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When purchasing an older home, there are many things of course to consider. Asbestos is certainly one of them.

Used for more than a century as a form of building insulation and piping, homes more than approximately 30 years old have the potential to harbor asbestos. Exposure to asbestos fibers becomes a health concern when high levels are inhaled over a long period of time.

This doesn’t have to scare you off the purchase, as with increasing awareness and technology there are numerous alternatives and building materials which easily replace the need for asbestos.

THE RISKS


Used in millions of homes, asbestos insulation can be a real problem for homeowners due to causing a variety of lung ailments, such as mesothelioma. Recent studies indicate that over 2,000 to 3,000 cases are diagnosed every year in the United States alone. With no mesothelioma cure, precautions are the best assurance.

Once the removal is complete, green insulation options should be given serious consideration, such as: Cellulose, Cotton Fiber and Lcynene. The United Nations Environmental Program states that the use of recycled building materials such as cotton fiber insulation can reduce energy use by 25 to 35 percent. The numbers continue to improve as more eco-friendly options become available. These asbestos alternatives allow for a clean, healthy home, free of health damaging materials.

Simon Turner

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A $80 million AUD luxury development in Point Piper, Sydney, has been handed over to the banks after two of the companies for which property tycoon Michael Bezzina was associated, Caprice Pty Ltd and Pyoanee Pty Ltd, were place in receivership.

Located in Point Piper, Mr Bezzine was expecting to achieve $14 million AUD for the penthouse-style apartments, however, three of the apartments have allegedly exchanged for $10 million AUD each.

The development comprises waterfront apartments, each occupying an entire floor with balconies looking out to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. They have four bedrooms, four bathrooms and a guestroom, as well as a jetty.

In September, one of Michael Bezzina’s company’s that developed the $100 million AUD Jade complex in Surfers Paradise, was put into liquidation. The company reportedly paid $17 million for the site six years ago, of which six out of the nine apartments have sold, one of which sold for almost $20 million, while the penthouse at the complex remains on the market for $22 million.

It is worth noting that the quality of Bezzina’s developments is outstanding, and his financial troubles should not be allowed to cloud the stunning properties that he has been involved in creating.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Sydney Property; or Luxury Homes; or Sydney Harbour

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Here are the auction clearance rates for Australia’s capital cities for the week ending December 14, 2008.

Source: RP Data

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Auctions; Clearance Rates; Buying property

THIS WEEK’S ARTICLES: Rainforest Living in Queensland; Raffles Residences Manila; Swarovski Bathroom Faucets; Chinese Property Taxes; US interest rates; Australian Banks on the Assault; The Malibu Home of Sting; The Rotating Bath Tub; The W New York…

We bring you the last installment for 2008 of our look at luxury property, design and concepts from Australia and around the world.  Your support throughout the year has made the MTLH blog the most viewed of its kind in Australia and contributed to Marquette Turner Luxury Homes being named as The World’s Most Outstanding Luxury Agency Under 2 Years Old.  Not bad in just a year, and 2009 promises to be even bigger and better.  Thank you!

Please enjoy this week’s articles, or as always you can stay here and read the MTLH blog.

We wish you a fantastic & safe festive period.

Michael Marquette & Simon Turner

Subscribe to the MTLH e-magazine.


LUXURY HOMES
See our luxury homes showcased in Australia & Around The World


FINAL THOUGHT

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Oprah Winfrey

Contemporary, State of the Art, Rainforest Living

Setting a benchmark in state of the art living ‘Samara’ is without doubt one of the finest acreage properties in Queensland.

Strategically positioned amidst a previous wildlife sanctuary, ‘Samara’ is constructed seamlessly around two lakes and canter levered amidst a stunning rainforest back drop. This property is the epitome of designer living, offering only the finest in schedule of finish.

A fingerprint controls the gated entrance, and access to the estate. The circular driveway leads to a bold, resort style, port-cochere and a stunning entry with cascading ponds. Designed to embrace the Queensland lifestyle, this signature property highlights what true contemporary living is meant to be. From the commercial glass pane entrance, the property is washed with natural stone tiles, and natural lighting from the soaring ceilings and bi-fold doors.

