Market wrap

LEASES
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BURWOOD EAST

Leadtec Systems has leased a refurbished 1000 sq m office for $250 net per sq m in Burwood East. JLL agent Joshua Tebb brokered the seven-year lease at 3/12 Wesley Court.

CBD

Tropicana Juice Bar has signed a new 10-year lease for 1(b)/55 Swanston Street, Melbourne, via Savills Australia. The 31 sq m site will cost $7000 per sq m net. Agents Jock Thomson, Michael Di Carlo and Jeremy Marmur reported that it was the business’s second CBD outlet.

COBURG

Children’s and young adults’ book store Pictures and Pages will move into 400 Sydney Road, Coburg, after brokering a deal through Fitzroys agent Adam Lester. The 67 sq m shop was leased for three years with two further five-year options for $27,000 annually.

COBURG

JLL agents Ben Scalora and Robert Breda have negotiated the four-year lease of 6/87 Newlands Road, Coburg North. The 1684 sq m warehouse and showroom will cost $109,460 net per year. 247 Labour Crew, which took the lease, also has a three-year option.

COOLAROO

Hertz Trucks has leased a 700 sq m warehouse in Coolaroo from a private investor for the next four years. The property, 438 Barry Road, will cost $60,000 net annually. JLL’s agents Ben Scalora and Robert Breda negotiated the deal.

KEILOR PARK

A 745 sq m warehouse at 63 Logistics Street, Keilor Park, has been leased by Quin Global for one year. JLL agents Ben Scalora and Robert Breda brokered the deal, which is worth $60,000.

SOLD

CAMBERWELL

773 Burke Road, Camberwell, has been sold at auction for $2.5 million, Fitzroys’ Michael Ryan and David Bourke brokered the sale of the 135 sq m property, which changed hands for the first time since 1973. It features a shop and car park.

CBD

Colliers International’s Oliver Hay and Daniel Wolman have sold 188 Little Collins Street to a private investor for $2.4 million. The 34 sq m property sold five days before auction. It currently is leased to fashion retailer Fred Perry.

MOUNT WAVERLEY

A private investor has sold a two-storey office building at 430 Huntingdale Road, Mount Waverley, for $1.3 million. Chess World Pty Ltd bought the 440 sqm property through JLL agent Peter Sprekos.

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Small-business creditors set up name, shame and bill site

Pursuing debtors with a flurry of invoices and statements may be a thing of the past. Pursuing debtors with a flurry of invoices and statements may be a thing of the past.
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Pursuing debtors with a flurry of invoices and statements may be a thing of the past.

Pursuing debtors with a flurry of invoices and statements may be a thing of the past.

A name-and-shame website has been set up so small businesses can collect money they’re owed. While not a credit collector, www.hasntpaidyet南京夜网 is a database of known late payers that site members can refer to. The site also sends creditors frequent bill reminders. “Many small businesses don’t have the time or financial resources to engage in costly legal action, and instead walk away from bad debts and swallow an unfair loss, until now,” says co-founder Paul Wilson.

Cash-rate hike looms

A survey of economists by finder南京夜网.au finds that the nextcash-rate rise is likely to be in June 2015 and it will continue to gradually rise over the next 2-3 years to 4 per cent from 2.5 per cent now. There’s also a chance it could rise sooner, with a 21 per cent chance of a rate hike in the first few months of next year.

ATO warns deadline approaching

The ATO is reminding taxpayers who complete their own returns to lodge online before the October 31 deadline to avoid penalties. The fastest and most convenient way to lodge is through the ATO’s free myTax or e-tax services.

Medibank member-shareholders well positioned

Just over one-quarter of adult Medibank Private members are shareholders and have $94 billion sitting in the bank, according to a survey by Roy Morgan Research. “They show great potential to purchase their share of the estimated $4 billion to $5.7 billion value of the shares likely to be offered in the forthcoming float, particularly if they are eligible for a larger preferential allotment,” it says.

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Centrelink reverse mortgage scheme is justfor the wealthy

Reversal: The government’s reverse mortgage scheme doesn’t do anything for people drawing the full age pension. Caption
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Reversal: The government’s reverse mortgage scheme doesn’t do anything for people drawing the full age pension.

Reversal: The government’s reverse mortgage scheme doesn’t do anything for people drawing the full age pension.

Caption

Reversal: The government’s reverse mortgage scheme doesn’t do anything for people drawing the full age pension.

