fbpx

News

Australia News

14.09.2016

Australia: Fast tracking to be world’s first fully connected continent

By 2020, we expect we’ll be the first country of our size to make broadband access universal.  Our generation – GenNBN – will be more connected than ever before. This will pay huge dividends in health, education and entertainment… to name just a few. And it will create exciting economic opportunities for everyone. In the next three years, nbn is on track to put Australia ahead of the world for high speed, universal broadband access. How can we leverage this advantage to transform our businesses, economy, communities and lives?  Digital technology has radically changed the world and right now we’re walking into a wave of innovation that will revolutionise everything. Not just what we do on our computers, but the way we live our lives and interact with the world around us. This is the world of GenNBN. Over the next five years, we’re going to see the proliferation of: Self-driving vehicles; Virtual and augmented reality; The internet of things; Personal robotics; and even, Artificial intelligence to a degree… So, what does this mean? Firstly, data usage in Australia is exploding, largely…

Australia News

06.09.2016

Australia to score as China tourists spend more

A majority of Chinese tourists plan to maintain or increase their travel spending this year despite the economic slowdown in China and Australia remains the top destination on their wish list, a new survey shows. Chinese travellers tightened their belts over the year to May due to the slowing economy at home, on average spending 17 per cent less per day than the previous year, the 2016 Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor survey shows. But that’s set to rebound in the next year. Ninety two per cent of Chinese globetrotters plan to increase or maintain travel spending, and one third of the 3,000 Chinese residents surveyed plan to fork out extra cash to venture abroad.Advertisement “While China’s gross domestic product had been slowing for three years, China’s outbound tourism had registered double that growth rate for each of those years,” the report found. China is the top global spender on tourism, and only five per cent of its nearly 1.4 billion citizens currently hold a passport, the survey said. The number of visitors from China and Hong Kong coming Down…

Australia News

06.09.2016

1 in 5 Victorian tenants offer to pay extra rent, survey reveals

Josh and Tara Monteiro, with son Charlie, offered $20 on top of their weekly rent to try to snap up a Bentleigh East house. Photo: Luis Ascui Melbourne’s rental squeeze is forcing more tenants to offer extra rent, with some bidding as much as $100 a week on top of asking prices. About one in five tenants offered to pay more than the advertised rent, with half of those tenants being successful, Consumer Affairs Victoria’s rental experience report reveals. With the vacancy rate dropping from 1.9 per cent over the year to 1.6 per cent in July, according to Domain Group data, tenants would expect face higher competition. Some tenants also offer more rent to negate considerations such as pets or a single income. When Tara Monteiro and her family arrived at the first – and only – inspection of a house in Bentleigh East last year, they found it swarming with people. The asking price was $350 a week and they offered an extra $20 to give their application an edge. Mrs Monteiro said they were unsuccessful, and believed someone else proposed to pay more….

Australia News

05.09.2016

Local lending for apartment construction stalled in June quarter, APRA says

Lending by Australia’s biggest four banks for apartment developments stalled in the three months to June as they cut back on exposure to the rapidly growing sector. Loans by ANZ, Westpac, NAB and CBA and their subsidiaries for commercial-scale residential construction stood at $26.5 billion in the second quarter, unchanged from March, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority figures this week showed. The quarterly halt, after a year in which lending by Australia’s majors for apartment construction jumped nearly 14 per cent, was a welcome sign that banks were limiting their exposure to a sector that is already at risk of oversupply, with approvals still rising, UBS analyst Jonathan Mott wrote in a note on Friday. Approvals of new apartments jumped 23 per cent in July, their biggest monthly gain in almost three years. “We were pleased to see the data from APRA confirming management commentary that the majors’ underwriting standards for high-rise apartments have been tightened,” Mr Mott wrote. However, the extent to which the slowdown in development finance by the large local banks is being offset by foreign funding sources is unclear. It…