The heart of the home is styled for entertaining with an open fire and a 50″ plasma screen, complete with 5.1 surround sound furbished by undetectable speakers. The mood of ‘Samara’ is defined by its unique use of lighting, all centrally controlled by the automation system. As you move through the house of an evening, 22 individual sensors monitor and predict movements and prepare the spaces around you, with soft lighting.

More information: Visit our website for more images and details.

Contact: Michael Marquette on +61 433 170 170 or via email michael@marquetteturner.com.au or Christine Watson on +61 414 352 680 or via email christine@marquetteturner.com.au

Marquette Turner Luxury Homes is proud to offer luxury apartments for sale in Manila, bearing the name of the legendary “Raffles”.

Raffles Manila will be superbly located right on Makati Avenue in the very heart of Manila’s bustling commercial and financial district and the Philippines’ leading business destination. Just steps from shops, entertainment and corporate offices.

Makati’s skyline is one of the most impressive sights in Metro Manila, where many of the country’s tallest skyscrapers are located. The 30 suite Raffles Hotel and 220 Residence development will be the first significant luxury branded residence in Makati, offering exceptional views of either Manila or Laguna Bay along with glittering vistas of the city. With its unique branded residence concept, Raffles Manila will be unlike anything else in the city; it is poised to become the premier address in Manila, with the first branded penthouse residences. It will be a showplace of cosmopolitan living.

The real estate condominiums for sale will occupy the top 20 floors of the Raffles Hotel (11th to 30th floor), and the 220 residence development will be the first significant luxury branded residence in Makati, offering exceptional views of either Manila or Laguna Bay along with splendid view of the Metropolis.

Following the historical success of the initial release of the Raffles Residences Makati the developer is now pleased to announce the commencement of Phase Two. With premiere residences yet to be released, now is the time to own part of this legendary offering.

The developer is now accepting fully refundable 400,000 PHP (approximately $10,000 USD) deposits through their Opportunity to Purchase (OTP) program. Furthermore a deal has been struck with HSBC with regards to borrowing.

Selling Prices Start at:
– $763,832 AUD (PhP 24,179,828) – $983,372 AUD (PhP 31,151,384) for 2 Bedrooms with a total floor area 124-164 sqm.
– $1,326,488 AUD (PhP 42,017,712) – $1,844,666 AUD (PhP 58,411,391) for 3 Bedrooms with a total floor area 209-251 sqm.
– 4 Bedroom Penthouses with a total floor area of 383-402 sqm. – Pricing available upon request.

More information: Visit our website for more images and details.

Contact: Michael Marquette on +61 433 170 170 or via email michael@marquetteturner.com.au or Christine Watson on +61 414 352 680 or via email christine@marquetteturner.com.au

There’s the Palm Shaped Island and there’s the Map of the World. And just when we thought planners in Dubai could possibly have run out of new concepts, they’re planning the Universe!

Suddenly buying a tree branch or a country doesn’t look quite the same, when Saturn or Mercury are on offer!

Whilst a couple of decades will probably be required to create the islands (when perhaps real estate throughout the world will have been through a few more cycles), Dubai certainly shows no interest in slowing down their creativity.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Dubai; or Palm Island; or real estate

China has unveiled a stimulus package intended to boost its slumping real estate market.

It has slashed taxes for second-hand apartment sales to help owners selling their homes. This means that anyone who has owned a home for at least two years can now sell it without having to pay a tax on the total sales price, just on any profit made (which remains at five percent). The waiting period previously for a tax-free sale was at least five years.

The policy changes are an interim measure valid for one year, and are the latest in a series of moves made since the government announced a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package in November intended to create jobs and spur economic growth through higher spending on construction and other projects.

Analysts expect the Chinese economy to expand by approximately nine percent this year, down from nearly 12 percent in 2007.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on China; or Asia; or Tax

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Auctions; or Luxury Homes; or Buying Real Estate

The US Dollar is gaining strength, however, international real estate buyers are still important, even though their purchasing activity has decreased by 30-50 per cent since June 2008.

So where does the strength still reside? New developments. The W New York is a great example.

The W NY Downtown Hotel & Residence, the has seen 74 percent of buyers, thus far, come from overseas, 41% coming from Korea, 10% from the United Arab Emirates, and eight percent from Italy. This may come as a surprise if you’ve formed the opinion that the market is dominated by British and Russian buyers.

