Perth rental market strengthens.

Extracted from ‘The Sunday Times’

The number of residential rental agreements signed in Perth in the first quarter of the year leapt 131% compared to the first quarter of 2018, according to Knight Frank’s recent research report Residential Local View Q1 2019.

“There is a clear increase in leasing activity when compared with this time last year,” Knight Frank Director and Head of Residential Property Management WA Tom Berry said. “The number of people attending property inspections has grown noticeably and most are less complacent now the market is strengthening – we are witnessing quicker turnaround times for the submission of applications, with some starting to miss out on their first choice,” he said.

Mr Berry said, “The first rental increases are coming through now and a few of our tenants are considering whether now is the time they should but their first home – all trends we haven’t seen for some time.”

One segment to record noticeable growth was the interstate market. “The local-based market is still moving about, which is great for stability, but in the past quarter we have witnessed a stark increase in those moving from interstate,” Mr Berry said.

The report found the number of contracts signed by people moving to Western Australia from other states increased from 14% of all leases in the first quarter of 2018 to 19% of all leases in the corresponding quarter in 2019. Tenants worked in two main industries, the research revealed – in resources (from 17% in 2018 to 31% in 2019) and in finance (up from 10% to 13% in the same period).

“With business confidence building and office vacancy tightening in the CBD, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of tenants working in the finance sector who have signed tenancy agreements,” Mr Berry said.

“There’s a clear sign of activity picking up in the resources sector again, as relocation agents are very much in the market.” This is a trend Nicheliving Manager Residential Property Management and Sales Peter Taliangis has noticed. “There has probably been a 20% increase in applications from interstate people – there is definitely a job/employment-based demand filtering into the rental market.”

“We are expecting many of them to settle in for 6-12 months and then start looking at house and land packages or established housing to buy once they have work history and feel comfortable in Perth.”

Mr Taliangis said, however, that the activity in the market was not limited to this group of tenants. “There’s definitely been an upswing in interest mainly from People new to Perth from overseas who have been here between a few weeks and three months,” he said. “They stay with friends and take up short-term accommodation initially, then look for 6-12 month leases.”

He said he had noticed an overall uptick of interest in the rental market.  “The enquiry rate on many of our properties has gone from 2 to 3 people per inspection at some properties to 40 people at one inspection recently – we have definitely seen an increased interest across the board and we are managing properties from Mandurah to Mindarie.

Most tenants in this market should be expecting rent increases in the near future,” he said.

Advertising Industry Tricks To Help You Sell

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Selling your house? Here are a few tricks from the advertising industry to help you think like Mad Men’s Don Draper. Houses are a product to be sold like any other so some basic advertising rules work well.

Positioning your property. How you position your property in the market is a crucial first step to getting it sold. You need to consider three things:

The features of your property. Look at your house objectively and write down the key features e.g. spacious living areas, architect designed, near good schools, sub-dividable block, original fireplaces.

The ‘what’s in it for me factor’. In other words, if someone were to buy your property, what are the benefits to him or her? What will it get for them or allow them to do? E.g. entertain friends, have their mum live with them, catch the train to work, no weekend maintenance.

Who is your most likely buyer? Your property will not appeal to everyone, so based on the above features and benefits you now need to get clear on your most likely buyer. Firstly, think about their demographics. Are they married with two primary school aged kids? First time buyers with no kids? Single professionals? Downsizers? Overlay this insight with their lifestyle. Do they like entertaining? Do they spend a lot of time at home? Will they want a big garden to maintain if they’re always travelling? Finally think about their values and what motivates them. Is it freedom, fun, excellence or something else? Remember that your most likely buyer might not be like you or at the same stage of life as you. Now you’ve got a good picture of your most likely buyer, the benefits to them of buying your property and the features they are looking for.

