Canberra, Sydney, Darwin most expensive to rent a home

Housing rental prices have reached record highs in multiple Australian capital cities, with Canberra tenants facing the highest costs in the country.

According to the Domain Rent Report released today, Canberra tenants coughed up a mega $600 in weekly rent for houses in the latest quarter and $500 for units.

Housing rentals in Sydney remained at a high of $550 per week, $20 more than the asking price in March last year.

Canberra tenants are facing the highest rental costs in the country. (Peter Rae)

The weekly rent for units remained at $470, which is $60 less than this time last year.

Sydney units recorded the steepest annual fall since Domain records began in 2004.

Overall, the harbour city was tied in second place for highest rental prices with Darwin, followed by Hobart in third at $480.

Brisbane overtook Melbourne by $10, the asking rental housing price hitting $440.

It means for the first time on record, Melbourne is the second most affordable capital city in the country, tied with Perth at $430.

Housing rental prices have reached record highs in multiple Australian capital cities. (Peter Rae)

Melbourne’s rental market saw significant rental price falls for houses and units over the last year and quarter, which could be due to the effects of its lengthy COVID-19 lockdowns.

Adelaide was crowned the most affordable with housing rental prices at just $425.

Outer-city regions across the country also saw median rental asking prices rise as demand ramped up.

Areas such as Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Sutherland, outer south-west, outer west and the Blue Mountains grew in rental asking prices.

Prices similarly rose in Melbourne’s outer-east, south-east and Mornington Peninsula.

Demand also increased for the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

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Stable home for mistreated horses

THE RSPCA has new, modern stables at Pearcedale for horses that come under its care. Picture: Supplied HORSES that have been mistreated have a new home at Pearcedale. The purpose-built stables opened last week at the RSPCA’s Peninsula Animal Care Centre will be used for vulnerable horses in need of care, rehabilitation, and rehoming. Since July 2014, more than 420 horses and donkeys have been cared for by the RSPCA after being reported to its inspectorate. Paid for by the state government, the Pearcedale stables are equipped to enable more effective treatment and rehabilitation of seized horses. The stables can accommodate animals with a range of health concerns and needing shelter and rest during treatment. RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker said the stables marked a new phase of care at the Pearcedale shelter. “Horse welfare is of particular concern in Victoria. In 2019 – 2020, RSPCA Victoria’s inspectorate received more than 6700 cruelty reports involving horses and is currently monitoring more than 900 horses in the community which are, or may become, vulnerable,” Dr Walker said. Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said the government was “building a state that fosters the caring and respectful treatment of animals”. Dr Walker said the design of the stables was “underpinned by an understanding that some of the animals that come into our care are from poor welfare backgrounds or may never have spent time in a stable or confined space”. Low maintenance, the stables had “simple and safe access for cleaning and ease of purpose. “The design elevates the use of natural light and air flow and includes dedicated water tanks, has energy efficient lighting, security and the ability to stage CCTV,” Dr Walker said. There are five indoor stalls with sand day-yards, revolving feed bins, sliding stable doors and rubber flooring. A wall can be moved to create more space and there is room for a mare and foal along with a crush to help with horses needing veterinary treatment. The stables are completed with a tack and a feed room with room for scales and a hot wash bay with non-slip flooring. First published in the Western Port News – 7 April 2021

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Returning Aussies may be able to quarantine at home, says PM

The “sensible next step” in easing Australia’s international border restrictions would be to allow vaccinated Australians flying in from overseas to quarantine at home, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

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Not everyone has what it takes. Roman Anin, whose home and newsroom were raided by federal agents last week, explains the challenges of investigative journalism in Russia today

Roman Anin says part of his job is knowing to expect a visit from the authorities at any moment. When federal agents showed up at his Moscow apartment last week, however, he wasn’t immediately sure why they’d come. Officials searched his home for almost seven hours, working until midnight, before questioning him for a few hours more. It was only the next day when he learned that a separate team had also raided the iStories newsroom on Friday. The searches are part of an investigation into a case of alleged privacy invasion “committed through abuse of office.” Anin is currently listed as a witness, but he believes he could face felony charges himself. The trouble stems from an investigative report Anin wrote in 2016 when he was still a reporter at the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, where he revealed that Olga Sechina (then Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin’s wife) owned one of the most expensive luxury yachts in the world. Meduza spoke to Anin about the raid on his home, why this case has suddenly returned, and what it means for other investigative journalists in Russia.

