Lighting the way...

Housing market turns the corner; lighting that absorbs carbon dioxide; and a competition that could pay your power bills for a year!

Before you borrow – think beyond the next five years!

Prospective home buyers often get so excited about buying their own piece of paradise that they forget about evaluating the future. They base their home loan on their current financial circumstances and don’t take into account their future plans. Read more 

Buyers on the move

Homebuyers are moving off the sidelines and back into the market, according to new data released this week.

The February RP Data/Rismark home value index results show that the Australian housing market has weathered the past twelve months well, with five of the country’s capital cities recording growth.

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Capital ideas

It has been exactly one hundred years since Walter Burley Griffin submitted his designs in 1913 for Canberra as the perfect capital city for Australia – if we could do it again, now, what would we do differently?

Times have changed. Questions of sustainability, liveability, transport and climate change challenge the way we live today, and must influence plans for the future.

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Pay my bills, please!

Would you like someone else to pay your power bills for the next twelve months?

To help further raise awareness of the savings that can be made by installing solar panels, national solar provider Energy Matters has launched a competition that will see the winner have their power bills paid for a year.

Just go to the energymatters website, submit for an instant, obligation-free online solar quote and state in 25 words or less how you would spend the savings if you switched to solar.

Purchase of a system is not required in order to enter the competition. Entries close at the end of this month. The winner will be selected in April and will have their electricity costs paid for an entire year, up to a maximum of $2,000.

The brighter side of algae

While the fight for the preservation of trees and rainforests rages worldwide, a French inventor has been developing another method of absorbing carbon dioxide.

According to Pierre Calleja, a biochemist specialising in microbiology for 20 years, a new micro-algae street lamp could absorb CO2 from the air at a rate of 1 tonne per year - roughly the same as the entire lifetime of a tree.

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Free land to improve affordability?

New home buyers could be offered free blocks of land for ten years, if a novel approach to housing affordability were to be adopted.

The proposed program, which is estimated to reduce first home buyer entry prices by half and cut the total cost of the dwelling over an average 25-year mortgage period by around 20 per cent was put forward in a key note address at the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) National Congress in Melbourne this week.

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New Fork, New York

A few weeks ago we reported on a doghouse fit for a human, now we've come across a treehouse fit for aristocracy.

Renowned as one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Manhattan, the Upper East Side still shows its roots on occasion. A historic 1866 clapboard home is now on the market for just over AU$10M, offering buyers - among other luxuries like a wood panelled library, elevator and wine cellar - a 48' back garden with a clapboard tree house, fashioned in the same design as the historic house itself, the NY Post reported recently.

In a city where residents seem to grow up too quickly, it's nice to see there are still places for children to be children.