Australia News

01.09.2016

Affordability at new low as Sydney and Melbourne prices surge

Sydney and Melbourne house prices have surged again in August, driving housing affordability in the two cities to an all-time low. Sydney prices were up 1.5 per cent, while Melbourne prices grew 1.4 per cent over the month. Overall, the combined capital market house prices rose 1.1 per cent, Corelogic August Home Value Index shows. Year on year, Sydney’s price growth of 9.4 per cent has surpassed the 9 per cent higher end of price growths predicted by experts earlier on in the year. Melbourne is on 9.1 per cent. The strong stimulus from low interest rates have seen capital flowing into markets like Hobart where dwelling prices have risen 6.5 per cent over the past 12 months. Canberra has also risen 7.6 per cent in the same time. A year ago, it was posting a 0.9 per cent fall in prices. “[The] RBA had a grand plan early in the piece and we have gone through a very smooth transition from mining to building boom. It has seen value growth stronger than what people have anticipated…a longer cycle,” Corelogic head of…

Australia News

24.08.2016

The surprising thing I learnt when I moved into a high-rise apartment

Despite my acrophobia I have fallen for the charms of the 19th floor. Everyone has that one friend who is scared of heights, and in the case of my extended circle, I am that friend. Recently, while on a weekend road trip, my friends and I began driving up a hill to Arthur’s Seat outside of Melbourne; not exactly Everest, but still steep enough for me to imagine the car flipping over backwards like something out of a Hanna Barbera cartoon and plummeting over the edge of the road.  After a few minutes, I piped up quietly from the back seat: “So is now a good time for me to tell you all about my fear of heights?” If there’d been a record playing in the car, its needle would have been ripped from the groove. Yes, I’m one of those people who struggles to go up ladders, breaks out in a cold sweat at the distant memory of the MCG’s Southern Stand, and who even on occasion gets nervous standing on my bed to change a light bulb. On a holiday, under extreme…

Australia News

22.08.2016

RBA loses credibility as housing boom continues

Australia’s booming housing market has once again head-faked the central bank, which is losing credibility every time it cuts on claims the world’s dearest residential property prices are nothing to worry about. In rationalising its decision to reduce the cash rate to 1.5 per cent in August, the Reserve Bank of Australia alleged that “the likelihood of lower interest rates exacerbating risks in the housing market has diminished”. Yet auction clearance rates in our two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, which account for 47 per cent of the metro population, have subsequently risen back to boom-time levels. CoreLogic reports that 86.4 per cent of Sydney auctions on the weekend resulted in a sale, which is 10 percentage points higher than the equivalent clearance rate 12 months ago and just shy of the 89.7 per cent record set in May last year. In Melbourne, 76.1 per cent of auctions saw a sale, besting the 74.3 per cent clearance rate in the same week last year. Advertisement Median clearance rates in Sydney and Melbourne over the four weeks since July 31 have been 78 per…

Australia News

22.08.2016

Spring property guide for buyers and sellers

Stephanie Hogan is gearing up again. She and partner Ben have tried – and failed – to buy a family house in Bayside Melbourne five times since March when Hogan sold her two-bedroom unit in Richmond. Competition has been fierce over a winter in which stock levels all but dried up “When we started looking, there were a lot more properties and we were more picky,” she says. “But in winter there was nothing on the market.” That, at least, is getting better, with the number of new sales listings picking up in Sandringham (July median price $1,525,000) and Hampton ($1,775,000), where Hogan has been looking. “In the last two weeks there’s been a lot coming on,” she says. “We’re starting to notice it picking up.” Advertisement This week, for example, the number of auctions nationwide is up 10 per cent on last week to 1,622, CoreLogic figures show. Auctions are up in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, while in Sydney they are down slightly. And compared with the equivalent week last year – when the country had 2,248 auctions –…

