Showing posts from October, 2010

Happy Halloween

Both of my little pumpkins have the stomach bug...there is nothing worse! I am hoping we will be better to trick or treat tomorrow night. We carved pumpkins yesterday...I used a stencil and I think they turned out pretty cute.


It's not everyday a guy blows himself up on the North-West of Tasmania. Guy Fawkes night isn't that popular any more, which stops the most industrious Dads passing down their backyard knowledge of fireworks to their kids.

First National Real Estate CEO, Ray Ellis, however is an exception.
Yesterday, Ellis and his unnaturally large set of Captain America white teeth, found himself sitting on a box of dynamite with a quick burning fuse after suggesting, well I'll copy/paste so you can regale in the comedic horror:
"SELFISH" baby boomers are keeping generation Y out of the housing market, First National Real Estate chief executive Ray Ellis believes.
Mr Ellis paid out on what he called the "most self-indulgent, spoilt, want everything for nothing generation that ever existed" in an exclusive interview with The Advocate during a visit to the North- West on Wednesday.
He wants governments to encourage boomers to move into smaller homes to free up housing for you…


Apologies for the lack of anything substantial this week, unfortunately I do have employment and other things going on. Needless to say little has changed in Tasmania - except for it getting worse. Burnie listings have exploded, so much so, I feel like a bear handler from a former Soviet state when talking about it - I could be up on cruelty charges, it's almost poking a caged animal with a stick at this stage.

Devonport continues to rise and Launceston looks like it's about to blow after adding another fifty plus listings before the week is out.
After reading Jeremy Grantham's latest "Night of the Living Fed" newsletter at work today, I had hoped to present it as some super new news, but David Llewellyn-Smith squeezed me out on that front. I will say, in a moment of Chris Joye pomposity, I'm taking credit for Grantham's follow up, given the fact I made sure GMO was fully aware of the the howling from Australian vested interests to his bubble claims.
Take th…

Home Sales Up in September!

The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales rose 10% last month. In addition, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a low 4.35 percent in September. Read more here.

Don't let the media fool is a great time to buy or sell.

Metallic Spray Paint

When I redecorated the end of my hallway a few months ago, I used this lamp from my attic because it was the right size for the space. I wasn't in love with it's look. I decided to spray paint it silver and I still wasn't totally in love but I thought it was an improvement.

Here it is before....

And after....

So I have been working on my dining room and it is no where near complete but I decided to spray paint a few other items.

I liked this monkey but was tired of his finish.

Here he is before...

And after...

I ended up moving him to my living room because I thought the finish went nicely with the frame already placed on this table.

I also spray painted this little vase that came from the Dollar Tree probably 10 years ago.

Before...look can barely see it.


So if you are sick of some of your accessories and want to a fresh look...consider painting. It is cheap and easy.

Soft Landing

As I woke up with morning breath to make any canine proud, I poked my head out the front door - finding I'd once again left out money for the paper boy, who'd once again delivered me Tasmania's worst newspaper.

I gotta have words with that little creep.

The Launceston rotter, The Examiner, or in this case The Sunday Examiner - an even more uninspiring version of the Monday to Saturday version - is one of those newspapers you can count on to toe the expected business line, while smashing the usual suspects and soft targets with full force. Look out bogans and drink drivers.

Four pages in, readers were treated to an story entitled "Opening doors on property", where Australian Property Monitors, Anthony Ishac was busy sending out some conflicting signals.

The data presented showed Burnie down 11% in the last quarter (I won't be the smart arse who extrapolates that to an annual figure) and Launceston down 2%, which mirrored the state and national decline.

Yet as both …

Menu Planner

Sunday - Cookout for my nephew's 2nd birthday
Monday - On my own, undecided
Tuesday - Three Bean Soup and Crusty French Bread. I am going to add ham to the soup.
Wednesday - Chipolte Pork Soft Tacos
Thursday - Wine Club


Announcer: Reports continue to flow from the outer colonies of plastic and wood structures being erected on front lawns. Debate rages in the local communities regarding the how and why, but one consensus has emerged - this isn't good for real estate prices.

