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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!
We wish you a fantastic & safe festive period.
See our luxury homes showcased in Australia & Around The World
“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Oprah Winfrey
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
Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia” the movie is out in theaters/cinemas right now, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.
The reviews have been mediocre – particularly in Australia – but for those of you who have yet to visit Australia or those that need a reminder of just how stunning the heartland of Australia is, we wouldn’t be proud Australian’s if we didn’t invite you to watch the movie! For a small taste, please watch the trailer below.
A survey of 18 economists by the Australian Associated Press revealed the following:
- All 18 economists believe the RBA will cut interest rates
- 11 economists expect the rate to drop by 0.75% (75 basis points) putting interests rates at 4.5% (the lowest since June 2002)
5 economists believe the cut will be 1% (100 basis points) leaving interest rates at 4.25%, the lowest level ever.
Time will tell who wins the bet, but home owners and buyers alike will be the winners of any rate cut.
“Bailout” has been named as the “Word of the Year”, being the word that has been searched the most in online dictionaries and has become suddenly infused into daily language. “Turmoil” was up there too!
Things may be worse than they were perhaps a year ago, but please take a moment to think of all the good things. During this Thanksgiving holiday – an American institution that surely everyone throughout the world should recognise – be thankful for what you’ve had, what you are, and what you can be.
One of the phrases Marquette Turner has coined is “Luxury is…” – this week we share with you some comments people have shared with us.
Please enjoy the stories in our blog, or you can go straight to the e-magazine. We thank you!
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Even during these tough times, there are more millionaire households in the world than at any other time, with the growth highest in China and Europe.
The total number of millionaire households in the world (ie. those with assets of $US1 million or more) now stands at 9.6 million.
This represents only 0.7% of all households, owning $US33.2 trillion. This is a staggering one third of the world’s entire wealth which just goes to show the inequality of wealth.
Here’s the Top 10 of millionaire households, and I’ve also included the countries’ ranking for households with in excess of $US100 million (with Australia added on, given our Australian roots).
No. 1: USA
Total millionaire households: 4,585,000
Total population: 301,139,947
Total $100 million+ households: 2,300 (rank: 1)
Bill & Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet
No. 2: Japan
Total millionaire households: 830,000
Total population: 127,433,494
Total $100 million+ households: 1,300 (rank: 2)
Softbank President Masayoshi Son with Actress Ava Ueto
No. 3: Britain
Total millionaire households: 610,000
Total population: 60,776,238
Total $100 million+ households: 810 (rank: 3)
Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson
No. 4: Germany
Total millionaire households: 350,000
Total population: 82,400,996
Total $100 million+ households: 620
No. 5: China
Total millionaire households: 310,000
Total population: 1,321,851,888
Total $100 million+ households: 180 (rank: 13)
No. 6: Italy
Total millionaire households: 270,000
Total population: 58,147,733
Total $100 million+ households: 530 (rank: 5)
No. 7: France
Total millionaire households: 265,000
Total population: 63,713,926
Total $100 million+ households: 260 (rank: 9)
No. 8: Taiwan
Total millionaire households: 220,000
Total population: 22,858,872
Total $100 million+ households: unknown
No. 9: Switzerland
Total millionaire households: 205,000
Total population: 7,554,661
Total $100 million+ households: 300 (rank:8)
No. 10: Brazil
Total millionaire households: 190,000
Total population: 190,010,647
Total $100 million+ households: 210 (rank: 10)
No. 13: Australia
Total millionaire households: 135,000
Total population: 20,434,176
Total $100 million+ households: 150 (rank: 14)
PBL Chairman, James Packer
More information: Figures taken from a study by Boston Consulting Group
In a world that can be brutal, harsh and tough going it is worth taking time to consider what we have enjoyed and what it means to us.
I thought it was an important time to consider what “Luxury” means to us all. It’s a chance to reflect over Thanksgiving and put into words what we can too often take for granted. The “Luxury is” is an amazing combination of two words – it is amazing because it causes us all to feel something, to imagine.
So what is Luxury to you? In 50 words or less write what “Luxury is” to you. We will publish as many responses as possible. Happy Thanksgiving!
Michael Marquette: Luxury is more than I can touch, it’s intangible. Luxury is an emotion, felt when I dare to dream of something that I value, that I have desired. It drives me forward, forces me to act, allows me to feel special, successful, spoiled, lucky – fortunate in every way.
Christine Watson: Luxury is the feeling of soft silk on your skin, wearing diamonds and pearls, rose petals scattered everywhere, being pampered and spoiled. Luxury is first class air travel, a personal valet, and Jimmy Choo shoes. Luxury is not having the need for anything, only the want.
