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We can indeed see Russia from where we are, but no, we’re not in Alaska.

This article is actually absolutely nothing to do with Sarah Palin or the recent US Presidential Campaigning.   Marquette Turner Luxury Homes has the privilege of featuring on the front cover of Russia’s leading Luxury Homes magazine, International Residence.

I briefly studied Russian as a language at university and got to try it out on the locals when serving in the military in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan a few years back, however, my translation abilities can’t quite cope with a magazine.

Nonetheless we invite you to visit their website, and indeed browse through the magazine by clicking on the front cover above, or CLICK HERE.

Marquette Turner Luxury Homes is truly establishing itself as THE luxury agency with an International Focus, ably assisted by our colleagues of the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate, and we look forward to showcasing some amazing new properties in truly splendid locations in the coming weeks.

Simon Turner

FYI: Read related articles on Luxury Homes; view Marquette Turner’s listings; and Overseas Investments

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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

Tuesday 4 November 2008 is shaping up to be a historical day:  

  • The US Presidential Election will either see the first African-American President (Obama) or the first female Vice-President (Palin) together with the eldest first-term President (McCain).
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia will meet and, all things being equal, will almost certainly cut interest rates.
  • It’s Melbourne Cup flutter fever throughout Australia. 

You don’t need to be a gambler to have an opinion on the outcome of at least two out of three events, and broadly speaking one could achieve a hat trick by betting that “a horse” will win the Emirates Cup in Melbourne. 

Where the interesting debate lies is in the margin of change. If Obama wins, how many Electoral College Votes will it be by? And, should the RBA cut interest rates, how much will the reduction be?

Let’s hone in on the Australian interest rate debate. Current factors influencing the RBA are:

  • The Australian dollar is weak, hovering around US60 cents to the Australian dollar and having fallen 40% since July;
  • Inflation is high (around 5%);
  • Consumer and business confidence is lowering;
  • Global growth prospects are poor;
  • World oil and commodity prices are becoming more sensible;
  • Unemployment is marginally on the increase;
  • The government’s intervention by guaranteeing some deposits has not created the market stability intended.  

So, given that it’s pretty much a given that interest rates will be cut, how much by? Well, the Marquette Turner team, in taking the above conditions into account, believe that the cut will be between half of one percentage points and three quarters of a percentage point. This will be an important shot in the arm for home owners and home buyers alike – whether it will be a silver bullet for the Australian housing market is probably on par with the likelihood of the eldest horse in the race winning from mid-stream.    Simon Turner

FYI: Read other articles on interest rates, or housing affordability, or the US Presidential Election

It’s a salivating thought for anyone that has an interest in the outcome of the US Presidential race, and the Economist magazine is providing the opportunity.

I already had an interest prior to our visit to the US two weeks ago for the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate Awards, and hearing of the Economist’s clever use of the US Electoral College voting system upon the world’s population, it’s great to have the opportunity to “vote”.

I fully recognize that the typical vote is a domestic issue and choice for US citizens (and residents, of course). The result, however, affects the world. Whether or not you consider yourself to be a global citizen, and whether or not you are a Democrat or Republican in your preference, it is hard to dispute that as the most powerful country on Earth the US President has a significant impact upon us all.

It is for this reason that, whether or not you choose to take part in the Economist’s mock-election, the actual result after November 4, 2008 of either the Democratic candidates Barrack Obama & Joe Biden, or the Republican’s
John McCain & Sarah Palin, will invariably play a huge role in the coming years of your life.

Simon Turner

More information: VOTE HERE; read more about Marquette Turner’s
award winning trip to the US

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

The October 17, 2008 edition of the MTLH e-magazine, coming to you this week from New York City, can be viewed right now.

The amazing reach of the internet has never been more evident than right now – two young Australian’s have just won a global, luxury award and Barack Obama, having just eloquently seen off the challenge of John McCain in the 3rd Presidential Candidate Debate (incidentally, here in New York) and perhaps the clearest advocate of just what social networking and communication can do, is knocking on the door of Bush Jr’s  hangout on Pennsylvania Avenue (ie. The White House). That’s progress!

And in case you’re wondering, we can’t see Russia from here!

Read the latest e-mag here or read last week’s edition.

Simon Turner

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

On my way across to the US yesterday I really couldn’t help but hear people on the plane discussing the state of the US economy. Confidence is very low and it would seem as a foreigner that Americans are looking for change which seems to be Barack Obama. The Americans I have met so far aren’t talking recession – they are talking about a “Depression”.

I spoke with a retired man who discussed how terrified he was of Sarah Palin: he believes that the US needed someone young and energized like Obama and he was genuinely worried that John McCain could die and the US would end up with Sarah Palin as President which would send a terrible signal to the rest of the world about Americans as a whole. He also just wanted George Bush to go and described him as a “lame duck President”.

It made me think just how lucky we are in Australia. Our property market is holding up price wise although sales volumes are taking a beating and are only a fraction of previous years. With interest rates decreasing (the massive 1% decrease this week is key) and more decreases likely to come, property throughout Australia is starting to look very good. I strongly believe that investors both domestically and abroad are already starting to look at Australia as a safe haven for money.

Our banks are safe and deposits are guaranteed. Australian interest rates are decreasing and property pricing is not volatile, with demand from immigration assisting throughout Australia. With rental yields increasing, property as an asset class is looking extremely attractive. Marquette Turner Luxury Homes will be doing all we can during our time in the US to promote Australia a safe haven and with the Australian dollar falling, foreign investment in our wonderful country is looking very attractive.

Michael Marquette

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