamphetamine and ecstasy go to great lengths to hide their activities. But there are some crucial signs.

Here are her top tips if you’re worried your home is being used as a drug lab:

• Conduct regular property inspections

Cannabis represented more than 62 per cent of the seizures, with amphetamines making up 24 per cent. Cocaine accounted for 2.5 per cent and other other drugs made up the remaining 10 per cent, according to the Australian Crime Commission report.

“It takes three months to cultivate a hydroponics crop so carrying out quarterly inspections will increase the chances of detecting any illegal activity as soon as possible,’’ Ms Parrella said.

• Look for signs that the property is being lived in

“Illegal drug manufacturers generally do not live at the properties they use to cultivate drugs, therefore the premises may appear under furnished or neglected.”

Read more »

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Property price growth slows throughout Australia

house with price tag thumb Property price growth slows throughout Australia

A SLOW down in property price growth in the past month, hasn’t stopped one of Australia’s most active markets breaking the $800,000 median house price barrier.

The latest RP Data-Rismark April hedonic home value index reveals dwelling values across Australia’s capital cities rose by just 0.3 per cent in April.

Despite this Sydney’s median house price has broken the $800,000 barrier for the first time.

Tim Lawless of RP Data said the rate of growth in values had slowed in April, following strong increases in March and the first quarter of the year.

Values dropped in Melbourne by 0.5 per cent and Canberra by 1.1 per cent.

Other capital cities recorded growth in values, although the rates of growth were not as they had been previously.

Values went up 0.5 per cent in Sydney, 1.1 per cent in Brisbane and Darwin, 2.1 per cent in Adelaide, 0.2 per cent in Perth and Hobart.

Mr Lawless says the latest figures showed growth is now at a more sustainable rate.

He says this is reflected also in auction clearance rates which have been trending down the last four weeks from very high levels.

At the same time average selling time and vendor discounting rates have also flattened.

“It suggests to me that the market is still at a very strong place but probably right at peak growth,’’ he said.

“When you look at a market like Sydney I think that very high median price is quiet reflective also that we are seeing a lot of activity in the market place now and in Melbourne at the upper end of dwelling prices.

“We are seeing more activity across the premium market place, million dollar plus and less activity down the more affordable end as we are seeing first home buyers increasingly priced out of detached housing.’’

Mr Lawless says the latest figures reflect a slowing trend in price growth.

“We were always of a view that the capital gains we have seen in Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, was unsustainable.

“The market does naturally slow down, that’s what has happened over each cycle, we will probably find as growth rates start to taper away, we will find the weaker performing cities may potentially start to pick up some pace.

“Brisbane is probably the obvious candidate there. Affordability is nowhere near as much an issue as it is in Sydney, yields are still very strong, population growth is strong, the labour market is relatively strong. I think that will probably be the market place that bucks the trend of a slowing market and starts to gather some pace.’’

Source:   www.news.com.au

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