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It’s amazing to look at what has happened over the last 18-24 months with regard to oil pricing. It was announced earlier in the year that it was almost a certainty that the price of petrol/gas would reach $8 a litre in the next 12 months in Australia. Like most other people around the world I braced for the ever increasing oil price, not knowing how consumers would afford such an increase in price.

In mid 2008, it was announced that grocery prices in Australia had increased by around 40% in just 12 months. This came as no shock as families large and small were feeling the effect of the increased price of energy. Whether a car owner or a user of public transport price increases could be felt everywhere – but wages certainly didn’t increase by 40% in the last 12 months as did grocery prices.

I watched with interest as OPEC met to discuss increasing oil production to assist the US and other countries in controlling the ever increasing cost of goods and services caused in no small part by the massive cost of oil (thus energy) which we rely on to survive in our economy. The result was no change in production levels which ensured the continued soaring price of oil and the ultimate crossing of the point of no return. In other words oil reached a point whereby the cost of living became too high for people to survive and the rest is history – we are now living the result of the oil price greed.

There are so many reasons in addition to the price of oil which have caused the world to be in the position that it is currently in however the price of oil has played no small part. I am thrilled to see the pricing fall and I have no sympathy for those countries that showed little foresight in allowing oil prices to remain at unsustainable levels – they now have to deal with pricing which is sure to be a fraction of the highs they enjoyed and I’m sure the price of oil is going to continue to fall – it’s music to my ears!

Greed is never a nice thing to watch and be part of and ultimately it isn’t something that leads to positive outcomes for those with greed in their hearts. As the world, soon to be led by President-Elect Obama, searches for alternative energy sources it may be just a matter of time before oil greed is a thing of the past – let’s hope for all our sake’s!

Michael Marquette

The Democratic US Senator from Delaware, Joe Biden, is soon to be “former-Senator” when he becomes US Vice President in January 2009, currently calls Wilmington, Delaware home.

His property is set on 1,803 sq ft and has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a swimming pool all amongst a stunning setting (images from Google Earth).

Simon Turner

FYI: See more articles on Homes of the Rich & Famous, Luxury Homes, or the US Presidential Race

If you liked this article, you’ll probably also like to see Obama’s Chicago Home

Barack Obama has changed the face of a nation by winning the US Presidential Race, and has already etched his name in history.  The mammoth task ahead of him should not be understated, but the boost of confidence that American’s and global citizens will take from his win should also not be underestimated.  Belief and hope can certainly contribute to positive change, and injections of both right now certainly can’t hurt.

Australian interest rates have been cut, as have those of Britain (by a whopping 1.5%) – clearly showing that there’s very few corners of the Earth that didn’t under-estimate the pace of the global economic slowdown.  And, having just returned from London where consumer sentiment is miserable, we all have a long way to go yet.  Right now, hope is a very attractive asset.

Always look on the bright side and stay as well informed as possible. Knowledge is the best currency right now.  We’re here to bankroll your brain: go the Nov 7 MTLH e-mag or browse through our blog.

Regards, Michael Marquette & Simon Turner


“If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything”

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In a world where the barriers of Nation States are barely barriers and the society and economies are global in every way, the victory of President-Elect Obama has caused excitement throughout the world that is similar to the fall of the Soviet Union and the bringing down of the Berlin Wall.

It has been a monumental week for the United States and the entire world and we extend our congratulations and best wishes to President-Elect Obama and his new administration.

He enters office at one of the most important points in world history- the US is at war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran and Pakistan are perhaps greater threats than North Korea, climate change fear is extreme and the need for alternative energy sources has never been more urgent and the US and world economies are in the biggest state of crisis since the Great Depression and business and consumer confidence is shattered.

I don’t envy his position but I am proud of our friends in the United States for so convincingly offering Obama a clear mandate to fulfill his promise of change. Change was needed and the United States as the engine room of the world is vital in the success and prosperity of so many nations – Australia included.

I wrote an article which is a must read which detailed the size of the American economy compared to China, UK, Japan and Germany. We can also look forward to the announcement of key cabinet positions and I believe it will be a bi-partisan administration.

The election of Barack Obama changes the world’s view that America is a racist nation and his message of ‘spreading the wealth’ provides a welcome corrective to the failed Wall Street mantra ‘greed is good.'(Thank you Henry Thornton).

I’m excited to see what reforms are put into place – including financial regulation, health, education and welfare. As an Australian we enjoy so many safety net protections (although they are far from perfect) and the US reforms may lead to benefits throughout the entire world.

George W Bush has spent like someone spending other people’s money (maybe things would be different if it actually was money coming from his own bank account) and Obama has to resolve this situation as well as a host of other things already discussed.

