Author Archives: Living in Fairfield

How to walk away a winner on auction day

Buying a property at auction can be an extremely daunting experience for the uninitiated. Everyone who registers is hoping to walk away with a great property, however there can only be one winning bidder on the day.

So what can you do to help improve your chances of getting a property, while ensuring that you don’t pay too much?

Get to know the auction process

First things first – get to know the auction process so you can get a good idea of the typical auction atmosphere and get a feel for how things are generally conducted.

Attend as many auctions as you can to get to know different people’s bidding styles and what tends to work and what doesn’t work.

The more familiar you are with how an auction is run the more confident you are likely to feel when it’s your turn to start bidding.

Research the local market

Every area and property type is different and will face different levels of competition. Check out auction clearance rates to get a good idea of what you’re up against, but also take the time to look at properties sold via private treaty.

Get a solid idea of what similar properties to the one you want are selling for and how much demand there is for them.

Know your budget

Before making any bids you need to know your budget. Figure out your absolute maximum price limit, which will be what a bank is willing to lend you plus the amount you have saved.

It’s always a wise move to get pre-approval before heading to any auction so you can feel confident in your financial situation.

On auction day, decide on the maximum price you are willing to pay and make sure you stick to it.

Be confident and get noticed

If you’ve decided you’re ready to bid then don’t turn up and hide in the background. Stand at the front and centre and make yourself known to the auctioneer. State your bids loudly and clearly and try not to worry about what anyone else is doing. Just keep your final price in mind and don’t go any higher.

Being confident at an auction lets people know that you’re a serious bidder to contend with, which can work in your favour.

Be the final bidder

No matter how prepared you are or what strategies you use the only way to guarantee you’ll be the one walking away with the property on the day of an auction is to be the final one who bids after the property has hit the market.

To help ensure the property you’re bidding on is within your budget you need to follow the steps above and really know the local market and get a good idea of what the property is likely to sell for.

Free fitness program at Bosnjak Park

Looking to get back into your fitness routine? Look no further then Fairfield’s popular and free ‘Gyms in Parks’ outdoor exercise program, which will return in August.

The program will run for 6 weeks from 1 August 2017, between 9.30am and 10.30am each Tuesday and Thursday, and it will utilise the new gym equipment that has been installed at Bosnjak Park.

The same program has been run in previous years throughout the local area and has been very popular, with Fairfield residents eager to get outdoors and get active in their local neighbourhood.

Mayor of Fairfield City Frank Carbone has said that the Fairfield Council is delighted to see the program has been such a huge success.

“Council encourages people of all ages to get active and remain healthy, which is why we continue to run our popular outdoor exercise program for those who wish to keep active and enjoy the outdoors,” Mayor Carbone said.

“The health and wellbeing of our community is incredibly important and Council continues to construct walking circuit paths and gym equipment in parks throughout our City as a cost effective way to assist the community in getting fit and healthy.

“If participants want something more challenging after attending our free ‘Gyms in Parks’ program, we encourage them to join Fairfield City Leisure Centres where a variety of fitness classes are available.”

“Gyms in Parks” details:

When: 1 August 2017 – 7 September 2017
Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30am – 10.30am

Where: Bosnjak Park, Edensor Road, Edensor Park
Cost: Free
Contact: Cherie on 9725 0877 for further information or to register.

Medium density housing gaining popularity

While high-density living is on the rise, it’s medium density housing that is gaining the most in popularity.

In a recent analysis by CoreLogic that looked at 2016’s Census dwelling data, it was revealed that there was a noticeable shift towards medium density housing across Australia, and it looks set to continue in the coming years.

“Interestingly, while driving around inner city areas you would be led to believe that it is higher density units which have been most abundant in new supply, the data points to medium density supply having ramped up the most,” said CoreLogic Research Analyst Cameron Kusher in the report.

“In Sydney (17.9%), Melbourne (61.0%), Brisbane (29.6%), Adelaide (46.5%), Perth (49.4%) and Canberra (36.9%) it was medium density housing types which recorded the greatest increase in stock over the five years.

