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Mar 16, 2021 What economists predict for property in 2021

Australian property market outlook

While globally there's a huge amount of uncertainty in the world, in Australia we escaped relatively unscathed. Admittedly, property sales slowed and prices dropped in April 2020; however, the latter part of the year saw pent-up demand unleashed. We can now say confidently that the worst is over and it’s a seller’s market.   Capital cities that were seen as remote bastions from COVID-19 and lockdowns – Perth, Brisbane, Darwin and Hobart, experienced rapid growth as residents of Sydney and Melbourne in particular sought to escape lockdown. We expect that in 2021, these cities will continue to experience more rapid growth than Sydney and Melbourne that were hit harder by the drop in immigration, international students and tourism. The boom in house building and renovations combined with job recovery should help to push house prices higher throughout 2021. Importantly, although we might see a housing bubble in the next few years, no one has asked the question: When will Australian house prices crash? Continued low interest rates and a construction boom should help to insulate the market. However, our own local research might not be enough to convince you so we rounded up the views of some of Australia’s property economists for their predictions for property in 2021.   Reserve Bank of Australia According to governor Philip Lowe of the Reserve Bank of Australia, ‘house values could jump 30 per cent over three years if borrowers believe the cut in interest rates is permanent’. As the RBA has guaranteed no rate rises until at least 2024, it’s a great time for buyers to lock in mortgage interest rates.   What economists are predicting While over 2020, many bank economists made overly pessimistic predictions, the reality was far different.   Finder.com.au Finder each month surveys a panel of 40 economists for the RBA cash rate survey. For 2021, 86 per cent of economists expect that property prices will fully recover to above 2019 levels. HSBC Few property economists made accurate predictions but HSBC’s chief economist Paul Bloxham came closest, being within 1 per cent of actual prices. For 2021, Paul predicts growth (although lower than for 2020) with price rises of up to 4 per cent only, nationally.  State capitals with high demand and less stock will benefit: Sydney prices are expected to rise from 2 per cent to 6 per cent. In Melbourne, expect to see up to 5 per cent and the same in Brisbane.   Westpac While Westpac had a gloomier scenario for 2020, their analysts are painting a much rosier picture for the next couple of years, with chief economist Bill Evans and senior economist Matthew Hassan expecting 7.5 per cent rises for 2021 and 2022 – a cumulative rise of 15 per cent.   CommBank CommBank is seeing home lending increasing after most people who took mortgage holidays and paid back loans, which meant that a flood of distressed mortgage homes didn’t hit the market. CommBank Senior Economist, Belinda Allen, is optimistic given data showing a strong recovery and lending up 59% since May (ABS data). CommBank is on the top side of optimism, tipping a 9% lift in house prices in 2021 and a 5% rise for apartments.   UBS Global investment bank UBS remained upbeat about house prices throughout 2021 and now agrees that we could expect house prices to rise by 5-10 per cent year on year. UBS analysts see a risk of 10 per cent plus (that could lead to a housing ‘bubble’ again, and stimulate inflation) given the potential repeal of responsible lending.   AMP I’m sure you’re all familiar with AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver, whose pronouncements on property appear regularly in the media. Dr Oliver predicts home prices will surge by 5 per cent nationally in 2021, although apartment prices, especially in inner Melbourne, remain weak. Low interest rates, buyer incentives, potential easing on lending restrictions, reopening of the Australian economy and slight improvement in employment figures should all help prices trend upwards into 2022.    SQM Research SQM Research’s Louis Christopher is one of the more reliable predictors of house price changes. SQM’s property price index is an excellent tool for tracking movements. Need help with buying or selling property in 2021? Give us a call today.