Lady stands in front of house.
Lady: I don't know where these signs are coming from, but I want it to stop. I've got one either side of me and the longer they sit here the more I can feel my home value going down and we've only got 10% equity in this thing. We had 15% but we took some out to buy a new boat and BBQ.

As the bad news piles up, much to the chagrin of the real estate industry, who have effectively now lost control of the media, the bubble boys are furiously comparing notes - trying to understand where the epicentre is.

Don't discount Tasmania's ability to punch above its weight. Right now in Tasmania, real estate signs are appearing like the plague cross did in 1400's Europe. Real estate agents a…

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

This recipe was pretty good. I would make it again. My husband says it takes a second to get used to pasta in a Mexican dish but that didn't really bother me. I used regular tortilla chips instead of the nacho-cheese flavored ones. I also only used two green peppers.

12 oz pkg dried jumbo shell macaroni
3 large green peepers and/or red sweet peppers, chopped.
1.5 cups chopped red onion
1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups cooked chicken
16 oz can refried beans
1/2 of a 1.25 oz envelope taco seasoning mix
(2) 10 oz cans of enchilada sauce
8 oz package shredded Mexican style cheese
1 cup sliced green onions
2 cups nacho cheese flavored tortilla chips, crushed
Avocado dip and/or sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
2. In skillet cook peppers, onion, jalapeno, and 1/4 tsp salt in hot oil over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, beans, seasoning mix, and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce. Cook and…

Camille's Room Clean Up

I have started thinking about Christmas and all the new toys that will come into the house. Camille's bedroom is for sleeping but also for playing. The amount of stuff sometimes seems overwhelming...where does it come from? I swear it multiplies overnight. I purchased 3 new drawer bins from Target. They are on-sale for $5.99 each right now. We made three piles just like they do on all those organization for donate, one for attic (saving for my new niece who was born last week) and one for trash.



We made a room for Mimi, Camille's Lovie, in one of her closets.

I purchased reusable food storage containers from the Dollar Tree to help us organize our crafts.

Still a lot of stuff but it feels much better and there is even one empty bin and the Halloween stuff will go back in the attic so there will be more room in Camille's closet for whatever Santa may bring.


We aren't even there yet and life is beginning to imitate art. With news again rumbling out of the RBA about potential rising interest rates and credit card debt back scaling the mountain of stupidity, a dude in the Hobart suburb of Moonah has gone all Nancy Botwin, moonlighting as a pot barren to ease his financial distress.

Why? Well for this guy, the brown stuff from the bowels hit the air displacement mechanism when the fixed rate mortgage on a rental property switched from fixed to variable.

It was then, the mild mannered father of three, junior soccer coach and scout volunteer, saw a grow-op as his best chance to get things back on track. As you'd understand, for any average guy who was earning over $100k a year - well it's hard out there for a pimp - when he trying to get money in as rent - SUV and petrol money spent - and bitches like me talking shit.

That's right, brother was earning over $100k a year and still struggled with the payments before he turned hydro…

Menu Planner

HandsOn Day was a great success! My project was at Maymont Elementary which is now a preschool in the City of Richmond for ages 2-5. All my volunteers were from Target Stores. Over one hundred people helped beautify the school. We painted awesome murals on a trailer, in the nurse's office and on the blacktop. We made flashcards, washed all the windows, planted raised bed gardens and re-landscaped the front yard. It was a gorgeous day and the school looks great. In the haste of leaving the house on Saturday am, I forgot my camera. I am working on getting some pictures emailed to me and I will post.

Glad to be back to blogging. We are organizing Camille's room tomorrow so stay tuned for before and afters of that project.

Menu Planner for the week...Monday - Chicken Enchilada Pasta (I am having a hard time finding a link to this one so if it is good , I will post the recipe later in the week)
Tuesday - Italian Sausage Soup, Blueberry Muffins and Salad
Wednesday - Chicken and Chees…

Jekyll and Hyde

It’s slightly ironic, as we come to the end of Mental Health week, that the real estate industry is having an anxiety attack and from my remote diagnosis, showing signs of bi-polar disorder.

