Market Update

With the Reserve Bank cutting the cash rate to a record low earlier this month, there are early signs that the housing market is not going to hit that lows that some predicted last years. This also seems to be boosted by last month’s surprise Coalition win.

In the past week, the national clearance rate for auctions has held above 60 percent for the first time in over a year. In comparison, the same week last year the clearance was at 52 percent. The clearance rate for the week prior was just 48.3 percent, although this figure was likely impacted by the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

Kevin Brogan, an analyst with CoreLogic, sees this as a sign of a market that is nearing equilibrium. Clearance rates in the mid – to high 60s (and rising) has been a sign of rising prices in the past.

In Melbourne, the clearance rate has been over 60 percent for the last three weeks, its most recent figure being 67.9 percent (CoreLogic). There is also indication of larger numbers of people attending auctions and growing confidence in first home buyers.

Of course, this reflects average numbers across all suburbs; individual suburbs can be very different, especially when considering geographical and socioeconomic factors. Prices in South Yarra have fallen around 30 percent, whereas Cairnlea rose a little over 12 percent. This is consistent with the part of the property market cycle in which we currently find ourselves; there is growth in some areas and prices fall in others during a market that is settling and aiming for equilibrium.

Accrue Real Estate have helped Melburnians reach their property goals for many years and have the expertise in the market to know which suburbs are best buys, regardless of where we find ourselves on  property market cycle.

Pascoe Vale Parks

Being close to both the CBD and the airport, Pascoe Vale is a great place for anyone whose work life requires commuting. But this suburb also has lots to offer in the way of recreation.

Shore Reserve, 20 Woodlands Avenue

This is our go-to park with the furry member of the family. Shore Reserve is an off-leash park which means the dog can get the run around it needs. There are three BBQs available, and as there are also toilets, a drinking fountain and tables this is also the perfect park for a picnic or a sausage sizzle if the weather is fine enough. There is a shade area for the really hot days and the oval is perfect for kick to kick or a family cricket match (when organised sport is not being played). Shore Reserve also features a fantastic playground with equipment such as a slide, ladder, and sandpit. In keeping with the circus theme, there is a ‘clown swing’ which also rotates for that extra thrill. A wonderful family park, it also has the benefit of being right next to a tram stop, so you can forget the worry of finding a park.

Kelvin Thomson Park, 21 Cleve Road

This park features an open grassy area as well as bushland which include long walking paths and a playground. The tracks are perfect for quiet strolls with the dog, which must be on leash, or you can up the fitness quotient and run around them. The kids will love the playground and there is also a flying fox for the older and more adventurous children. A drinking fountain is available and there is a basketball half-court with ring. Kelvin Thomson Park has had recent upgrades so the equipment is fairly new and there has been new planting to ensure the park stays as attractive in the future.

Gavin Park, 42-46 Northumberland Road

This park is along part of the line where the Westbreen Creek was piped, and it makes a great place for walking and cycling. There is a playground for the kids, BBQs, shelter and seating. The pathways are paved, so perfect for walking the dog (which must be kept on the leash). This park & playground is very toddler friendly and the perfect place for families to enjoy some time together.

Winter Tips – Part 2

Here three more great tips to help you keep your house warm without incurring huge costs on your power bills.

– Check your insulation: Hot air rises, in fact about 25% of your heat can be lost through the roof. You can reduce this by making sure you have insulation correctly installed in your roof space. Likewise, heat will be lost through your walls, so wall insulation is also important (but more difficult & costly to fit). The thing to keep in mind is that by using insulation you will save on your power bills, so while it may cost you a little initially, the long-term savings can make it worthwhile.

– Think about your space: One way to conserve heat is to make sure doors and vents are closed in the rooms you are not using. If you have ceiling fans, make sure you have switch them to the winter settings (reverse). If you have a fireplace that is not being used, make sure the flue is closed. If it is ornamental it is worth closing off completely, as chimneys can suck the heat right out of the home (however, be sure to remember you have blocked it off and don’t try to light it again!)

– Block the draughts: We probably all remember our grandparents having ‘sausage dogs’ against their doors in winter, and these are a great way of keeping the wind from the door. Of course, there are many other options to draft proof your house now, and most are DIY. Self-adhesive draught excluders are available for windows and doors; these are not expensive and are very easy to install yourself.

Mentone Cafés

Mentone is one of our favourite places to be. A beach suburb one end and a shopping strip close to the station, it provides diversity in terms of investment. Mentone also has some excellent cafés for taking a break from hunting for the perfect investment property. Here’s a few of our favourites.

Chain of Fools, 68 Beach Road, Mentone

Can’t stop humming the Aretha Franklin hit anytime I in this place and the food here is as classic as the song. While not strictly a vegetarian myself, their vegetarian menu is going to keep even the fussiest of our vege-brothers & sisters happy. All the food is tasty – they make use of Indian herbs and spices beautifully. Many claim this is the best coffee in Mentone and I probably wouldn’t put too much effort on arguing. The bottomless chia is also a highlight if you have the time to sit for longer. My go-to brunch favourite is the Banana Folly – yum!  