Mar 10, 2021 Pause & reflect: Learnings from 2020

A few months in, reflecting on the pandemic we can see that many have described it as a global war. And it may continue to feel that way as we hide not from invading armies but a virus.  But COVID-19 isn’t a war. Yes, it’s a health emergency and many will experience uncertainty and hardship. But our cities and homes are safe from destruction. There is plentiful food in the shops. And we don’t need to go into battle – for most of us, we just need to stay at home. However many months this takes, we will get through this.  Making sacrifices Front-line health workers put their own health at risk and family needs second for the greater good. Across the world, we’ve seen acts of kindness with friends and neighbours offering help to those more vulnerable.  Above all, many of us who live in countries where businesses had to shut down, are doing our bit to help keep everyone safe as they reopen under strict social distancing rules. We might be unhappy at not being able to take our international holiday this year or attend a major event but we’re (mostly) complying with directives to “stay home as much as possible” and “remain physically distanced” or “wear a mask”. We’re prepared to make these small sacrifices (and others) because we know it’s for the common good. And just as in a time of war, we’re improvising, taking more control over our lives and returning to familiar rituals. Regaining a link to the past It’s also worth remembering that many Western countries have experienced decades of peace and prosperity. Older people, however, will remember World War Two and its aftereffects.  Baby Boomers, too, might recall food shortages and hardship in the immediate post-war years, and heard stories from parents who lived through it. And many immigrants originate from wartorn countries and places with pressured healthcare systems and limited opportunity.  Perhaps, then, what many of us will take from this experience is newfound resilience and appreciation for everyday life – things that those who have experienced true hardship already know.  Looking for the positives in COVID-19 Everyone is worried about what the future will look like. COVID-19 may be a terrible virus, but our response to it doesn’t need to be. Humans are incredibly adaptable, and while this pandemic is scary, it’s also an opportunity to take stock in a way that we can’t when we are rushing between appointments, work and the shops.   Pressing the pause button With our previous routines still in upheaval, people have rediscovered slower pleasures. Gardening, even on a window ledge. Quiet walks, early nights, baking bread, reading books, listening to music. We finally have time to get in touch with old friends, family and colleagues. We also have the opportunity to learn new technology as we set up WhatsApp groups and Zoom parties, and work from home.  Another thing that social distancing has done is emphasise that we are social creatures. People have come together using the internet, TikTok, funny memes and even online fitness classes to laugh, support each other and remind us that this strange time will pass.  As one meme said, it’s as if we’ve been sent to our rooms to ‘think’ after decades of too much frenzied-activity. While there was a sense of intense shared grief at thousands of lives were lost around the globe, there’s also a newfound appreciation of the health of our family and friends. There’s was also a renewed appreciation for those who were separating themselves from their families and putting their own lives at risk in order to save their patients. As we heard the tragic news coming out of hard-hit places such as northern Italy and New York, many of us were thinking about the health care workers and other key people who keep our towns and cities functioning. It’s a blessing that our region of the world is Oceana as we’ve been fortunate enough to keep our COVID-19 numbers low. Focusing on the future It’s important to look ahead and remain hopeful. Scientists are working around the clock to find a vaccine. Philanthropist Bill Gates is donating billions to build manufacturing capacity for seven possible vaccines. Even though two at the most will be developed, creating capacity for seven will save precious time and lives. The generosity and vision of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an inspiration to all of us to look for solutions and give generously when we can.  Drivers of change Remember that while this health crisis unfolds, there is much to smile about. Historically, pandemics and wars both drive change. After World War Two, for example, women realised they wanted to join the workforce permanently, not just to fill jobs left by men going to war, transforming their own lives and those of the women who came after them. Life was different but in many ways better for many.  No one knows what the world will look like in a year from now. All we can do is stay healthy, connected and focused, so we can re-establish our ‘new normal’ and help others do the same.

