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The lower Australian dollar makesproperty cheaper forforeign buyers and could increase the bubble prices being paid for apartments in areas of Sydney and Melbourne.

Thedollar sank below US70on Wednesday, for the first time since April 2009, andDeutsche Bank chief economist AdamBoyton predictsthe dollar will keep falling to US60 by the end of 2016, andeven past that into the US50 range.

"A lower Australian dollar would lower the cost for overseas investors to purchase new properties in Sydney which would put upward pressure on the price of new properties," says valuer Herron Todd White.

Itslatest red-flag reportwarned some apartment buyers in Sydney and Melbourne were paying too much for properties in competition with foreign buyers, leaving owners and lenders exposed if the market suddenly turned.

The report says "two-tier" markets are starting to form in capital citieswhere developers of units are heavily dependent on foreign and interstate investors rather than local demand.

The valuersaid unit developments in Sydney such as Zetland, Waterloo, Rosebery, Mascot, Botany, Hurstville andWolliCreek have been heavily marketed to overseas investors,particularly those from Asia who are sold units at higher prices.

In a rising market, the value of the units at time of settlementmay surpass the price paid..But should the market peak or start to decline, then thevalue of these properties could dip below their purchase price.

Melbourne also two-tier

Herron Todd White said Melbourne'sinner-city apartment market is two-tiered with foreign off-the-plan prices exceedinglocal transactions by 10 per cent to 15 per cent in some projects. Ifoverseas demand softens then developers will be more reliant on domestic buyers who are not prepared to pay higher prices.

Certain suburbs, such as Balwyn North and Waverley,are popular with local and foreign buyersbecause of their schools andhave experienced "dramatic price growth beyond their neighbouring precincts".

"Non-local investors,whoinclude foreign investors and interstate investors, areoftennot close enough to the market and are less informed. They could be happy to pay more than local buyers but it would be an issue if they are financed byan Australianbank,"Herron Todd White chief executive BrendonHulcombesaid.

"If an investor who paid too much needs to exit the market quickly, or their bank seeks to sell the property in a distressed loan situation, there is the propensity for losses to be realised which could end in tears for the owner, and their lender."

"Ill-informed purchasers paying over the odds of course, also plays withthe underlying propertymarket dynamicsthat drive the value ofindividualunits in aunit block.Ifthere are sales driven from interstate or international investorsat a higher price,certainlyit can have an impact on the value of the local market."

Parramatta fears

WhileSydney and Melbourne recorded a slower growth in prices in August, according to Corelogic RP Data's latest housing statistics,Sydney and Melbourne dwelling prices are still at record highs.

Sydneyproperty prices have risen nearly20 per cent in the past 12 monthsand Melbourne about 12 per cent.Overall foreign investment makes up2 per cent of Sydney's residential market, but certain areashave a higher concentration of foreign interests.

"I think sometimes as a country we talk aboutinternational purchasers driving the propertymarket like they make up 20 per cent or so, and clearly that is not the case; they are a much, much smaller percentage of the overall market.

"However, in some certaingeographic pockets therecertainlyarehigher concentrations of internationalbuyers, which might be impacted by a falling Australian dollar." MrHulcombe said.

Elsewhere in Sydney, Herron Todd White expressed concerns for Parramatta, earmarked for growth asSydney's second CBD.

"Thesecond largest commercial centre is being targeted for new unit developments with the original Auto Alleycar sales strip being rezoned for high-rise unit developments over the next three to five years.

"Record prices are being sold off the plan $1.8 million plus for penthouse levels that are not supported in the established market," Mr Hulcombe said.

Developer Dyldamclosed the deal on theAuto Alley site on Wednesday.

Brisbane oversupply

Brisbane is not free from potential problems either, where the main issue is theoversupply of residential apartments in the last two years.

Herron Todd White's research show there are at least three to four years of supply in the market, and seven to eight years proposed for development.

"Many units are being sold with 6 per cent rental guarantees for 12 to 24 months that has the potential to impact on the rentals. Hamilton, Milton and Fortitude Valley, in particular, have seen a substantial increase in supply over the past two years,"MrHulcombesaid.

"It is only once many of the buildings in the pre-sale phase reach completion, will the true impact of this mooted supply be known. However, there are already early signs of increasing vacancy levels and downward rental pressure in some secondary buildings."

Other concerns for Brisbane include house and land packages and townhouse projectsin Brisbane which are heavily dependent on interstate buyers, such as the Ipswich area, the Moreton Regional Council and Logan City, withmany packages sold at price points well above that supported by the local market.
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Last updated11:48, August 30 2015

Middle age can be an expensive time of life for those determined to hold the clock back, and invest in themselves.


Middle age can be an expensive time of life for those determined to hold the clock back, and invest in themselves.

People in their 40s and 50s often find themselves looking in the mirror and wanting to make big changes.

Health, vitality and looks are increasingly expected of those in leadership roles and they are no longer just the preserve of the young.

The middle years are also a time when people look at their bank balances and ask whether they have paid enough of the mortgage off as they'd like.

But that's not the only financial challenge. It can be an expensive time of life for those determined to hold the clock back, and invest in themselves.


It has become an unspoken requirement that the modern executive looks like they exert the same control over their personal lives as they have over the businesses they run.

It's a feeling Peter Rana's BodyTech gym taps into.

"Someone's lack of physical fitness is a sign something is happening in their lifestyle they don't have control of," Rana says.

Rana's "BoomerHit" program is a strength-training programme designed to build muscle. It's based on research that shows that muscle mass is essential for good health.