The 56-story building has 223 residential condominium residences, with prices ranging from $1.2 and $2.4 million. It’s hip, it’s dark, it’s cool, and there’s only a few remaining.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on New York; or Luxury Homes; or Investors

THIS WEEKS STORIES: Luxury is…Elizabeth Taylor’s Homes; the Great Australian Tax Grab; Phone Box Furniture; The Blind Leading The Blind; London Luxury Home Prices Falling; Loofah Homes; and more…


The 2008 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to former Finnish President and international peace envoy, Martti Ahtisaari.  He has been instrumental in bringing peace, or at least calmer days, to historically troubled parts of the world such as Aceh and Kosovo.  He has recently brought together parties from all sides in Iraq, giving them “first-hand” contact to individuals they could both relate to and whom appreciate the hurdles, such as former opponents in Northern Island – perhaps proof that anything is possible with hope, hard work and tenacity.  Fortune can always be on your side.

Please enjoy this week’s e-magazine (and SUBSCRIBE if you haven’t already), or as always stay here and read the MTLH blog.

Regards

Michael Marquette & Simon Turner

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. Gandhi

Further to our recent report of the NSW tax hikes to hit the property industry, now it’s been revealed that Queensland Premier Anna Bligh plans to impose a special tax on landholdings worth more than $5 million.

Under the property tax surcharge, part of a series of measures introduced as the QLD Government attempts to plug a $4.3 billon hole in the state’s budget over the next four years, landholders who own parcels of land will pay a 0.5% surcharge from 2009-10.

Sure to hit property developers hard at a time when the industry can least afford it, the decision will also likely cost 3500 jobs. It is important to recognize that the property sector employs one in seven workers in Queensland.

On top of the property tax surcharge, the Bligh Government has also raised vehicle registration costs by an average of 6.5% and delayed the abolition of transfer duty on core business assets by 18 months.

Whilst we are in no way suggesting that the Queensland Government shares similar brain cell(s) or genes than the hapless NSW government, what is concerning is the tendency of Australia’s fiscal “experts”, it would appear, to resort to anything but measures that stimulate and encourage innovation businesses and in turn the economy. Surely reducing land tax – a policy long championed by Australia’s real estate industry – would be a better option to stimulate the sector and economy.

Michael Marquette, Co-President of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes, states “Are the states tightening their belts, penalizing businesses and therefore consumers with the hope that the Federal Government will deal with the aftermath? Whatever it is, the economic credentials of those that run our States and Territories should be seriously scrutinized.”

Isn’t the relative basket case that is NSW – Australia’s most populous State – a good enough example of what not to do?

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on the Economy; or the NSW State Government; or the real estate industry

The world’s most expensive location for prime real estate behind Monaco, Central London has seen luxury home values fall for an eighth month. Such locales include Mayfair, St John’s Wood, Regent’s Park, Kensington, Notting Hill, Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Belgravia and the South Bank neighborhoods of London.

As recently reported by Bloomberg, in November the approximate average value of a house or apartment in the city’s nine most expensive neighborhoods fell 3.6 percent from October, according to an index compiled by Knight Frank. This represents the second largest drop since the index started in 1976. Furthermore, the figures show that property values declined 14 percent since the previous year.

Why is this? Quite simply, vendors are not holding out for emotional prices and are accepting that price reductions have to occur for a sale to be achieved.

Prime Central London real estate has taken longer to register declines seen elsewhere in London because of a standoff between sellers and buyers over price. That ended in September, when the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. caused demand to collapse from those employed in financial services, traditionally the mainstay of demand for expensive homes.

Unsurprisingly, the worst banking crisis seen since the First World War has translated into job cuts and reduced bonuses, and in London it’s likely to get worse before it gets better, with as many as 62,000 finance-related jobs forecast to be lost in London by the end of next year.

Interestingly, the properties least affected by the fall in values are those worth more than five million pounds. With the pound sliding it becomes more attractive to wealthy overseas buyers (yes, they still exist) and given the uniqueness of many of the properties in this category, and how infrequently they come onto the market, they still are highly sought after.