Feb 22, 2021 Why the future’s bright for property this decade

When the pandemic started to bite in March 2020, most property owners were pessimistic about the future. Pundits for major banks, too, were predicting price falls of around 12%, and saying the market would be bottoming out by June 2021. We now know that this disaster scenario didn’t occur. At the time of writing, property prices are up across Australia. In regional areas, as city dwellers flocked to areas where homes are more affordable – with more space – prices have skyrocketed.  12 months in review Looking back over the past twelve months we're pleased to share that home values remain in positive double digits in our two major cities, Sydney (13.3% price increase) and Melbourne (10.2% price increase). The only capitals where values showed declines were Perth and Darwin, but even across these cities, home values had started to recover. Consumer sentiment ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence remained at 108.9 as of 10 January 2021. This figure represents an increase over the weekly average for 2020 and, surprisingly, is 2.7 points higher than for the same period in 2020, pre pandemic. HOMEOWNER UPDATE Property values As Tim Lawless, CoreLogic director of research notes, record low interest rates have supported housing market activity. This was boosted by a surge in consumer confidence as COVID-related restrictions eased and more people returned to work. In addition, consumers saw the property market ticking along as real estate agents adapted to lockdowns and social distancing.  While home values took a tumble, particularly inner-city apartments, prices across the nation are on the rise again, although apartments and rentals are slower to move in the capital cities. CoreLogic’s data for January shows optimism in the market with home values up 0.9% over the past month. This is an increase on pre-COVID values while the index is tracking higher (at 0.7%) than the peak in 2017. Brisbane and Hobart fared best, while Darwin defied logic with detached house prices up 27.3% over the 12 months to January 2021, and apartments up by 5.6% over the same period. Property auctions Clearance rates recorded a historical low of 30.2% through April 2020. Now that restrictions have been lifted properties the majority of auction campaigns are selling under the hammer again. Encouragingly, clearance rates overall are healthy, with Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra reporting 80%, 82% and 84% clearance rates respectively at the start of 2021. The outlier is Brisbane, with a clearance rate of just 58%. Market movements in 2021 While spring is often noted as a peak selling season, figures bear out that March is the month with the best sales results. Now borders are (mostly) open for the majority of the time, we expect to see many more property listings and people migrating or moving from now until the end of the year. Supply and demand Another positive aspect is that properties for sale are becoming scarcer as demand exceeds supply. And while property commentators note that sales activity is down slightly in January 2021 compared with a year earlier, this is not true of all markets. INVESTOR UPDATE Rental listings Rental market conditions are still highly fragmented, with the weakest conditions centered around inner city areas and the apartment market. In stark contrast, investors in regional markets have seen rental increases of up to 25%. Examples include regional towns such as Noosa, Launceston, Yeppoon, Orange, Kingscliff, Mackay and Yamba, which have all experienced an upward trend over the past few years. And according to Simon Pressley from Propertyology, in other regional markets, from Bendigo to Ballina, “It’s near impossible to find a rental property”. With weaker conditions across the apartment sector, investors have continued to see a reduction in rental rates, although Peter Chittenden, a 35-year veteran in the developer arena, believes that the national fundamentals remain strong – lack of supply, strong rental yields, wealthy buyers not as affected as others, and the ‘guarantee’ of low interest rates.  Vacancy rates And while off-the-plan apartment sales were hit hard by the pandemic and lockdowns, sales are now booming as investors experience FOMO, fear of missing out. Vacancy rates rose over 2020 in many capital cities, in particular, Sydney and Melbourne were hit hard as international students and tourists were denied entry to Australia.  Short-term lets Another factor increasing the number of long-term rental properties appearing on the market was the transition of short-term holiday lets to permanent rentals, namely due to lockdown restrictions. In particular, in mid-2020 homes (mostly apartments) listed on AirBnB, Stayz and HomeAway either went on the market for sale or were offered as longer-term rentals. However, after the initial panic, many of these properties are back on the short-term rental market and in high demand as Australians are forced to holiday in our own country, rather than travel overseas. If you'd like advice about the property market in direct relation to your home, its location, condition and local demand, do not hesitate to get in touch. 