The idea. The idea is how you communicate your positioning with the most impact. In advertising terms this is the actual ad. A successful ad makes the product appealing and forms an emotional connection that persuades consumers to buy the product. When selling, your property is now the ad and it’s your job to make it appealing to your most likely buyer. Here are some examples: Change a storage room into a nursery; set up an entertaining area near the pool; find a quiet study area away from the living room; change a kid’s play room into a formal dining room and remain yourself that everything communicates.                     From the cookbook on the kitchen bench, to the style of quilt cover on the master bed, to the magazines on the coffee table, and the hand soap in the bathroom. Your aim is for your most likely buyer to think ‘This house is for me. I have to live here.’ Your message is how you communicate your idea. When selling your property, this covers three main areas:

Copy. The copy should talk directly to your most likely buyer in their language and explain the features and benefits. Put simply ‘what will your buyers gain by buying your property?’

Pictures & video. With a correctly positioned property, picture selection will be easy and will showcase the features and benefits that will hook a buyer enough to view the property. Images should always be vibrant and highlight the best aspects of what’s in frame. Video is being used more often, to offer tours and behind the scenes of your property ‘experience’.

Media. Think about how different combinations of media can get your message across in the right way to the right audience at the right time.

And that’s it!

Position your property to your most likely buyer, make it as appealing as possible to them, then communicate that appeal through copy, pictures and the media they use, and of course, ask your agent, they’ve done this all before and can advise.


New Home or New Kitchen

Does Your Kitchen Feel Small?

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Is there never enough cupboard space?

A small, cramped kitchen can make cooking extremely frustrating and make entertaining an impossible nightmare. If an extension or a refit isn’t convenient, there is a range of practical alternatives you can use to make a poky kitchen feel more spacious and user friendly.

A wall of cupboards makes for a heavy look, especially if the doors are timber. Try replacing some of the doors with glass, and then fill these new cupboards with your crystal or pretty china. This will lighten up the area as well as add to the aesthetics.

Alternatively, replace overhead cupboards with open shelves and fill this space with stylish glass jars full of your most popular foodstuffs. Additionally, plate racks have returned to popularity and can be used to free up some cupboard space. They look attractive and make serving meals that much easier.

Curtains in a small kitchen can be limiting. Blinds are a contemporary alternative and if privacy isn’t a problem, perhaps leave the window bare altogether. The additional light during the day will provide the feeling of extra space.

Hanging utensils is a useful way to free up a drawer or cupboard and can be achieved easily and economically with the very stylish racks and rails that are available today. If you have quality cookware, hanging it in your kitchen will make it a feature and enhance accessibility.

It is important to look at the symmetry in your kitchen. When this is working positively, a small space can feel much larger. Make all your work surfaces the same height, including the stove top. Clear through ways and go for the minimalist approach. Clutter can be claustrophobic.

Finally, floors can improve the perception of space. With finishes such as tile and stone, use light neutral colours on the walls. This will give the impression of ongoing space rather than a defined, closed off feeling. The lighter the colour on the walls, the greater the perception of space in the kitchen.

If you think you may be moving anytime in the near future, then fixing up your kitchen is one of the best ways of making more money on the sale of your home.

Federal election 2019: Will Scott Morrison’s first homebuyer plan seal the deal

Lanai Scarr and Sarah StegerPerthNow

May 13, 2019 2:00AM

The battle over housing is on in the last week of the election campaign with Scott Morrison vowing to make it easier for first-homebuyers to get into the market.

Launching the Coalition’s official bid for re-election, the Prime Minister yesterday unveiled a plan that would enable young people on single salaries of $125,000 or couples on a dual income of $200,000 to only require a deposit of 5 per cent to buy a new home.

The remaining up to 15 per cent of their loan would be guaranteed by the government, saving buyers about $10,000 in lenders mortgage insurance.

The funds would be guaranteed for the lifetime of the loan and if buyers default the taxpayer would be up for the bill via $500 million in equity through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.

The policy was matched by Labor immediately but sector experts say more detail is needed to determine if the measure will have as big an impact as hoped, with the Government yet to decide on regional caps for home purchase prices.

And some suggested the scheme, which will start from January 1 next year, may result in first-homebuyers overextending themselves or become a mechanism that keeps property prices unfairly high.

Even the peak first-homebuyers association said Labor’s reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax would be better drivers to bring down house prices and get more first-time buyers into the market. “It could work out as a negative for first-homebuyers in the long run because it could keep house prices high,” First Home Buyers Australia director Taj Singh said.

“Labor’s reforms to negative gearing and capital gains are ultimately still a better plan as they will bring down prices overall.”

