Property’s the ‘wisest place for savings’

In property news this week, consumer sentiment lifts; Australia’s housing hotspots; a warning about wheat bags; and it’s your turn to run the town …

View your property portfolio as a business

Regardless of whether you have one, three, five or more investment properties, now is the time to evaluate what you want from your portfolio for the financial year ahead. Read More. 

Consumer sentiment improves

One in four Australians thinks that real estate is the wisest place for savings, according to the most recent Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment.

The monthly index lifted 4.7 per cent to reach 102.2 in June from 97.6 in May, indicating that optimists now outnumber the pessimists again...

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Kitchen design affects stress levels: new study

“We were running around the kitchen like headless chickens - we couldn’t find anything we were looking for!”

The kitchen has long been considered the heart of a home, but new research has found that, just like any heart, it can cause high levels of stress if the workflow is blocked. See what happened when two celebrity cooks were put to the test...

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Where the hotspots are

Population growth and residential construction are heating up all over the country, according to an annual report on key residential growth areas. We take a look at the report to see where the 'hot spots' are...

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Turning up the heat on wheat bags

Wheat bags, the apparently humble and harmless alternative to the hot water bottle, have been found to be quite the opposite, according to new research, as consumer groups call for the banning of soft toys which contain them from being marketed to children...

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Can’t sleep? Let the sunlight in

Can’t sleep? Maybe you’re not getting enough sunlight. Forbes Magazine recently reported on a study of office workers, which sought to find out if greater exposure to natural light during the day resulted in more restful sleep at night.

The results came back clear as day. Compared to workers in windowless offices, those with windows received 173 per cent more natural white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night.

The study also found that people who get more sunlight also tend to be more physically active and happier. Office workers without windows reported more physical ailments and lower vitality, along with lower sleep quality.

Run that town

Think you could run your town better than your local mayor?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released a free iOS strategy game using real 2011 census data, called Run That Town, in which players are challenged to make planning decisions that will boost their popularity, grow the town and keep the locals happy.

Each time you start a new game, Run That Town takes the Census data from your selected postal area and uses it to generate your town's initial population. As the game progresses, your decisions will affect your popularity, which will in turn have an impact on your area’s birth rate, migration rate and overall population.

The game is available for download free from the AppStore.