Squiz Today / 16 May 2017
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 16 May
EASE UP TURBO - HOUSING MARKET STARTS TO SLOW
Figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show changes to limit home loans to investors are having the desired effect. Investor mortgages fell to the lowest level in ten months, dropping to 48% of all loans approved in March. This follows data from Core Logic in early May that showed housing price growth slowed in April, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.
WHAT’S BEING DONE TO MAKE HOUSING MORE AFFORDABLE?
In early April, the prudential regulator APRA imposed new conditions to limit the interest-only lending favoured by investors. The corporate watchdog ASIC also stepped up its surveillance of banks promoting interest-only loans. Industry pundits said this new approach was slowing house price growth in the capital cities. For their part, the banks have increased the interest rate for investor interest-only loans and reports say some are looking at increasing loan deposits to 20%. And last week’s budget had further measures targeting investors including a levy on foreign owners who leave investment properties vacant.
THAT’S GREAT – BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The bottom line is there's activity in the housing market, it’s just slowed down a bit. Some experts say we’re in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment. That’s ok news if you're 1) a seller looking for good returns because prices aren’t going backwards, or 2) a buyer looking to get into the market and hoping the price increases of the past few years don’t continue at the same pace. And what about those poor first home buyers? Everyone who's done it has a story of how they got a foot on the property ladder. Tim Gurner, a Melbourne property developer, told Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes; “I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for 19 bucks, and four coffees at $4 each.” Our local café does a lovely smashed avo and feta on sourdough for $13. Surely Tim would be ok with that?
SQUIZ THE REST
REVISED BID FOR FAIRFAX COULD DELIVER A BOON FOR AUSSIE NEWS LOVING CANADIANS
Private equity mob TPG have teamed up with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to propose a $2.7 billion offer for the entirety of the Fairfax business. This follows indications from Fairfax that they would reject TPG’s previous proposal of $2.2 billion for real estate site Domain, The Australian Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Reports say while the new offer was improved, it’s at the low end of the range and it will be hard to get shareholder support. What are the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan doing in this space, we hear you ask? They are one of Canada’s largest pension funds with more than US$130 billion in assets and a big international investment portfolio. We hope their members have the potential to develop an interest in Australian news, they might get a special shareholders subscription deal.
AUSTRALIAN TROOPS HELP IN FIGHT AGAINST BOKO HARAM
The Australian this morning reports that Australian troops have been involved in efforts to train African soldiers to fight extreme Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. They are the group responsible for kidnapping 276 girls from the town of Chibok, Nigeria, some of whom were recently released. Boko Haram have been likened to the Taliban and mainly occupy the northern part of Nigeria - they have abducted 2,000 children since 2014 to be sex slaves, fighters and suicide bombers. The Department of Defence confirmed our troops, along with US and Canadian trainers, have been there as recently as February to help train local soldiers.
SARA CONNOR HAS BALI SENTENCE INCREASED
Indonesian prosecutors yesterday won their appeal to increase the prison sentence of Byron Bay mum Sara Connor from four to five years. Connor was convicted for her role in the killing of a Bali policeman in Kuta in August last year. She's maintained her innocence and said her only involvement was to break up a scuffle between her boyfriend, David Taylor, and policeman Wayan Sudarsa. Prosecutors did not appeal Taylor's original sentence of six years jail.
JETSONS AHOY! TOYOTA INVESTS IN FLYING CARS
A group of Toyota’s employees in Japan have been working on developing a flying car in their spare time, relying on crowd-sourced funding. Reports say the project, named Cartivator, recently received $400,000 funding from Toyota to help develop a flying car prototype by the end of next year. Sounds fanciful, right? It’s actually serious stuff. Plane manufacturer Airbus, Uber and a group funded by Google’s Larry Page are all looking into it. And Cartivator hope to have a commercialised model by 2020 in time for the Tokyo Olympics. Our tip: watch the futures market on really tall traffic lights suddenly soar.
PLAYING ON THE DAY OF REST
Canterbury Bulldogs rugby league player and devout Mormon Will Hopoate hasn't played footy on Sundays. That changes this weekend with Hopoate agreeing to a request from his club to play three upcoming Sunday games. This season Hopoate has been injured and he comes off contract at the end of this year. He said yesterday he wanted to stay with the club and while he would prefer not to play on Sundays, he understood why the club wants him to. And he really wants to keep his position there, so needs must. Hopoate missed the entire 2012 and 2013 seasons to undertake missionary work.
THE CROWN DUDDED AT BAFTAS
We mean, seriously. Come on! The world was captivated with the amazing Netflix production, The Crown, so how could it not win anything at the BAFTA TV awards? We don’t get it. And neither could Sarah Lancashire who won the best leading actor award for her role in Happy Valley, a show about a drug-addled English town whose title we believe is an example of irony. In a nod to The Crown star Claire Foy, Lancashire said; "You have given me the best ten hours under a duvet I've ever had." We’re also cranky neither Tom Hiddleston nor Hugh Laurie were nominated for their roles in The Night Manager. But Joanna Lumley was acknowledged with a Fellowship, so that’s something. Long live Patsy!
Speaking of smashed avo, beware. Avocado hand is an injury incurred by using your hand as a chopping board, particularly prevalent during seed removal. There’s been an increase of hospital visits in the UK and US to repair avo lovers’ hands. Top tip – use a chopping board. And here’s a little song about guacamole – we promise you’ll never forget it.
SQUIZ THE DAY
ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Sentiment Survey
Release of the Reserve Bank May Board Meeting Minutes
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