Mr Morrison said the policy was modelled on a similar policy in New Zealand.

He said it would give Australians wanting to buy a home “the first leg up on the first rung of the ladder”.

The NHFIC would partner with private lenders to deliver the scheme, prioritising smaller lenders to boost competition.

Australian Finance Group chief executive David Bailey said for West Australians in particular the scheme would be a welcome relief. “We’ve been on record saying the WA housing market has been problematic for last couple of years so any stimulus should be welcomed,” he said.

“Particularly in the WA market this will be a very good thing.”

Entrepreneur Dick Smith said he worried it might “encourage young people to get into tremendous debt”.

Louis Christopher from SQM Research said any regional cap on house price needed to be reasonable and warned that the expected uptake might not be as great if caps were too low in cities where house prices were high.

Gus Ledauskas, 31, and his wife Karolina Ledauskiene, 29, are just two of 10,000 Australians who could benefit from the policy.

The couple, who were at a home inspection in Tuart Hill yesterday, have been looking for their first home for several months, and welcomed the announcement.

Real Estate Institute of WA president Damian Collins said the scheme was “certainly welcomed” as was anything that “gets more people into buying a home”.

He said it was encouraging to know the scheme would come through regardless of the election outcome.

“It will get some more homebuyers into the market, especially those who did have a deposit but didn’t want to pay a mortgage insurance,” Mr Collins said.

“WA has already had a good State-based program with Keystart, but this will certainly help more people and give them more options.”

Mr Collins said he was concerned about the scheme’s start date, slated for January, and encouraged both parties to shorten the time line.

“It might cause a delay (in the market) … people who were going to buy now and are ready to do so might sit on the sidelines and wait now, which could impact the market,” he said.

“A wiser idea would be to bring it forward.”

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor would match the commitment.

Labor will today launch a blitz reminding Australians of the 2014 Abbott government Budget which they say was a disaster.

“After six years of failure, and six days before an election, the Liberals are desperately trying to tell young Australians they understand their struggles to buy their first home,” Mr Bowen said.

De-cluttering Tips


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If you’re intending to sell your home this year, you’ll want to invest some time into de-cluttering – mess and chaos is one of the top turn offs for buyers. We accumulate a lot of things moving through life. Many outlive their usefulness (and if we’re being honest, some didn’t have much use to begin with). But we’re human and stuff sticks to us, which is why it’s important we shed some layers every now and then to maintain order and harmony.

  1. Ask for guidance from those you trust to be honest. Your agent will be impartial, and truly great friends often will be too. Check with them to gauge the full extent of your clutter and where you should focus your efforts. You may only have one room that requires a true work over.
  2. Look beyond what the eye can see. Clutter likes to hide in corners, on shelves and under beds. Hunt it down and don’t just stop with the most obvious areas. A prospective buyer will open cupboards and snoop into nooks and crannies to check out storage and other features. Make sure they get the best impression.
  3. Sort things into these categories. Things moving with you, things to donate and things to toss. Many charities can benefit from goods and clothing you no longer need. Have a garage sale for items you have culled that are in great shape and still worth something. Enough gold coin donations and you could convert mess into a bit of extra money to buy something you need in your new home, or treat yourself to a fancy dinner because you sold so much.
  4. Get a jump start on packing for your new place. Stack those trinkets away and you’ll be ready to invite buyers through your home before you know it. Personal items should be stowed first, keeping any lovely items of neutral décor till last (they could save you from having to invest in furniture or accessories for home staging).
  5. Create space in the kitchen by clearing surfaces. Let the buyer see your counter tops, walls, even the fridge door. Don’t just shove items into another cupboard. Apply the same rigor to removing that clutter as you would any other room, and sort ready for packing, donating or tossing.
  6. Leave some space in cupboards. Even if their contents are impeccably neat, buyers will want them to feel spacious, and be able to picture their own things in there.
  7. The kids aren’t immune. Children’s toys and teenage posters aren’t usually effective property marketing. Cull ruthlessly and store things out of sight.
  8. Store boxes you’ve packed until that SOLD sign goes up. Make sure they’re not visible to people inspecting your home.
  9. Get some help! Enlist family members, friends – whoever can lend a hand to make the process less frustrating and time consuming. Pop on a favourite play list while you clean and sort and before you know it, your place looks like new. If you’re really struggling, or don’t have access to an extra pair of hands, you can explore the services of a professional organiser to give you a road map and set you on the right track.
  10. Start small (but start). Remember the clutter didn’t arrive in your home all at once. It won’t leave that way either. Pick a room or an area and make a start – you’re on your way!

