Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Richard Gere lists stunning estate for eye-watering price

<p dir="ltr">A-list actor Richard Gere has<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.redfin.com/NY/Pound-Ridge/81-Lyndel-Rd-10576/home/20069606" target="_blank">listed</a><span> </span>his sprawling country estate for a costly $41 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">Set in Pound Ride, New York State, the property spans almost 200,000-square-metres, including an 1100-square-metre, New England-style home.</p> <p dir="ltr">The three-storey house includes eight bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a chef’s kitchen, and nine fireplaces throughout. Other luxe fittings include a mahogany-lined study and a master suite with its own large soak tube in the master bathroom.</p> <p dir="ltr">Elsewhere on the property there are several other buildings, including extra guest accommodation, a stable and barn, and an office, as well as a full-sized soccer pitch, outdoor pool, summer house, horse riding trails, and a private pond.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite its seemingly picture perfect appearance, speculators<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nine.com.au/property/news/richard-gere-selling-new-york-state-pound-ridge-country-estate-for-39-million/7c43feec-20fc-4134-ae62-c3a22dff53d8" target="_blank">believe</a><span> </span>he may be offloading the stunning home after spending twenty years there with his ex-wife Carol Lowell.</p> <p dir="ltr">After marrying Spanish publicist Alejandra Silva in 2018, the<span> </span><em>Pretty Woman</em><span> </span>star and Silva purchased a property in the neighbouring town of North Salem.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple discreetly bought the property about a year ago for $14.5 million, as well as a neighbouring parcel of vacant land, according to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dirt.com/gallery/entertainers/actors/richard-gere-house-pound-ridge-1203447885/richardgere_pr17/" target="_blank"><em>Dirt.com</em></a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty Images, Redfin.com</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

“Totally shocked” woman refused home loan due to maternity leave plans

<p dir="ltr">A New Zealand woman<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/new-lending-rules-mum-shocked-by-90-day-maternity-leave-mortgage-condition/R3N4QF37MLMV44LUOPGV2VC6JA/" target="_blank">has been told</a><span> </span>by ANZ that she would only be considered for a mortgage if she returned to work within 90 days of giving birth.</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman is one of several people who spoke to the<span> </span><em>Otago Daily Times</em><span> </span>following the introduction of changes to New Zealand’s Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA).</p> <p dir="ltr">Changes to the act were intended to protect borrowers from loan sharks, but have prompted banks to vet mortgage applicants’ spending habits and personal finances more closely instead.</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman, who the publication agreed not to name, said she felt “totally shocked and completely discriminated against” by ANZ, after she was informed through her mortgage broker that the bank had changed its policy on maternity leave for borrowers.</p> <p dir="ltr">An ANZ spokeswoman acknowledged that the bank was enforcing stricter rules for customers taking more than 90 days of maternity leave as a result of changes to the CCCFA.</p> <p dir="ltr">She said there had been no change to the bank’s policy.</p> <p dir="ltr">However the woman, who was in the later stages of pregnancy when she and her partner attempted to refinance their home, found that her plans for maternity leave affected their chances of securing their loan.</p> <p dir="ltr">After a family member who had helped the couple finance their home to start with passed away, the couple were looking to get a mortgage through a bank with the help of a mortgage broker.</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman planned to take 12 months off of work from early December, including nine months of paid leave - three by her employer and six by the government’s paid parental leave scheme.</p> <p dir="ltr">She said she wanted to take a full year of leave after taking just seven months off following the birth of her last child, giving her more time to spend with the newborn.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s a really special time and I wanted to be there for it,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">When they applied for a mortgage through ANZ, they received a series of questions about their financial situation, as well as questions about her plans to return to work.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though she expected questions about their finances, “which I totally understood”, the woman said asking about her plans after her maternity leave was “deeply personal”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The decisions I choose to make after that time should be mine and not dependent on the bank,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">On January 7, the mortgage broker forwarded an email from ANZ saying the bank had changed its maternity leave policy - now refusing to give mortgages to customers who took more than three months off work.</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman said she believed the couple could still afford the mortgage whether she was working or not.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I mean, we knew we could afford it - and if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have applied,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though she was confident she would return to work, she didn’t believe the bank had the right to tell new mothers when they go back.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s completely discriminatory and just not needed,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple, who now have a three-week-old baby, are now looking to other banks for a loan.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Free to good home: The house that costs zero dollars but comes with a catch

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a deal that’s almost too good to be true, a four-bedroom Sydney house is free to a good home. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, it comes with a catch: its new owners will need to remove it from the property and find a new patch of land to transport it to.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The home, listed on Facebook and </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/cronulla/other-real-estate/house-for-removal-free-/1288343408" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gumtree</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, is sure to gain some interest as property prices continue to skyrocket across the city.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In Kirrawee in Sydney’s south, where the home is currently located, the median house price reached $1.3 million in the year ending last September, coming at an 18.2 percent increase on prices from the year prior.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In comparison, the new homeowners will only need to pay to remove the home - which can cost </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.smh.com.au/property/news/four-bedroom-house-offered-free-with-just-one-catch-20220117-p59oru.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">around $70,000</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on top of reconnection to services and plaster setting at the new site.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Not your usual Facebook marketplace item! Free house - you only need to pay for removal and transport! How does that work out financially? Is that something anyone’s had experience with? Excuse me for being fascinated by any concept that isn’t COVID and/or Djokovic 😂 🏡 <a href="https://t.co/ugD9keuSLV">pic.twitter.com/ugD9keuSLV</a></p> — Lucy Thackray (@LucyThack) <a href="https://twitter.com/LucyThack/status/1482281605163286530?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 15, 2022</a></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">According to the ad, which has since been shared on Twitter, the home is about 60 years old and comes with two bathrooms, two living spaces, a modern kitchen and a laundry.</p> <p dir="ltr">Homes have been known to sell without the land they stand on, with the home used as the set for<span> </span><em>The Castle</em><span> </span>selling for $40,000 at auction in 2017 as a relocatable home.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2018, another house-only sale made headlines when it was listed for just $5,000 - a much cheaper option compared to the $25,000 it may have cost to demolish.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for the Kirrawee house, the deadline to clear the site is at the end of February, with the home able to be picked up at the start of March.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: @LucyThack (Twitter), Gumtree</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Robbie Williams offloads sprawling country estate

<p dir="ltr">Pop icon Robbie Williams appears to have<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.domain.com.au/news/pop-god-robbie-williams-is-selling-his-massive-country-estate-for-12-7-million-1113180/" target="_blank">sold</a><span> </span>his opulent English estate just four months after it hit the market.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 47-year-old made headlines in late September last year after<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.knightfrank.co.uk/blog/2021/09/28/robbie-williams-puts-7bedroom-wiltshire-country-house-compton-bassett-house-on-the-market" target="_blank">listing Compton Bassett House for sale</a><span> </span>with a hefty price tag of $13.5 million).</p> <p dir="ltr">Located in the sleepy village of Compton Bassett, about 170 kilometres away from London’s CBD, Williams’ seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion features some quite lavish features.</p> <p dir="ltr">With 1800 square metres of living space, the home comes with ‘standard’ inclusions such as a chef’s kitchen, vaulted ceilings, chandeliers and luxury fixtures throughout, topped off with a ‘leisure-complex’ on the lower floor of the house which includes a gym, sauna, steam room, and a 22-metre-long pool and spa.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home also boasts a huge wine cellar, while the 28.3-hectate property includes a tennis court and accompanying summer house, a full-size soccer pitch, quad-bike trail, guest cottage, and a one-bedroom apartment that can serve as staff quarters.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since the<span> </span><em>Angels</em><span> </span>singer also owns his own helicopter, it should come as no surprise that his former home also features a helipad and separate hangar.</p> <p dir="ltr">As luxe as the Compton Bassett House is, it is just as historic, with some parts of the building dating back to 1659.</p> <p dir="ltr">Williams bought the home in 2008, spending roughly $2 million more than he received from its sale.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the loss, $13.5 million is still a sizable sum that few could complain about.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: @robbiewilliams (Instagram), Frank Knight</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

