Good time to buy a home

This week, figures show homes are more affordable now; no change to interest rates in June; building approvals continue to lift; and what if the kids don’t want to move to the suburbs?

Approvals soar

Building approvals have risen by more than one quarter in the past year, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Seasonally adjusted figures show that the total number of dwellings approved rose 9.1 per cent in April following a fall of 5.5 per cent in the previous month. This result is effectively a rise of 27.3 per cent on the number approved in April 2012.

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No change – for now

There may have been no change to interest rates this week, but the Reserve Bank is certainly not shutting the door on further cuts this year.

At its meeting this week, the Bank Board kept the Official Cash Rate on hold at 2.75 per cent, its lowest level in more than 50 years.

In a statement outlining the Board’s decision, Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens remarked on the recent drop in the Australian dollar, together with ‘global growth running a bit below average’, adding that the ‘easier financial conditions now in place will contribute to a strengthening of growth over time, consistent with achieving the inflation target’.

“The Board also judged that the inflation outlook, as currently assessed, may provide some scope for further easing, should that be required to support demand”, Governor Stevens concluded.

Housing affordability improves

Lower interest rates together with subdued house prices were the main drivers for continued improvement in housing affordability in the March 2013 quarter, according to a new report showing that homes are now 12.8 per cent more affordable than twelve months earlier.

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Light up your assets

It gets dark so early these days, but that’s no reason why you shouldn’t still be able to enjoy your garden, balcony or deck through the use of a little creative lighting to show their best features.

Solar-powered lights will usually give a low-voltage, soft effect perfect for showing paths and borders (and you don’t have to remember to turn them off). Stronger lights can be used to illuminate ornamental trees, urns or sculptures. Direct the beams upwards rather than straight onto the object to give dimension.

Lighting need not just illuminate where you are going, and it is a waste if your carefully tended garden “disappears” in the dark.

What if the kids don’t want to move to the ‘burbs?

Last week, we looked at recently-published research into the domicile choices of the younger generations, which indicated that many ‘thirty-somethings’ are likely to choose a house in the suburbs over the inner-city pad, once they have children.

But is that true, and if not, how does it affect urban planning?

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Put yourself in the picture

Art literally meets furniture in what could be the answer to the need for guest seating in a cramped living room.

Made of elastic canvas, wood and aluminium, Canvas is a lightweight chair can be hung flat on a wall like a picture, or unhooked and propped against the wall to be used as a seat.

Unveiled at Milan Design Week 2013 by Tokyo-based YOY design studio, Canvas consists of three pieces, each depicting an image of the furniture it represents (chair, armchair or sofa).