Photo by: mugley
Lately I’ve been having quite a few Aussies asking my advice about buying a house. I’ve been telling them that I think that the Aussie housing market is in a giant bubble and due to correct sometime in the not too distant future, but mostly that’s not what they want to hear.
I understand why they ask my opinion, since I have bought and sold a few houses in the last decade. What I don’t understand is why they ask my opinion if they’ve already made their mind up to buy the house. Is this just a case of people only hearing what they want to hear? Do they just want me to tell them they are doing the right thing? Do they figure since I bought properties in the past that I think that buying property is always the right thing to do?
During one conversation I was told, “But everyone on TV says the property market is going to go through the roof in the next couple of years!” And I guess this gets to the center of the issue. House buying mania has come to Australia. The media is sprouting on about how the market is just going to keep going up and if you don’t get in now, you’ll miss out. People buy into this, literally. The fact that a number of people in my life have contacted me this month is simply an indication that the mania has spread far and wide.
Bah! What do I know? I’m not on TV. I hope for everyone’s sake that I’m wrong. I really do. I’d like to be wrong about so many things, but I guess only time will tell.
- We had an interesting office function on Friday. It was an ‘Earthquake Preparedness and Team Building’ event. That earthquake last weekend has people here rattled (so to speak). Even long time Californians who are used to the Earth shaking said that they were scared by that 7.2. Most of them take Earthquakes for granted and I think I’m the only one in the office who has an emergency kit already prepared. Obviously we Aussies are not quiet so blasé about Earthquakes since they are rare on our continent. Anyway, the point is: After Friday, everyone has agreed to pool resources and put together a 72-hour kit for the office. This is great! I didn’t even need to be the one to suggest it. I think they already think I’m a little weird, but mostly they put that down to cultural differences 🙂
Grow some food
- I’ve been so slack in the garden lately. Watering, weeding and harvesting are all I’ve managed this week. I really should be sowing our Summer crops. Motivation…..Where are you?
Reducing Energy Dependence
- I think I briefly mentioned a few weeks ago that Brendan has been doing some consultancy work for a start-up renewable energy company here in SoCal. He has been designing a complete off-grid system to run some equipment for a large company. It’s been a big learning curve for him, but very worthwhile. He asked me last night whether we can go off-grid for electricity when we get back to Australia. Umm…..of course! I always planned to get off-grid solutions set up as much as possible. We’ll likely be renting for some time when we get back, so we’ll probably just set up a small, portable solution to power essentials like a chest freezer, some cooking, lighting and a laptop.
Hedge against disaster
- I’ve been reminding my friends here in America to make sure they have some cash out of the bank and on hand in case of emergency. I have an uneasy feeling about the US currency and the banking sector here. It is always a good idea to have some cash on hand in case the banks declare a bank holiday (it happened during the first great depression) or the ATMs stop working due to power failure. News from Citigroup just confirms that something is up:
Effective April 1, 2010, we reserve the right to require (7) days advance notice before permitting a withdrawal from all checking accounts. While we do not currently exercise this right and have not exercised it in the past, we are required by law to notify you of this change. Read more