The Singapore-inspired idea for using super for housing that could cut costs 50%

<p>During the past four decades in which home ownership among Australians aged 25-34 has sunk from around <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/home-ownership-and-housing-tenure">60% to 45%</a>, home ownership among the same age group in Singapore has climbed from around <a href="https://tablebuilder.singstat.gov.sg/table/TS/M810401">60% to 88%</a>.</p> <p>There’s a good chance that’s because Singapore is doing something right.</p> <p>What Singapore has that Australia does not is a public housing developer, the <a href="https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/homepage">Housing Development Board</a>, which puts new dwellings on public and reclaimed land, provides mortgages, and allows buyers to use their compulsory retirement savings (what Australians call superannuation) for both a deposit and repayments.</p> <p>There’s more to it than that. It limits eligibility by income and age, requires owners to hang on to the property for five years, and limits their resale to only other eligible buyers.</p> <p>Eight in ten of all the dwellings in Singapore today were built over the past half century by the Housing Development Board.</p> <p>In a new paper released this month I suggest an Australian version called <a href="https://osf.io/nxq2u/">HouseMate</a>, that could halve the cost of buying a home.</p> <h2>Introducing HouseMate</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Housemate would build on underutilised crown, council, and federal land, land acquired by compulsory acquisition, or land purchased at market prices, and by tenders from private developers</p> </li> <li> <p>HouseMate would sell the dwellings at a discounted price (A$300,000 on average) to Australian citizens aged over 24 and in a de facto or married relationship and to single citizens aged over 28 and over, where no household member owns property</p> </li> <li> <p>HouseMate would offer loans underwritten by the federal government for up to 95% of the purchase price, charged at one percentage point above the cash rate, which at the moment would be 1.1%</p> </li> <li> <p>HouseMate buyers would be permitted to use their superannuation savings and contributions for both the deposit and ongoing repayments</p> </li> <li> <p>HouseMate buyers would be required to occupy the home, with limits on leasing and resale for seven years. They will own the home freehold, paying council rates, insurances, and having responsibility for maintenance and body corporate representation</p> </li> <li> <p>HouseMate owners could sell after seven years. But if they sell to the private market instead of another eligible HouseMate buyer, that would trigger a waiting period of seven years before the seller became eligible for another HouseMate home, and a fee of 15% of the sale price</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Homes for half price</h2> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440816/original/file-20220114-25-qr9hwk.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440816/original/file-20220114-25-qr9hwk.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://gameofmates.files.wordpress.com/2022/01/housemate_jan2022_vpublish.pdf" class="source">HouseMate, a proposed national institution to build new homes and sell them cheap to any citizen who does not own a home</a></span></p> <p>My calculations suggest building these homes on land that would cost little (perhaps A$50,000 averaged across all types) would by itself cut the price 20-35%.</p> <p>The lower interest rate, and the use of superannuation savings for both the deposit and repayments would cut the “after super” cost saved by as much again, cutting the “after super” cost savings 50-70%.</p> <p>The use of superannuation savings where available makes sense. Home ownership does more for security in retirement than does super.</p> <p>Because the use of super would be quarantined to new HouseMate homes, it would be unlikely to push up the price of existing homes.</p> <p>No other housing policy change would do anything like as much to make homeownership cheaper, or to free up income for families at the times they need it most.</p> <p>The changes to tax arrangements often talked about, including changes to capital gains tax and negative gearing, might on my estimate at most cut prices by as much as 10% - enough to reverse only <a href="https://www.corelogic.com.au/news/housing-values-end-year-221-higher-pace-gains-continuing-soften-multi-speed-conditions-emerge">six months</a> of the past year’s price growth.</p> <h2>There would be critics</h2> <p>Because HouseMate would divert first home buyers away from private markets, private sellers would find reasons to argue it would be bad for the people it helps and somehow financially reckless or unsustainable. Banks would argue the same thing.</p> <p>But because the non-land cost of HouseMate dwellings would be mostly covered by the purchase price (and 15% of private resale prices) and the other costs would mostly be covered by the interest margin, the budget cost would be low - on my estimate peaking at A$1.7 billion after seven years and shrinking to $640 million after 20 years.</p> <p>The $1 billion or so per year would provide 30,000 affordable houses per year. Compared to the A$100 billion spent on the COVID JobKeeper scheme, that cost is a rounding error. Australia spends $125 billion per year on healthcare.</p> <p>Each year about <a href="https://www.fresheconomicthinking.com/2016/06/the-great-australian-town-planning-give.html">$11 billion</a> is given to private landowners through rezoning decisions. Taxing those value gains could fund HouseMate ten times over.</p> <h2>We have got the land</h2> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440817/original/file-20220114-27-1sf1klu.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440817/original/file-20220114-27-1sf1klu.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The Australian Capital Territory has developed land for decades.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Google Maps</span></span></p> <p>The New South Wales Land and Housing Corporation has four times the net assets of Singapore’s Housing Development Board at <a href="https://www.hdb.gov.sg/-/media/doc/CCG/HDB-Financial-Statements-for-the-year-ended-31st-March-2021.pdf">$54 billion</a>. Queensland’s Housing and Public Works has <a href="https://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/6160/15financialstatements.pdf">$10 billion</a> in land assets. Victoria’s Department of Families, Fairness and Housing has <a href="https://www.dffh.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/202110/DFFH%20annual%20report%202020-21.pdf">$17 billion</a>.</p> <p>We could start by upgrading and selling existing public housing to its tenants under HouseMate rules.</p> <p>The Australian Capital Territory has operated this way for decades, developing low or zero cost rural land for housing and selling the homes at cost, although in recent decades it has acted more like a private developer, maximising revenue at the expense of putting people into homes.</p> <h2>To start with, there would be bottlenecks</h2> <p>HouseMate would be overwhelmed at first. I have suggested lotteries to allocate homes until the system ramps up.</p> <p>Just as Medicare didn’t displace but operated alongside the private health system, HouseMate would operate parallel to the private market, adding to overall supply rather than increasing demand in the private market.</p> <p>I’ll finish with a story. I met a Singaporean resident recently who moved to Australia to study social work. She said they don’t really have homeless people in Singapore because the Housing Development Board provided an option for almost everyone.</p> <p>To find homeless people required moving to Australia. I think we ought to try it. What’s the worst that could happen?<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/174401/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cameron-murray-172480">Cameron Murray</a>, Research Fellow - Henry Halloran Trust, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-singapore-inspired-idea-for-using-super-for-housing-that-could-cut-costs-50-174401">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

See inside Julia Roberts’ stunning new home

<p dir="ltr">Julia Roberts has dropped $NZD 12.1 million ($USD 8.3 million) on a five-storey Victorian Revival-style home in San Francisco.</p> <p dir="ltr">The<span> </span><em>Pretty Woman</em><span> </span>star secured herself the five-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home in the quiet neighbourhood of Presidio Heights in 2020, after a price reduction of nearly $2 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite her new purchase, Roberts has been spending a lot of time in Australia recently to film<span> </span><em>Ticket to Paradise</em><span> </span>with George Clooney in Queensland.</p> <p dir="ltr">While down under, the A-list actress<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/inside-julia-roberts-stunning-115-million-home-in-san-francisco/?rsf=syn:news:nca:news:spa:strap" target="_blank">was spotted</a><span> </span>basking in Sydney in a pink swimsuit at Christmas.</p> <p dir="ltr">Her new San Francisco home, built between 1907 and 1908, boasts views of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge from the kitchen, family room and primary bedroom.</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition to its five floors, the home includes a bonus room on the top floor.</p> <p dir="ltr">Other features include a two-car tandem garage, wine room, custom gourmet kitchen, and a separate staircase to the four other floors.</p> <p dir="ltr">The grand staircase, which features stained-glass windows, leads to the third floor, with its primary ensuite bedroom and walk-out balcony, large remodelled bath with split vanities, and a separate dressing table area.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to property records, the home is under the “Grayfox Trust”, which is associated with Roberts’ country-wide collection of properties, including a scenic ranch in Malibu, the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://nypost.com/2021/12/28/inside-julia-roberts-stunning-8-3m-san-francisco-home/" target="_blank"><em>Post</em></a><span> </span>reports.</p> <p dir="ltr">Roberts previously sold her expansive Hawaiian oceanfront estate in 2016 for $NZD 17.18 million.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images, Realtor.com</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

A short history of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy – an indelible reminder of unceded sovereignty

