Luxury Real Estate for Sale Around the World

At the forefront of luxury real estate marketing, the proud the recipients of two awards from the esteemed Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate The World’s Most Outstanding Luxury Agency Under 2 Years Old (Outstanding Rookie 2008) and Best Luxury Real Estate Brand (2009), Marquette Turner Luxury Homes is the home for your property search including luxury homes, resorts, developments, apartments, condos, villas, mansions, penthouses and islands throughout the world.

We focus on assisting high-net-worth individuals to achieve the most appropriate exposure in marketing their luxury properties via the luxury lifestyle magazine-style website and in assisting aspirational investors find their ideal property.

We have forged partnerships with developers, real estate agents and vendors throughout the world and are proud to present to you an exceptional showcase luxury homes for sale or rent throughout the world.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Death of Real Estate As We Know It

Soon household names like LJ Hooker, Ray White, Raine and Horne & Century 21 could be brands of yesteryear.

It is hard to think that companies like “Google” were started in September 1998 – less than 10 years ago. Their initial public offering was in August 2004 – less than 4 years ago. Google is currently ranked number 289 in the Forbes 2000 List. This means that Google is now the 289th largest company in the world with a share price of $US472.86 and market capitalization of over $US200 billion.

Google has done all of this without a shop front, without an office in every suburb, without an advertisement in the Wentworth Courier, Mosman Daily, Newcastle Herald or any other real estate related newspaper in Australia. Yet they are the largest internet search engine in the world and are growing by the day. In the last 12 months Google have grown so much that their company ranking in Forbes Magazine had increased by around 200 spots.

Also have a think about E Bay – have you seen an E Bay store in your suburb? The answer is no and yet this business is now one of the most recognized and fastest growing in the world.

The importance of the shop front has gone. The internet is the new shop front. So where does this leave the local franchised real estate agent? The reality is that the local shop front is under such financial pressure that they are on the brink of extinction – the local shop front is dying. Buyers rarely search in every shop window in every possible suburb they are looking in to find a new home – they search on the internet. They search by suburb name and by price – they are able to define their search criteria online better than ever.

With total spending on real estate advertising in newspapers tipped to decrease by around 18 % annually for the next three years according to the National Association of Realtors the world is evolving rapidly. We are moving to a point where remnants of the past are discarded quicker than many companies can keep up with.

The new shop front is the internet and the new real estate agent franchise is one that can innovate, minimize costs, provide exceptional customer service, reward and incentivise their people like never before and take the lead with a completely new business model.

Real estate agency’s are not keeping up with change, stubbornly sticking to business practices that most other industries have left behind.

Thus, who will “do a Google” by transforming real estate? Whoever it is, it surely is not far off. Watch this space!

Michael Marquette

Sydney Prestige Property Sales Dive.

Sales of Sydney prestige homes, properties worth more than A$2 million ($1.8 million), slowed more than 35 percent this year, the Australian Financial Review reported.

There have been 190 such properties sold since the start of 2008, compared with 295 in the year-earlier period.

We are, however, expecting the market to pick up as people become more tolerant of, or held hostage to changing market conditions.

Michael Marquette

Disney Land, Sydney?!

THE Walt Disney Company has been looking at a prime piece of real estate on Sydney Harbour as it seeks to expand its global empire of theme parks and resorts.

The NSW State Government has confirmed that Disney recently held unsolicited discussions with the Department of State and Regional Development about the redevelopment of White Bay, a working port next to the Anzac Bridge.

Disney, which has 11 theme parks, eight resorts and a cruise line across three continents, was one of a number of unnamed companies that have approached the NSW State Government with unsolicited proposals for the site, the spokesman said.

There are no "active" concepts at present.

A spokesman for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, John Nicoletti, said his company was constantly exploring opportunities to grow. "As part of that process, we have conversations with lots of entities," he said. "And, while Australia is an attractive market, at this time we have no plans for this region."

He would not comment on what Disney had envisioned for the White Bay site, including whether it was for a Disneyland theme park, a Disney resort or some other venture.

The Government has established the Bays Precinct Taskforce to formulate a development strategy for White Bay, Glebe Island, Blackwattle Bay and Rozelle Bay.