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Coroner reveals TikTok and Vine star Adam Perkins, 24, died at an L.A. home on April 11 but cause of death remains a mystery while autopsy is underway

The L.A. County Coroner’s office has revealed TikTok and Vine star Adam Perkins died on Sunday April 11 at an L.A. ‘residence’ – but the cause of his death remains unknown. 

Adam made his name on Vine with comedy videos and he was best known for one where he appeared in a bathroom mirror, enthusiastically saying: ‘Hi, welcome to Chilli’s’. 

His death was announced by his twin brother Patrick on social media. Patrick said he did not want to disclose how his brother had died. 

The pair grew up in California. Their father Lars is a tech entrepreneur who sold photography sharpening software to Google in 2004. Their mother Susan is a British actress. 

The family have property on the west coast, in L.A., and in Maine. It’s unclear where his relatives have been living recently, or if he was living alone. understands that police were called to the property where Adam died and that the unit that responded was the LAPD’s West L.A. branch, but no more detail has been given. 

His family are now mourning his death in part with thoughtful tributes on social media.

Patrick has now released an album that his brother had been working on before his death.  Adam studied music at NYU and graduated in 2019. 

His loving parents described him and his brother online as the light and pride of their lives. 

Lars, his father, is on the NASA Advisory Committee. The family seem to split their time now between Maine and L.A.  

After announcing his brother had passed away aged 24, Patrick shared a series of tributes on Instagram and among heartfelt best wishes from fans, he shot down questions about how Adam had died.   

‘Think I need to take this opportunity to explain something to you: if the cause of death is not released, there is a reason…

‘There is intention in every part of this. Please respect both of us by not asking that question… not sure how it’s not obvious that I didn’t say for a reason. Everything in this is intentional. Please respect that,’ he said. 

Patrick’s messages to fans came before he shared a heartbreaking tribute to his sibling on Wednesday.

To the tune of Joni Mitchell’s 1976 hit Coyote, from his favourite album Hejira, the late online sensation was seen larking around while filming, having his haircut, driving, petting a dog and many more candid moments from their life. 

He added a caption on the heartbreaking video reading: ‘Adam Perkins 1997 – forever and ever. I love you my brother. Always.’

The Boston-born star’s twin confirmed the news on Instagram, as he revealed the star died on April 11 but did not disclose any cause of death.

Beneath the touching video, Adam’s fans penned: ‘My heart hurts. What a huge part of my youth your brothers vines were rest in peace… 

‘Sending my condolences to you and your family… Life just doesn’t feel real anymore lately, sorry for your loss… One last time as a tribute “Hi welcome to chilli’s!’

As well as having thousands of TikTok followers, Adam was also known for an iconic clip on the social media site Vine which saw him parody an advert for the American restaurant chain Chili’s. 

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Business group says dumping stamp duty could help Victorian first home buyers

Victoria’s leading business group wants the state government to abolish stamp duty, in what would amount to major tax reform.

The suggestion is made in the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (VCCI) submission for the upcoming state budget.

VCCI is calling for stamp duty to be replaced by a broad-based land tax for all property purchases, removing what it calls “a market-distorting tax.”

VCCI chief executive, Paul Guerra, said the fee was making it difficult for younger people in particular to enter the housing market.

“We know stamp duty is an impediment for people selling houses and obviously it’s an impediment for people buying houses as well, because effectively there’s another charge on top of the purchase charge,” he said.

VCCI is proposing that existing arrangements be grandfathered so people who have already paid stamp duty do not have to pay land tax until they sell the property and buy a new dwelling.