<p><em>Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this article contains names and images of deceased people.</em></p> <p>Often people think about the Aboriginal Tent Embassy as something historic, dating back to the 1970s. But it should also be thought of as a site of the longest protest for Indigenous land rights, sovereignty and self-determination <a href="https://www.echo.net.au/2021/10/50-years-of-aboriginal-tent-embassy/">in the world</a>.</p> <p>In fact, this year, the Tent Embassy is set to celebrate its <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/blackfishing-alt-right-pushes-to-co-opt-aboriginal-tent-embassy-to-cause-20220105-p59lzj.html">50th continuous year of occupation</a>. Demonstrating its significance to Australian history, it was included on the <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6068943/the-aboriginal-tent-embassy-has-been-left-off-the-act-heritage-list/">Commonwealth Heritage List</a> in 2015 as part of the Old Parliament House precinct.</p> <p>In this momentous year, it’s worth remembering how the Tent Embassy came to be and what it has continued to stand for since its erection in 1972 – and the significance it still has today.</p> <h2>Aliens in our own land</h2> <p>The Tent Embassy began its public life on January 26 1972. On that day, Michael Anderson, Billy Craigie, Bertie Williams and Tony Coorey left Redfern and drove to Ngunnawal Country (Canberra), where they planted a beach umbrella opposite Parliament House (now known as Old Parliament House).</p> <p>They erected a sign that said “Aboriginal Embassy”. With them on that day was their driver, Tribune photographer Noel Hazard, who captured the event in a series of photos.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440344/original/file-20220111-15-1n5yt6q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">The establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on Australia Day in 1972.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">National Museum Australia</span></span></p> <p>The term “embassy” was used to bring attention to the fact Aboriginal people had never ceded sovereignty nor engaged in any treaty process with the Crown. As a collective, Aboriginal people were the only cultural group not represented with an embassy.</p> <p>According to Aboriginal activist and scholar Gary Foley, the absence of an Aboriginal embassy in Canberra was a blatant indication <a href="https://www.naa.gov.au/learn/learning-resources/learning-resource-themes/first-australians/politics-and-advocacy/activists-aboriginal-tent-embassy-lawns-old-parliament-house">Aboriginal people were treated like aliens in their own land</a>.</p> <p>Initially, the protesters were making a stand about land rights following the then prime minister William McMahon’s speech that <a href="https://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/welcome/mls-indigenous/home/mls-classroom-photo-mural-initiative/classroom-photos/tent-embassy">dismissed any hope for Aboriginal land rights</a> and reasserted the government’s position on the policy of <a href="https://australianstogether.org.au/discover/australian-history/a-white-australia/">assimilation</a>. The Tent Embassy was therefore a public display of our disapproval of and objection to the policies and practices of the government.</p> <p>In later years, it has become an acclaimed site of our continued resistance to the continuity of colonial rule.</p> <h2>Demands of protesters</h2> <p>Police who were patrolling the area at the time of the Tent Embassy’s erection asked the protesters what they were doing outside Parliament House. They said they were protesting and would do so until the government granted land rights to Aboriginal people. The police were said to have responded, “<a href="http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p72441/pdf/article0712.pdf">That could be forever</a>”.</p> <p>As it turned out, it was not illegal to camp on the lawns of Parliament House, so the police could not remove them.</p> <p>Later, on February 6 1972, the members of the Tent Embassy issued their list of demands to the government. The demands were clearly about our rights as Aboriginal people to our homelands, regardless of the fact cities were now built on the land or mining companies were interested in the bounties within.</p> <p>Compensation was called for in the instances where the lands was not able to be returned. There were also demands for the protection of our sacred sites.</p> <p>While the McMahon government cared little about negotiating with the protesters, the leader of the Opposition, Gough Whitlam, visited the Tent Embassy and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/oct/21/gough-whitlam-remembered-a-true-leader-for-indigenous-australians">publicly proclaimed a promise of Aboriginal land rights</a> under a future Labor government.</p> <p>There was widespread support for the Tent Embassy from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and allies across the continent, and indeed the world.</p> <p>Media attention also grew as it became obvious the Tent Embassy and protesters were not going to move on. Other Aboriginal activists joined the embassy, including Foley, Isabel Coe, John Newfong, Chicka Dixon, Gordon Briscoe and many others.</p> <h2>Forced removal and revival</h2> <p>The government was not too keen on being reminded Aboriginal people were demanding rights, so it <a href="https://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/welcome/mls-indigenous/home/mls-classroom-photo-mural-initiative/classroom-photos/tent-embassy">amended</a> the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance to make it illegal to camp on the lawn of Parliament House. This gave the police the authority to remove the protesters.</p> <p>The ordinance was but a few hours old when <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7j3Rq2Tryo">police attempted to forcibly remove the embassy</a>. They did so to the roar of the crowd chanting “land rights now”. A <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOIvHE0tJAk">violent confrontation with police</a> ensued.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FOIvHE0tJAk?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>On September 12 1972, the ACT Supreme Court ruled against the use of the trespass laws, and the Tent Embassy was temporarily re-erected before being removed again the following morning.</p> <p>Then, at the end of 1972, the Coalition government led by McMahon lost the federal election to Labor. Whitlam was able to keep his promise in part – he did give the land title deeds to the Gurindji people. This was captured in the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-01/mervyn-bishop-australias-first-aboriginal-press-photographer/8655130">historical photo</a> by Merv Bishop of Whitlam pouring a fistful of dirt into Vincent Lingiari’s hand.</p> <p> </p> <p>While this iconic image has become a demonstration of what might be possible, the work of the embassy is not yet done. Land rights across the continent have yet to be fully achieved.</p> <p>The Tent Embassy was re-established the following year and remained until activist <a href="https://commonslibrary.org/the-aboriginal-tent-embassy/">Charles Perkins negotiated its removal</a> pending the enactment of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act in 1976.</p> <p>In the ensuing years, it occupied several other sites around Canberra, including the site of the current Parliament House. In 1992, it returned to its original site on the lawn of Old Parliament House to mark the 20th anniversary of the original protest.</p> <p>Eleven years later, much of the Tent Embassy was destroyed by fire in a <a href="https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/end-aboriginal-tent-embassy">suspected case of arson</a>. The police once again attempted to remove protesters from the site under <a href="https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/tent-embassy-under-further-attack">orders from federal government’s National Capital Authority</a>.</p> <p> </p> <h2>An enduring symbol of protest</h2> <p>Today, the Tent Embassy remains on the lawns of Old Parliament House as a reminder of the successive failures of subsequent governments to address the demands for justice represented by the embassy and its people.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.routledge.com/The-Aboriginal-Tent-Embassy-Sovereignty-Black-Power-Land-Rights-and-the/Foley-Schaap/p/book/9780415839518?gclid=CjwKCAiAz--OBhBIEiwAG1rIOuFlzGCUJvLxLafzUlJZ_D1uyMj0Tz9J_YFIEwcLS0kMzAffvRc_7hoCxwUQAvD_BwE">Foley reflects</a> in his history of the embassy:</p> <blockquote> <p>That it has endured for [five] decades as a potent symbol rejecting the hypocrisy, deceit and duplicity by successive Australian governments is a testament to the refusal of large numbers of Aboriginal people to concede defeat in a 200-year struggle for justice.</p> </blockquote> <p>Nowhere else in the world have we seen such longevity around a site of protest. The Aboriginal Tent Embassy is an impressive achievement that demonstrates the tenacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and our continued fight for the reclamation of our lands and sovereign rights as First Nations peoples.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/174693/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bronwyn-carlson-136214">Bronwyn Carlson</a>, Professor, Indigenous Studies and Director of The Centre for Global Indigenous Futures, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lynda-june-coe-1305919">Lynda-June Coe</a>, PhD Candidate, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-short-history-of-the-aboriginal-tent-embassy-an-indelible-reminder-of-unceded-sovereignty-174693">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Wikimedia Commons</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Labor’s proposed $10 billion social housing fund isn’t big as it seems, but it could work