Simon Turner: The ability to say sorry. The capacity to say I’m wrong. Knowledge: the desire to increase it and the timeliness of drawing upon it. Peace & Quiet. Happiness, Healthiness and Hope. Intangible.
Alex Lee: Luxury is excellence achieved.
Amy Cooper: Luxury to me involves good friends, wine and seafood in an ambient waterfront location! It also involves hot men, but let’s not go there!
Jayke Menese: Luxury is a home in Montreaux with a view of Lake Geneva. Can’t get better than that. The best setting and views in the world…”
Kevin Hussein Nguyen: Luxury is getting a full night’s rest, uninterrupted by nothing but sweet dreams.”
Thank you to everyone for sharing!
Without fear nor contest, the following listings of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes have received a price reduction in the past week, with the explicit consent of the owner.
I read an article today on the Domain blog in Australia (owned by Fairfax Media) and I cannot believe the total rubbish it conveyed to people. I am so disappointed that I feel forced to discuss it. We can all recognize that someone has done well for themselves – we can praise and applaud that – well done John McGrath – to a point. We can also recognize when they have said something that is too hard to comprehend. So much as to make it simply unbelievable and it has to be discussed.
In a world that is missing realism at times and where the base expectations of the population are set according to media, lies – half-truths at best it is important to point out what is totally ridiculous. Not only do people feel inadequate but they lose sight of reality, feel unsuccessful and like in this case downright ill-informed.
John McGrath, founder of McGrath Estate Agents, stated in a recent blog that property in Australia fell into one of three bands. The Lower End (below $750,000), the mid range ($750,000-$3 million) and the upper end ($3 million to $30 million).
The pure facts are these. Anyone kidding themselves to think that $3m is mid-priced is either lying or living in a fantasy land. The facts are simple – 3.65% of all residential property in Australia in 2007 sold at or above $1million. In other words 96.35% of residential property sold was sold at or less than $1 million. $3 million is NOT mid priced – not in Sydney, not in Regional Australia – not anywhere in Australia. The information is so poor that it needs to be quickly corrected.
I’m not questioning that John McGrath has done well for himself over the years – but that simply does not excuse information that is blatantly incorrect. Since John McGrath has become a franchise agency, seeking to compete with the likes of LJ Hooker and Ray White, it is laughable that he should set such benchmarks given that the majority of the properties for sale through his franchise offices in New South Wales are of “the lower end”. I’m sure this isn’t the message his agents are conveying to their clients.
Why point this out? Simply people are given so much information that cannot be backed up by evidence and those that are unaware of the reality can at times feel inadequate. What do you need to do to be successful? What have you done wrong? How can you possibly achieve that? The reality is very different to the perception.
I am disappointed that John McGrath would publicly say something that is simply wrong – he is smarter than that and it concerns me that many people will read his material and question themselves thinking he is telling the truth – Shame on you John McGrath.
Fully managed and serviced by Four Seasons, the 15 Private Residences on Bora Bora represent one of the most exclusive and desirable resort – home opportunities in the world. Providing either lagoon or Pacific Ocean frontage, these rare and precious sites range from .5 to 1.25 acres.
You may choose from a portfolio of exquisitely appointed architectural designs ranging from 4,000 square feet/ 370 square metres to 11,500 square feet/ 1,070 square metres or create your own personal vision of paradise. Providing either lagoon or Pacific Ocean frontage of .5 to 1.25 acres, owners may choose from a portfolio of exquisitely appointed architectural designs ranging in price from $6M to $17M USD.
FYI: For more information relating to purchasing these fantastic homes in Bora Bora, Tahiti, please contact: Michael Marquette on+61 433 170 170 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Christine Watson on +61 414 352 680 or via email at Christine@marquetteturner.com.au
You can also see other properties to buy from Marquette Turner Luxury Homes
This week we present stories such as Luxury Home Sales in Sydney: The Truth and Fiction; The Beckham Effect, where we look at David Beckham’s very first home and what it’s on the market for as well as his current home in California with Posh Spice-wife, Victoria; we also look at the cost of parking your car in some of the most expensive cities in the world; you can customize your bathtub for a pretty penny; and our WISE GUY shows why the Australian dollar suddenly has run out of friends.
And lots, lots more.
To read the latest e-magazine: CLICK HERE
“Be a fountain, not a drain.”
It was almost like you went to put the kettle on during the ad break and everything changed with the Australian Dollar: one minute we’re pushing (almost) the 1 AUD for 1 USD and within a few months the AUD is struggling to buy 60 cents US.