The best smell for your home

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If you’re selling your home, you’ll have a bunch of people (wisely) advising you to make sure it smells nice for inspections and viewings to help your chances of landing a sale.

Eric Spangenberg from Washington State University conducted a study out of Switzerland back in 2010 to determine the most “commercially inspiring odours” – that is, what smells make a person feel compelled to make a transaction (or at the least, feel more comfortable about it).

They tested a bevy of smells with Swiss shoppers and found that simple rules. Sales went up and people were more in the mood to buy when a single, uncomplicated odour was in the air, versus multiple or complex whiffs. Spangenberg says this is because the more complicated the scent, the more our brains focus on processing it, rather than processing what’s around us (including stuff to buy or explore).

In a series of separate experiments, the researchers had students solve world problems in competing scent conditions. The students solved more problems in less time when the simple scent was in the air, than with the complicated one or no scent at all. “Most people are processing it at an unconscious level, but it is impacting them – the important thing from the retailer’s perspective and the marketer’s perspective is that a pleasant scent isn’t necessarily an effective scent,” he said. The best scent when selling is clean, fresh air, in other words no overt smell.

Spangenberg advises against the following:

Artificial smells such as sprays or plug ins.

They smell as though they are masking something (they probably are).

A scented candle, incense or pot pourri.

Scent is such a personal thing. You might think the incense sticks you bought in Bali or the expensive candle that you received for Christmas are helping the sale of your property but others may not share your taste or worse might have an allergic reaction to it.

Baking or brewing coffee.

Staging has moved on and most people have heard the trick of cookie dough, fresh bread baking or coffee brewing, but I think it’s trying too hard.

Most buyers are wise to these tricks and might see it as just that – a trick.

So smells can help sell your house, but just don’t go nuts with the incense, or it might backfire.

It’s time WA received its fair share

By REIWA President – Damian Collins

REIWA is calling for all political parties contesting the Federal Election to commit to ensuring Western Australia has the funds required to keep up with our infrastructure needs.

WA is routinely overlooked at a Federal level when it comes to infrastructure investment. A recent example of this was in the 2019-20 Federal Budget announcement earlier this month, when the Morrison Government allocated $1.6 billion of its $40 billion infrastructure budget to projects in WA.

The $1.6 billion allocation is a mere 4% of Australia’s total $40 billion budget, which is exceptionally low when you consider WA is home to 10% of Australians and WA currently accounts for 15% of the country’s Gross State Product (GSP).

Considering how much our state contributes to the nation’s economy, it is only fair we receive at least the same percentage in Federal infrastructure funding. REIWA is advocating for the implementation of a minimum Federal infrastructure budget based on WA’s contribution to Australia’s GSP. As it stands WA is currently the only state without an independent infrastructure body, tasked with the planning and prioritising of major projects.

The McGowan Government has done its part to ensure we get a fair share of funding through the establishment of Infrastructure WA, which aims to build a strong economy by improving infrastructure coordination and planning, encouraging investment and supporting job creation.

The Infrastructure WA Bill 2019 is currently before the WA Parliament. If this bill is passed, it will enable an independent body to be established and a long-term infrastructure strategy to be put in place.

While the strategy will ensure WA gets its fair share of funding in the future, this is still some years from being a reality. In the meantime, the newly elected Federal Government must ensure WA receives adequate funding.

In the past couple of weeks there have been some positive developments in this space, with the announcement of three Federal funded state projects which include the $1.7 billion transformation of Tonkin Highway, the Metronet Bayswater station upgrade and the Metronet boom-gate blitz planned for the Armadale line.

While REIWA is pleased these projects are receiving funding, the timing of these announcements raises questions about whether this is more about political point scoring to win votes in the upcoming election than give WA its fair share. It is imperative whoever is elected to government ensures WA remains a priority into the future.