<p>The centrepiece of Labor’s election program so far is its A$10 billion social housing policy, officially called the <a href="https://alp.org.au/policies/housing_future_fund">Housing Australia Future Fund</a>.</p> <p>In the first five years the fund would be used to build</p> <ul> <li> <p>20,000 social housing properties for people on low incomes - 4,000 of the 20,000 for women and children fleeing violence and for low income older women at risk of homelessness</p> </li> <li> <p>10,000 “affordable” housing properties</p> </li> <li> <p>$200 million for the repair, maintenance and improvements of housing in remote Indigenous communities</p> </li> <li> <p>$100 million for crisis and transitional housing for women and children fleeing violence and for low income older women at risk of homelessness</p> </li> <li> <p>$30 million to build more housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness</p> </li> </ul> <p>Although needed, its a far short of the 100,000 extra social housing units we would have had if social housing been growing in line with total housing in recent years, a gap that is climbing by 4,000 homes a year.</p> <p>And, like the frilled-neck lizard, the $10 billion looks much bigger than it is.</p> <p>Labor could probably do what it has promised to do for $450 million per year.</p> <p>Instead, it says it would borrow $10 billion at low interest rates, invest the money for much higher returns, and use the proceeds to pay for the program.</p> <p>If the fund earns 4.5% more than the cost of borrowing it’ll get the $450 million per year. Rather than use the money to build the houses it will use the money to fund service payments to community housing providers who build them.</p> <p>As Labor points out, it’s a mechanism used by the current government, which has set up five such funds in addition to the <a href="https://www.futurefund.gov.au/">Future Fund</a> used to fund public service pensions (of which more later).</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440171/original/file-20220111-13-1erhnaj.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440171/original/file-20220111-13-1erhnaj.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://alp.org.au/policies/housing_future_fund" class="source">Extract from Labor's Housing Australia Future Fund election policy</a></span></p> <p>Two of these funds, the Medical Research Future Fund and the Disability Care Australia Fund are actually bigger than the proposed Housing Fund.</p> <p>A problem with this structure designed to make the commitment look bigger than it is is that spending on social housing will depend on the returns of the fund.</p> <p>Allocating money from one source to spending on one particular purpose is called <a href="https://www.cis.org.au/app/uploads/2015/07/pm75.pdf">hypothecation</a>, a word closely related to “<a href="https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/429589/is-hypothecate-anything-to-do-in-origin-or-meaning-with-hypothetical/570700">hypothetical</a>”.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440181/original/file-20220111-19-6m0mfi.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440181/original/file-20220111-19-6m0mfi.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Medicare funding is independent of the levy.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Dean Lewins/AAP</span></span></p> <p>The Medicare Levy of 2% of most taxable incomes is intended to be for funding Medicare, but funds only part of it.</p> <p>In contrast, there doesn’t appear to be any plan to guarantee payments for social housing if in any year the Social Housing Fund fails to make money.</p> <p>The bigger question is whether it makes sense for governments to use funds like the Future Fund to put money into income-generating investments in private companies (the Future Fund invests in <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/1918/20200630_-_Top_100_largest_listed_equity_holdings.pdf">Apple, Microsoft and the Commonwealth Bank</a>) or to use any available funds to pay down government debt.</p> <p>The answer depends in part on whether the profits the funds earn are genuine or mere compensation for the risky business of investing in shares, which can always go wrong.</p> <p>My work on the so-called “equity premium”, the excess return for investing in shares, suggests that is <a href="https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/15061616.pdf">genuine</a> and exceeds what’s needed to compensate for risk, making investment in the stock market an appealing option for governments in the absence of better opportunities.</p> <p>But the premium is not limitless, for two reasons.</p> <p>One is that if governments borrow enough and buy enough shares, we can reasonably expected the government’s cost of borrowing to rise and the rate of return on shares to fall, reducing the equity premium.</p> <p>The other is that if buying shares is pursued far enough, governments will become major, or even majority, shareholders in large businesses, effectively becoming owners.</p> <h2>Future funds should invest in what governments do best</h2> <p>Long experience suggests that while governments are quite good at running some types of businesses (especially those involving infrastructure and requiring large amounts of capital) they are not nearly as good at running others. Retailing comes to mind.</p> <p>If we accept that large debt-financed public investment can make sense, it follows that governments should own as much as 100% of some types of businesses (businesses such as Telstra come to mind) and little or none of others, such as shopping centres, which Australia’s government <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7139681/the-sale-of-belconnen-mall/">did indeed once own</a>.</p> <p>And that was generally the way Australia’s economy worked during the brief period of broadly shared-prosperity in the mid-20th century.</p> <p>Governments borrowed at low rates and invested in physical and social infrastructure, such as roads and communications services.</p> <p>The more funds there are like Labor’s proposed Housing Australia Future Fund the more likely it is we will get back there.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/174406/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/john-quiggin-2084">John Quiggin</a>, Professor, School of Economics, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/labors-proposed-10-billion-social-housing-fund-isnt-big-as-it-seems-but-it-could-work-174406">original article</a>.</p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Stevie Wonder snaps up lavish LA mansion

<p dir="ltr">Music legend Stevie Wonder has recently bought himself a<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/2147-Ravensfield-Ln_Los-Angeles_CA_90077_M27108-95842" target="_blank">luxe mansion in Bel-Air</a>, dropping $USD 13.85 million ($NZD 20.46 million).</p> <p dir="ltr">According to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dirt.com/gallery/entertainers/musicians/stevie-wonder-house-bel-air-los-angeles-1203443140/" target="_blank"><em>Dirt</em></a>, the elaborate estate was formerly owned by Prince Mohammed bin Faisal bin Saud al-Saud, who hasn’t spent much time in the area and has apparently been renting the home for $USD 75,000 a month.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home was<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realtor.com/news/celebrity-real-estate/stevie-wonder-reportedly-buys-wonderful-mansion-in-bel-air-for-14m/" target="_blank">first listed for sale</a><span> </span>in 2017 for a whopping $USD 25 million ($NZD 36.93 million), before the price began to nosedive.</p> <p dir="ltr">In early 2018, the price fell to $USD 23.5 million, followed by a reduction to $USD 20 million eight months later and a final discount to $USD 17.95 million at the end of the year. Still failing to find a buyer, the home was eventually floated off the market for a few years before it returned in April 2021 with a price tag of $USD 14.7 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">It was eventually snapped up by Wonder at an almost 50 percent discount off its initial price.</p> <p dir="ltr">Built in 2009, the<span> </span><em>Superstition</em><span> </span>singer’s new 1858-square-metre home includes 11 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, high ceilings, and a mix of wood and stone floors throughout.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home also boasts a formal dining room, professional kitchen, home theatre, bar, and entertainment room with its own pool table, card table, and pinball machines, and a wine cellar that can hold up to 2550 bottles.</p> <p dir="ltr">On the second floor, the master bedroom comes with a private sitting area and a balcony that overlooks the pool.</p> <p dir="ltr">The lavish estate also includes space for guest or staff quarters, and a lift connecting all three floors.</p> <p dir="ltr">Outside, the half-acre grounds include a pool, spa and waterfall, as well as a patio and outdoor fireplace.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty Images, Realtor.com</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Prince Andrew settles debt on Swiss chalet ahead of potential sale

<p dir="ltr">Prince Andrew has settled the outstanding debt on his seven-bedroom Swiss ski chalet, potentially enabling him to sell it in order to finance his court costs.</p> <p dir="ltr">The previous owner of the £17 million home in Verbier had taken the Prince to court after he allegedly failed to pay the final installment. However, Isabelle de Rouvre recently told the<span> </span><em>MailOnline,<span> </span></em>“The war is over. He has paid the money.”</p> <p dir="ltr">That could mean that last week’s trip to the chalet by ex-wife Sarah Ferguson and daughters Beatrice and Eugenie could be the last time the family visits.</p> <p dir="ltr">Multiple reports have said the Duke of York wants to sell the property in order to raise money for his legal battle with Virginia Giuffre, who is suing Andrew for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager, and who is seeking unspecified damages, which could amount to millions of dollars. The Queen has reportedly refused to fund any court bill or potential settlement, forcing Andrew to find the money himself.</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s thought that Andrew paid between £17 million and £18 million for the chalet in 2014, agreeing to pay in installments. £13 million came from a mortgage and the rest was to be paid in cash, but de Rouvre, a French socialite, accused them of not paying the final £5 million in 2019, and took the issue to court, seeking payment as well as £1.6 million in interest. The total amount sought by Ms de Rouvre worked out to roughly $12,477,522AUD.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms de Rouvre told the<span> </span><em>MailOnline,<span> </span></em>“I sold it two months ago, or was it one. Maybe six weeks ago.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Anyway, I sold it to the Yorks and we made an agreement. That is the end of the story thankfully. The war is finished. It is the end of the matter. I have nothing to do with it now. That’s all.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don’t know what they are doing now. They were here at Christmas but I only know that because I read it in the press. I did not see them. So Happy Christmas and that’s that. The end.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The sale of the chalet would leave Andrew owning no property in either the UK or abroad.</p> <p dir="ltr">The duke is awaiting a ruling from Judge Lewis Kaplan on whether he will face a full civil court case over the allegations, which he has consistently denied. His legal team has argued Ms Giuffre waived her right to sue when she signed a $500,000 settlement agreement with Jeffrey Epstein in 2009.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

"It's enormous": Inside Kate and William's lavish London "apartment"