Not being an economist, and learning on the run as no doubt many of us are in these historical economic times, I put this question to a friend of mine that I’ve grown up with that now works in the City of London. He’s a bit of a whizz and obviously a busy man, so I really appreciated his answers in layman’s terms, and am glad he’s allowed me to share them with you. Here’s his explanation:
The USD is benefiting from several themes, I will list them:
1) There is a perception that the US is further down the road in this crisis (ie. real estate markets have fallen more dramatically) and they have unveiled a more comprehensive suite of policy measures to deal with their problems than other countries have thus far needed to, Australia included. This has enhanced the USD status as a “safe haven” currency. There is the perception that the rest of the world is now slowing down faster than the US, and so this is encouraging US investors to repatriate foreign investments into USD.
2) Central banks around the world are cutting rates aggressively, and so the interest rate differential between other currencies and USD is narrowing, this increases the relative attractiveness of the USD.
3) The unwinding of “carry” trades (this is where credit is borrowed from central banks with low interest rates and invested in other economies that are higher). Over the past year/18months some investors have borrowed in USD at low interest rates, to invest in AUD at higher rates, and so earning the 4% or 5% interest differential between the two currencies. This money flow was one of the reasons behind a 30% increase in the AUD vs the USD over this period. As volatility in financial markets increased, these investors have unwound these trades and subsequently sold AUD to buy USD.
4) The linkage of the AUD to commodities has not helped it in recent weeks, as all commodities have sold off on expectation of a rapidly slowing economy.
So there you go. Economies are ultimately a huge web of tangled and complicated interests, involve complex strategies and vary in their proclivity to risk. We clearly can’t be expected to understand every single facet with great understanding, particularly when many of the best brains in the world couldn’t.
I do hope, however, we’ve given you a few little tips that mean your “flapping in the wind” a little less. And of course, there’s certainly a need in the world for Wise Guys!
Part 2 of a 2 Part Investigation
The low sales volumes that we have seen in 2008 have resulted from fear, necessity and pride. Each has played a role in reducing the number of sales.
In so much as fear has contributed people are always cautious during times of upheaval or unrest.
Economically it has been a minefield of a year with Sydney property prices generally being stable or heading south. The stock market has shed billions of dollars and nervous investors and even more nervous fund managers have either panicked or halted all activity to see where it would lead – we certainly have a good idea of that now.
As interest rates increased early in 2008 many people feared that the return of Labor to the Federal Government would bring devastatingly high interest rates and therefore chose not to buy – again they played a wait and see game.
Vendors, convinced that the economic bliss was sure to continue refused to accept lower prices from buyers and the number of unsold properties has increased as the year has gone on. The financial turmoil has seen companies tightening their belts and in some cases withdrawing benefits, bonuses and international transfers.
This has greatly affected the number of “Private Brokerage” level sales and has played havoc with the top end Luxury rental market. Without companies paying absurd amounts of money to house executives the demand for top end rentals has all but dried up – with Luxury Landlords accepting massive cuts in rental amounts, moving back into properties or simply leaving them empty (Not very smart in most cases).
The final and least understood factor that has resulted in decreased “Private Brokerage” level sales is the age old problem of pride. The uncertainty that the year has provided has caused many would be vendors to reconsider plans to sell in case they were seen by family, friends, colleagues and competitors as potentially having financial problems.
It has been reported in Sydney newspapers that journalists were waiting to see which Luxury Homes were put on the market as this may have been an indicator that a company or associated interest was struggling and in need of cash. It is amazing what people will do out of pride and emotion has played a huge part in the decreased sales volumes we have seen.
Fundamentally Sydney is well positioned. It has stunning natural beauty and there is a low rental vacancy rate and net immigration is quite high putting further demand on housing in the city. This should see the market steady and confidence return in 2009, however we cannot ignore the differences between average or low end property and Luxury “Private Brokerage” Sales.
Click on the link for PART 1
With news that Germany is now officially in recession, is the domino effect in full swing? Can Australia resist – maybe, maybe not – hopefully New South Wales is not the trendsetter. As the only Australian state in recession, the hapless State government has decided that the best way to stimulate growth and kick-start the economy is…wait for it…put up taxes and hit families and small businesses hard. What planet are they on?
In this issue of our e-mag we’ve tried hard to balance the heavy and light-hearted to keep things running smoothly for you. We haven’t sugar-coated the bad news, but we’ve made sure there’s some luxury and fun included.
It’s no secret that Barack Obama utilized the internet and social networking massively during his election campaign. We note that Australia’s political leaders have taken this onboard too, meaning that as well as Facebook and MySpace, you can now follow Kevin Rudd on Twitter and also Liberal leader, Malcolm Turnbull. See for yourself by clicking on the links, and don’t forget you can follow the Marquette Turner team too (see the bottom of this email for the links, and also more information).
Keep checking our blog to stay informed on life and its luxuries – it’s updated many times a day. You can check out the Nov 14 e-mag, or browse through our blog right here, right now.