Le Roi Café, 44 Como Parade W, Mentone

If you are looking for friendly service you will be very pleased with Le Roi, as you always get a smile from staff here. They will also make recommendations if you can’t decide, which is how we discovered their Breaky Bao burger, perfect for breakfast on the run or if you the time, sit and enjoy! Given the proximity to the station, they do a lot of takeaway here, especially coffee, and the service is always speedy (so no missed trains!)

Truly Scrumptious, 4 & 5 Granary Ln, Mentone

You have to love a café that wears its heart on its sleeve – and this one certainly lives up to its name (and has been doing so for a while). This is a family owned business and all the staff who work here are passionate about what they do – good food! Perhaps it’s that family connection that always makes us feel like we’re getting a home cooked meal when we eat here. There’s nothing pretentious about Truly Scrumptious and that’s probably why it has lasted for so long.

Brunswick restaurants

Sydney Road is dotted with restaurants and cafés, featuring a diverse range of cuisines. All have their charms, but here are our favourites from the Brunswick section of this iconic street.

Alaysa, 555 Sydney Rd, Brunswick

Just had to start with this one, as Alaysa is something of an institution in Brunswick. While much in the suburb has changed around this wonderful restaurant, Alaysa has pretty much stayed the same. And everyone is glad it has. The menu is an extensive range of Turkish food but regardless of what you order, everything is always fantastic. The house-made bread and dips are a must every visit, but be careful, because the servings at Alaysa are substantial, and it’s easy just to fill up on just an entrée. Without doubt, one of the best value restaurants in Brunswick

Basco, 307 Sydney Rd, Brunswick

This wonderful bar is unique in its food offering – shared plates inspired by Asian & Latin America flavours – but the wonderful service and passionate staff are what keeps business booking. The menu and specials’ board provide plenty of variety and there is great value in the ‘Feed Me’ Banquet, which allows you to sample what they have to offer. Basco has a casual atmosphere and a very friendly ‘vibe’. Tequila based cocktails are a specialty, but the rest of their bar menu is well worth a try too.

Tom Phat, 184 Sydney Rd, Brunswick

A diverse menu of south-east Asian flavours, Tom Phat is well regarded for its friendly and efficient service. If you can’t make up your mind with the menu, try one of the “Let Us Feed You” options – not only great value but allows you to sample the best of the best on the menu. You can’t go wrong with staff recommendations either. Tom Phat offer a range of vegetarian and vegan dishes which all have their own unique flavours and will not disappoint. Happy Hour is all night on Monday (5pm – 7pm Wednesday to Sunday) so you it’s easy add a cocktail to accompany your meal.

Winter Tips – Part 1

Now that winter is upon us, we will tend to spend more time indoors and as a consequence of this we will want our home to be warmer. With power costs rising, here’s three great tips to keep your house warmer without blowing the utilities budget.

  • Make use of timers.

If your heating has a timer, make sure you use it. Set the timer for 30 minutes before you plan to get out of bed in the morning but set at it at a reduced temperature. This allows the house to warm gradually, using less power than a higher temperature to provide ‘instant warmth’. The timer is also a great way of making sure you don’t forget to turn your heater off before you leave home.

  • Don’t block your heat source.

Whether you have a radiator or central heating vents, don’t place your furniture in a way that blocks the heat getting to the space. It’s tempting to want to sit close to the heat source, but this will only serve to block heating from getting to the rest of the space. Likewise, avoid placing a clothes rack directly next to or over the heat source.

  • Make us of your curtains/blinds.

Any heat the winter sun generates is free, so during the day make sure your curtains or blinds are drawn to take advantage of this. Once the sun is down, close curtains and blinds to add another layer of insulation to keep the warmth in the room.

4 Easy Ways To Spruce Up Your Home

If you are thinking about selling your house, or maybe you are looking to give your house a little spruce up before the dark days of winter, here are 4 sure fire tips to help.

  • Think about it before you start.

This might sound obvious, but it’s the most important step. Knowing what you are trying to achieve before you start helps with the entire process. Begin by listing the changes you want to make. This will allow you to plan budgeting and timing. It will also give you an idea of whether you will want to make the changes yourself or if you will hire tradesmen to do the work. If you decide the latter, do research to ensure you will get quality work. Many companies will have online reviews which will give you an idea of their work.

  • Get painting

One of the easiest ways to brighten / change your house or a specific room is to paint. This will provide a fresh and clean look. You can also get creative with colour to create feature walls in one room or multiple rooms. A coat of paint can also lighten a space and compliment furniture or other items in the room. Don’t forget to check the outside walls for chipping or peeling; the outside is what greets anyone who comes to the house.  

  • Clean it out

An even easier way to spruce up the house is give it a thorough clean. While this might sound like an idea for Spring, it doesn’t matter when you do it – a spic and span house will make the occupants feel better and make the house look great. Just as with the painting, don’t forget the outside. This can involve washing walls or decluttering the garden.

  • Update

If it’s part of the plan and within your budget, updating a kitchen or bathroom can not only add considerable value to your home but give it a modern look and feel. This can be a complete remodel or you can do smaller things, such as replacing cabinetry or even just the doors on cabinets.