<p dir="ltr">Though Kensington Palace - the home of Kate Middleton, Prince William and their three children - is open to the public, their private quarters on the royal grounds are off-limits.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite being named Apartment 1A, royal experts have said their home is anything but small.</p> <p dir="ltr">“All of these royal residences at Kensington Palace are called apartments, which of course makes people immediately think they are flats like the American term for an apartment,” royal biographer Christopher Warwick<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/property/1544422/Kate-Middleton-Prince-William-inside-Kensington-Palace-layout-rooms-pictures" target="_blank">said</a><span> </span>while appearing on the Royal Beat podcast.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They are not. If you think of Kensington Palace in a way it is built around three courtyards.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If you kind of think of them as being these wonderful red brick terrace houses. Because they are all joined, but separate houses.”</p> <p dir="ltr">As for Kate and William’s ‘apartment’, he said: “It is not a small house.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846711/kate-william1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/057eb620ee1848398e47d38df6ef2b50" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kate and William’s home includes a private garden that cannot be seen from public areas of the palace grounds. Image: Getty Images</span></em></p> <p dir="ltr">Royal author Ingrid Seward confirmed Warwick’s description of the home.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s enormous… and it’s like a piece of countryside in London,” she commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">Apartment 1A boasts twenty rooms, including five reception rooms and three master bedrooms - two of which are main floor master suites with his-and-hers dressing rooms and separate nurseries for daytime play and sleep.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for the furnishings in the royal children’s bedrooms, Kate has previously said the family uses IKEA furniture.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2018, she told Marcus Engman, IKEA’s Head of Design, that Prince George’s room was decked out with IKEA furniture.</p> <p dir="ltr">Kate later revealed that Princess Charlotte’s room had received the same treatment.</p> <p dir="ltr">The kitchen has been renovated to Kate and William’s taste, with reports that they spent £170,000 of their own money on the refurbishment.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home also includes an impressive entrance hall with black and white flagstones, as well as two drawing rooms where guests are taken to.</p> <p dir="ltr">One of the drawing rooms - which features a grand piano and cream sofas - was where the royal couple welcomed former US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in 2016.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846710/kate-william2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/2ee7212cd869419998cdb49f039eb99c" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Inside Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Kensington drawing room where they welcomed the Obamas in 2016. Image: Getty Images</em></p> <p dir="ltr">The home also includes additional rooms in the basement, such as a gym, laundry room, and space for luggage.</p> <p dir="ltr">Separate quarters house the royal staff, coming with an additional nine bedrooms and two kitchens.</p> <p dir="ltr">Kate and William have lived in Apartment 1A since 2013, over 300 years after it was first purchased by William III, when it was known as Nottingham House.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Real estate in the metaverse is booming. Is it really such a crazy idea?

<p>The idea of spending thousands or even millions of dollars to buy fictitious “land” in a virtual world sounds, to be frank, absurd.</p> <p>But in recent months, we’ve seen significant investments in virtual land within the metaverse. PwC is among <a href="https://www.consultancy.uk/news/30011/pwc-buys-virtual-land-nft-in-the-sandboxs-metaverse">the latest</a> to dive in, having purchased real estate in The Sandbox, a virtual gaming world, for an undisclosed amount.</p> <p>If other reported sales are anything to go by, it would have been a handsome sum. One person recently bought a plot of land in <a href="https://fortune.com/2021/12/09/snoop-dogg-rapper-metaverse-snoopverse/">the Snoopverse</a> – a virtual world rapper Snoop Dogg is developing within The Sandbox – for <a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/sandbox-decentraland-virtual-land-sales-soar-metaverse-nfts-1267740/">US$450,000</a> (around £332,500).</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Metaverse Group, a real estate company focused on the metaverse economy, reportedly bought a piece of land in Decentraland, another virtual platform, <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/metaverse-property-decentraland-nft-decentraland-b1965973.html">for US$2.43 million</a>.</p> <p>Let’s refresh on what the “metaverse” is. You probably heard the term a lot when Facebook re-branded to <a href="https://about.facebook.com/meta/">Meta</a> in October 2021. Other companies, such as <a href="https://www.theverge.com/22833369/nike-rtfkt-nft-sneaker-shoe-metaverse-company">Nike</a> and <a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/currencies/5-household-names-companies-plans-metaverse-digital-crypto-2021-12">Microsoft</a>, have also announced they will launch into this space.</p> <p>The metaverse describes a vision of a connected 3D virtual world, where real and digital worlds are integrated using technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). This immersive environment will be accessible through the likes of VR headsets, AR glasses and smartphone apps.</p> <p>Users will meet and communicate as digital avatars, explore new areas and create content. The idea is the metaverse will develop to become a collaborative virtual space where we can socialise, play, work and learn.</p> <p>There are several metaverses already – for example in virtual gaming platforms like The Sandbox and virtual worlds like Decentraland. In the same way a website is part of the broader 2D world wide web, individual metaverses will form a larger, connected metaverse.</p> <p>Importantly, as in the real world, it is and increasingly will be possible to buy things in the metaverse – including real estate.</p> <h2>Virtual land as an NFT</h2> <p>Transactions in the virtual world are generally monetised using cryptocurrency. Other than cryptocurrenies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are the primary method for monetising and exchanging value within the metaverse.</p> <p>An <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/nfts-digital-revolution-embodies-metaverse-theofilos-tzanidis/">NFT</a> is a unique digital asset. Although NFTs are primarily items of digital art (such as videos, images, music or 3D objects), a variety of assets may constitute an NFT – including virtual real estate. On platforms like <a href="https://opensea.io/">OpenSea</a>, where people go to buy and trade NFTs, there are now plots of land, or even virtual houses.</p> <p>To ensure digital real estate has value, supply is limited – a concept in economics called “scarcity value”. For example, <a href="https://decentraland.org/">Decentraland</a> is made up of 90,000 pieces or “parcels” of land, each around 50 feet by 50 feet.</p> <p>We’re already seeing examples where the value of virtual real estate is going up. In June 2021, a digital real estate investment fund called Republic Realm reportedly spent the equivalent of <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-fintech-nft-land-idCAKCN2DU1GA">more than US$900,000</a> to buy an NFT representing a plot on Decentraland. According to <a href="https://dappradar.com/blog/investors-buy-most-expensive-virtual-real-estate-ever-in-decentraland">DappRadar</a>, a website which tracks NFT sales data, it was the most expensive purchase of NFT land in Decentraland history.</p> <p>But then as we know, in November 2021, the Metaverse Group bought their plot in Decentraland for <a href="https://www.reuters.com/markets/currencies/virtual-real-estate-plot-sells-record-24-million-2021-11-23/">US$2.4 million</a>. The size of this purchase was actually smaller than the former – 116 land parcels compared to 259 bought by Republic Realm.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/439652/original/file-20220106-27-dimlq9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A man wears VR goggles." /> <span class="caption">There are already several metaverses.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/bearded-man-wearing-virtual-reality-goggles-519893707" class="source">SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock</a></span></p> <p>It’s not just Decentraland seeing appreciations. In February 2021, <a href="https://coinquora.com/axie-infinity-land-nft-sells-for-2-3-million-surpasses-record/">Axie Infinity</a> (another virtual gaming world) reportedly sold nine of their land parcels for the equivalent of US$1.5 million – a record, the company said – before one land parcel sold for US$2.3 million in November 2021.</p> <p>While it appears that values are climbing, it’s important to acknowledge that real estate investment in the metaverse remains extremely speculative. No one can be certain if this boom is the next great thing or the next big bubble.</p> <h2>The future of metaverse real estate</h2> <p>Financial incentives aside, you may be wondering what companies and individuals will actually do with their virtual land.</p> <p>As an example, the Metaverse Group’s purchase is in Decentraland’s fashion precinct. According to the buyer the space will be used to host digital <a href="https://www.reuters.com/markets/currencies/virtual-real-estate-plot-sells-record-24-million-2021-11-23/">fashion events</a> and sell virtual clothing for avatars – another potential area for growth in the metaverse.</p> <p>While investors and companies are dominating this space at the moment, not all metaverse real estate will set you back millions. But what could owning virtual land offer you? If you buy a physical property in the real world, the result is tangible – somewhere to live, to take pride in, to welcome family and friends.</p> <p>While virtual property doesn’t provide physical shelter, there are some parallels. In shopping for virtual real estate, you could buy a piece of land to build on. Or you could choose a house already built that you like. You could make it your own with various (digital) objects. You could invite visitors, and visit others’ virtual homes too.</p> <p>This vision is a while away. But if it seems completely absurd, we should remember that once upon a time, people had doubts about the potential significance of the internet, and then social media. Technologists predict the metaverse will mature into a <a href="https://www.matthewball.vc/all/themetaverse">fully functioning economy</a> in the coming years, providing a synchronous digital experience as interwoven into our lives as email and social networking are now.</p> <p>This is a strange fantasy come true for someone who was a gamer in a former life. Some years ago, a younger version of my conscience was telling me to stop wasting time playing video games; to go back to study and focus on my “real” life. Deep inside I always had this wish to see gaming overlapping with real life, <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1677720/">Real Player One</a> style. I feel this vision is inching ever closer.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/174021/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/theo-tzanidis-1295734">Theo Tzanidis</a>, Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-the-west-of-scotland-1385">University of the West of Scotland</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/real-estate-in-the-metaverse-is-booming-is-it-really-such-a-crazy-idea-174021">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: denisik11/Shutterstock</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry rumoured to be selling their California mansion