“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have” Thomas Jefferson
Over the last month or so I have had numerous discussions with people from all around the world about the level of Stamp Duty we pay in Australia on property transactions. In my opinion it acts as a huge disincentive for people to transact and puts additional and unnecessary barriers in place for buyers and vendors alike.
For those that aren’t aware buyers in NSW pay around 4% tax to the State Government – in addition to the purchase price of their property when they buy.
Who can forget the effect of the vendor duty that the New South Wales Government (for our international readers, Sydney is the Capital City of the State of New South Wales – NSW) decided to charge on the sale of investment properties. That 2.25% duty on the sale of investment properties (paid by vendors to the Government – calculated as a percentage of the total sale price) stalled the sale of investment property in the State and made purchasing investment property look very unattractive.
Thankfully common sense prevailed and the duty was removed. New South Wales lost hundreds of millions of dollars to States like Queensland as investors chose to purchase elsewhere. South East Queensland did very well out of what can only be described a shocking decision. So what would happen if New South Wales slashed the stamp duty paid by purchasers? Would we see huge amounts of investment coming into the State from Queensland, Victoria and other States?
It’s an interesting question and one I’d like to see debated as increased taxes, tolls or duties is not the way to stimulate the economy. New South Wales is a wonderful part of our country and Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in world – if only we had a State Government to match.
Resources: Buying Advice
Fashion designer Wayne Cooper’s Luxury Sydney home in Sydney’s Eastern Suburb of Tamarama failed to attract a bidder at auction yesterday.
The entire process has been disastrous from start to finish with Wayne Cooper being convicted of assaulting her last Friday. An apprehended violence order was amended so he could attend the auction.
A bidder offered an opening offer of $2.2 million, with the auctioneer rejecting the bid and opening with a vendor bid of $2.9 million. From that point on there was complete silence from any “real bidder”.
The one size fits all auction mentality is just not cutting it.
The sale of Luxury Homes is for specialists and unfortunately the agent responsible for conducting the campaign was not a Luxury Agent and not a recognized member of The Who’s Who In Luxury Real Estate – the invitation-only worldwide peak industry body.
I find it amazing that agents choose to sell homes in the same way regardless of value – failing to recognize the difference between those involved in purchasing Luxury Homes. The market in Australia is proving week after week that clearance rates for properties over $1 million are extremely low – yet agents continue to cling to auction as a way of getting vendors to spend thousands of dollars on advertising their home in several newspapers in a very short period of time, or simply because they don’t know how to tell things as they are to their client.
Little if any thought is given to post auction strategy and research done by the National Association of Realtors is now indicating that almost 90% of buyers first find their home online – so why are agent’s still encouraging vendors to spend so much money on newspaper advertising? The answer is that it helps promote the agent – it’s a disappointing fact that so many agents give such poor advice.
The other issue at the moment which is making auctions more than difficult is that buyers are taking longer to make purchasing decisions – a 3 or 4 week concentrated campaign rarely works for Luxury Homes. Ms Marsh (Wayne Cooper’s former partner) had opposed yesterday’s auction because she feared it would not attract a good price due to the weakening market – she was totally right!
In fact Ms Cooper was so determined to have the auction postponed that she took her case to the Supreme Court – unfortunately she was unsuccessful.
Having worked with McGrath Estate Agents early in my career I understand that the auction method of sale is pushed onto vendors and agents are under enormous pressure to convince vendors to auction their properties – unfortunately there is little evidence either domestically or abroad to support auctioning and wasting thousands of dollars on what is fast becoming outdated newspaper advertising.
It has been reported that the McGrath Agent responsible for the sale has blamed the domestic violence issue for the property’s non-sale. I would suggest that proper training, advice and strategy formation from the beginning would have resulted in different advice being given as to the correct sale method and I strongly believe that Luxury Agencies like Marquette Turner Luxury Homes are by far the best choice when selling top-end properties.
Marquette Turner Luxury Homes has been awarded the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate’s 2008 Most Outstanding Luxury Agency in the World operating for less than 2 years – beating around 6000 agencies and 121,000 Luxury Agents.
A week is a long time in life – the news is good, then it’s bad, the market is up and then it’s down. Our trip around the world over the last couple of weeks has taken us to Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, London, Dublin and San Fransisco. Back in Sydney it’s so clear how small the world is: everywhere the same topics are on people’s lips: the US Presidential Election and the Economy.
Fear of the unknown can often be the most stressful aspect of life, so the best way to manage such fear is to keep as informed as possible. Hopefully our articles will help, and ultimately ensure that you’re ready to seize an opportunity when it appears.
Staying updated is the best medicine: our latest e-magazine is out now, so please click on the link 24 October 2008 or browse through our blog.
Michael Marquette & Simon Turner