So, you’ve endured months of hardship and frugal living and to save enough money to use as a deposit for a home. Now comes the loan application and knowing for sure how much you’ll be able to spend. Lenders will put a magnifying glass to your application, especially in the aftermath of the banking royal commission, in which they were accused of being less than diligent. You’ll have to be transparent about your sources of income, monthly outgoings and levels of debt for items such as credit cards and HECS. Five areas of focus for lenders are known as the “5 Cs” – credit, capital, collateral, capacity and character. The approval process might feel a little invasive but you should embrace it. While banks will ask the difficult question to cover themselves, they’re also doing you a favour. You’ll avoid being saddled with a loan that, ultimately, you may not be able to afford. That leads to a world of pain in which you might default, lose the property and all your savings. You don’t want more money than you can afford to pay back. Here’s how lenders try to avoid that scenario: Credit history You need to demonstrate you can be trusted to pay back a loan. Achieving a 20 per cent deposit is strong evidence in your favour. This amount is seen as a benchmark for affordability. If your deposit is less than a fifth of what you want to borrow, banks will insist on your paying lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI), which covers their risk for lending money to you. Over the course of a loan, it will set you back tens of thousands of dollars. Apply for your credit rating from companies such as Equifax and Experian. If you have a poor record, you should think twice about seeking a loan until outstanding issues are resolved. A mortgage broker can help find a lender who might take your risk, but you really want to be “credit gold” to find the most competitive loan and get quick approval. Capital It’s good to show a lender that you have assets. That is, non-depreciating ones, such as object d’art and paintings. A car, PlayStation 4 and your fancy Italian push-bike are depreciating assets and won’t count. While lenders are unlikely to ask that non-depreciating assets be offered as collateral, they like to see you are sensible with money. Collateral The property you intend to purchase will be the collateral. Be aware that banks will value the property before releasing funds to pay for it. If they think you’ve over-paid, you’re in trouble. They may refuse to issue the loan. In the event that occurs, you’ll need to consult with your solicitor and reconsider your position, either on the property or with the lender. Capacity This is the big one. Your income and deposit will be measured against your outgoings to gauge how much you can afford. This is known as the maximum loan-to-value ratio (LVR). It will determine where and what the type of property you can consider. Lenders have used the so-called Household Expenditure Method to make this calculation, but since the banking inquiry many have de-commissioned this for more exhaustive investigations. As a rule, your mortgage should be no more than 35 per cent of your gross income. Banks will flinch if your other debts, such as car repayments, push the overall figure up 10 per cent or higher. Character This isn’t about being a good person. Lenders want to know you hold down a steady job as this convinces them you’ll be able to make ongoing payments. Don’t change jobs just before an application or halfway through the application process. Employment is never guaranteed, of course. Many buyers consider income protection insurance to make sure they can afford their mortgage repayments in the event they lose their job. If you are self-employed, you will need another type of loan. Lenders will demand a range of documentation, including two years of tax returns, business activity statements and an accountant letter. Other issues under this criteria include age and residential status. House 2 Home Real Estate BSO 0413 236 293 naideen@h2hrealestate.com.au


With the weather at its best and the gardens in bloom, spring and summer have traditionally been the best times to sell your home.  However, don’t overlook the winter, there are certainly advantages for selling and buying during the colder months. Firstly, there is less competition from other properties.  Buyers actively looking have less to choose from thus giving your home more attention.  This also works in a purchasers favour, having less competition themselves from other buyers. Secondly, real estate agents tend to be less busy during winter, giving them more time to commit to getting your home sold or finding you a new one.   The same applies to lending institutes, so the processing time for your financials should be a lot quicker. When selling your home in winter, be aware that appropriate lighting is critical.   During the day, make sure all window furnishings are fully open to allow the rooms to fill with winter sunlight.  Try to avoid using cool fluorescent lights and opt for a warm yellow light instead if possible.  You can also use lamps to create a cosy and inviting environment. Nice warm lighting also provides a great look for advertising photos, so consider having a twilight shoot to create this atmosphere.   As our gardens aren’t quite as stunning in the winter, this is a great angle to take, making your home appear cosy and inviting. In homes that have hard flooring, nice rugs can give a much warmer feel under foot. If your property has a nice outdoor area, consider placing a fire pit or brassier out there.  This can allow potential buyers to visualise themselves enjoying that area all year round.  It is imperative that buyers feel warm and comfortable in your home. When purchasing a new home, winter gives buyers the opportunity to see how a house deals with the harsher, colder weather.   Mould and or damp are more noticeable, whether it be inside or out and they can see how well the winter sun flows through and around the home. It is also a great time to assess how well a home is insulated and what heating it provides.  A good heating system can show a potential buyer how inviting your home can be. Check for any water leaks or wet patches if it has been raining and any areas that may let in chilly drafts.   If you are selling and feel your home may have any of these issues, get them repaired prior to listing for sale. So, if you need or want to sell over winter, there is an upside; it’s just a matter of best presenting the features your home has to offer, over the cooler season.  When purchasing, there will be no nasty surprises ahead as you say goodbye to summer. By Claire Hester. Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved. Stock Image


