Home prices rise, recovery in full flight | The Canberra Times

news, national

Low interest rates, rising consumer confidence and government support measures could see house prices accelerate next year. House prices rose across the nation for a second month in a row in November and could surpass their pre-COVID levels in early 2021 if the pace of the current trend persists. Backing this positive outlook, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said approvals for private sector houses rose for the fourth consecutive month in October to the highest level since February 2000. At the same time, one of Australia’s biggest retail banks said demand for its home loans was the strongest seen for more than two years. National Australia Bank executive for home ownership Andy Kerr said there had been a 25 per cent jump in NAB loan applications over the past six weeks compared to the previous six. “Demand has been supported by record low rates, growing confidence in the

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Journal Times editorial: Step up, be a hero in COVID fight | Editorial

“We’ve had some real shortages of blood,” Waxman said.

Regular blood donations can also lead to additional COVID convalescent plasma supplies because Versiti tests each blood donation to determine if it has positive coronavirus antibodies and then notifies each donor if they have the antibody present in their system and asks if they will consider donating plasma.

Some people have had COVID-19, but have been asymptomatic and didn’t even know they had it. Health officials have estimated that more than 11 percent of blood donations tested for coronavirus antibodies have shown them to be positive, so one of the side benefits of donating blood could be the “surprise” comfort to donors that they have some level of COVID protection.

One of the great frustrations for most of us over the past year is that we have felt powerless to do something to curb the pandemic. Yes, in most instances we

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History for Sale: Georgetown gem opens to rice fields of the Black River | Georgetown Times

GEORGETOWN — A beautiful brick home with an accompanying brick walkway that takes you through a partially shaded backyard with camellias and azaleas surrounding you as you walk to the gorgeous view of rice fields on the Black River.

Sound like the start of a romance movie? Well, it should. It’s hard not to fall in love with this 55-year-old beauty at 295 Freeman Drive in Georgetown. Perched on a high bluff, its original owners have kept the home, both inside and especially outside with incredibly-maintained landscaping, in beautiful condition.

The home at 295 Freeman Drive, Georgetown.

The home at 295 Freeman Drive, Georgetown.

The 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath home features formal living and dining rooms, a den with nearly floor-to-ceiling glass doors and a fireplace, a kitchen with wide cabinets and ample cabinet space, and a separate breakfast room. Natural light brightens the property in nearly every room and provides gorgeous views of the

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Home prices in Chattanooga jump nearly 16.4%, or nearly 6 times faster than family incomes

Home prices in Chattanooga rose over the past year at one of the fastest rates in modern history as lower interest rates combined with a greater home focus to bid up prices by more than 16% in the past 12 months.

“I’ve been doing this for 47 years and I’ve never seen a residential market like this,” said Henry Glascock, a real estate appraiser and auctioneer who tracks the trends in home prices. “Interest rates are extraordinarily low and demand for housing is up even though there are fewer houses for sale.”

The median price of homes sold by Chattanooga area Realtors in the third quarter of 2020 was $228,700, or $32,200 more than a year earlier, according to a new report by the National Association of Realtors. Chattanooga home prices, on average, are still priced 27% below the nationwide average of $313,500. But home prices are appreciating at a

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NSW Government bought land for three times its value for light rail project

A major land deal is under scrutiny after the New South Wales Government paid three times its value in an urgent “out of session” meeting.

The cost of the land and remediation of the contaminated site is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $100 million.

A NSW property developer, Billbergia, bought the land at 6 Grand Avenue, Camellia, 13 days before the government announced its multi-billion-dollar Parramatta Light Rail project on December 8, 2015.

The polluted site would become critical to the new project as the main depot and stabling yard for the trams.

Billbergia bought the land for $38 million then flipped it months later to Transport for NSW for $53.5 million, with a proviso that the department paid for the remediation of the toxic site. At the time the land, excluding the cost of remediation, was valued by the NSW Valuer General at $15.5 million.