“It’s making sure that it’s protecting those who’ve paid stamp duty already, they’ve paid it, they shouldn’t pay any more,” Mr Guerra said.

The New South Wales Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet,  proposed a similar move in that state last year, describing such a change as “the Netflix of property tax” due to the extent of the reform.

Instead of a one-off upfront payment on the purchase of a property, buyers instead would pay an annual tax based on the value of their land.

The ACT is also phasing out stamp duty.

Mr Guerra said Victoria should pay close attention to how the move plays out interstate.

Chief economist for BIS Oxford Economics, Sarah Hunter, said replacing stamp duty with land tax was a “long run” solution that could create short-term challenges.

“Stamp duty revenues are a significant source of revenue for all of the states and Victoria is no exception to that and so the challenge in removing that is how does that flow through to the state budget,” she said.

Mr Guerra said Victoria was well placed to fill that gap over time.

“That hole, whilst immediately would be evident, we think now is the time given interest rates are so low the government can fill that, and then over a period of six to eight years as the new land tax comes in, that would remedy whatever the short-term hole is,” he said.

Ms Hunter said the benefit for a state government in such a move would be having a more stable revenue stream, rather than the fluctuating income that comes from stamp duty.

The ACT is removing stamp duty over a 20-year period, while NSW was proposing to keep stamp duty for the top 20 percent of properties by value, while giving buyers the choice to pay stamp duty or land tax.

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Average price of Canadian home rising at fastest annual pace ever, now up to $716,828

Canada’s red hot housing market continues to defy expectations, with sales in March up 70 per cent compared to a year ago and average prices up by more than 30 per cent.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said Thursday that more than 70,000 homes were sold last month, obliterating the previous record for the month by 22,000 transactions. The figure was 76 per cent higher than the same month a year ago, which saw sales slow because it was the first month of restrictions related to COVID-19.

Those restrictions put a temporary chill on the market, but things started heating up in May 2020 and haven’t cooled down since.

On the price side, the average selling price for a home sold on CREA’s MLS system was $716,828. That’s up by 31.6 per cent in a year, and the biggest annual pace of gain on record.

While sellers and owners are doubtless ecstatic with record selling prices, the torrid pace is causing anxiety among economists and policy-makers who worry that first-time buyers are being locked out of the market unless they take on massive mortgages that they may not be able to afford if interest rates rise.

Last week, Canada’s top banking regulator proposed to raise the stress test level on mortgages to make sure that borrowers can afford higher rates. That move would reduce the purchasing power of buyers by about five per cent.

CREA chair Cliff Stevenson said the biggest factor pushing prices higher has been an imbalance between supply and demand, and he said the market is showing signs of finding an equilibirum.

“The shortages in supply we have across so much of Canada, a lot of that demand has been pressuring prices. So the big rebound in new supply to start the spring market is the relief valve we need the most to get that demand playing out more on the sales side of things and less on the price side,” he said. 

“That said, it will take a lot more than one month of record new listings, but it looks like we may finally be rounding the corner on these extremely unbalanced housing market conditions.”

Mortgage rate decline

While supply and demand imbalances may be playing a role, there has also been a precipitous decline in mortgage rates, which makes it easier to borrow more and more money. Mortgage rates plunged to all-time lows during the pandemic, and while they are starting to creep higher, they are still a long way from becoming a contributing factor to any slowdown.

Economist Rishi Sondhi with TD Bank says the numbers for April and May should be interesting to watch because the move to raise the stress test doesn’t come into effect until June, which means it could have the unintended consequence of making the market even hotter in the short term as people rush to borrow and buy before the new rules are in place.

“It’s déjà vu all over again [and] with markets remaining historically tight, more near-term gains are in the cards,” he said. “This frothy price backdrop could prompt a response from policy-makers in coming months.”

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Home and Away: Tane’s arms in the role they were born to play giving off massive The O.C. vibes

The year is 2006 and it’s the season three finale of The O.C. Imogen Heap’s cover of Hallelujah is playing while Ryan carries Marissa’s gangly limp body from the burning wreckage. Ryan survives with minor injuries, but Marissa dies on the side of the road, along with Mischa Barton’s acting career.

