The Most Important Room in the House

For property developers and marketing agents one big group of homebuyers to keep in mind is millennials. What might not always be fully appreciated is that when searching for the perfect home, millennial homebuyers are concentrating more on one room in particular, and it’s not the media or cinema room. It is in fact the kitchen. When millennials move or look for a new home they also look to improve their quality of life, and that includes the goal that they would like to cook more. That makes an updated/amazing kitchen an important point when these buyers look at homes. The buyer who currently rarely cooks imagines preparing a nice meal at home which will help form healthy new habits and be a great way to build social contacts.

Airports

As work starts on Sydney’s new airport here’s a brief survey of some of the world’s ‘most beautiful’ airports, and all of them set an amazing standard of design excellence, and some are located in very interesting cities: Marrakesh Morocco, Baku Azerbaijan, Denver, Madrid, Kansai, Beijing and St Petersburg. What is also notable and perhaps a hint for Sydney is that some very well-regarded architects have been involved in the terminal designs, with firms like Renzo Piano and Foster + Partners.

Amazon HQ2 Even Losers are Winners

Back in January, when Amazon announced its 20 short listed cities that were still in running for the company’s second headquarters, hundreds of cities and their officials across the USA felt the deep pain of rejection. However, Amazon took the step of contacting many of the cities dropped explaining in productive engagement why they didn’t make the shortlist. In a very positive way Amazon even made specific suggestions on how cities can improve their standing and there has been some direct flow-on benefits to some of those cities. More than 200 cities across mainland USA have missed out on a possible win that came with a promise of 50,000 high-paid employees and US$5 billion in investment. Nine months later Amazon continues the process of finding a second home for its HQ2.

Few Homes Being Built

With some home prices falling, access to finance becoming more difficult and fewer people now moving to Australia, the number of new homes approved for construction has declined. ABS data recently released show that 16,447 homes (seasonally adjusted) were approved for construction in August a level that is 9.4% lower than in July and 13.6% than in August 2017. The latest level of approvals is the lowest since October 2016. According to the HIA, the new home building sector has been cooling modestly over the past year after reaching all time high levels of activity during 2015 through to 2017.  Just as apartment construction drove the increase in home building to record levels, approvals data is signalling that apartments will lead the decline. Approvals for units fell by 17.2 % in August, to be 23.7 % lower than a year earlier. The HIA also noted that the number of homes built by Australia’s top 100 builders has fallen for the first time in five years, in all states, with the exception of Victoria.

Australia’s First Dark Sky Park

Australia’s first and only Dark Sky Park was formally be launched in NSW’s Warrumbungle National Park, near Coonabarabran, on September 29. The new park is a specially protected nocturnal environment which provides superior star-gazing conditions for astronomers. The dark sky park is on the doorstep of Australia’s premier optical and infrared astronomical observatory, Siding Spring, about 30 kilometres from Coonabarabran. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has implemented new guidelines supported with $100,000 in funding. The Coonabarabran’s observatory is a key tourism drawcard for the region and is one of the few places in the world where astronomers can observe the entire southern hemisphere sky. A local even, StarFest showcases the Observatory attracting over 24,000 visitors each year, injecting $5 million into the local economy.

 International House Prices – 5 Year Picture

A survey by The Economist Magazine shows some interesting house price trends over the past 5 years alongside a comparison for the past 12 months. Looking at the top 5 cities in the survey there are some ups and downs. Dublin increased 78.5% over the past 5-years and 11.7% in the last 12 months. For Berlin the figures were 63.1% and 13.2%, Vancouver 60.4% and 12.3%, Auckland 56.4% and (-0.2%) and Sydney 54.8% and (-2.7%).  The strongest market in the past 12-months was Berlin and the weakest Oslo with (-12.2%). Of the 22 cities in the survey only Tokyo and Singapore were seen as under-valued while, Paris and Auckland were the most ‘over-valued’.