It would give

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Global Real Estate ETFs: Challenging Times or a Renaissance in the Making?

Times are changing in the world of real estate, but investors shouldn’t fret at the market uncertainty because of COVID-19. While the pandemic has altered the playing field in the global real estate market, investors can still get exposure to the space via the Xtrackers International Real Estate ETF (HAUZ).

The fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the performance of the iSTOXX Developed and Emerging Markets ex USA PK VN Real Estate Index. iSTOXX Developed and Emerging Markets ex USA PK VN Real Estate Index is a free-float capitalization-weighted index that provides exposure to publicly traded real estate securities in countries outside the United States, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

If cost is an issue, HAUZ comes in at a 0.10% expense ratio. It’s a small price to pay for global real estate exposure versus, say, buying luxury property off the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

HAUZ Chart

A New World

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Huge black opal for sale at $700,000-plus | The Canberra Times

news, national

The world’s largest polished, solid-form black opal could be yours if you have a spare million dollars. “The Pacific”, a gargantuan opal found near Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, is being sold at auction this month by Noble Numismatics. Unearthed in 1989 by opal miner Gerald O’Brien, it was named after the world’s biggest ocean because of its size and its vivid, iridescent blue colours. The opal weighs 443.56 carats, or around 90 grams. It was listed as the world’s largest black opal – considered the rarest form of the gemstone – in the 1990 Guinness Book of World Records. The auction house describes the sale, for the first time since its discovery, as “a once in a lifetime opportunity to own an Australian mineral specimen icon”. Noble Numismatics has valued the opal at $700,000, which does not include a 22 per cent buyers premium. But for

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Journal Times editorial: County listened to Case Eagle Park neighbors | Editorial

We make critical comments about government, whether local or national, in this space when we think they are warranted. So it’s only fair and appropriate to call attention to good decisions made in government. Another example of the latter took place recently in Racine County.

During a public hearing on the proposed Racine County budget on Oct. 22, County Executive Jonathan Delagrave asked the County Board’s Finance Committee to propose removing the $250,000 for campground planning at Case Eagle Park in Rochester and set it aside for another purpose.

The reason Delagrave provided for that request was that the county received “dozens of letters” from area residents who were concerned about potential “negative impacts” a campground could bring to the park and its surrounding area.

“We take public input seriously and we fully understand and appreciate the concerns from residents in the area. I will be asking the County Board

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‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ house for sale for $739,999

Now you can “Learn it. Know it. Live it.” Literally.

For the first time in 20 years, the house from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” where Brad and Stacy Hamilton resided is up for sale.

Listed by Pinnacle Estate Properties for $739,999, the iconic home boasts three bedrooms, two bathrooms and, of course, the scene of many of the film’s shoots: the swimming pool.

The listing notes: “How often do you have a truly rare opportunity to live in a home where a famous movie was filmed? Your opportunity is now!”

While the West Hills home looks the same as it did in the 1982 comedy, it has been updated over the years as the listing lavishly describes: “As you pull onto the driveway you will immediately be impressed by the serine (sic) landscaped front yard and freshly painted exterior. You will walk into the living room with its warm

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Garbage truck drivers’ union accuses contractor of ‘taking advantage of the pandemic’ over pay dispute | The Canberra Times

news, local-news, suez, garbage truck strike, wage increases, industrial action, union

The union representing Canberra’s garbage truck drivers has accused their employer of “taking advantage of the pandemic” as workers walked off the job on Monday. Transport Workers’ Union ACT branch secretary Klaus Pinkas said negotiations with ACT government contractor SUEZ had stalled after more than five months of discussion over pay increases and conditions. However, SUEZ argues the wage increases proposed over the next three years were reasonable, “given the current economic circumstances in Australia”. Mr Pinkas said SUEZ had used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse not to commit to giving workers a pay increase of 12 per cent over the next three and a half years, rather offering up an 8 per cent jump. “SUEZ, which are a large multi-national, have tried to take advantage of the COVID situation, to say [they] can’t pay the increases they

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