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Perth properties are being sold quicker than any other state capital, new figures show.

Research from property analysts RP Data and Rismark International shows it took 24 days to sell a house in November and two days fewer for units.

The time taken to sell a unit was the quickest in Australia, while only in Canberra (23 days) were houses sold quicker.

The average price for houses and units in the metropolitan area at the end of November was $460,000.

While that was a drop of 1.09 per cent on October, making Perth the only city where prices fell, it was still an increase of 6.47 per cent on the start of the year and a 5.87 per cent rise on the same time in 2008.

The average house price was $485,000, down 1.11 per cent on October, but up 5.94 per cent since the start of 2009, while units dropped 1 per cent on October, but rose 8.55 per cent in 2009, to average $385,000.

The news was not all good for homeowners. Landlords found rental yields dropping, to 3.94 per cent for houses and 4.41 per cent for units, both down 0.04 of a percentage point on October.

Rismark managing director Christopher Joye said the key drivers in the market in the latter half of 2009 were upgraders and investors, and this was expected to continue this year.

Once mortgage rates “normalised” to between 7 per cent and 8 per cent, price growth would drop back. As many borrowers did not reduce mortgage payments when rates fell, they should be well placed to absorb rises.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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DIAC have just announced that the anyone obtaining their Contributory Parent Visa after 1 July and then planning to sponsor an existing partner will be faced with a potential 5 year wait. What this means, as an initial response, is that people going down that route who have not included an existing spouse in the application should be doing so immediately.

This is the text of the announcement:

Amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 in relation to Contributory Parent visas and split applications

1 July 2009 Legislation Change

Client summary

From 1 July 2009, the Migration Regulations 1994 (the ‘Regulations’) are amended to prevent persons who are granted a permanent Contributory Parent category visa (Subclasses 143 and 864) from sponsoring their partner or fiancé for a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa for five years from the day of their visa grant, if they:

* were granted their permanent Contributory Parent category visa on or after 1 July 2009; and
* were in a spouse or de facto partner or fiancé relationship on or before the date their permanent Contributory Parent category visa was granted and now wish to sponsor that partner or fiancé.

This limitation may not apply in compelling circumstances which are not financially related.

Additional information:
There have been a number of instances in which couples seeking to migrate under the Contributory Parent category visa provisions have resorted to the split application strategy, whereby:

* only one member of a parent couple applies for and is granted a permanent Contributory Parent category visa; and
* once eligible (usually after two years of being lawfully resident in Australia), this parent subsequently sponsors their spouse (the other parent) under the partner visa category which has a much smaller Visa Application Charge (VAC).

Up until 1 July 2009, this strategy is not prohibited by migration legislation and it is being used in order to reduce the costs associated with migration under Contributory Parent category visa. However, it clearly undermines the Government’s policy intent of ensuring that those parents who migrate under the Contributory Parent visa category make a contribution by means of the VAC to partially offset the significant costs of parent migration to the broader community. Contributory Parent migrants are also subject to the provision of a ten year Assurance of Support (AoS) and payment of a bond.

Furthermore, those who lodge a split application benefit by by-passing the ten year waiting period for parent visa holders to access Government benefits and assistance, whilst spouse visa holders are able to access such benefits within two years of visa grant.

Amendments are being made to information products affected by this legislative change.

Source  :  http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=616147

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A new way of luggage screening could reduce waiting for frustrated passengers at Perth International Airport, its proponents say.                                                   3-perth-airport

The company contracted to screen international passenger baggage says it is testing a system which helps overcome problems caused when luggage is loaded on to a plane but the passenger fails to board.

Unisys, which was recently granted a five-year extension to its contract, says the new technology will allow its existing barcode tracking system to link passengers to bags.

Currently at Perth Airport, the barcode is linked only to the bag, meaning substantial delays can often result as staff try to find and remove baggage should a passenger fail to board.

A Unisys spokeswoman said the new system would be implemented in Perth “in the near future” once testing had finished.

The new technology was part of the requirment of the renewal of the contract with the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia, the peak aviation industry body.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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lending moneyTHE Rudd Government will give the $21 billion margin lending industry three weeks to digest a proposed overhaul of the regulatory and legislative regime.
The Minister for Corporate Law Nick Sherry will today release a draft copy of the legislation with a view to introducing it into parliament next month.

The legislation includes new national laws to regulate margin lending under a standard national regime, reports The Australian.

Margin lending is not currently regulated in Australia and is considered to have been one of the main destroyers of investor wealth as the stockmarket collapsed last year.

It cost some investors their homes as their margin lending accounts blew up, triggering margin calls many couldn’t afford to pay.

Mr Sherry said yesterday taking out equity on a family home was a key area of interest to the Government.

“One area where we have had a high level of concern has been where people have been advised to take equity out of their family home and then to use this debt to leverage into buying shares through a margin loan.

“This double-debt trap, with a home as security, is of serious concern,” he said.

“Under our new responsible margin lending laws the lender will be required to assess a person’s true loan-to-value ratio

“This means the lender can no longer assume the money brought to the table is not itself debt, a major new improvement” that would reduce the risk of people losing their homes.

Properly geared margin lending, backed by full disclosure, had a place, but the Rudd Government would not tolerate ordinary Australians being misled into grossly inappropriate margin loans that could cost a family everything they owned, including their home, he said.

Under the new laws, lenders will be regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and be required to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence, be members of low-cost external dispute bodies, clearly disclose fees and commissions before lending, and lend under a tailored margin-lending-specific set of responsible lending obligations.

Between June last year and December 30, the number of margin calls received by 205,000 Australians with margin loans increased 458 per cent, as the share market dropped 40 per cent.

http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/money/story/0,26926,25441887-5015860,00.html

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