No one’s career is over in this case – unless Nik and Bella were perusing singing (I’ll get to that later) – but the scene of Tane carrying Mac is the role Tane (and his arms) were born to play.

Anna comes back form a run. She’s not wearing shoes so it’s a pretty poor attempt at convincing us she’s just done exercise.

It’s not really relevant to the plot, but it really irks me.

Over at Ziggy’s house, Mac doesn’t want to dwell on her pain and heads into to work to take her mind off things.

But she’s about to really regret her decision because Ari and Mia are about to turn up for a relaxing boozy lunch even though Ari is freshly out of hospital just weeks after he nearly died from a hit and run.

Ari sees that she doesn’t look too great and pulls her over for a talk. But Mac isn’t ready and walks away.

“I think us showing up has messed her about,” Ari says to Mia.

“I know breakups are hard but now she can’t even be in the same place as me.”

Oh Ari, we expected so much better from you.

Ari literally left Mac and moved his old girlfriend in immediately and he’s somehow surprised that she can’t handle the sight of him?

Then Mac takes a turn for the worse and collapses in the surf club.

Tane scoops her up in his massive arms and ferries her to the hospital.

Ari and Mia see it all and Mia has no choice (or that’s what she says) but to tell Ari the truth.

Hide and seek.
Camera IconHide and seek. Credit: Jeremy Greive/Jeremy Greive

“Mac was pregnant,” Mia says.

“She lost the baby.”

Ari turns up at the hospital where Mac is recovering.

Actually a heartfelt moment.
Camera IconActually a heartfelt moment. Credit: Jeremy Greive/Jeremy Greive

“Mac, I know about the pregnancy,” Ari says.

“I am so sorry you went through this alone. I should have been here.”

“I didn’t want you to have to be with me,” Mac says through the tears.

“I didn’t want it and now I’ve lost it.

“I’m so empty.”

We don’t see she rest of the heartfelt exchange, but Mac has perked up a lot and is discharged.

“Take care of yourself and call me if you need anything, anytime,” Ari says.

Back at home Mia is the nicest she’s been in the show so far.

“If you want to go and keep Mac company, I am fine with it,” she says to Ari.

“Take the pizza with you.”

“You and I both know there’s nothing anyone can do to take away the pain,” Ari replies.

In other news Nikau surprises Bella with a weekend getaway.

She packs her bag in 10 seconds flat and they head off.

Nik suddenly has a car and we’re lucky the Home and Away actors were not hired for their singing ability because Bella’s weak singing voice makes me want to pull my beautiful hair out.

Not again.
Camera IconNot again. Credit: Channel 7/Channel 7

The singalong comes to an end and they turn up at a rustic looking farmhouse.

“Nik it’s perfect,” Bella says.

He’s pulled out all the steps to woo her. There’s champagne and a bath!

They’re getting all cuddly on the couch when Ryder and Chloe seek their “revenge” and rock up with tequila, ready to party.

“You guys can’t stay,” Nik says.

But they pull the guilt card and make themselves at home.

Then another cringe moment. We’re now watching a lame teen horror movie.

Ryder wakes up in the middle of the night after hearing suspicious noises.

“There’s someone outside,” he says to Chloe.

It’s clearly just a lame prank to get them back for crashing the romantic getaway but the rouse goes on for quite some time, getting each other back.

I’ll spare you all and won’t go into.

The only important part is when Bella zooms in on a pic of Nik taken before they were gate crashed and there’s a mysterious figure in the background.

All of a sudden, they’re at the Diner with Ryder and Chloe and they all agree it’s the last of the pranks and there’s no more discussion of the suss silhouette lurking in the background.

Dean is avoiding his responsibilities by sinking tiny beers at Salt.

Amber’s talk of marriage and babies has been playing on his mind.

But Amber tells him he’s off the hook because she’s happy with their relationship and doesn’t want another kid.

