Dream Weekender

Part 1 of an ongoing series focusses on unique Australian weekend-stays, this week homelife.com.au share Mavis’s Kitchen & Cabins in Uki, NSW (Ed: Just down the road). The work of restaurateurs Charlie Ebell and Peter Clarke, the home was dismantled and shifted nearly 100 kilometres to its current location in the foothills of Mt Warning. It’s Friday, sit back and soak it up. (Photos Alicia Taylor) More…

Breeding like Bunnies: An investor strategy?

With plans to open another 85 stores nationally, investing some $1.5 billion and creating 6000 construction jobs, could the Bunnings chain of hardware stores expansion be an investment strategy worth taking note of. Following on from our article on Australia’s ongoing structural change, here we have one of our leading national companies with sufficient confidence to pursue expansion into consolidating and new residential areas. Are the construction of these an investor tell-tale for anticipated regional growth? More…

Chicken then Egg on Structural Change

An interesting thought on the structural change  we are experiencing. March sentiment survey from the Master builders Association indicates builders are expected to reduce their workforce. Calling on the RBA to cut rates the association reported new home sales and enquiry levels were weakening, and traffic to display homes was poor. MBA chief economist Peter Jones took the time to point out  that although there were strong employment gains in the less labour-intensive engineering sector it was not enough to outweigh significant job losses in the stagnant residential and declining non-residential building sectors. More…

Now first of all, it must be heartening to those in the retail sector not being alone in facing challenges in the marketplace, secondly, clearly there is a transition occurring between housing and engineering industries which our labour market is adapting to. Thirdly, and the most interesting thing, where will the need for new housing and accommodation spring from? You guessed it, the ongoing and substantial engineering works taking place. The upshot? Our economy is constantly in progression, unfortunately it’s our labour market which has to adapt or die.

Let the Dollar do the Dirty Work

With expectation our Aussie Dollar could slip by as much as 20% by August this year audible cheers could be heard from our ailing manufacturing, tourism and education sectors of the economy. More important is the effect on banking with its impact on wholesale lending to the big four and subsequently the RBA’s need to act on further interest rate reductions. Got to love a free mechanism in action on a de-regulated currency (Well Swanny may well). The  HIA new house start figures and ongoing reduction in dollar trade figure will be the 2 big debate points before the RBA meeting next week. Big call, but here I go… No move from the RBA next week. (Ed: Bites lip, hail marry). More…

Economics Vs. Politics on Rates

With debate in full swing over next weeks RBA interest rate decision, the consensus (if any) appears to be a 50/50 call with economists sitting firmly in the ‘No’ camp. Traditionally the board would look to act on substantive data (see May’s meeting after release of the March quarter inflation data), however, HIA figures due out tomorrow for new home sales from February could be the catalyst for change (and greater political influence to be exerted). In January, home sales fell by 7.3 per cent to the lowest reading in 11 years. There is renewed energy in the market but it does appear to be focussed on the existing homes segment. As we suggested in our earlier post today, a rate cut may well be ineffective on this sector with alternate means of market stimulus required at a Federal or State level.

Could reduced stamp duty be a spark?

Interest rate reductions become increasingly unlikely since Pimco’s chief Peter Dorrian offered up his insight into wholesale overseas lending and its impact on our major banks. So could we see our residential market sparked in an alternate way? Queensland’s Premier Campbell Newman, in his first 100 days plans to introduce legislation reinstating stamp duty discounts for the principal place of residence. Could this, combined with a renewed optimism, be just what the Sunny State (the South-East in particular) needs? More…