“In each of these cities, except for Adelaide and Perth, separate house stock saw the smallest increase of the three housing types over the five years.”

Separate houses remain the dominant property type according to Census data, however in most capital cities, medium and high density housing remain a relatively small but increasing proportion of the overall housing mix.

As an example, 61.7 per cent of housing stock was separate houses in Sydney 10 years ago, however the latest Census saw this figure decrease to just 55.7 per cent.

“If this trajectory continues by the 2026 Census, less than half of Sydney’s housing stock will be separate houses,” Mr Kusher said.

Mr Kusher noted that there are significant lifestyle benefits associated with living closer to the city centre, however the supply of land in these areas is limited. This is leading to a rise in medium and higher density dwellings, while detached housing is attracting a premium price tag.

“Although approvals for these types of properties has slowed recently, it is anticipated that construction of medium and high density dwellings will remain elevated relative to historic levels,” he said.

“I believe we’ll see the shift towards a greater proportion of capital city housing, being medium and high density, will continue over the coming years.”

Rents up and mortgage repayments down according to Census

Property prices might be climbing but according to data from the 2016 Census the average mortgage repayment in Australia has actually decreased since 2011.

Census data shows that the median monthly mortgage repayment was $1,800 in 2011, compared to $1,755 per month in 2016. This is a drop of 2.5 per cent. 

During the same period, rents have been going up. The median weekly rent was $285 in 2011, going up to $335 in 2016.

These figures show why it is a great time to be thinking about investing in property. While property prices are high in many markets, Australians are still enjoying some of the lowest mortgage rates in history and investors are benefiting from high rental rates.

A big reason why we are probably seeing high rents is because Australia’s population is growing rapidly, and there is a higher proportion of people renting than ever before, with about a third of the population paying a landlord (30.9 per cent).

The proportion of renters has slowly been growing over the years. In 2011, renters made up 29.6 per cent of the population, up from 28.1 per cent in 2006.

High house prices is one of the reasons that people are staying away from buying property and this is having a flow on effect of increasing rental numbers and invariably keeping rental properties in high demand.

It remains to be seen whether this trend will continue in the future, however there is little doubt that it is still a smart time to invest.

The sooner that people can get into the property market, the sooner they can work towards paying off their mortgage and having a future free of making either rental or mortgage repayments.

Volunteers needed for Cabramatta Moon Festival

The popular Cabramatta Moon Festival is currently looking for volunteers to help them deliver a fantastic 2017 event.

Volunteering is a great way to gain practical work experience, particularly for those interested in the events industry, as working at the Moon Festival can give you an insight into what it takes to deliver an event that caters to more than 90,000 people!

By volunteering you might also meet some great people and pick up some new skills you never knew you had. Plus, it can be a heap of fun too.

Some of the benefits of volunteering at the Cabramatta Moon Festival include:

  • Making new friends and expanding your network
  • Working in a team environment
  • Gaining valuable hands-on work experience
  • Gaining a greater understanding of event organisation and operation, and
  • Increasing your employability

If you’re interested in joining in on the fun, you’ll need to be quick. Expressions of interest close at 5pm on Monday 17 July.

Visit www.fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au/moonfestvolunteer and complete the form to get involved.

Can infrastructure improvements boost property prices?

When considering a new property purchase it can pay to consider the prospect of new local infrastructure projects.

Major infrastructure upgrades can provide massive improvements to a local economy. Depending on the type of upgrade, it could create new jobs, provide benefits to local businesses and the community, plus help add to the overall appeal of an area.

A number of infrastructure upgrades can provide a boost for an area, but some of the most beneficial upgrades include:

  • Transport upgrades – roads, rail and airports
  • Educational facilities – schools and universities
  • Hospitals and health centres
  • Recreational facilities – dining, shopping and entertainment precincts
  • Public infrastructure – public squares, walkways, bikeways

When is the best time to take advantage of a new development? 

The best time to get in on the property growth of a new area is generally before anyone knows about any imminent projects. However, buying too early is based on speculation, which comes with a high risk.