Rosebud Attractions

The Mornington Peninsula has a great deal to offer in terms of things to do, and while it may be strongly associated with the beach and summer, there’s still lots of all-year-round activities, even if you might have wear your jacket. Here’s a few of our favourites from Rosebud.

Rosebud Foreshore Playground
This is a great family spot, with all you need for a wonderful day out. The kids can take their bikes too, as the bike trail runs right past the playground. There is lots of fun to be had on the play equipment, which includes a long slide, a flying fox, a climbing wall and a great spinning disc, as well as rocks to climb over and stones to step and jump along. For the younger kids, there’s baby swings and a smaller slide. There are 3 BBQs, 3picnic tables and 2 BBQ shelters, so if you’re organised, it can be a longer visit. Other facilities include a toilet block with disability access, 4 bike racks, water fountains and plenty of seating. There is also a walking trail that goes for kilometres in either direction, so you can walk off that extra sausage.

Rosebud Pier
This Rosebud landmark is great for a stroll or a wander. It’s also a great place to cast a line and spend some time fishing. The pier is an easy walk and extends out into the bay, providing great views right around the bay. You can watch as the ships make their way out to the heads, or look down to see some of the marine life that drifts by. You might catch site of a sting ray or two, even some of considerable size.

Rosebud is fortunate to be home of some great markets. On the 2nd Saturday of every month, there is the Rosebud Community School market, held on the grounds of Rosebud Primary School (corner of Point Nepean Road and Jetty Road). This market features around 160 stalls selling craft, hand produced and new items, produce and plants. There are no used goods at this market, but if it is Trash ‘n’ Treasure you’re after, head back to Rosebud Primary School on the 5th Saturday of the month and you will find trash and treasure, craft, plants and produce. There’s also the Rosebud Lions Club Market, which is held on the 1st Sunday of the month on the Village Green. Here you’ll find around 100+ stalls selling craft, new and second hand items, produce and plants.

Newport Cafés

The Melbourne suburb of Newport is noted for its access to facilities that support lifestyle and family but it also has some awesome places for a late brunch or full on lunch. So in between hunting for your next investment, try one of these great cafés.

Leroy’s Café

This is a great café for any time of day but our lunch was simply fantastic. Everyone was happy with their order but the Le’ Royale was the pick of the bunch for those who ordered it. The meat was cooked perfectly (even the fussy ‘must be medium not rare’ eater was happy with how the burger arrived). A few of our party were a little more health conscious and were well catered for with salad choices (the super salad was – well – super). Food you enjoy is a great start but the service at Leroy’s was excellent as well, giving us all reason to return.

The Pint of Milk

Don’t be put off by the size of the crowd at this café (yes, it is popular). They have efficient and friendly service down pat. If you are not sure what to order, don’t hesitate to get a recommendation as the staff know their menu and are really passionate about making sure you enjoy what they serve. The Pint of Milk has a reputation for great coffee and they didn’t let us down the day we were there. The food was delicious too!

Odd Spot Café

There’s nothing odd about this café (other than its name). The atmosphere is always friendly, as is the service. The Odd Spot goes with a brunch menu, so you are covered pretty much all day for great food. A slow combustion fire makes it the perfect place for winter but you’ll keep going back for the food. If you are a fan of chai you are in for a treat – the Odd Spot’s home-made spice Chai tea is probably the best you’ll find.

5 tips so you can move like a pro

Moving into a new house, whether as owner or tenant is exciting… except when you have to consider the move. Moving is a time consuming and stressful job – but here’s some tips that might make the job a little easier.

Don’t take it if you don’t need it

Moving is a great opportunity to clear out the unused soup tureen your grandmother gave you when you moved out the first time (and you still haven’t made soup). It’s also a chance to discard, donate or sell off those items you have two of or don’t use anymore. As you pick up each item, ask yourself if you need it and reflect honestly on how often the time has been used over the last twelve months. By doing this, you are lessening the load; you won’t be moving as many things. Of course, doing this requires a little extra time, which leads us to the second tip…

Get your act together

Moving takes time. Don’t leave things until the last day. Once the moving date has been set, map out a timeline for the move, allowing time for everything else in your life. Organisation should extend to the way in which you pack as well. Pack room by room. This will make the task seem much more manageable and will also make unpacking simpler, but only if you …

Clearly mark each box

By packing each room one at a time, you can clearly label each box with the room it needs to go to in the new house. There are many ways to do this – colour-coding can make the process easier – but the key is to be clear with your labelling system. You can also label contents if necessary, especially if they are fragile. This labelling is super important so you can …

Make sure of what you need Day 1

If there are items you need within the first 24 hours, these should be placed in a designated box (or boxes). What is included in this will be dependent on you, but obvious suggestions would be crockery & cutlery for the first meal, toiletries and possible even food. If there are more than one of you moving (or perhaps your family) it can be a good idea t have one box for each person.

Fragile means fragile

Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to packing breakables. Wrap these items individually and make use of towels, linen and clothing to do this, as this effectively kills two birds with one stone. Linen and towels are handy to use for wrapping other item you don’t want scratched or broken such as TV’s, computers or other appliances.