I doubt there are many of us who haven’t sat down and played a game of Monopoly.  Passing GO and receiving $200, avoiding jail and hoping to land a Chance or Community Chest card.  We would try our best to buy up many motels and hotels, preferably in the best parts of town. But what do we really know about this age old game? The first origins came about in 1904 when Elizabeth (Lizzie) Magie-Phillips an American game designer and left-wing feminist started selling her “Landlords Game”. Board games were gaining popularity fast in the early part of the 20th century among the middle classes.  People had more free time due to changing workplaces and electric lighting was becoming commonplace in American homes.  This allowed games to be played more safely and for longer at night compared to the gaslight era. Lizzie created this game to illustrate the teachings of the progressive era, American political economist and journalist Henry George.   Being a ‘Georgist’, Lizzie believed in the economic philosophy that people should own the value they create themselves, but economic value made from land should belong equally to all members of society.  The Landlords Game was created to help demonstrate the bad economic effects of land monopolism and the use of land value tax as a solution for it. Mary Pilon explained in her New York Times article, Monopoly’s Inventor:  The progressive who didn’t pass go,  “She created two sets of rules for her game: an anti-monopolist set in which all were rewarded when wealth was created, and a monopolist set in which the goal was to create monopolies and crush opponents. Her dualistic approach was a teaching tool meant to demonstrate that the first set of rules was morally superior.” Interestingly, it was the monopolist version of the game that caught on.  It became very popular with left-wing intellectuals and on college campuses with the popularity spreading over the next three decades. After her patent expired in 1924 Lizzie decided to patent an updated version of her game, where she included small changes.  If you owned all the railroads or utilities, you could charge higher rents on them.  She also introduced chips, which signified the properties that had been upgraded, again allowing more rent to be charged. In time it caught on with a community of Quakers in Atlantic City, where they decided to customise it using the names of their local neighbourhoods.  Around 1932, businessman Charles Todd introduced his friend Charles Darrow to the Quakers version of the board game. Matt Blitz who wrote an article, Who really invented Monopoly, for the Today I Found Out website, said Charles Todd had stated,  “The first people we taught the game to after learning it from the Raifords was Darrow and his wife Esther.  It was entirely new to them. They had never seen anything like it before and showed a great deal of interest in it.  Darrow asked me if I would write up the rules and regulations and I wrote them up and checked with Raiford to see if they were right and gave them to Darrow – he wanted two or three copies of the rules, which I gave him and gave Raiford and kept some myself.” It was the great depression and Charles Darrow was unemployed, desperate for money and down on his luck.  He took the set of rules he acquired from Charles Todd, changed them slightly and created his own version, which he called Monopoly.  He began making sets of this game and selling it as his own creation.  He tried to pitch his game to various companies but had no luck. He did however manage to get it on shop shelves and in 1934 it received great Christmas sales.  That’s when it came to the attention of Robert Barton, the son-in-law of George Parker of Parker Brothers.  He decided to buy the rights to the game for his then struggling company, and in the first year it sold nearly two million copies. Unfortunately, not long after Parker Brothers purchased the rights to the game they found out that Darrow had been dishonest when he said that he was the creator.  Lizzie’s original 1904 patent had expired, but her 1924 patent for the Landlords Game hadn’t.  Therefore, Parker Brothers sought out Lizzie and bought her patent for only a few hundred dollars and no ongoing royalties. Originally it had no player tokens so, in 1935 Parker Brothers introduced wooden player tokens which were shaped like chess pawns.   It was 1937 when the typical die-cast metal tokens were introduced:  a car, iron, lantern, purse, thimble, shoe, top hat, and rocking horse, battleship and cannon. In 1935 Waddington Games was the first company given licensing rights by Parker Brothers for the British Commonwealth (excluding Canada) and Europe.  In 1936 they substituted the games prior Atlantic City locations for London based locations.  Waddington’s also licensed other editions from 1936 to 1938 and the game was resold or reprinted in Australia, Belgium, Switzerland, Chile, Sweden and The Netherlands. From then the game took on the design and shape that we know today.  Changes were made to the player tokens in the early 1950s when the lantern, purse and rocking horse were replaced with the dog, horse and rider and the wheelbarrow.  A poll was carried out to see what Monopoly fans would like as their eleventh piece and a sack of money was the winner. In 1990 Monopoly Junior was first published, in 1995 a 60th Anniversary Edition was released in a gold box and in 2005 a 70th Anniversary Edition was released in a silver-metallic tin with a plastic slip case. Late in 2010 for the 75th anniversary, Monopoly Revolution was released giving the game a graphic redesign and a return to its round shape, which has not been seen since some of Darrow’s 1930s custom-made sets. There have been many versions of this popular game over the years, but to me there will only be one.  London’s Old Kent Road to Mayfair and all those places in between. By Claire Hester. Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved. Stock Images