Even after an announcement of a new upgrade has been made there is always the possibility that a project won’t go ahead, so while you might get a good price the earlier you buy, you are also taking the biggest gamble.

Keep in mind however that the biggest jump in property prices tends to occur once an official announcement for a new development or upgrade has been made, and then again once those upgrades have been built and are in place.

This is good news for those who want to invest in an area based on new infrastructure. While property prices are likely to have already gone up based on investors wanting to capitalise on the potential of the area, it will likely go up again once the area is experiencing new benefits.

How can you find out about future plans?

You should always do your own research and due diligence, whether buying a property to live or invest in. An internet search is always a good place to start. Large projects will always be reported about due to the many benefits it brings to the area and because it can become a major discussion point for locals.

You can also look to the local council for information and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

How to prepare for higher interest rates

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept the official cash rate on hold for the tenth time last Tuesday. Interest rates haven’t moved since a 25 basis point cut in August last year, however many experts agree that we could start to see them go up very soon.

Ex-RBA board member John Edwards has used a column for the Lowy Institute to discuss his interest rate forecasts for the future.

He has predicted eight rises in the next two years, bringing the official cash rate to 3.5 per cent in 2019, up from the current 1.5 per cent. This could lead to an extra $250 a month in repayments on a $300,000 mortgage.

While this may sound daunting, there are a few things borrowers can do to protect themselves against mortgage stress.

Make additional repayments

There’s no time like the present to start preparing a buffer for the future. By making additional payments on your mortgage now you will be prepared should rates go up, because you will already be paying the higher rate. Plus, you will help reduce your mortgage faster!

Look for ways to save

To avoid paying too much in the future, find ways you can cut back on expenses now. One way to do this is to shop around and compare home loans. A small saving each month could make a significant difference over the life of your loan, not to mention it will help reduce any financial impact should rates get higher.

Consider a fixed rate

If the thought of higher interest rates seriously concerns you, there is always the option to move over to a fixed, or partially fixed, home loan rate. There are plenty of good fixed home loan deals at present, however it’s important to be aware that these types of loans can have restrictions.

Overall, the more prepared you are for potential interest rate rises the better off you’ll be. If you want any further advice about your situation it’s best to talk to a financial advisor or to a bank or mortgage broker. If you want any assistance with finding the best home loan rate, get in contact with Professionals Finance.

Have your say on Horsley Drive upgrade

The Fairfield community is being invited to have a say on the future upgrade of The Horsley Drive between the M7 Motorway and Cowpasture Road, Horsley Park to a four lane divided road.

The upgrade is set to include the option for six lanes in the future to meet western Sydney’s transport needs and support expected industrial and employment growth.

Some of the benefits of the upgrade would include:

  • Increased road capacity
  • An improved east-west connection between the Western Sydney Employment Area, the M7 Motorway and the Wetherill Park/Smithfield industrial area
  • Safer conditions for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians
  • Improved access to the Western Sydney Parklands
  • Improved freight access and efficiency
  • More reliable travel times
  • Reservation of road space for future widening if required.

Roads and Maritime Services is currently inviting feedback on the concept design and Environmental Investigation Report, until Friday, August 4.

Two information sessions are being held for residents to find out more about the project.

Sessions will be held on:

  • Wednesday 19 July – 4pm to 7pm @ Horsley Park Community Hall, Arundel Road, Horsley Park.
  • Saturday 22 July – 10am to 1pm @ Abbotsbury Community Centre, 64 Stockdale Crescent, Abbotsbury.

Click here for further information about the project.

10 quick and easy improvements to get your home sales ready

Looking to give your home a makeover before putting it on the property market? The better a property looks while it’s on the market, the more buyers it will attract – which equals a higher sales price!