Details are expected to be released when the sub-regional strategy for Sydney's inner west goes on display this year.

The executive director of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, Patricia Forsythe, said a Disneyland at White Bay would be a wonderful opportunity for Sydney. "It is a spectacular site worthy of an iconic development," she said.

She said a world-class arts facility would also be suitable.

Can Cars Destroy Real Estate Values?

Despite the recent pullout of Mitsubishi from Australia, we are not talking here about the demise of the Australian car industry

Ever been to Zermatt, Switzerland? No cars are allowed in the whole town. There are some electric carts and horse carriages. It is absolutely relaxing walking about town with no polluting cars to disturb the tranquility.

Fast forward to Sydney or Melbourne's freeways into the cities. Every morning cars are backed up for km's and even worse at the entrance to the cities. It is not uncommon to take 30 minutes for that dreaded last "k" into town. Once there parking is the next nightmare.

Often a pedestrianised mall is one of the few no-go places for traffic. Water fountains are common, whilst people can sit and relax in cafés and socialise, or just people watch.

It is so blatantly obvious that car free areas thrive and yet it seems that man enslaves him selves to serving the servant of mobility. Wherever piece and quite rules, real estate prospers and people enjoy themselves. A combination that is hard to beat.

Alternative transportation methods, such as a credible train/metro system would allow people to reclaim our towns and make them ours again.

We live in hope!

Simon Turner

Aspen Real Estate Prices are "Nothing Special"

Aspen Ski Resort in the US sounds expensive just thinking about it. It might look cheap or expensive compared to the budget you have for buying real estate and secondly it might look cheap or expensive compared to other luxury real estate in other US ski resorts.

The first price distinction is a personal matter; it just depends on your budget. If your budget is $US100,000 to buy a vacation apartment, then Aspen will definitely look expensive to you.

But if your budget is $US2 million for a two-bedroom condo and you are comparing it to other luxury resort towns you will find that Aspen prices are not outlandish anymore. Back in the heydays of Aspen becoming a hip place its prices always bordered on the insane. It used to really take a leap of faith to buy.

That is what changed. Aspen apartments in the central core of town range from about $US1,400 to $US1,800 per square foot depending on level of finish, age and location. International real estate prices like London and Dublin have far outpaced Aspen and tourists often go bargain hunting for real estate in Aspen.

As Aspen is fast becoming an international destination resort the weak US Dollar is turning real estate prices into bargain basement levels for a large swath of wealthy individuals. The British Pound is hovering around 2:1 to the Dollar and the Euro is at an all time high nearing 1.50:1 to the Dollar.

Aspen, with its 5,000 single-family homes and 5,000 apartments between them are on an even keel with standard Manhattan Real Estate and we are not talking the Fifth Avenue places that demand prices of up to $6,000 per square foot. Just that fact should ensure that real estate in this little town will do well in the future as Aspen is a special place at currently an “un-special”price.

Posted by Toby Munk on 02/23/2008 at 06:23 PM
Aspen Real Estate

Saturday, February 23, 2008

One Good Real Estate Agent Saves The Life of Another

Canberra real estate agent Cory McPherson has parted with something priceless to save the life of his co-worker Jenny McReynolds. The father-of-two donated a kidney to Mrs McReynolds who was suffering from polycystic kidney disease an inherited condition that can cause renal failure and death.

A mother-of-three, Mrs McReynolds, said "thank you" was thoroughly inadequate to express her gratitude. The real estate agents were professional competitors before they became colleagues at Richard Luton Properties.

Mr McPherson, 35, made the extraordinary offer to Mrs McReynolds at their work Christmas party in 2006. "Richard Luton made an announcement saying 'anyone who doesn't know, Jenny's very sick. "She's got kidney disease and if anyone's o-positive and has a kidney, please see Jenny'," Mr McPherson said.

"I went up to Jenny almost immediately and I said 'look you might not believe me now but I tell you I'm your man'." Mrs McReynolds, 44, was "floored".