Looking to buy a new home is a very exciting experience.  Whether it is your first home purchase or you are an expert at it, there are always certain features you will have on your wish list.   It may be a sparkling pool, large yard, plenty of living space or a modern kitchen, but what about a ghost or a sordid past? Of course, every home has a history, some better than others, but it is not usually something you give too much consideration.  Generally, we get a ‘feel’ from a house and if it feels right it and covers our checklist we are happy.  You would also presume when going to contract that all is well with your new home. So legally, what past information has to be disclosed to future buyers by a real estate agent?  In most cases, if you ask an agent about a certain matter and they know the answer, then they are legally bound to be honest with you.   However, what if there is an issue you normally wouldn’t contemplate asking about, like a sordid history or things that go bump in the night? In Australia, we refer to these types of issues as ‘material facts’ or ‘stigmas’.  This applies when an event has happened on or near a property, which could deem it undesirable to a potential purchaser.  There are different types of material facts that can surround a property and they are all worth asking about.  They can also have a huge baring on the sale price. A criminal stigma will surround a home if it has been used for any illegal purposes.  For example, as a brothel, drug house or the scene of any major criminal activity like sexual or violent assault.   Undesirable, direct neighbours such as known sex offenders also fall under this category. An environmental stigma pertains to anything that may hazardous to the occupant’s safety or health such as toxic or chemical waste.    When a house has been used as a ‘meth lab’ for instance, the cooking of the drug leaves a hazardous residue throughout the home.  This can pose huge health risks to the occupants and requires an extensive clean up.  Unfortunately, this stigma is becoming more common A murder or suicide stigma is self-explanatory, but certainly, information most potential buyers would want to know about.  In some cases, these events are known to neighbours or have been in the media, so may be brought to your attention later on down the track.  It is common for people to pass away at home, and the likelihood of this is greater in older houses, but the situation surrounding it is what matters. A debt stigma could pose problems to new owners due to potential on-going debt collection.   If the previous owners owned money, debt collectors or unsavoury types may continue to harass the new owners thinking they are their target. Lastly and usually the most intriguing, is a phenomena stigma.   This stigma covers any home known to be haunted or the site of any paranormal activity.   To some curious purchasers, this may be appealing, but most of us would like to be for-warned.  Believe it or not, this is a real issue. Under Australian common law, homeowners and real estate agents are required to disclose any information considered a material fact or stigma.  This topic came under the microscope in 2004 when buyers went to contract on the Sydney home where Sef Gonzales had brutally murdered his family in 2001. Once they found out they no longer wanted to go ahead with the purchase and thankfully, had their deposit refunded.  The agency involved were fined heavily for breaching the ‘acts for misleading behaviour in promoting the property for sale’.  The home did sell again later for a lesser amount, to someone who was not deterred by the property’s macabre past. It did bring about a review however, of the laws surrounding disclosure.  There is still no stand-alone disclosure, but real estate agents must now disclose any material fact or stigma known to them before they can legally sell a property. Unfortunately, what actually constitutes this is not always clear, but the Office of Fair Trading do give general guidelines for your state.  Different religions and cultures may also have varying opinions on what they consider material fact or stigmas to be. Follow these links for further information in Queensland and NSW. http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/536748/final-report-seller-disclosure-in-queensland.pdf  Page 46. http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Property_agents_and_managers/Agency_responsibilities/Misrepresentation_guidelines.page It certainly pays to ask the real estate agent these questions if you have any concerns when looking for a new property.  The last thing anyone needs is a nasty surprise once they have purchased and moved into their new home. By Claire Hester. Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved. Stock Image