The key to sprucing up your home is to concentrate on the areas that will give you the most bang for your buck. You don’t want to spend a fortune renovating your home before selling, but a few simple improvements can make a big impact.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Paint, paint, paint – One of the easiest ways to update a home is to add a fresh lick of coat. Painting both the interior and exterior of a property can make it look like new again. It’s best to opt for light, neutral colours inside the property. Outside colours should fit in with the colour of other properties on the street. If you need assistance choosing colours, a colour consultant can help.
  2. Pressure wash – A pressure wash will wash away all of the dirt and muck that has built up on exterior walls, driveways and paths. A pressure washer can by rented or bought. You can also hire a professional to pressure wash your house for you to make sure the job is done correctly.
  3. Resurface the kitchen and bathroom – Kitchens and bathrooms help sell homes so it’s well worth getting these areas up to scratch. A cost effective way to do this it to resurface old cupboards, tiles and bench tops to help brighten up the areas or disguise retro colours. Resurfacing is best left to the experts if you want quality results.
  4. Replace old handles – Whether its for doors, cupboards or draws, handles are a surprisingly easy way to modernise an older home. Keep choices consistent throughout the house and match them into the character or heritage of the home.
  5. Update old kitchen appliances – New appliances can instantly updated an old kitchen. Brand new stoves and range hoods can be found fairly cheaply and will make a big impact on the overall look and feel of the kitchen.
  6. Switch out old electrical outlets – If the property’s light switches and power points are looking old and faded then it could be time to replace them. Basic switches are cheap and easy to find from most hardware stores, but you should get an electrician to come in and change them for you.
  7. Change lights and fans – Old light fixtures and fans can let down an otherwise attractive room. There’s no need to opt for the most expensive lights and fans you can find, sometimes plain and simple is best. However keep in mind how much lighting a room needs, and whether softer or brighter lights are more practical.
  8. Find new window treatments – Replace daggy or mismatched window treatments with something simple that suits the style of the property. Consider the lighting or privacy needs of each room, but try to keep a uniform look throughout the house.
  9. Don’t neglect the outdoors – The outdoors is just as important as indoors when it comes to property presentation. Aim for neat, green lawns and keep garden beds and hedges well manicured. It also won’t hurt to clear out gutters repair any damage outside.
  10. Pay attention to the entrance – First impressions count! Aim for a warm and friendly welcome to your home. A few things that can help include adding a couple of pot plants by the door or investing in a welcome mat.

 

What can Census 2016 tell us about the housing market?

The figures from the 2016 Census is in and it’s revealed a lot about the Australian population, including our behaviours when it comes to the property market.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that are shaping our nation.

More people are calling Australia home

Quite a few more people live in Australia than they did just five years previously when the 2011 Census was held. According to the data gathered from Census night in August 2016, there were 1,894,175 more people in the country than in 2011. That brings Australia’s population to around 24.2 million people.

There has been a rise in high-density living

With so many extra people living in Australia, about 1,037 extra Aussies every day since the 2011 Census, it’s no wonder that high-density living is on the rise.

While separate houses still account for most homes in Australia (72%), there’s been a significant increase in dwellings such as flats, apartments, semi-detached, row housing or town housing. These account for about a quarter (26%) of Australian housing.

The population is ageing

The age of the average Australian is slowly creeping up. In 1911 the median age was just 23, then 28 in 1966, 37 in 2011 and now it’s 38.

More and more people are also living over the age of 65. One in six of us were over 65 on Census night 2016, compared to one in seven in 2011 and only one in 25 in 1911.

Incomes are rising

Many will be happy to hear that median personal incomes are on the up. The national weekly median was $662 for people aged 15 years and over – up from $557 in 2011. However it should be noted that these figures do not account for inflation.

Of the states, the Australian Capital Territory had the highest median personal income ($998 per week), followed by the Northern Territory ($871), Western Australia ($724), New South Wales ($664), Victoria ($644), Queensland ($660) and South Australia ($600).

Tasmania reported the lowest median personal income, earning $573 per week.

We’re still a nation of homeowners

Despite rising property prices in places like Sydney and Melbourne, the majority of Australians still own their homes either outright (31%) or own with a mortgage (34%). This leaves 31% renting.

However, while the majority of people either own or are paying off a home, the proportion of renters is slowing growing.

Want to find out more about the state of our nation on Census night? You can read the Census data in full at www.abs.gov.au/census.