"I couldn't believe it. What an amazing thing for him to do. What a gift. It's lifesaving for me," she said. She was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in her early 20s and her health had started to deteriorate in recent times. She was hooked up to a dialysis machine for four-hour stints, three times a week.

Mr McPherson had a battery of tests to ensure he was physically suitable and psychological fit to donate his kidney. The results revealed that the co-workers were "almost a perfect match", which was extremely rare when the donor and recipient were not blood relatives.

The transplant was successfully performed at RPA the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney on December 4. Mrs McReynolds spent 712 hours in the operating theatre and seven days in hospital before she was sent home. It took 512 hours to remove the kidney from Mr McPherson who was discharged from hospital after four days.

Mrs McReynolds said people suffered immense hardships and pressures as they waited for a transplant. "A lot of people who do get sick lose their homes [and] they lose jobs," she said.
Mr McPherson said the organ donation rates "aren't impressive" in Australia."So many of us are busy in our own lives. We don't kind of look around much to see the people who are not doing so well and often there's things we can do to help," he said.

Australians who want to become organ donors should discuss their wishes with family and register by telephoning 1800777203 or visiting

Simon Turner

The (Lack of) Housing Affordability Conference

The federal opposition has called on federal and state governments to cut land tax and stamp duty to help boost rental stock. Thousands of people across the country are skipping meals to pay rising rents, a housing affordability conference in Sydney heard on Thursday. And housing experts warn the home affordability crisis threatens to destabilise the economy and drive the country into recession.

Opposition frontbencher Greg Hunt said on Friday this week's national housing conference was an ideal opportunity for federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek to address land tax and stamp duty, to lessen the burden and help increase the stock of homes available for rent.

"These are killers for people and what they do is decrease the rental stock," Mr Hunt, opposition spokesman for Climate Change, Environment and Urban Water, told the Seven Network.
"A lot of people have said we're not willing to pay the cost of holding a rental property if we're whacked with a huge land tax or we have to deal with stamp duty and today is the day, Tanya, stamp duty, land tax and more land releases - you have a great opportunity."

Ms Plibersek said a lot of people had taken money out of investment property and put it into superannuation when favourable tax treatment was introduced last year under the previous government.

She said the Rudd government had committed to introducing the first home saver account to help people into their first house. "We know that as a proportion of all home buyers, first home buyers have shrunk as a proportion, so we want to help them save through a superannuation-style savings account," Ms Plibersek stated. "We've also got a national rental affordability scheme, 50,000 new rental properties, because there is a terrible shortage all around the country."

Experts told the housing conference on Thursday that Australia faced great social unrest and human suffering as well as chronic labour shortages without affordable housing. Professor Rachel Gatt, an affordable housing policy expert from Tufts University, Massachusetts, said the housing affordability equation was brutally simple. "Either wages have to stay high enough so people can afford to buy housing on the private market or if the private market is not able to meet the housing challenge then you need to have government subsidies," she told reporters.

"If you don't have affordable housing, and if your wages don't keep pace with the cost of housing, you are going to find people doubling up with relatives, turning into homeless people and creating a great deal of social unrest and human suffering than what you have now."

Research presented at the conference show people are going without food as they struggle to pay their rent. Professor Terry Burke of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Unit presented the research, which showed 26 per cent of low-income renters sometimes go without food and 42 per cent of low-income renters cannot afford school excursions, Fairfax reported.
Labor says the Howard government failed to acknowledge the rental crisis, despite knowing more than two years ago that more than one third of renters were suffering from rental stress.

Simon Turner

Australia's Property Scandal: Town Planner Seeking "Approvals"

A sex-and-property scandal involving a female city planner on a "mission for sex" in return for approvals of high-rise buildings is threatening to engulf the beluigered New South Wales State Government.

An undercover sting by anti-corruption investigators uncovered a web of affairs involving 32-year-old town planner Beth Morgan in the steel-and-surfing city of Wollongong, south of Sydney, with three prominent building developers. Morgan, said by one of the three men to be "on a mission for sex", gave approval for millions of dollars worth of unlawful city building developments in return for gifts and affairs, the powerful Independent Commission against Corruption(ICAC) heard.