Yesterday, while the REIT CEO was busy participating in a feature on the North-West of the state, detailing how tough the Tasmanian market was, giving quotes on sales being down 20% and where blame should be apportioned, the newly minted REIT President was at the other end of the state, talking up Tasmania - with higher demand and strong interest from speculators.  

Somebody is off the reservation, or possibly hasn’t even arrived on the reservation yet. Whatever the case, the REIT needs to get their communications in order, maybe a dose of Malcolm Tucker would do the trick. A united front at least gives the appearance, to the less nuanced amongst us, that everything is fine.

It’s clearly not.

The lead for the article was an unfortunate boast – “SandyBay is makin’ it rain: Dollar bills for agents y'…

Down and Out

They used to tell me I was selling a dream, and so I followed the mob,
When there was a home to show, or contracts to sign, I was always there right on the job.
They used to tell me I was selling a dream, with riches and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?
Brother, can you spare a dime?

This morning, on the way to work, some guy sporting a bluetooth ear piece and a sharp suit was hassling me for spare change. Confused, I tossed him a coin and thought nothing more of it.

By mid-afternoon I knew what was up and I wanted my coin back.

Apparently there is a real estate Hindenburg going down in Tasmania (who knew), which some real estate agents finally admitted to this morning. You probably already know about this because it was featured on bubblepedia and delusional economics this afternoon. And right now the web nerds at The Advocate are busy scratching their heads, wondering where all those hits came from.

Online, our old buddy, Deanne ' severe shortage…


In the face of continuing rodent infested news for housing, what better time for BIS Shrapnel to come out with one of their housing outlooks, predictions, forecasts, whatever.

One seems to roll out every quarter, under a different guise, reheating essentially the same information. Basically with the job of communicating from the sector, to the naive, through a lazy media, how awesome shit is gonna get.

The equivalent of an agent reassuring you: "you'll never lose in this location."

And if you are naive, or just twelfth man on the deal team, last to know - this one rolled out after being commissioned by QBE LMI. Yes sir, they're a big old issuer of mortgage insurance. Needless to say house prices are going up. So don't delay, buy one for Mum, one for Dad and one for QBE.

In the face of all common sense, you can make 13% in Hobart over the next 3 years, or you could go backwards even further, like some Hobart residences previously featured in this blog.

Which brings me…


Rotten. That would be the only way to describe the latest ABS housing finance statistics for Tasmania. Sure they're up on last month and you can make statistics dance anyway you choose, if you're so inclined. Yet for the whole of 2010, Tasmanian housing finance commitments have not cracked 1000 in any month.

Well what does that mean?

August and September of 2008, in the midst of the global financial crisis, was the last time figures hit this mark and looked like staying there. And we know what happened next, Rudd and Swan tossed money out into the battlefield and their doe-eyed saleswoman, Tanya Plibersek, sold the cash bribes to the naive and inexperienced first home buyers.

Thanks to that intervention, the figures climbed above 1000 and stayed there until January this year, when the bribe was withdrawn. Since that point Tasmanian housing finance commitments have continued in a bottom bumping trend, under 1000 per month. To put this in perspective, sub-1000 is a figure not cons…

Menu Planner

We had a great weekend that involved a trip to the pumpkin patch. As you can see my top planter of pansies are no longer with us and the other two aren't looking too great.

Menu Planner
Sunday - Maple and Soy-Glazed Flank Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Asapargus
Monday - Brown Butter Gnocchi with Spinach and Pine Nuts
Tuesday - Kickin' Chicken with Crunch, Beans & Rice, Corn
Wednesday - Pork Loin with Mango Salsa, Cous Cous
Thursday - Not sure

This weekend is HandsOn Day, a city-wide day of service. If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity, click here to sign up.