He is a classy, charismatic man who appears genuine and committed to change for the good of all. He has so far relied on high quality advisers, has kept his nerve, been rational and displayed an infectious level of energy. Good luck President-Elect Obama.

Michael Marquette

FYI: Read more articles on Obama, and the US Election Race

Lewis Hamilton has just won the Formula 1 Grand Prix Championship in Brazil, becoming the youngest and the first black winner of arguably one of the pinnacle titles in sport.  British runner Paula Radcliffe has just won the New York Marathon for the third time, and with an amazing comeback story.  Which of these stories is the prelude to the coming week?

Races start and often have nail-biting finishes, and this week has plenty of events with a result still to be determined.  We have the US Presidential Election and the Melbourne Cup Carnival in Australia.  People will hold their breaths, then on Wednesday will wake up to a new day.

Some fear change, but shouldn’t.  The only constant is change, and appreciating this fact is pivotal in ensuring you are in control of your life, particularly given the current economic climate.

Keep pace with the race, go directly to the Nov 3, 2008 MTLH e-mag, or browse through the MTLH blog where we’re never short of something to say!

Regards,
Michael Marquette & Simon Turner


“Never confuse brilliance with a bull market.” Wall Street proverb

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It’s almost impossible to ignore the fact that the US election is just one day away (Sydney time). The need for change of any sort is more apparent than ever and the change is needed for both domestic and international reasons.

I have many friends and colleagues in the United States and they are some of the most genuine and hospitable people I have ever met. In the last few weeks I have travelled through New Zealand, Australia, USA, Britain and Ireland and the sentiment for change is unmistakable. It’s amazing how many people have negative comments to make about the American people – I always defend them and I have always enjoyed the company of my American friends.

I have never met George Bush or even spent time with John McCain or Sarah Palin (she was busy looking at Russia from her kitchen). However the CNN truth-o-meter has been a good guide on what we are to believe or forget.

In the last couple of days I have heard Barack Obama described as a socialist and someone wanting to “spread the wealth” around. This has been put forward by the Republicans and repeated again and again which just makes no sense. The US is in massive debt – how do they propose to pay if off?

The income tax system which operates currently in the United States is progressive (similar to that in Australia) – which means that the more you earn the higher the tax rate on your income. Without going into great deal this system has been approved by the Republicans for years – thus spreading the wealth around. Does that make them socialist too?

George W Bush reduced the income tax rates paid by the rich, however, the income tax system has still remained progressive and even though the Republicans have called “Dubya” many things, they have yet to call him a Socialist.

In short Obama wants to reinstate the income tax rates for high income earners to the same levels as they were when Bill Clinton was President , the US was in good shape and had a budget surplus. What could possibly be wrong with that?

There are so many more things we could discuss but in an effort to keep this piece short I will end by saying that the President has a greater responsibility than simply being the Commander-in-Chief. He or she also has to ensure that safety nets are in place for the less fortunate and I wholeheartedly endorse Barack Obama as the Democratic President of the United States.

Michael Marquette

FYI: Read more articles on the US Election, Obama and the Credit Crunch

It may not be too long until Barack Obama and his family call the White House in Washington their home. Until then, however, they’ll be making do with their property in Greenwood Avenue, Chicago, Illinois which was purchased in 2005 for $US1.65 million.

Simon Turner

FYI: More articles on Barrack Obama, the US Presidential Race, and Homes of the Rich & Famous

Being in the United States you just have to wonder why some people choose to be in the public eye? Is it the power? Is it the celebrity or is it the wealth? I can’t begin to answer that question but when looking at Michael Bloomberg with his own TV channel and of course a personal net wealth of $11.5 Billion I guess it isn’t the wealth – he has it already.

The New York Mayor and media mogul spent $85 million on re-election in 2005 (what did Clover Moore spend in Sydney?). The sum was $11 million more than in his first election 2001. Now the most famous Mayor in the world is rumoured to be considering jumping into the Presidential race – not now, but maybe in 4 years time.

With talk running hot that Bloomberg could run as Obama’s running mate earlier in the year and now that he may seek an unprecedented mandate for a third term as Mayor of New York City, all eyes are on him to see which candidate he’ll endorse – at this stage he has been quiet on the issue.

 Both Simon Turner and I witnessed an anti-John McCain and Sarah Palin rally in Philadelphia and the passion shown by Americans was intense.

It wasn’t clear if Palin was inside the building or whether Obama had recently departed, but election fever is running hot and it is amazing to see how the Americans express their political views. Both Simon Turner and I also watched the live debate between Obama and McCain only a few hours ago and it appeared that Obama was the winner. America is a wonderful and fascinating country.