Morgan gave testimony to the commission about the affairs, admitted to by two developers, while a third denied the pair actually had a sexual relationship. The scandal, however, also threatens several ministers in the state government.

Australians generally believe their country to be largely corruption free and we rank well on the international index prepared by Transparency International.

Amid the public ICAC hearings, state Premier Morris Iemma promised to sack a senior minister if he was found to have improperly given a job to a Wollongong city councillor linked to the scandal. Four other state ministers have also been indirectly linkedby the ICAC to central figures in the furore.

The ICAC hearings have been given front-page treatment,with corruption investigators documenting lurid details of emails and phone messages between Morgan and her alleged lovers, which in turn have run in newspapers nationally. Adding to public shock are photographs of the stylish Morgan and the men she pursued, receiving from them cameras, cash payments, a China holiday and designer handbags, the ICAC heard.

Simon Turner

Friday, February 15, 2008

Agents Leading Their Clients "Down The Garden Path"

Thousands and thousands of dollars in so-called “marketing” is being ripped out of clients’ hands by real estate agents. Agents that claim they tailor every campaign to suit the needs of each property – as long as it involves thousands of dollars on newspaper ads!

There has been an enormous amount of research done by The National Association of Realtors on how buyers are finding their new home. The results are damning with less than 5% of buyers indicating they found their new home in a newspaper.

The so-called “expert” agents in Sydney are preaching how important it is to capture every possible buyer and therefore place numerous advertisements in several newspapers at the clients’ expense. It seems more than a little suspicious that the majority of the money in a marketing campaign is being spent on newspapers that evidence is suggesting fails more than 95% of the time. If we look at it another way it only succeeds less than 5% of the time – yet it costs a fortune.

So who is really benefiting from this? The answer of course is real estate agents. It is wonderful branding to have pages of property advertisements in the local paper. Those looking through perceive that these agents are successful and fall into the trap of calling them into sell their home and also spend thousands of unnecessary dollars promoting the agent – not their home.

The internet age is well and truly upon us. The National Association of Realtors suggest that more than 80% of buyers find properties on the internet, around 15% from signboards and less than 5% in newspapers. The real estate agent’s own magazine doesn’t get a mention and nor does the agency database. When you decide to sell your home do not fall into the trap of wasting thousands of your hard on dollars on promoting the agent and not your home. Food for thought?

Michael Marquette

Shopping List: Bread, Milk and a New Home!?

Tesco has set the cat amongst the pigeons of UK estate agencies and property portals by announcing that it intends to launch an online estate agency service. The financial strength behind Tesco could see undercutting the traditional estate agencies. The move is response to the difficulty it experienced with it private sellers website services. Rightmove and Primelocation could also be forced, under competition rules, to list Tesco's properties if it becomes a fully fledged agent.

Tesco now operating in various countries of Europe and Asia are the biggest chain in England, Scotland a Wales with a turnover of over 15 million pounds. It has ventured into various sectors of the market including clothing, electrical goods, and insurance services. Its attempt to enter into the online private sellers market was met by closed doors from competitors who refused Tesco property listings on their websites.

The world's third largest supermarket chain, Tesco's of Britain, has issued a written statement "While being an online estate agent was never our immediate intention, we are so encouraged by the positive reaction from customers to Tesco's entry into this market that we are now reviewing our business with a view to launching a new and exciting online estate-agency service.

Ian Springett, the chief executive of (the main internet portal that the British use in searching for real estate), said: "We are not surprised to hear that Tesco is planning to launch as an estate agent. Clearly it is an extremely powerful brand and already offers a number of services related to home moving. But it will be entering an already very competitive market and may find it difficult to gain a foothold.

Fronted by TV property expert Louisa Fletcher,
will begin displaying homes for sale both in Britain and abroad from March – traditionally the busiest period of the year for house hunters.

Simon Turner

Thursday, February 14, 2008

NSW Development Crisis

A property developers' lobby group says "radical" changes to the state's planning laws are needed to save New South Wales from a social and economic crisis.