Appreciating that for a buyer with US Dollars, a 15 percent property valuation drop equates to a 35 percent slide when exchange rates are taken into consideration, property in excess of five million pounds is great buying.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read more articles on Luxury Homes; or London; or Credit Crunch

“The Red House Manor”, Quebec, QC, CANADA:Dating from 1608, the stunning and iconic “Old Red Manor” is unequivocally the oldest habitable building on the North American continent.

When Bertrand Chesnay de la Garenne received the Royal Concession in 1652, he found there “a solid ruin with three walls and a large stone fireplace of 5 feet long.” This is the left side of the Manor which contains the master fireplace. In 1764, the French Captain Cazeau added the second level, and the manor remained the property of the Cazeau family until 1940.

Restored in 2005-2006, to the most exacting standards of luxury and caring touch. It is 30 metres in length (96 ft) and 9 metres (30 ft) wide and has two levels, with multiple living, dining and entertaining areas, six generous bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. This property is for sale in two lots.

To view more information, images and the video click HERE.

Contact: Michael Marquette on +61 433 170 170 or via email Michael@marquetteturner.com.au or Christine Watson on +61 414 352 680 or via email Christine@marquetteturner.com.au

FYI: Read related articles on Worldwide Luxury Homes such as Bora Bora, TAHITI; Villas in Tuscany, ITALY; or Raffles in Manila, PHILIPPINES; or AUSTRALIA

Prices for real estate on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah Island have fallen significantly over the few quarters, with some dropping by as much as 40 percent. For instance, a four bedroom villa on the Palm is now on the market for AED10 million Dirhams, or approximately $2.6 million USD. This is down from AED15 million Dirhams or approximately $4 million USD in September.

The Palm Jumeirah is the largest man-made island in the world and is the first of three such projects being undertaken in the waters off Dubai.  The developer of these islands has noted a general slowdown in the rate of property sales on all three islands proving that all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold!

Simon Turner

FYI:  Read related articles on Dubai; or Islands; or Luxury Homes

It’s worth imagining what 2009 could bring. I am a not a pessimist but it is worth glaring into the crystal ball and letting go of today and dreaming – dreaming it is December 2009.

Has the US Fed pumped trillions of dollars into the US economy and what has been the result? Have property prices stabilized and how is Citibank going? Has the bailout really cleaned out the poisoned loans? Let’s dream!

We have bailed out the 3 car manufacturers and we have bailed out the banks. The banks have hoarded money and monetary policy is having no effect. Interest rates are at the lowest level ever – 0% and the Dow is hovering around 5000 points. Superannuation has lost trillions and those that would be retiring have realized that another ten years of work is required (at least) to make retirement possible.

Small and medium manufacturers are all but gone – car companies are waiting to get supplies and difficult car finance is all but crippling sales. Many of the smaller car dealerships have closed, finding the credit crunch a hard go and the larger dealerships holding too large an inventory are closing. Surely more money will solve this, but maybe not! With monetary policy crippled what can President Obama do?

The Fed has decided to pump more money into the economy and inflation is now an issue. Inflation is a real problem, with OPEC deciding to reduce supply by a total of 10 million barrels a day to increase the price of oil. Their greed has accelerated issues in the economy with transport companies struggling to get paid by clients, forced redundancies and supply train chaos ensue.

Credit scarcity has caused loan delinquencies to flourish with 5 million US households in foreclosure. Prices continue to fall and Citibank is on a downward spiral. What are the options for President Obama? Let Citibank fail or pump yet more money into the economy? This will force the US dollar to fall even further and prices are going up and up.

The US economy is now at breaking point with reliant economies collapsing. There is no savior to come to the US aid – the world is simply not capable of saving the US as it’s too big. Japan and the EU are crippled. Is the US in recession, depression or bankrupt? With trillions of dollars of debt President Obama has few options.

This chance to imagine is just one example of what could be. There are so many variables and so much left to be answered. This situation would cause so much grief and I am an optimist, hoping and praying that our leaders find solutions to the problems we face. Solutions that are not only needed but vital to the livelihood of so many families and vital to the survival of the world superpower that we so rely on for our economic and military security.