Caption

A little-known government reverse mortgage scheme trumps those offered by the private sector in many respects, but curiously, the government scheme is only available to better-off retirees.

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Reverse mortgages allow home owners to exchange equity in their homes for a loan that is repaid from the proceeds when the home is sold.

Private providers allow the money to be taken as a lump sum or as an income stream; though the vast majority take the money as a lump sum. As there are no repayments the interest on the loan is capitalised.

The debt can blow out over long periods. Care also needs to be taken in case there is any impact on age pension eligibility.

Centrelink and Department of Veterans’ Affairs have a little-known Pension Loan Scheme where those on a part age pension, who own their own home or investment property, can take out a loan that is repaid when the property is sold.

The loan has to be taken as an income stream and is limited to that which, when added to the part-pension, takes them to the maximum pension.

The interest rate is 5.25 per cent and fixed, which is much lower than the variable interest rates charged by reverse mortgage providers.

But get these: retirees who are poor enough that they are on the full age pension and who own their own homes are unable to boost their income through the government scheme.

Yet, as the think tank, The Australia Institute points out, retirees whose wealth or income makes them ineligible for the full age pension are able to access the scheme.

Even more bizarrely, self-funded retirees who own property can access the scheme if they are ineligible for the age pension under either the income test or the assets test.

If they are ineligible for the age pension under both tests, they cannot access the scheme. As the Australia Institute says, the scheme is available to those retirees who need it the least. There are reasons that retirees may prefer a private provider.

Under the government scheme the amount is capped to the age pension rate. More can be borrowed from a private provider and it can be taken as a lump sum. And, as mentioned, there is a big class of retirees, such as full age pensioners, who can not access the government scheme.

The Australia Institute says the scheme should be made available to everyone of pension age with a loan that would pay a fortnightly income up to the full age pension rate. Expanding the scheme would allow an existing retiree on the full age pension who owned property to potentially double their retirement income, depending on their age and the value of their home.

Similarly, wealthy retirees who are ineligible for the age pension would be able to borrow up to the equivalent of the full age pension.

On the Australia Institute’s numbers, the scheme could be expanded without significant cost to the budget. Any move to expand the scheme would meet with resistance from reverse mortgage providers.

@jcollett_money

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Lodes of reasons for silver’s decline

Hi Ho Silver! Fair exchange: Silver seems to be very relatively cheap, compared to gold.
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Fair exchange: Once closely tied to gold, silver has slipped its moorings of late.

Fair exchange: Silver seems to be very relatively cheap, compared to gold.

Fair exchange: Silver seems to be very relatively cheap, compared to gold.

Bobby, my morning coffee guy, is selling the lease on his kiosk so he can stock up on silver. I hope it wasn’t something I said.

A caffeine hit is one thing, but silver?

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Still, he got me thinking. Silver has always been the poor relation to gold. Normally one ounce of gold will buy 15 ounces of silver, today it’s almost 70 ounces. Clearly either silver is dead cheap or gold is extremely over-valued.

A statistical fact is “reversion to the mean” – that is, nothing stays out of whack forever even if it takes an awfully long while to get back to where it should be. So something has to give.

Besides, I suspect gold has done its dash. The biggest things it had going for it were a weak US dollar and a fear of rising inflation from all the extra money the US is printing to stave off deflation.

No more. The US dollar is on a roll. The US economy is picking up steam, not before time either, and its interest rates are almost certain to rise next year. This is potentially disastrous for bullion which doesn’t earn a cent of income. Higher interest rates on savings make it less attractive to hold gold, not to mention that its raison d’etre, inflation, is missing in action.

It had a great run in the global financial crisis when the financial system was on its knees though even then it failed to reach its 1980 peak after taking inflation into account.

That’s gold’s other problem. Despite its reputation as a hedge against inflation, an investment in either shares or property since then would have left it for dead. Deflation remains the biggest global economic threat, not inflation.

So if gold has its best behind it, why should its precious metal cousin fare any better? Both, after all, are sentiment driven: demand fluctuates wildly and  supply is limited.

If anything, silver is even more prone to market mood swings. It’s been known to drop 30 per cent in days. Heck, it did that twice in one year.

This year it’s dropped more than 20 per cent already.

How come? That’s where it gets interesting. One of the most prominent silver analysts, Ted Butler, claims the market is manipulated by the big American banks. This would sound far-fetched except that the silver price is determined by futures contracts which have been heavily short sold.