<p dir="ltr">Rumours have emerged that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may be attempting to offload their regal home in Montecito, California, and purchase another in the area.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple purchased the home just 18 months ago for $USD 14.65 million, and several months<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.co.nz/property/real-estate/take-a-peek-inside-harry-and-meghan-s-20-million-mansion" target="_blank">after images emerged<span> </span></a>of the home from a previous listing.</p> <p dir="ltr">While some may wonder whether there was something wrong with their nine-bedroom, 16-bath Mediterranean mansion, real estate agent Jill Nelsen of The Agency in Montecito and Santa Barbara has shot those claims down.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To be clear, there is absolutely nothing ‘wrong’ with the lovely estate Harry and Meghan purchased,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s located within a beautiful, hedged, and stonewalled enclave in the heart of Montecito. Like many properties in town, most buyers would choose to update the interiors with new finishes and technology, as the couple has reportedly chosen to do.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Instead, many royal fans believe the area may not be quite private enough for them.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though their property is gated, the community it is located in isn’t, meaning that they could be followed right up to their home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Information obtained by the British PA news agency under the Freedom of Information laws has found that police were called to the Sussexes residences nine times over nine months, as reported by<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realtor.com/news/celebrity-real-estate/why-prince-harry-and-meghan-markle-selling-california-home/" target="_blank"><em>Realtor.com</em></a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">These included two incidents on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day in 2020, when a trespasser identified as Nikolas Brooks drove 3700 kilometres from Ohio to pay the couple an unwanted visit. He was arrested during his second attempted visit.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This must be terribly disconcerting for Harry, who grew up in the royal family in a very controlled environment,” said Peter Lorimer, the vice president of Corcoran Global Living, Beverly Hills, and a former London resident.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Living in a home of that size, an intruder could enter and be undetected for some time.”</p> <p dir="ltr">As for where the couple may move to next, Lorimer suspects they won’t have any trouble finding a new place to call home and that they may have access to properties that aren’t for sale to the general public.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I imagine people who might not have thought seriously about selling might entertain the thought and open their homes in hopes that the prince will come for tea,” he said, laughing.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: @archewell_hm (Instagram) / Zillow</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Adele buys Sylvester Stallone’s home at bargain price

<p dir="ltr">Pop superstar Adele has expanded her property portfolio once again, after she<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nine.com.au/property/news/adele-buys-sylvester-stallone-beverly-hills-mansion-for-80-million-dollars/0df9aa49-c3bd-45a3-9d4f-a08992d2093f" target="_blank">dropped $80.1 million</a><span> </span>on the deluxe mansion of<span> </span><em>Rocky</em><span> </span>star Sylvester Stallone.</p> <p dir="ltr">The sprawling Mediterranean-style estate - located in Beverly Hills - has eight bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, and sits on a 14,164-square metre block.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home boasts a variety of luxe features, including a two-storey foyer, infinity pool, movie theatre, gym, and a two-storey, two-bedroom guest house.</p> <p dir="ltr">The listing also notes that the home comes with its own putting green, cigar room, custom bar, and a master bedroom featuring its own dual bath, sauna and steam room.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though Adele has previously told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle/article/adele-british-vogue-interview" target="_blank"><em>British Vogue</em></a><span> </span>she made the move to LA because she couldn’t afford London’s house prices and an $80 million price tag sounds quite steep, the singer actually scored herself quite a good deal.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The kind of house I have in LA I could never afford in London. Ever,” she said at the time.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I looked at houses. It’s like hundreds of millions of pounds. I don’t have that much money at all. I’d throw up.”</p> <p dir="ltr">One LA property expert even told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tmz.com/2022/01/01/adele-buying-sylvester-stallone-estate-house-steal-rocky/" target="_blank"><em>TMZ</em></a><span> </span>that the purchase was an “outright steal”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stallone first listed the home for an eye-watering $152 million in January 2021, as reported by<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/adele-buys-sylvester-stallones-mediterranean-style-beverly-hills-mansion" target="_blank"><em>Architectural Digest</em></a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">After receiving little interest, the 75-year-old dropped the price to $117.5 million in May, before Adele snapped it up with a discount of almost 50 percent this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">Her latest purchase comes as her fourth in LA within the last five years.</p> <p dir="ltr">The<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.co.nz/property/real-estate/see-inside-adele-s-41-5-million-property-portfolio" target="_blank">previous three LA pads</a><span> </span>cost Adele between $9.5 and $10.5 million each, and her latest acquisition brings her total spending to $110 million.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: @adele (Instagram) / Getty Images, Realtor</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Bing Crosby’s vacation home hits the market

<p dir="ltr">A midcentury estate once owned by American jazz singer Bing Crosby has<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realtor.com/news/celebrity-real-estate/bing-crosby-former-rancho-mirage-estate-back-on-market-again/" target="_blank">returned</a><span> </span>to the market for $USD 4.5 million ($NZD 6.6 million).</p> <p dir="ltr">The Rancho Mirage home, known as the Bing Crosby Estate, was first listed for $USD 5 million ($NZD 7.34 million) in 2018, before the price dropped twice in 2019: first by $405 million, then by another nearly $1.1 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, the price cuts failed to entice a buyer, and the property has returned to the market at a higher price and with new representation by David Emerson and Alexandra Trejo of realtor<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.compass.com/listing/70375-calico-road-rancho-mirage-ca-92270/946468495298185833/" target="_blank">Compass</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home was last sold in 2005 for $USD 2,625,000.</p> <p dir="ltr">Located in the gated Thunderbird Heights neighbourhood in California, the single-level, midcentury home was built in 1957 with a Moroccan theme, glass walls, a pool, and gardens sprawled across 1.36 acres.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home was said to entertain A-list guests including John F. Kennedy, and the guest quarters have been renamed the JFK Wing in his honour.</p> <p dir="ltr">Other features include a billiard room, a home theatre, multiple fireplaces, and an outdoor entertaining and dining area with its own outdoor kitchen.</p> <p dir="ltr">The<span> </span><em>White Christmas</em><span> </span>singer first lived in the home - one of many he owned in California - with his wife, actress Kathryn Crosby, and their three children in 1963.</p> <p dir="ltr">The family lived at the home until Crosby’s death in 1977 at the age of 74, when Kathryn and their children moved to a larger home nearby.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty Images, Compass</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

The new enclosure: how land commissions can lead the fight against urban land-grabs