Michael Marquette

FYI: Read more articles on the Credit Crunch; or 2009; or US Economy

In the rolling Tuscan hills not far from the mythic cities of Florence, Siena and San Gimignano is one of the largest private landholdings in all of Italy. Two grand cypress-lined lanes ascend to a historic castle. Dotting the estate are restored Casali (farmhouses) each with dramatic glass-tiled private pools. This treasured property is Castello di Casole, the newest and most romantic addition to the Timbers Collection portfolio.

Castello di Casole has a home to suit you with residences located privately throughout the estate or together in an enclave, just steps away from a five-star hotel.

A Signature Development of Timbers Resorts, the Castello di Casole estate is one of the largest landholdings in all of Tuscany – a 4,200-acre game reserve and working agricultural estate actively producing vintage wine and olive oil.

Commanding the most favored sites throughout the property are the ruins of modest Casali, each of which are unique to each other and are separately named with their own custom style, layout and color scheme. Each Casale farmhouse is a collection of main home and outbuildings, which now serve as unique and inviting guest quarters. Indoor spaces for each family compound are 4,000 to 7,000 square feet or 370 to 650 square meters.

Prices range from 290,000 – 590,000 Euro for Residential Interests; Whole Ownership pricing starts at 3.7 million Euro.

To view more information, images and the video click HERE (or any of the images above). You can also visit the Castello di Casole website.

Contact Michael Marquette on +61 433 170 170 or via email Michael@marquetteturner.com.au or Christine Watson on +61 414 352 680 or via email Christine@marquetteturner.com.au

Australia’s economy will avoid a recession next year, helped by lower interest rates, government spending and exports.

A recent Report (Economic Outlook No 84) by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stated that the Australian economy will grow 1.7 percent in 2009 from 2.5 percent this year, before accelerating to 2.7 percent in 2010, despite the depressed international economic environment, the impact of the financial crisis and the fall in the terms of trade should be relatively contained within Australia.


Furthermore, the OECD expects the Australian unemployment rate will increase to 6% from 4.3% by 2010 but inflation will ease.

The forecast is relatively glowing for Australia when compared to the other major economies of the world, stating that 21 of the 30 member economies of the OECD will go through a protracted recession of a magnitude not seen since the early 1980s.

In recent weeks new property listings have shown a substantial decline and this is likely due to the proximity of the Christmas period. Michael Marquette

FYI: Read related articles on Interest Rates; the Economy; and the Credit Crunch

More information: OECD Economic Outlook No 84

Weekly auction clearance rates do not paint a particularly clear picture. They have quite a small sample size and show a lot of week-to-week volatility.

If clearance rates are on the way up, does this signal an improving property market? Well maybe, but before we pass judgement on the state of the market, we really need to know what the clearance rates measure and what it means to the property investor.

Auction clearances give an instant snapshot of the market, telling us a lot about prices, suburbs and auctioneers. Auctions are far more prevalent in Melbourne and Sydney, at about 50% of market sales, where they are the dominant sales form in the sought-after suburbs.

Auctions account for a smaller portion of the market in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide and in the outer suburbs and regional areas of all states. Where auctions are not the dominant method of sale, the clearance data is less meaningful.

Clearance rate information is compiled from real estate agents’ reports of properties sold at, before or after auctions. Investors should note that reporting is not mandatory and will not include properties withdrawn from sale.

Sharp-eyed investors will also notice differences between clearance rates reported by different newspapers, the Real Estate Institute in each state, and APM, which can be explained by timing differences of agents reporting over the weekend or when some agents won’t report failed auctions.

The real issue is not the clearance percentage at all; it’s the underlying volume of successful sales transactions. This gives investors a truer picture of the market. For instance, a falling clearance rate can superficially mask a strong market if the supply of property lifts over a short period, so it’s not as reliable an indicator as it first appears.

Plainly then, high clearance rates can point to insufficient supply rather than a buoyant market, and low clearance rates, particularly in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, may not reveal a strong volume of successful private sales.   Monique Wakelin, The Eureka Report

FYI: Read related articles on Auctions; Buying Real Estate; and Real Estate Market

Here are Australia’s auction clearance rates for the capital cities for the weekend ending 23 November, 2008, courtesy of RP Data.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Auctions; or Buying Real Estate; Credit Crunch; or Interest Rates

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