It also delivers the sharp, vital look that execs, both men and women, want, and it does it without requiring long hours at the gym.

"They are not looking for entertainment," Rana says. "They are looking for results."

For $700, you get an eight-week closely supervised training schedule of two to three gym visits a week.

After that, there's the option to continue membership and do you two trips a week with modest supervision, or continue with a more costly personal touch.

The focus is on intensity, not time of the weights, Rana says, which is handy because: "There's no two ways about it. If you are in middle age and you are working or own your own business, or running a company, you want to get your results in the smallest amount of time you can."


Dr Catherine Stone from The Face Place says: "Your face is your business card in the business world."

Stone says she's probably the most expensive non-surgical face specialist in the country, but says even then the costs are well within many people's price ranges.

At the lower end, Botox treatments once every two to three months to deal to frown lines, can cost as little as $100-$200 a session.

But, as Stone says, it's like renovating a house; you can spend a lot, or a little on it, though the face is probably one area where you don't want to be seeking bargain-priced treatments.

Commonly people want better definition of features, and fewer frown lines and crows feet. says Stone.

The guys want their faces to look vital and strong, the women want a fresh and beautiful look.

Botox, dermal fillers, and even the intriguing "Vampire" facelift, which involves injecting "platelet-rich plasma" from a patient's own blood into areas of the face which need rejuvenating.

It's not just faces people are getting work on. The Vampire treatments are also being used by Stone for more intimate results: O'shots for women, and Priapus shots for men, but aimed at rejuvenating the places the sun rarely reaches.

"We will often have couples who come for both the O-Shot and Priapus Shot together," she says.


Loretta Brown from the New Zealand Coaching and Mentoring Centre, thinks the term mid-life crisis can be a bit insulting. "A mid-life crisis is the classic explanation for feelings of frustration, irritability and futility, especially for high performers," she wrote recently.

But the late forties and fifties are often when people feel a shift in the things they want from life. "There are big transitions happening," she says. "There's a shift from ambition to meaning which happens around mid-life."

Often her clients have made their money, and are financially free.

Now they want to make a difference, and are ready to change both their work, but also themselves.

Coaching and mentoring is about becoming a better version of yourself, overcoming some of the self-imposed limitations that are holding you back.

Clients start with a three to six month package which aims to produce long-lasting change. It's an investment of around $5000.

Brown, the author of Beyond Busy, says other, cheaper, forms of coaching and mentoring are "peer coaching" and online services.

Often organisations pay the likes of Brown to work their executives, but, she says: "People often come to leadership coaching off their own bat if their organisation isn't funding it."

We are not yet quite at the point where having a coach or mentor is a status symbol, as it is in the US, Brown says.


In the US, there is such a thing as "executive dentistry", dentistry for executives and sales people who need to be able to flash confidence-inspiring smiles at customers, investors and the media.

And with dental technology having developed fast mouth "rehabilitation" is a booming business in New Zealand as the pressure increases to have a healthy, youthful-looking teeth later and later in life.

Dr Richard Henderson, a Christchurch periodontist, says: "We are slowly following the Americans. We are not quite at the Donny Osmond look, but people are put off when somebody smiles and there are bleeding gums and missing teeth."

He believes many people think the treatments are more expensive than they really are, but he says he sees people from all walks of life. Prices can cost up to $60K for the full works.

There is a New Zealand dental divide as dentistry is largely unsubsidised by the Government, and a pristine smile locates you in the wealth spectrum.


Middle age is a time to look at the sum or your personal wealth, including the mortgage, and asking: Can't I do better than this?

Years left in the workforce are shortening, so it is time to make some money stick.

Just as you can hire a personal fitness trainer, you can hire a personal financial trainer. EnableMe is one business doing that, but many are so mortgage-focused they end up with New Zealand Home Loans, a Kiwibank-owned business that helps people restructure their mortgages, trim expenses and pay off their loan years early, saving them money and getting them in a position to save for retirement and, if they choose, get into property investing.

NZ Home Loans' Mike Colombus says late forties and early fifties is a common time for people to first seek assistance in getting ahead.

"A lot of them say, 'Hey! I'm 45, and I don't want a mortgage at 65'."

Fear drives some of it. "Some are facing a mortgage after age 65, so at some point, they pull back from day to day life, and think about the big picture, and think that is not where I want to be, that it's time some things changed."

Bit changes are possible, Columbus says, even through just upping mortgage payments by a relatively small amount. "It can be a few dollars each week more, and suddenly a 30-year mortgage becomes 25."

As with coaching, financial coaching comes at a cost. EnableMe is fee-based, charging for its consultants' time.

NZ Home Loans makes its money through the sale of financial products like mortgages and insurance.

LOOK: Jackie O'Fee is a personal image stylist and a personal shopper, often hired by companies to get their leaders and future leaders the right look, though many decide to invest in their look as a way of feeling more comfortable in taking on new, higher-powered roles.

For many it is a form of corporate camouflage.

"If you look sharp, people don't notice, but they certainly notice, if you don't," O'Fee says.

There is usually a trigger event that results in people coming to her for a wardrobe make-over, she says. It could be the woman taking a step up to the board, or a man being groomed for partnership in a law firm.

She has a range of customers, but late forties is a common age for people to first make contact.

For the non-corporate clients, there can be very personal motivations. One woman, for instance, told O'Fee: "My 20s were for my husband, my 30s were for my children, and my forties are for me."

An eight-session series of consultations costs $2000, and then there's the money needed for the clothes. That can easily be $5000 for a rising executive, but spends can be just a couple of thousand.

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