Australia News

19.08.2016

Jobless rate eases to 5.7pc in July

a surprisingly large surge in part-time work saw the jobless rate match the lowest level in almost three years last month, but most analysts warned there are still signs of weakness in the labour market. In what is the biggest increase in four month, employment gained 26,200, or more than twice what was forecast, from June, when it rose by a revised 10,800 jobs, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. The jobless rate edged down to 5.7 per cent from 5.8 per cent, equalling the lowest since September 2013. Economists had tipped an unchanged rate at 5.8 per cent. Better-than-anticipated jobs data supports those who argue the economy doesn’t need any more official Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate cuts. Traders pushed the dollar to as much as US77.19¢ from around US76.56¢. However, questions have been raised about whether the figures are as strong as the headline numbers would suggest. Full-time work decreased by 45,400 and part-time employment surged by a staggering 71,600 in one month alone, prompting some analysts to once again question the reliability of the short-term…

Australia News

18.08.2016

Melbourne median house price jumps 1.5 per cent in June quarter 2016: Domain Group

Melbourne’s house prices have hit a new record median of $740,995 after almost four years of growth, and there are no signs of relief for house hunters this year.  House prices grew 1.5 per cent in the June quarter, bringing the annual rate to 7.4 per cent – the highest of all capital cities, according to Domain Group’s House Price Report, released on Thursday.    The unit median price also grew 3.5 per cent over the June quarter, but just 2.7 per cent annually, to $450,933. The data comes a day after the HILDA survey showed Victoria had the biggest collapse in home ownership across Australia, with just 66 per cent of households owner-occupied compared with almost 74 per cent in 2001.  Official interest rate cuts, lower stock levels and more investors hunting for properties ahead of the federal election were drivers of the market, experts say.  With the eastern suburbs taking a back seat after a strong run, the northern and western suburbs are now leading the charge.  Only one of 30 properties in the north failed to sell at auction last weekend – equating to a 96.7 per cent clearance rate. Across Melbourne, the clearance rate soared to a year-high of 80 per cent last Saturday, surpassing the previous high of 77.9 per cent in February. …

Australia News

18.08.2016

Adelaide $100m school joins upwards rush

Adelaide will open its first vertical high school in 2019, joining a wave of similar inner-city developments in Sydney and Melbourne. The $100 million state government project will be built on a site neighbouring the University of South Australia and the Botanical Gardens, on the northern fringe of the CBD. The new school will rise up six levels across two buildings and will cater for 1250 students with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Construction is due to start in December. “This new school has been designed to ensure it is well connected to the rich variety of community assets in the city’s educational and cultural precinct,” SA Education Minister Susan Close said. The rapid growth of residential populations in and around city centres is bringing new schools closer to the CBD, while the high cost of land in these locations is driving developments upwards rather than outwards. In western Sydney,  another $100 million project, Parramatta’s Arthur Phillip High School will be rebuilt into a 17-storey tower catering for 2000 students while in Melbourne, top private school Haileybury has already opened the doors to its 10-storey King Street campus opposite Flagstaff Gardens, redeveloped from…

Australia News

16.08.2016

A record six Australian universities make the world’s top 100

A change in ranking methodology has vaulted two more universities into the global top 100, giving Australia a record six institutions in education’s most prestigious list. Monash University and the University of Sydney were the big winners, going from outside the top 100 to 79th and 82nd place respectively in the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released on Monday, The University of Queensland cemented its position as the most rapid improver among Australia’s top universities by lifting to 55th place from 77th last year. It is now beginning to challenge Australia’s most highly ranked institution, the University of Melbourne, which is at 40th place. Asian parents are heavily influenced by rankings in selecting universities for their children. University of Queensland vice chancellor Peter Hoj said the result was “incredibly good” for Australia’s higher education exports which are now worth $19 billion a year.  Australia’s record performance is largely due to a change in the way the Chinese-based ARWU, often known as the Shanghai ranking, measures the number of highly-cited researchers in a particularly university. Thomson Reuters, which supplies the data on research paper…

Stay in touch with us

Subscribe our newsletter to get the latest information
Open chat