<p>When Boris Johnson sold the 35-acre <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/f7b5599c-c7b0-11e2-9c52-00144feab7de">Royal Albert Docks in London</a> to Chinese buyers in 2013, it was his biggest commercial property deal as mayor of London and one of China’s largest investments in the UK. The Greater London Authority sold off further parcels of land in the area in a bid to regenerate the Royal Docks, which had fallen into disrepair with the decline of the docklands from the 1960s.</p> <p>Over the past few decades, huge transfers of land from public to private ownership have occurred throughout Britain. Since Margaret Thatcher was elected prime minister in 1979, <a href="https://www.versobooks.com/books/3050-the-new-enclosure">one-tenth</a> of the entire British landmass, or about half of the land owned by all public bodies, has been privatised. This has included, for instance, dozens of <a href="https://www.forces.net/services/tri-service/more-50-bases-go-mod-estate-sell">former military bases</a> on Ministry of Defence land.</p> <p>In our cities, one result of this land privatisation has been the long-term shift from public to private housing tenure: social rented housing <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13604813.2012.709403">declined</a> from 31% of Britain’s total housing stock in 1981 to just 18% in 2012.</p> <p>As what was effectively our <a href="https://theconversation.com/urban-commons-are-under-siege-in-the-age-of-austerity-heres-how-to-protect-them-121067">common wealth</a> is sold off, local authorities are losing the capacity to address the interconnected housing and climate change <a href="https://www.tcpa.org.uk/blog/blog-the-need-for-better-environmental-standards-in-homes-old-and-new">crises</a>. From London to Leeds, this transformation of land has <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0264275115300299">impeded democratic involvement</a> in urban planning. It has <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13604813.2012.709403?needAccess=true">displaced</a> working-class communities. And it has <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13604813.2012.754190">heightened</a> social inequalities.</p> <p>In a bid to make Liverpool the fairest and most socially inclusive city region in the UK, the mayor, Steve Rotherham, launched England’s first land commission in September 2020. The commission’s findings chime with <a href="http://www.gmhousingaction.com/who-owns-the-city/">our research</a>. It argues for a fundamentally new understanding of what land is.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433148/original/file-20211122-17-1h5hnoj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Panoramic view of London from Highgate Hampstead Park" /> <span class="caption">Even many of our so-called urban commons don’t belong to the people at all.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/panoramic-view-london-highgate-hampstead-park-632934269" class="source">pabmap | Shutterstock</a></span></p> <h2>What is a land commission?</h2> <p>Liverpool was the first metropolitan area in England to establish a participatory land commission. The participants were from the public, private and voluntary sectors as well as from academia. They were <a href="https://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/steve-rotheram-launches-englands-first-land-commission-focused-on-community-wealth-building/">tasked</a> with a radical year-long mission: to figure out how to make the best use of publicly owned land in the city region.</p> <p>The idea is to build what economists call <a href="https://cles.org.uk/community-wealth-building/what-is-community-wealth-building/">community wealth</a>. In response, the commission released its <a href="https://cles.org.uk/publications/our-land/">final report</a> in June 2021, in concert with the Manchester-based <a href="https://cles.org.uk/">Centre for Local Economic Strategies</a>.</p> <p>Public authorities in recent decades have largely looked at urban land through a narrow economic growth lens. This has focused on <a href="https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/man-city-champions-league-final-20494480">attracting investment</a> at the expense of wider community needs – social housing, say, or public green space.</p> <p>By contrast, the commission recognises that land plays an important function in <a href="https://landforthemany.uk/">addressing</a> social and environmental, as well as economic, needs. This challenges the processes of privatisation, commodification and wealth extraction that have characterised urban development since the 1980s, and which political economist Brett Christophers has described as the <a href="https://www.versobooks.com/books/3050-the-new-enclosure">“new enclosure”</a>. Similar processes can be seen in <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X16305484">other countries</a> around the world too.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thelandmagazine.org.uk/articles/enclosure-grand-scale">Karl Marx</a> and <a href="https://www.dukeupress.edu/the-invention-of-capitalism">others</a> drew a direct connection between the <a href="https://www.pmpress.org/index.php?l=product_detail&amp;p=568">enclosure of the commons</a>, which took place during the 16th-19th century in England, and the concentration of wealth in the hands of the elite. If enclosure led to the dispossession of the rural peasantry, that storing up of wealth by the privileged few, in turn, led to the rise of capitalism in western Europe.</p> <p>As historical <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520260009/the-magna-carta-manifesto">research</a> shows, the very notion of the commons is revolutionary. It defines land as collective wealth that belongs to everyone. This stands in stark contrast to the capitalist model of private property.</p> <p>It is this idea that motivated the 17th-century reformer, <a href="https://www.culturematters.org.uk/index.php/culture/theory/item/2978-a-common-treasury-for-all-gerrard-winstanley-and-the-diggers">Gerard Winstanley</a>, along with a group of men and women who became known as the Diggers, to create a social order based on common ownership of the land.</p> <p>This historical tradition animates the Liverpool land commission’s vision of how urban land can be managed for the benefit of the many rather than the few. The report explicitly situates the commission’s work within that long history of enclosure and resistance, quoting a <a href="http://jacklynch.net/Texts/winstanley.html">1649 pamphlet</a> from Winstanley: “The earth was not made for you, to be Lords of it, and we to be your Slaves, Servants and Beggars; but it was made to be a common Livelihood to call, without respect of persons.”</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433146/original/file-20211122-25-nausrs.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433146/original/file-20211122-25-nausrs.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Overhead view of the Three Graces and the Liverpool waterfront" /></a> <span class="caption">Urban land is increasingly seen as an economic asset, at the expense of its social functions.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/lrG9KIuxQzo" class="source">Phil Kiel | Unsplash</a>, <a href="http://artlibre.org/licence/lal/en" class="license">FAL</a></span></p> <h2>Practical steps</h2> <p>The commission’s report includes a series of practical recommendations to reclaim the social function of urban land. These include establishing a citizen-led body for governing public land. It recommends making public land available to community organisations for socially valuable projects such as cooperatives, green spaces and social enterprises. And it suggests establishing an online map of public land resources, including empty land, that is currently held by councils.</p> <p>Further, it recommends capturing rising land values (future profits derived from the development of currently underused land) to fund reparations for Liverpool’s historic role in the transatlantic slave trade. And it suggests using public land to install the green infrastructure needed to combat climate change.</p> <p>If adopted, these recommendations will mark a rupture from the Thatcherite approach to <a href="https://theconversation.com/ending-austerity-stop-councils-selling-off-public-assets-113858">selling off public assets</a> that has dominated since the 1980s. As such, the commission demonstrates how decisions about urban land use can be undertaken in a democratic, participatory and transparent manner.</p> <p><a href="http://www.gmhousingaction.com/who-owns-the-city/">Our research</a> on public land privatisation in the neighbouring city of Manchester suggests that the land commission approach needs to be expanded to other UK cities. We raised a number of concerns about public land sales by Manchester City Council, including the lack of transparency around deals and the fact that large amounts of public land have been sold to private developers to build <a href="http://www.gmhousingaction.com/report_launched_on_housing_finance_gm/">city centre apartment blocks</a> that contain no social or affordable housing.</p> <p>In response to this research, over 60 civil society organisations <a href="http://www.gmhousingaction.com/gm-land-commission-letter/">signed an open letter</a> calling for the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to stick to his <a href="https://andyformayor.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Andy-Burnham-Manisfesto-v2.1-002.pdf">manifesto</a> commitment to establish a Greater Manchester land commission.</p> <p>The UK government’s “<a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/56238260">levelling-up</a>” programme has brought regional inequality and postindustrial urban decline to the fore once again. But addressing these longstanding issues will require a fundamental rethink about what land is for and the purpose it serves in today’s society. The Liverpool land commission has opened the door to the future. Which cities will follow?<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/167817/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-silver-534810">Jonathan Silver</a>, Senior Research Fellow, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sheffield-1147">University of Sheffield</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tom-gillespie-1253447">Tom Gillespie</a>, Hallsworth Research Fellow, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-manchester-1204">University of Manchester</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-new-enclosure-how-land-commissions-can-lead-the-fight-against-urban-land-grabs-167817">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Songquan Deng | Shutterstock</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

New contender for loneliest house in the world

<p dir="ltr">What was previously known as the “world’s loneliest house” may now only be the world’s second loneliest house, thanks to a new contender found in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains.</p> <p dir="ltr">The previous title-holder is a home located on a deserted island near Iceland, which has sat empty for almost a century, managing to look extremely picturesque while doing so.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CPMnlMVg5cD/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CPMnlMVg5cD/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by STYLE MAGAZINES (@stylemagazines)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">The challenger that has emerged is called the Buffa di Perrero, and it is located on Monte Cristallo in the Dolomite Mountains. The house is carved into the side of a sheer rock face, and overlooks a sharp drop, but still features brick walls, a roof, four framed windows, and a camping chair.</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s believed that war is the reason for the hut’s strange location; a number of ‘bivouacs’ were built by Italian soldiers during World War I as a way to gain strategic advantage over enemies. A bivouac shelter is a makeshift campsite used primarily by soldiers, backpackers, or mountain climbers. The shelters were used by soldiers to rest and store their gear.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0Aoz22CQdj/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0Aoz22CQdj/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by FiudaKatana (@fiuda710)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Climbers can access the hut via a mountain trail, or an improvised rope ladder, but locals warn that accessing the abode requires a “high level of fitness”. The Via Ferrata, or ‘Iron Path’, features steel ladders and cables added for particularly treacherous parts of the trail. A series of photos and videos posted to Instagram in 2019 by one intrepid adventurer show a man sitting on the camping chair at the front of the home, as well as a video of some of the cables on the trail leading to the hut. The caption reads, “This is my new bivouac, you want to live here with me?”</p> <p dir="ltr">Local newspaper<span> </span><em>Il Dolomiti<span> </span></em>reported that the hut had been rendered unusable for climbers after the roof gave way. Images taken by a mountain rescue team show snow having come through a collapsed section of the roof.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

That reverse mortgage scheme the government is about to re-announce, how does it work?