Sadly, Dean’s mood has been misinterpreted and he does want kids and asks Amber not to rule the idea out so they’re back where they started wanting completely different things.

Justin still in pain and John wants to sell his house and give the money from the sale of the house to Justin and Leah.

But they won’t take any money from John. 

Finally the bit we’ve been waiting for. Lewis’ revenge on Budget McDreamy.

It’s been a slow build, but the tension is nearing maximum.

Budget McDreamy has been charged for smashing Lewis in the face and now he’s “an excellent surgeon with a criminal record”.

Still raging.
Camera IconStill raging. Credit: Jeremy Greive/Jeremy Greive

The pair carry on as they usually do – with Lewis egging on Budget McDreamy, who continues to fall for it every time.

It’s looking like Budget McDreamy is going to punch Lewis again, but Alf breaks it up with the hose as they are conveniently in front of the Bait shop.

Wet Doc.
Camera IconWet Doc. Credit: Channel 7/Channel 7

But the real victim in all of the this is poor Jasmine who knows that using Lewis for his sperm isn’t a wise idea since he’s basically psychotic.

“It’s not healthy or normal,” Jas says.

“Lewis I care about you a lot but I’m worried if you carry on like this you’re going to end up arrested or worse.”

Jas suggests he see a counsellor because she had such amazing results and was cured in just a few sessions.

“You can’t keep going like this Lewis. Something has to change,” she says.

Lewis only hangs his head and turns down Jasmine’s invitation for a sleepover.

The next day Jas raises her concerns with Tori.

Poor Jas.
Camera IconPoor Jas. Credit: Channel 7/Channel 7

“He’s still got it in for Christian,” Jas says.

“I’m scared Tori, there’s something really wrong.”

It switches to the hospital and Lewis is in a dark unused room, dragging a body by the feet.

Just a moment later the body is revealed to be Christian.

Imagine if this was the last thing you saw.
Camera IconImagine if this was the last thing you saw. Credit: Channel 7/Channel 7

Under normal circumstances – like real life – Lewis would never get away with smuggling the unconscious body of a grown man though the hospital. But this is Home and Away so it really could be the end for Budget McDreamy.

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Man arrested after allegedly targeting Melbourne home of cricket legend Ricky Ponting

A man has been arrested over the alleged theft of a car from former Test captain Ricky Ponting’s home.

Ponting and his family were at their bayside home in Melbourne in early February when thieves allegedly entered the highly-protected property.

The alleged thieves, later named by police as Jose Henriques and Russell Greenwood, made away with his car.

However, on Tuesday, Henriques was arrested.

He is now facing charges of wilful damage, while his alleged associate is still on the run.

The alleged theft sparked a major police response which spanned two days.

Ponting’s car was stolen on Friday with the Special Operations Group and the Airwing dispatched to track it.

It was spotted allegedly being driven at speed through Melbourne’s west before being dumped in Camberwell.

The car was recovered but the suspects had eluded police.

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Home prices are climbing alright, but not for the reason you might think

It’s tempting to think home prices are soaring because there aren’t enough homes.

But that can’t explain the sudden takeoff from about the year 2000, the sudden takeoff from about 2013, and again now – against expectations – the stratospheric takeoff in the wake of the COVID recession.

Broadly, we’ve enough homes. The 2016 census found we had 12 per cent more dwellings than households, up from 10 per cent in 2001.

That’s 12 per cent of our houses and apartments empty – used as holiday homes and second homes, or waiting for tenants.

If there really weren’t enough homes for people who wanted them, it would be more than property prices soaring; it would be rents.

Instead, overall rents have been barely moving – growing even more slowly than wages – for half a decade.

Rent price index versus wage price index

December 2009 = 100.
ABS Wage Price Index, Rent Price index from Consumer Price Index

For the half-decade from 2016, a half-decade in which Australia’s population grew by more than one million, Australian rents barely moved.

The supply of places to live in has kept pace with the demand for places to live in, but the supply of places to own has not.

More landlords, more tenants

If that sounds odd, remember people want to own houses for reasons other than living in.