It’s only taken six weeks and I can officially get high on the smell of my own farts. This morning a North-West reader alerted me the local newspaper, The Advocate, had written a story questioning any housing shortage - going so far as to suggest there might be a bunch of empty houses around the state.
I ran out and grabbed the paper, in the process half expecting pig poop to land on my head at any moment. Upon reading the article I found myself as pleasantly surprised as anyone could be in this situation – don’t kid yourself, the weekly Domain real estate lift out is probably the ventilator keeping this newspaper breathing.
Now anyone who’s read this mangy mess of a blog would quickly realise The Advocate story had my fingerprints all over it. After all, it was only last weekend I drove a dagger into the heart of any spruiker cunning enough to suggest the North-West had a shortage of housing.
And a month earlier I suggested Tasmania was currently building a new dwelling for every 1.84 …

Feast and Famine

The first thing you need to know about real estate is you have no idea what your house will sell for. When mad drooling cretins, fuelled by debt, fear and delusion start moving in herds, your property might be the scene of growling and teeth gnashing. Several of these cretins may rear up, savaging each other with lashes of a bank's sharpest instrument - a loan approval. And at the end, chests will be puffed out as one side imagines their victory becoming BBQ folklore, while the other consoles themselves with a half-hearted, "it wasn't the house for them."

Which leaves you sitting on a pile of money.

The other scenario is no where near as exciting, there's no victorious party and only one loser. That's you, because no one gives a jack - about you, your house, nor what you think it's worth.

Welcome to the reality of the 4x2 located in Somerset. Five months on the market, one failed auction, long sitting empty and the asking price of $383,000 becomes $289,000. …

Menu Planner

I am still taking my blogging break until after HandsOn Day but thought I would post the menu planner since we are still eating this week. Here goes...

Monday - Chicken and White Bean Soup with Herb Swirl served with Blueberry Muffins and salad
Tuesday - Taco Casserole (recipe below)
Wednesday - Kristen's Chicken
Thursday - Zatarain's Jambalaya with Chicken & Turkey Sausage

Taco Casserole
1.5 lbs lean ground beef (I bought ground turkey this time)
1 package taco seasoning
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can chili or kidney beans
1 cup frozen corn
1+ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup tortilla chips (coarsely crushed)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown meat and drain. Return meat to skillet and add taco seasoning, tomato sauce, tomatoes, beans and cook until hot. Add corn & simmer 5 minutes to heat through. Put in baking dish. Top with cheese and chips. Put in oven 5 to 10 minutes to melt cheese.

Top with sour cream, sliced green onions, shredded lett…

Nervous Night

Just when you think it can't get any worse... If you're one of the illustrious eight people who read this blog, yes I'm actually growing at the rate of 4 people a month, you may remember this house in Launceston I've previously mentioned:

Last sold for $335,000 in mid 2009. The going price in my post was $325,000, that was after the first discount. It's yours now for $315,000.

With $20,000 already flushed and another $11,000 torched in stamp duty, it's worthwhile asking how far ahead would the renter be in this situation?

Price to rent a similar house, in the same suburb for 14 months? Around $17,000.

Of course I'm presupposing the occupants are still in this house, which they aren't. They're long gone along with a good chunk of any equity they might have had. Be it they had to move on, or were forced to, they left with less than they came with.

We're on the eve of an RBA interest rate decision and thousands now have a nervous night ahead - they'…


Well eventually I knew there would come a time I had to do some real work maintaining this blog, I couldn't get by on smart arse comments and poor sub-editing forever - I just needed a hook to get me going.

It came in the most depressing way, as I was informed several people I knew were sitting on a second property - a second empty property - a second empty property they'd renovated and hoped to flip. 'Hoped' being the operative word.

As previously mentioned the, details are too depressing for words and if I went into them I'd probably turn all Glenn Beck as I start blubbering at the prospect of the financial Armageddon these people face.

Putting two and two together I quickly find the properties listed online, pictured dead empty - then something clicks. If you're someone like me - with too much time on his hands and a mild case of undiagnosed asperger's - you notice a few patterns and being the relentless and lifeless fool I am, I decided to follow them.

The …