Squiz Today / 27 September 2017
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 27 September
“I have been known to ‘borrow’ some of the more clever observations for my on-air chat (haha… thank you!).”
You’re welcome, Samantha Armytage! That’s what The Squiz is for. In exchange for some talking points, Sam agreed to be the subject of this week’s Three Minute Squiz. And there’s a theme developing here – her first album was 1986 Just for Kicks…
HOME LOANS MORE AFFORDABLE; EXPERTS WARY OF APARTMENTS
New research says home loans are more affordable than they were 12 months ago. With (small) rises in incomes and steady unemployment, real estate agents PRDnationwide says affordability has improved by 4.4% over the year. Some economists are expecting a dip in housing affordability in coming months with available housing stock becoming tight and approvals for new dwellings starting to slow, but it depends on where you live. For example, if you’re in Melbourne or Queensland where there are a lot of new apartments coming onto the market, it’s not going to be as big a problem.
AND WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH HOUSE PRICES?
We’ll know more at the end of the month when the figures are in. But it looks like the banks are continuing to limit lending to investors, which should further slow house price increases. The regulators are concerned that investors are overexposed to debt and that easy access to interest-free loans has seen them pricing owner-occupiers out of the market. Yesterday, the Commonwealth Bank moved on independent mortgage brokers demanding they provide evidence that applicants understand what’s involved with interest-only loans (like higher interest, not paying down the debt etc). And ANZ has ‘blacklisted’ several postcodes in Brisbane and Perth, imposing extra-tough lending terms for apartment buyers amid fears of an oversupply and the potential for prices to plummet.
APARTMENTS SEEM TO HAVE A BAD NAME…
It's horses for courses – it depends on where you are. The Bureau of Statistics yesterday released a profile on apartment living. What it found was more people are living in apartments – there's now one occupied apartment for every five occupied houses in Australia compared with one for every seven in 1991. Half of Australia’s occupied apartments are in NSW, so you can see why Melbourne and Brisbane (which are both seeing strong population growth) are playing catch up. But like any market, fast growth in the number of apartments will probably lead to a price adjustment. That's why the banks are a wary about lending to those wanting to buy in there.
SQUIZ THE REST
AUSSIE CROATIAN WAR CRIMINAL FOUND GUILTY
Dual Australian-Serbian citizen Dragan Vasiljkovic has been sentenced to 15 years jail for war crimes during the Croatian War in the 1990s. After a 10 year fight get Vasiljkovic to Croatia from Perth (where he worked as a golf instructor under the name of Daniel Snedden) to face the charges, he was extradited in 2015. And yesterday he was found guilty of the killings and torture of Croatian civilians and troops while he was a Serbian rebel commander. Vasiljkovic moved to Australia in his teens and returned to train Serbian rebels in 1991. Reports say he became so famous he had his own comic strip and television show in Serbia. Now 61, Vasiljkovic maintains his innocence. The years Vasiljkovic has already served in detention in Australia and Croatian means he has just three and a half years of his sentence remaining.
ACA REPORTER BEN MCCORMACK PLEADS GUILTY
Ben McCormack, the former reporter for Nine’s A Current Affair, yesterday pleaded guilty to child porngraphy charges and could be sent to jail for a maximum of 15 years. His lawyer said he’d been involved in “fantasy talk” about under-age boys and nothing more. However, police said that while it was clear images were exchanged, the materials weren’t available meaning they had no evidence.
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTS BETTER THAN EXPECTED
Have you ever put on a coat and found an unexpected $20 bucks in the pocket? Love that. It kinda happened to the Turnbull Government yesterday when it got the final accounts for the 2016-17 financial year. The big (pleasant) surprise was that it had an underlying cash deficit of $33.2 billion, which is better than the $37.6 billion it had expected. That’s because it saved more than $2.5 billion on welfare payments and saw a slower than expected roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme among other things. It says the numbers show it’s on track for a budget surplus by 2021 but Labor’s Jim Chalmers did his best Shania Twain and said they were unimpressed. "Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann expect a pat on the back for a budget outcome today that is more about good luck than good policy," he said.
NORTH KOREA ACCUSE U.S. OF DECLARING WAR
You know it’s interesting times when the breaking news strap on the telly says “The US has not declared war on North Korea”. That happened yesterday when North Korea accused US President Donald Trump of declaring war after tweeting that the Hermit Kingdom “won’t be around much longer”. White House Press Secretary-turned-peace-emissary Sarah Sanders said it wasn’t true. But Trump isn't backing off – he's reiterated that the US is ready for "the second option" of action against North Korea if required. It's no wonder North Korean officials are reported to have made quiet enquiries to Republicans in Washington about what to make of Trump. Meanwhile, Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe ran into some flack yesterday - he’s called a snap election off the back of the North Korean crisis. Critics say he’s on the slide and taking advantage of the situation for political gain (he’s a politician – never!). For your broader reading, if you like charts (and who doesn’t?) and want to know a bit more about North Korea, you’ll find this link interesting.
MARVELLOUS START TO MANGO SEASON
You might have noticed that mangoes seem to be a better price for the start of the season than usual. That’s because the mango season has got off to the best start in 30 years according to Northern Territory producers. The first flush of mangoes come from the Top End (mainly growing the popular Kensington Pride variety) before production moves on to Queensland. And experts say it should be a good season there too. Bring it on.
COFFS FAMILY HELP HARRY AND MEGHAN
Of course it was left to a family from Coffs Harbour to facilitate Prince Harry and girlfriend Meghan Markle’s debut as an up-close couple. The pair took their seats yesterday at the wheelchair tennis at the Invictus Games in Toronto next to Coffs locals Kylie Lawler and her 10yo son Bailey. Husband/dad Sean Lawler was on court playing for Australia. Kylie said; "I missed half the game because we were chit-chatting. I don't think my husband will forgive me." We hope she invited them around for a barbie next time they’re in Oz. Oh, and Sean lost his match.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEST) - Hugh White and Michael Keating address the National Press Club on 'Australia’s Future Submarines: Getting this Key Capability Right' - Canberra
From 6.00pm (AEST) - NRL's Dally M Medal to award the 2017 season's best and fairest - Sydney
ABS Data Releases - Australian Demographic Statistics, March; Deaths and Cause of Deaths, 2016; Engineering Construction Activity, June
Squizzy's Birthday - she is a real person and a dear friend who inspired us to help busy people get across the news. And she kindly lent us her school nickname so it's only right she gets a shout out...
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