No change to interest rates – for now

Making headlines this week, Reserve Bank indicates it may go lower; house values rise while approvals fall; and the man and his dog - with matching homes!

Renovating: How much risk is it to much?

If you’re embarking on a renovation project have you taken the time to work out your risk profile? Confused? Let me explain.  Each property type has a varying level of risk and potential rewards which you as a buyer should be aware of. Read more here....

We’re doing okay – Reserve holds steady

The Reserve Bank has taken a ‘wait and see’ attitude to the economy in its first meeting for the year, opting to leave the Official Cash Rate unchanged at 3.0 per cent.

In a statement announcing the Bank’s decision, Governor Glenn Stevens said that the “significant easing in monetary policy” last year is already having a positive effect, particularly in the housing sector.

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Feeling better already

Australia’s property industry is starting 2013 on a more confident footing, according to new research.

The latest Property Council-ANZ Property Industry Confidence Survey shows the confidence index for the March 2013 quarter increased from 102 to 107, reversing two consecutive periods of decline (a score of 100 is considered neutral).

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Dwelling approvals fall in December

Building approvals fell in December, due largely to a massive decrease in Tasmania and Victoria, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show that the number of dwellings approved fell 4.4 per cent in December 2012, in seasonally adjusted terms, following a rise of 3.4 per cent in the previous month.

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The doghouse isn't such a bad place

We know some owners like to spoil their pets, but one owner across the pond has really raised the roof with his doghouse.

The doghouse with all the trimmings has been named Pet Pad of the Year 2012 by UK insurance group MORE TH>N, and rightly so. Standing 6.5ft high, it was hand-crafted by the lucky dog's owner, complete with fully insulated walls and floors, carpet, glossed skirting boards, interior and exterior lights on a timer switch, a slate roof and fully functioning guttering.

To complete the pooch's perfect palace, there's a patio pathway, porch light, ceramic statues and hanging baskets around the exterior.

Home values back in the black

Home values across Australia’s capital cities were up 1.2 per cent in January, taking the annual movement in dwelling values back into the black with a 1.8 per cent increase over the past twelve months.

The monthly RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index shows that dwelling values across Australia’s combined capital cities recorded a 1.2 per cent improvement over the month of January, cancelling out the -1.2 per cent drop in values recorded over the final quarter of 2012.

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An environmental brick in the wall

Ever-increasing urban density around the world makes it more important than ever to consider the flora and fauna that may be displaced when we build our homes and fence our gardens.

As a designer with a background in sociology and interests in conservation, urban planning, environmental and social design, British-based Chooi-Leng Tan is well aware of the problem and has now come up with a possible solution: build a wall they can live in, so we can share the space.

The Brick Habitat wall consists of a variety of brick modules offering perches, shelters, feeders or water baths to be incorporated into the sides of buildings. In Chooi-Leng Tan’s own words, these will “encourage wildlife back into the places they originally inhabited whilst turning our walls into gardens.”