In a submission to the State Government's planning review, the Urban Task Force says the system needs to better integrate the development of housing, workplaces, shopping and recreation areas. It says Sydney's population is expected to grow by more than 1 million people by 2031, meaning more homes, industrial land, and commercial and retail space will be needed.
The task force's chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, says these demands cannot be met under the existing planning laws.

Mr Gadiel says NSW will fall further behind other states without "far-reaching reform" to streamline the process.

"The Urban Task Force would like to see quicker planning approvals," he said. "If the government agency doesn't deal with them or doesn't respond in 90 days, they should be deemed approved.

"We want State Government agencies coming back to councils quicker with their concurrences or approvals, or if they've got a problem, they need to say what those problems are so developers can address them. New developments can take easily 12 to 14 months to be approved or even longer," he said.

"Frankly, the development industry has been voting with its feet. It's been developing in Queensland and Victoria instead of NSW because it's just not profitable to do so here."

Straight Talk: Economic Round-Up Blow By Blow

The Reserve Bank says inflation will be worse than almost everyone expected.

Equity prices plummet. The Aussie dollar rises. Respected economists run round like headless chooks squawking "more rate hikes to come!"

Financial markets dramatically mark up the chances that the next rate hike will be in March. Businesses plan their price hikes. Unions think harder about how to protect the bruvvers and sisters.

Ordinary people - whose inflation expectations were already elevated - grimly recalibrate their household budgets.

The government says all this was the Liberal Party's fault. John Howard hits the international speaking circuit. Peter Costello leaves for a supposedly lucrative overseas job. Malcolm Turnbull flips between saying "look what Labor has already delivered" and "there is no problem, inflation is still in the target band".

What about the blame that should be sheeted home to the Reserve itself? It is the agency with formal responsibility for controlling inflation, a responsibility that, after initial scepticism by its then leader, it embraced warmly.It is the organisation that after a long intellectual struggle was given by financial deregulation, including the flexible exchange rate, the technical ability to control inflation. It is the mob that was given salaries sufficient to attract and retain what it saw as the "best and brightest" of Australia's economists.

To read more from Henry Thornton, simply click on the link.

Buy One House, Give One Free!

Donating money to charitable causes is all very well and good, but there's usually an abstractness about it that makes one wonder if the funds are really helping those who need it. A new project by California eco-urban design firm LJ Urban aims to make giving more concrete—quite literally—by matching its sales of homes domestically with funds to build homes in the impoverished African nation of Burkina Faso.

LJ Urban has designed a new eco-urban community of 35 LEED ND Certified homes in the urban core of Sacramento, its home town. The community is suggestively named Good, and for each home within it that gets sold, LJ Urban has committed to funding the complete training of a West African mason to build sustainable homes for families in Burkina Faso.

By partnering with the Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN), which has already trained about 60 local masons to build durable homes out of earth bricks and mortar, LJ Urban aims to go beyond just providing homes to impart enduring skills and jobs to the local community. Taking the notion a step further, LJ Urban has also opted to skip the expensive marketing campaign to promote its Good community, and to use that money to train more African masons instead.

So, for every 100,000 people who visit LJ Urban's new, dedicated website by July 1st, the company will fund the complete training of another local Burkina Faso mason—up to 20 in all through this viral approach.

The Good project was inspired by Toms Shoes, a project that donates a pair of shoes for every one it sells. "[That] approach captivated us because it broke through the 'charity fatigue' all of us have felt at one time or another," LJ Urban's team explains. "The question then became: 'What if we could do something like that with our houses?'…" The project is also reminiscent of One Laptop Per Child's (OLPC's) "Give One Get One" campaign last year through which consumers could donate a laptop and get one for their own use at the same time. A model of giving to bring to your neck of the woods...?

Simon Turner

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Auction Clearances Better Than Last Year

The first auctions of the year last weekend showed an improvement compared with this time last year.

The clearance rate for properties rose by almost 10 per cent in Sydney to 56 per cent while the number of houses listed also increased by 10 per cent compared with this time last year.

Of the 77 properties listed in Sydney, 59 were auctioned, with 36 sold, seven more than at the same time in 2007.