<p>Many Australians have never heard of the <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/pension-loans-scheme">Pension Loans Scheme</a>, and many more assume it’s just for pensioners, which is understandable given its name.</p> <p>That’s why the government is poised to rename it the Home Equity Access Scheme and make the interest rate it charges more reasonable, in the mid-year budget update on Thursday.</p> <p>The soon to be renamed scheme is best thought of as a <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/mortgage/reverse-mortgage/">reverse mortgage</a> where instead of paying down a home loan each month, the homeowner borrows more against the home each month, paying off what’s borrowed when the home is eventually sold.</p> <p>Although reverse mortgages have been provided commercially for some time, the number of providers has shrunk as large banks have <a href="https://download.asic.gov.au/media/4851420/rep-586-published-28-august-2018.pdf">left the field</a> in the face of increased scrutiny and compliance costs.</p> <p>The government version is misleadingly named the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS), even though it is available to all retirees with homes and not just pensioners. It was introduced by the Hawke government in <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/FlagPost/2015/February/The_Pension_Loans_Scheme">1985</a>.</p> <p>The maximum amount that can be made available under the scheme and the age pension combined is <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/how-much-you-can-get-under-pension-loans-scheme?context=22546">150% of the full pension.</a> This means a retiree who is on the pension can get extra fortnightly payments from the scheme to bring their total payment up to 150% of the full pension.</p> <p>If the retiree is not on the pension they can get the entire amount of 150% of the pension via the PLS.</p> <p>The payments stop when the loan balance reaches a <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/maximum-loan-amount-under-pension-loans-scheme?context=22546">ceiling</a> which climbs each year the retiree gets older and climbs with increases in the value of the home.</p> <p>The ceiling for a 70-year old with a home worth $1,000,000 is $308,000.</p> <p>The key difference between the PLS and commercial reverse mortgages is that the size of its lump sum payments is limited. Payments under the PLS have no impact on the pension, whereas commercial reverse mortgages can trigger the means test.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437703/original/file-20211215-13-kxrv2s.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437703/original/file-20211215-13-kxrv2s.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Colin Zhang, Macquarie Business School</span></span></p> <p>As attractive as the PLS might appear, hardly any of the four million or so Australians aged 65 and over have taken it up, perhaps as few as <a href="https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/business-law/budget-changes-make-pension-loans-scheme-more-attractive-senior-homeowners">5,000</a> – one in every 800.</p> <p>So in this year’s May budget the government announced two changes to make it more attractive.</p> <p>One was a “<a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/1902/PLS_2021-22-budget-16_%281%29.pdf">no negative equity guarantee</a>”. Users would never be asked repay more than the value of their property, even if the property fell in value.</p> <p>The other was the ability to take out up to <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/1902/PLS_2021-22-budget-16_%281%29.pdf">two lump sums per year</a> totalling up to 50% of the full pension in addition to fortnightly payments.</p> <p>Total government payments would remain capped at 150% of the pension.</p> <h2>New brand, same scheme</h2> <p>That second change won’t begin until July 1, 2022 and is likely to be re-announced in Thursday’s mid-year budget update.</p> <p>Also announced in the budget was a decision to raise awareness of the scheme “through improved public messaging and branding” something which is also likely to be re-announced on Thursday along with the new name.</p> <p>The other change expected on Thursday is a lower interest rate charged on the sums borrowed. In January 2020, the rate was cut from 5.25% to 4.5% in accordance with cuts in other rates. From January next year it should reduce further to <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/scott-morrison-opens-up-mortgage-loan-scheme-to-help-elderly-fund-their-own-retirements/news-story/9f8c56fbba899f6b76c72ce51ceb9331">3.95%</a>.</p> <h2>Attractive, but not riskless</h2> <p>There remain risks associated with taking advantage of the scheme.</p> <p>One is that if you live long enough you are likely to eventually hit the ceiling and be unable to take out any more money, suffering a loss of income.</p> <p>If you chose to sell your home and move to an aged care service, you need to use a big part of your sale proceedings to pay what’s owed.</p> <p>Other risks are that neither the interest rate nor home prices are fixed.</p> <p>Just as the government has cut the rate charged in line with cuts to lower general interest rates, it might well lift it when interest rates climb. And home prices can go down as well as up, meaning that, at worst, all of the value of your home (although no more) can be gobbled up in repayments.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/171671/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/colin-zhang-1234147">Colin Zhang</a>, Lecturer, Department of Actuarial Studies and Business Analytics, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ning-wang-1297929">Ning Wang</a>, Associate Research Fellow, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/that-reverse-mortgage-scheme-the-government-is-about-to-re-announce-how-does-it-work-171671">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

"It's blown up in our face": Estate agent's festive suggestion could NOT have gone worse

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A real estate agent has been the subject of intense backlash, after asking his tenants whether they wished to buy their landlords a pricey Christmas gift.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Michael Kanik of Brisbane’s Kanik and Co sent a letter to renters with the offer to send Christmas hampers to their landlords on their behalf.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Prices started at $AUD 50 for a basic White Wine Grazing Box and peaked at $AUD 115 for the All Things Golden hamper. Alternatives included a $AUD 55 Festive Sweets, $AUD 70 Self Care and $AUD 99 Foodies Hamper.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846338/brisbane-landlord-christmas-present-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c92bb31d954c4c4e85a8f12cdea4e451" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Reddit</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a screenshot of the email, shared on </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.reddit.com/r/brisbane/comments/rej48y/local_real_estate_encouraging_rental_tenants_to/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reddit</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the agency wrote: “This year has been particularly difficult for both our tenants and property owners alike and we understand some tenants would like to thank their property owners for everything in 2021.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our team are happy to facilitate the purchasing of a gift and have it delivered to the property owner with a handwritten note to say thank you, directly from you.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The agent said tenants who wished to take part would be issued an invoice which would need to be paid within seven days.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The letter </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/real-estate-renter-landlord-christmas-gift/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">sparked</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> a furious reaction online, especially as one-third of Australians relying on a national scheme reducing the costs of rental properties live in Queensland, as reported by </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://thewest.com.au/news/housing-advocates-warn-queensland-will-be-crunched-by-support-scheme-expiration-c-4167432" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The West Australian</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One Twitter user who shared the screenshot on the platform wrote: “This agency is in Logan, where the average weekly rent has increased by 30 per cent in the last 5 years and the vacancy rate is 1 per cent”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Both tenants and landlords shared their disapproval of the gesture.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none"> <p dir="ltr">Capitalism finally flowering into full-blown feudalism.</p> — Ancient Spoonbill (@AncientSpoonbil) <a href="https://twitter.com/AncientSpoonbil/status/1470177074379833347?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 12, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As a property owner who reduced rent and upgraded the internet connection at the property during COVID lockdown, I say WTF??” one user shared.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As another who did similar (instigated a rent-free period of three months and then reduced the rent going forward on the next lease), I just cannot get my head around this agent’s gift collection. If I was the LL [landlord] I’d be taking my property elsewhere for management,” another commented.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Right!?<br /><br />I initially read it as the RE Agent giving *owners* a choice of hampers to gift to their *tenants*. I thought, oh that’s nice.<br /><br />When I realised it was backwards my mind blew 🤯</p> — Damon O’Hara (@hara_damon) <a href="https://twitter.com/hara_damon/status/1470527004772499459?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Oh god real estate agents really are something else. Like do they not realise we actually like them LESS than we like our landlords?” a third said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This is outrageous- it should be the other way around, thanking their loyal customers,” another added.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none"> <p dir="ltr">Thank you me lord and lady for allowing me to work the farm fields with me plough and beast. Please accept a bushel as a sign of my gratitude</p> — righteous_bot (@BotRighteous) <a href="https://twitter.com/BotRighteous/status/1470214503564337154?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On Monday, Mr Kanik admitted that he had made a mistake in sending the email out. However he insisted that he also sent a letter to landlords with the same offer directed to their tenants.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was done with the best of intentions but it’s blown up in our face,” he told </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10303311/Michael-Kanik-Queensland-real-estate-agent-asks-tenants-buy-landlords-Christmas-hampers.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Daily Mail Australia</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “We thought it would be a nice gesture.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s quite disheartening. We’ve already had quite a few calls about it today.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We sent out that blanket email saying if you want to participate, but there’s no obligation at all. We were just purely trying to do a nice thing.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He added: “In hindsight, it was probably a mistake to send it to the tenants, but owners sending tenants a hamper is definitely a good thing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“All our landlords that come back to us are happy to do so. But some tenants have taken it the wrong way.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Kirk Douglas’ home hits the market for eye-watering price

<p dir="ltr">The Beverly Hills home belonging to the late Kirk Douglas has<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/805-N-Rexford-Dr_Beverly-Hills_CA_90210_M12177-91742" target="_blank">hit the market</a><span> </span>with a hefty $USD 7.495 million ($NZD 11.12 million) price tag.</p> <p dir="ltr">Douglas lived at the Hollywood home with his wife, Anne Douglas until his death at 103 in 2020. Anne died the following April, at the age of 102.</p> <p dir="ltr">Their longtime home comes with a star-studded history, including autographed outdoor tiles signed by Hollywood royalty, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Roger Moore, Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Fonda, who left their marks while attending dinner parties hosted by the couple.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Kirk and Anne loved to entertain, and they would host dinner parties with Hollywood icons,”<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realtor.com/news/celebrity-real-estate/beverly-hills-home-late-kirk-douglas-comes-with-memorabilia/" target="_blank">said</a><span> </span>Rochelle Atlas Maize, the listing agent from Nourmand &amp; Associates.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Each dinner guest personally signed stepping stones that are now displayed in the backyard. These stones make this a truly one-of-a-kind property that is rich in history and unlike any other on the market right now.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with the signed pavers, the four-bedroom, five-bedroom home boasts a resort-style pool and spa, and a two-storey guesthouse.</p> <p dir="ltr">Inside, the house offers large living and dining areas, including a living room with a fireplace and French doors that spill out onto a brick-paved courtyard.</p> <p dir="ltr">The rooms feature decorative ceiling designs, built-ins, ensuites, and natural light coming in through multiple windows and skylights.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home, known as “The Stars of Beverly Hills”, was originally built in 1921.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty Images, Realtor</em></p>

Real Estate