On those stinking hot summer days, do you ever sit back and wonder how nice it would be to have your own swimming pool?  Bobbing around in your own private oasis, without the noise and crowds of a public pool, is definitely a relaxing thought.  However, before making this reality, there are a number of aspects to consider, not only which blow up floaty to buy. Firstly, there are different types of swimming pools, commonly being concrete, fibreglass and above-ground.  Although each of these choices comes with their own pros and cons, there is a good range of options that can fit within any budget, style or taste. Let’s start with concrete swimming pools.  These allow free form, size and depth, which means you are unrestricted by manufacturer’s designs, colours and sizes.  They can offer different finishes depending on your preferences such as aggregate or tile, which are the most popular choices in Australia.   Other advantages with a concrete pool are features like vanishing edges, steps, beach entries and rockeries, which are permanently built into the pool. An aggregate finish is a mixture of pebbles, natural stone or glass beads and cement.  This finish comes as either exposed aggregate or polished aggregate.   Exposed, tends to consist more of natural looking products such as river pebbles or glass beads.    After it has been applied, it is then blasted with water to remove the excess concrete and expose the product you have chosen.  It also provides some traction, is long lasting and attractive. Polished aggregate contains finely crushed coloured stones (granite, marble, quartz and more) which are polished to bring up their natural shine creating a sparkle as the sun hits it through the water. Ceramic, stone and glass tiles are a popular choice for high-end pool finishes and can be manufactured in any colour or pattern.  Although the initial outlay is generally more expensive, they are recognised as one the most durable pool finishes available. Fibreglass pools have advanced a lot in recent years, come with long structural warranties and offer an extensive range of colour and finish options.  Manufacturers also provide a large selection of different sizes, shapes and depths, to accommodate any space.  Built-in spas and water features are now available with fibreglass. They are a less expensive option to a concrete pool with an easier installation, which is often appealing to the buyer.  A concrete pool can take months to install whereas a fibreglass pool can be in your yard within a week. In his homeimprovementpages.com.au article, Fibreglass or Concrete Pool: Pros and Cons, Rob Schneider raises a very important point. “Another advantage of a fibreglass pool is that fibreglass has enough flex in it that it won't crack in unstable soil. In some areas where soil subsidence or unstable soil is a problem, many homeowners who have installed concrete pools have regretted it. If you're leaning towards concrete, find out about soil conditions in your backyard first.” Along with the soil conditions, it’s also important to consider the access for a fibreglass pool shell onto your property.  This is often overlooked and where there is poor access, a crane has to be involved.  This will lead to extra costs which need to be factored into your budget. Don’t forget about the maintenance.   This is something that can’t be avoided, but you don’t want to be spending more time tending to your pool than actually swimming in it. If you are surrounded by a lot of trees, a pool cover is probably going to be a good idea. Fibreglass pools are known to be less maintenance than their concrete cousin.  The fibreglass shell doesn’t affect the water chemistry in the same way as a concrete pool and the smooth nature of the finish makes it hard for algae to adhere.   Fibreglass pools are also warmer. When it comes to longevity, a fibreglass pool generally doesn’t need much in the way of overhauling and once too old, they can just simply be replaced.  In Australia, fibreglass pools come with very long warranties on structure and surface, so do your homework there.  A concrete pool can easily be renovated and built well will last a lifetime.  Generally, it is a good idea to renovate and/or resurface your concrete pool every 8-10 years. Not to forget the above-ground pool option.   This is the kindest on your wallet, but like fibreglass you are limited to size and shape.  When it comes to durability an above-ground pool isn’t going to stand up the same and an in-ground.  However, as they are not a permanent fixture on your property, they can easily be replaced. This type of pool requires the same maintenance as in-ground options including cleaning, filtering, and maintaining the chemical balance.   They also come under the same pool fencing laws.  Although they can be a great feature in your home, they are not likely to add the value to your property that an in-ground pool will. The walls are constructed of steel, resin or aluminium, with aluminium being the strongest. You get 2-3 times the life of these when compared to steel pools.  The vinyl liners on these pools generally need replacing every 5-9 years. A saltwater opposed to a chlorine pool may be something you were also thinking about.  This has become a very popular option worldwide.  Unfortunately, with concrete swimming pools the salt doesn’t react well to the concrete, making it susceptible to wear and tear.  If you do use a salt chlorine generator, you are going to have to resurface it even sooner than you previously expected.  Saltwater is not an option with above-ground pools. In Australia, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to swimming pools so make sure you do your homework thoroughly.  Get opinions from friends or family who already have a pool and read all the information that is available on line.  Pool companies are happy to offer advice and will often come out to your home to inspect the site for a quote.   It is a costly decision and you want to ensure you are very happy with your desired outcome. When you have decided which type of pool best suits your lifestyle, home and budget, make sure you do your research in to the pool fencing laws in Australia.  You can find these at SPASA Australia website, https://www.spasa.com.au/consumer-info/fencing-laws/. It is also recommended to do any pool landscaping at the same time you install your pool.  It is something homeowners tend to put off, but the right surrounding is the perfect finish to your own private oasis. By Claire Hester. Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved. Stock Image