Melbourne had a slower start with only 29 properties listed for auction compared with 55 at this time last year. The clearance rate rose by 1 per cent to 50 per cent and out of 27 properties reported as auctioned, 14 were sold compared with 24 out of 49 properties reported as auctioned this time last year.

Whilst it is early days yet, the 2008 story will indeed be an interesting one to follow. Marquette Turner will of course keep you on track.

"Going, going, gone!" - Where Do Auction Hammer & Gavel's Originate?

The cult of Thor had gained in popularity through the Viking Age, so that by the tenth century, he was venerated above all other gods in most parts of Scandinavia. Unlike the grim and aristocratic Odinn, Thor was a god of the people, and a friend of landowner and peasant alike.

Thor was patron of justice, his oath-ring could seal any contract, the Althing assembly of Iceland was opened on Thor's day (Thursday). Thor was seen as a protector, defending the old order of the heathen landowners and petty nobles from the predations of the land-grabbing, power-hungry and zealously Christian Kings of Norway.

Wearing the sign of the hammer, then, was not just a symbol of one's trust in Thor, it was also an instrument of his protection.

For more information, see "Hammer in the North: Mjollnir in Medieval Scandinavia", by Daniel Bray.

Apartments Beat Houses in 2007

Apartments were a better investment than houses in 2007, according to data compiled by property researcher RP Data-Rismark.

Across all capital cities, unit values increased by 16.9%, compared to 11.9% for houses. And units still produced a better yield for investors of 4.8%, compared to just under 4% for houses.

The best performing market in 2007 was Adelaide with a 27.3% increase in dwelling value to a median of $375,685. Brisbane, with 22.8% capital growth, and Melbourne, with 19.6% capital growth, were next best.

Sydney was more moderate, with 5.9% increase in the value of houses and 10.7% for units. Perth went backwards thanks to affordability constraints; the median house price fell 1.2% to $506,179.
Looking ahead, Marquette Turner believes that 2008 will be a strong year of growth for residential property.

The Property Cycle: What's Happening This Time

In 2000 the NASDAQ stock market collapse in the United States gave rise to Sydney's biggest and most widespread property boom.

This time it will be different. The cheaper end of the property market simply will not be invited to the party.

A tanking share market is going to have divergent effects in Sydney. On one hand, in our eastern suburbs and the North Shore there is an army of baby boomers and wealthy business owners with high discretionary income and asset wealth. Property will continue to look good in leafy suburbs.

In this demographic, many nervous “mum and dad” shareholders will retreat from the volatile, and less the welcoming share market and head for the safety of property. For some, the tax-free haven of a more expensive family home is a compelling place to park cash. For others, rising rental returns will provide the reason to transfer equity from shares to property.

Fuelling this trend, apartment prices in inner-urban Sydney markets are starting to look cheap compared with other capitals. Typical prices in the top five national apartment markets are within 16 per cent of each other. Undervalued Sydney apartments will be on the shopping list of many investors and capital growth over the calendar year should exceed 5 per cent. House values are also forecast to grow by 5 per cent, propped up by the top end.

While Sydney's enduring obsession with beach and harbour will ensure the top end of the market continues to record ridiculous prices, there is strong evidence that this year lower- to middle-income mortgage holders and first-home buyers will be further squeezed out of well-located property markets. House values grew by 10 per cent last year in lower North Shore suburbs but Sydney's south-west had a 2 per cent drop in house values over 2007.

Those pinning hopes of a recovery in outer suburban property markets off the back of a faltering share market will be sorely disappointed. In mortgage land, few will be influenced by the fortunes of shares when they do not even hold any. Rising interest rates and record petrol prices do not leave room for such luxuries.

In 2000 a softening share market, buoyed by cheap interest rates and easy credit, was perceived by some to have triggered the frenzied property market that followed. Meanwhile, aggressive mortgage market competition helped baby boomer mums and dads to become landlords. Low interest rates helped. They competed with droves of first-home buyers, and brokers fell over themselves to lend money.

In 2007 the correlation between inner vs. outer suburbs and wealthy vs. poor strengthened, with stark contrasts between the thriving inner cities and the struggling outer ‘mortgage belts’. Overall, however, the national property market has performed extremely well, and this general trend has begun to flow over to major regional centres.