Michael Marquette

As part of our experience in the United States on this occasion both Simon and I found ourselves in the middle of a massive political rally in Philadelphia. With the Presidential Election only a few weeks away campaigning is in full swing throughout the country and some States have even started voting – although the results of the early voting will not be announced until official counting begins on election day (Nov 4, 2008).

As an Australian it was amazing to witness the passion of supporters for Barack Obama and John McCain and the extent to which they express their feelings. The Vice presidential candidates were also receiving plenty of attention with Sarah Palin opponents holding up signs, wearing anti-Republican t-shirts and printed with all sorts of slogans as well as chanting in unison.

I have never seen such passion for any election in Australia and although Police were on hand the rally remained no-violent – just very loud! Before leaving Philadelphia, we also witnessed the Hillary Clinton machine roll in and out of town – yes, she’s still going – and Simon and I visited the Liberty Bell which is a symbol for freedom for all people in the United States. The protests, rallies and the individuals mentioned are crystal clear evidence that the symbolism of the liberty bell is alive and well.

We were also fortunate enough to visit several properties throughout the city with Luxury Brokers who are part of the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate and compared the pricing of property in Philadelphia with that back home in Australia. Without hesitation Sydney is a far more expensive city for those looking to purchase real estate, showing the importance of property to Australia when considering both wealth creation and housing affordability.

Whatever the result of the Obama versus McCain election in the US , I believe Australia is well placed for buyer confidence to recover quickly after the stunning 1% (100 basis points) decrease in interest rates by the Reserve Bank and the overall health of the Australian financial system. The freedom’s, liberties and luxuries that we all enjoy show few signs of fading!

 

Michael Marquette

There is no doubt that difficult economic times can encourage discussions on a number of topics. Such discussions should be about improving the quality of people’s lives by promoting two mutually beneficial factors:

  • Encouraging fundamental human rights and freedoms
  • Encouraging financial success and overall wealth

Both are achievable when both are actively promoted as harmonious.

Same-sex “marriage” is edging closer in the US with the State of Connecticut deciding to allow same sex marriage in that State. Three US states now permit same sex couples to marry (Connecticut, Massachusetts and California).

There are six world nations that now permit same sex couples to marry and others that allow civil unions or civil partnerships but thus far do not to allow marriage. At this point in time Australia does not allow same sex couples to marry or commit via civil partnerships or civil unions. Importantly the Court in Connecticut rejected civil unions as an unequal, unfair and unacceptable alternative to full marriage.

On November 4, 2008 Californians will vote on whether to respect or nullify thousands of same sex marriages which have occurred in that State since full equality was granted in May.

The progress throughout the United States highlights the “Nazi-like” views of both Republican’s John McCain and Sarah Palin who would even support removing the rights of women to choose to abort a pregnancy, thus denying women the right to choose what to do with their bodies. Women have fought long and hard for these and many other rights, thus any action that removes these is unconscionable and a step backwards.

Together with progressive Australian companies such as Qantas, IBM and the Commonwealth Bank, Marquette Turner Luxury Homes is a very proud advocate for full and equal rights for all people throughout the world and as a company do not allow or support any form of discrimination on any grounds.

In a time when the world economy is faltering, people are starving and wars are being waged in various locations around the globe, the attention of our leaders and would-be leaders should be on improving the basic human rights and quality of life for all people rather than irresponsibly focussing on wedge politics. The anti-Obama movement, seeking to win at any cost, is fundamentally culpable of stoking the fires of divisive, regressive, narrow-mindedness that will never improve living standards and surely we have socially progressed too far to simply accept. The focus must be on improving the lives of all, and helping people to save their homes and securing their financial futures, all principles that go hand-in-hand with encouraging their basic rights as human beings.

Economic success goes hand-in-hand with full and equal rights. Rewarding outcomes can be experienced and benefited by all by recognising such a relationship.

Michael Marquette

The latest release of the popular MTLH e-magazine, highlighting popular articles from the MTLH blog is now available for you to view online

We’ve seen financial dramas of historic proportions in the last week, but within the chaos there is much opportunity.  Marquette Turner Luxury Home’s articles seek to put the issues in perspective, and as ever we’re more than happy to let our feelings be known.

Both Michael Marquette and I are now in New York City eagerly anticipating next week’s Luxury Real Estate Awards in Philadelphia. Thus, this latest edition definitely shows a heavy interest in the going’s on in the US of A and the relevance to all of readers – Australian, American and the many more around the world – cannot be understated. Find out what’s happening, what’s interesting and what’s new: these are indeed curious times! Simon Turner

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