Since about the year 2000, big numbers of Australians (and foreigners) have wanted to buy them to rent them out. They’ve wanted to become landlords.

Read more:
Rents, not prices, are best to assess housing supply and demand

Twenty years ago only one in 15 of us were landlords. It’s now one in ten – more than two million of us.

To get those properties (other than where they’ve built them) they’ve had to outbid at auction the people who would have bought them to live in.

They’ve been helping create their own tenants, while pushing up prices.

We’re chipping away at Menzies’ legacy

From when Robert Menzies stepped down as prime minister in 1966 until the end of the 20th century, about 71 per cent of Australian households owned the home they lived in – one of the highest rates in the world.

Since about 2000, owner-occupation has been sliding. The latest figures (themselves some years old) put it at 66 per cent.

Among those aged 35 to 44, it has fallen to 63 per cent.

Over that time the cost of buying a home has shot up from two to three years’ household after-tax income to three to four years’ income.

Housing prices as proportion of household disposable income

Household disposable income after tax, before the deduction of interest payments, including income of unincorporated enterprises.
Core Logic, ABS, RBA

What appeared to set things off was a decision by Prime Minister John Howard in 1999 to halve the headline rate of capital gains tax. Not that the committee he asked to investigate the idea recognised the possibility at the time.

The Ralph Review recommended that half, rather than all, of each capital gain be taxed, rather than the portion above inflation as had been the case since capital gains were taxed.

The rationale was that this would “encourage a greater level of investment, particularly in innovative, high growth companies”.

A rush into property rather than high-tech companies

The review was right about the change encouraging investment, but wrong about the sort of investment.

Rather than buy shares in innovative companies, Australians bought rental properties like they never had before.

If they bid enough, they could borrow enough to negatively gear; to make sure their interest charges exceeded their income from rent, giving them annual losses they could offset against wages that would otherwise be taxed at high rates.

Read more:
When houses earn more than jobs: how we lost control of Australian house prices and how to get it back

There was nothing new about negative gearing. It had been permitted from the beginning. What was new was the opportunity to later sell the property at a profit, knowing only half of the profit would be taxed.

Investors could offset all of their losses and be taxed only half their eventual gain.

Pretty soon, more than a third of the money lent for housing each month went to landlords. For several dizzying months during 2015 it was 45 per cent. First home buyers struggled to compete.

In 2016 then treasurer Scott Morrison raised the prospect of winding things back, saying negative gearing had led to “excesses”.

APRA cleared up what our leaders could not

Labor went to two elections promising to do just that and the Coalition came out in support of the practice in public.

Behind the scenes, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority was using its power over lenders to force lending to landlords down, getting it down ahead of COVID to 27 per cent of new housing loans.

APRA succeeded in taking the pressure off prices where politicians couldn’t.

But that’s far from the whole story. There are other more deep-seated reasons why house prices are climbing, and they too have little to do with demand for accommodation.

Read more:
Zoning isn’t to blame for Australia’s soaring house prices

Prices took off again from about 2014, shifting up from three to four years’ household income to between four and five years. That time it was Australians getting richer after years of mining booms and being able to borrow more cheaply.

Houses in general mightn’t be a good investment (there being a regularly increasing supply) but houses in prime positions were in fixed supply, there being only so many good locations.

And then it fed on itself. The father of modern economics John Maynard Keynes described investing as a game in which the best strategy is not to put money into what you think is worthwhile, but to put money into what you think other people will think is worthwhile.

It’s happening again

He spoke of a third degree, where “we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be”, and added there might be fourth, fifth and higher degrees.

It’s happening again. With mortgage rates at new extreme lows and wealthier Australians having come out of the crisis with their wealth intact, it makes sense to do what others are doing and push up prices to buy before others push them up further.

It’s nothing to do with a shortage of housing, but for many it will push home prices further out of reach. That’s because in Australia housing is two things: accommodation and a form of speculation.The Conversation

Peter Martin, Visiting Fellow, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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