The biggest factor in rising prices is demand: we are simply not building enough quality detached owner-occupied housing.

The underlying demand in Australia is approximately 170,000 new starts per annum – this equates to 450 new dwellings per day. According to BIS Schrapnel there will be a deficiency of approximately 100,000 dwellings by June 2008, which equates to eight months of construction. This undersupply is causing a surge in rentals and land prices. With current vacancy rates hovering around the 1% mark (a balanced market is 3%) I cannot foresee prices falling in the short term. Our national population continues to grow in record numbers at 1.5% annually, with our population now estimated at 21 million.

Derailers are rising interest rates, rising oil prices and a looming credit squeeze. However, unlike the last property correction, this time we have high employment levels and a strong stock market. The rich appear to be getting richer and have greater propensity to manage any changes in their financial circumstances. Last time it was corporate debt, this time it will be consumer debt, and it will be the many on the bread line in the mortgage stress suburbs who will suffer the most and be least able to cope with even small changes to their financial circumstances.

Simon Turner

Howeowners Becoming Prey For Some Real Estate Agents

There are concerns that some unscrupulous agents are cashing in as homeowners sell up for less than market value.

Federal and New South Wales politicians are calling for an inquiry into online real estate agents who offer quick house sales to people who can no longer pay their mortgages. It is feared the agents are exploiting people who are under pressure to sell their houses below market value due to falling prices and high interest rates.

Some agents have promised to sell houses in just days without the usual fees. One organisation advertises for houses where owners are behind in repayments and face repossession.

Marquette Turner advises that homeowners should avoid dealing with such companies because they are not licensed agents, and despite the code of ethics that we are bound by, unfortunately, our society always has its share of bottom feeders who try to take unfair advantage of people who are in difficulty.

If you are experiencing mortgage stress, make sure that if you're going to sell your home, however you're going to sell it, you get a licensed agent to do so. And, make sure that you go to your lender and let them know the sort of trouble that you're in and get some financial counselling advice.

MONOPOLY: Australia Vs the World

Vote your favourite town onto the first ever global MONOPOLY board! The world’s most popular board game is about to go global – with a world wide vote to decide which of the world’s 22 greatest cities will take pride of place on the first ever international MONOPOLY board – MONOPOLY Here & Now: The World Edition!

The new World Edition follows on from the hugely successful election campaign for the all new Australian Here & Now MONOPOLY in 2007, which attracted in excess of 17 million votes from MONOPOLY enthusiasts around the country. Australians are now being asked get on line and get voting again, to ensure Australia is well represented on the first ever global edition of MONOPOLY.

While Sydney and Melbourne are on the voting card together with 66 of the world’s best known cities, any other towns or cities, big or small can also vie for one of two wild card spots on the board to be nominated and determined by public vote. Hasbro are hopeful of not only getting both cities on the board, but even possibly securing the coveted blue position and becoming the new “Mayfair” and “Park Lane”. The most prestigious positions will be assigned to the cities that receive the most votes.

Size does not matter when it comes to winning a spot on the board, for example last year it was the Barossa Valley that secured the most votes in the Australian MONOPOLY elections. With other small towns like Kalgoorlie and Sovereign Hill attracting many more votes than the big cities, proving that community spirit and enthusiasm is the key to securing a spot on the MONOPOLY board.

Australia has already proven we’ve got what it takes when it comes to voting, clocking up more votes in the Australian national elections than either the USA, United Kingdom or Germany did for theirs.

Voting is easy and accessible to everyone from 23rd January 2008 – 28th February 2008 at, where you can cast votes for up to 10 nominated cities daily, and nominate 1 wild card city each day. Voting for the top 20 wild card nominations will begin on 29th February and will close on the 9th March 2008.

The twenty cities that receive the most votes will be part of MONOPOLY history as the first cities selected to be on the World edition game board. However, two spaces on the board will be reserved for cities that are nominated through the wild card vote. Any city from any country in the world can be nominated for these property spaces, which means that anywhere from Condobolin to the “Back O’ Bourke” could make it on the board!

Simon Turner