When something is short sold – meaning it wasn’t owned in the first place – at some point it has to be bought back. If short selling exaggerates a price drop the subsequent buying must exaggerate the move back up.

The spooky thing is that the bulk of the short-selling position was transferred  from Bear Sterns, one of the high profile victims of the financial crisis, to America’s biggest bank, JP Morgan Chase. Since the Silver Institute assures me that the demand for silver is growing faster than it’s being mined, the bank would lose a fortune, heaven forbid, if it rallied.

Mind you, a gap between demand and supply is typical of silver. Apart from jewellery, it’s used heavily in technology, industry and medicine, guaranteeing rising demand. Yet supply is constrained when at around  $US17 an ounce it isn’t profitable to mine unless you have lots of it.

But there’s a catch. Because it’s so malleable – its strength as it were – silver can be recycled for other uses, unlike gold. It’s also readily produced as a byproduct of other metals.

So silver isn’t quite as scarce as it appears. Still, if you agree with Bobby that its fall has been overdone, the easiest way to invest is buying silver coins, except you’re paying a big margin, or through a listed fund that holds only silver (ETPMAG is the ASX code).

Then there are the miners. The world’s biggest silver mine is BHP Billiton’s Cannington.

The others are still looking.

@moneypotts

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Mayang Prasetyo’s mother forgives killer

Mayang Prasetyo was found dismembered in a Teneriffe apartment. Marcus Volke and Mayang Prasetyo. Photo: Facebook
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Mayang Prasetyo’s Indonesian mother says she has forgiven the man who murdered then reportedly dismembered and cooked the body parts of her eldest child less than a week ago.

But Nining Sukarni, 45, is still struggling to believe her son-in-law, Marcus Volke, is responsible for the violent slaying at an inner Brisbane apartment.

“I don’t believe it. I don’t think it’s possible. Marcus is very soft. he’s not capable of hurting people. He’s a kind person,” she said.

Mr Volke, 28, is believed to have killed his transgender partner in the ground floor apartment they shared in upmarket Teneriffe, before dismembering her body and cooking it in chemicals in a bid to dispose of it.

Police responding to requests for a welfare check at the apartment uncovered the grisly scene on Saturday night, prompting Mr Volke to flee and, shortly after, take his own life.

Speaking to Fairfax Media from her home in Lampung in southern Sumatra, Ms Sukarni reached out to Mr Volke’s family in the regional Victorian city of Ballarat, asking for forgiveness for both their son’s death and that of the child who was born her son Febri Andriansyah 27 years ago.

“My message for Marcus’ family is let’s forgive each other,” she said.

“Please forgive Febri if he did things that anger Marcus or his family.

“I forgave Marcus for whatever he has done to Febri.

“I hope Marcus’ mum and the whole family be strengthened in this difficult time.”

Ms Sukarni said Mr Volke and Ms Prasetyo were married in Denmark on August 1, 2013.

However, friends of Ms Prasetyo said though the couple referred to each other as husband and wife, their marriage was not legally recognised because Ms Prasetyo was a pre-operation transgender woman.

Ms Sukarni said he asked for her to pray for him when he told her he would begin gender reassignment surgery, having identified as a girl throughout his childhood.

“His first operation was on March 19, 2009. It was in Thailand,” Mrs Sukarni said.

“He told me, ‘Mum, I ask for your prayer on my decision. I want to do breast surgery.’

“I told him I would pray for him.”

She said her son sent money back to Indonesia to provide for her and his two younger sisters, aged 15 and 18.

Asked what she would do now Ms Prasetyo was gone, she said, “I still don’t know”.

She said she was unaware what her daughter was doing to make money in Australia and only became aware through news reports in the wake of her death that she worked on cruise ships.

She said she had previously owned a pet shop on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Ms Prasetyo’s Facebook profile lists her as a former employee of Melbourne-based transgender cabaret show Le Femme Garcon but the owner told Fairfax Media on Tuesday she had not worked there.

Mrs Sukarni said a neighbour delivered the tragic news of her son’s death on Sunday night, three days after she received her last text message from Ms Prasetyo.

“He said, ‘Ma’am, please be strong. Febri has gone’,” she said.

“I was shocked hearing that. I asked him what made him dead. I know he wasn’t sick. We still talked about five days earlier on the phone and on Thursday night he texted me asking me if everybody at home was okay.

“Febri’s friend said he didn’t know what happened to my son. He just told me I have to be strong.”

She said a phone call from the Indonesian embassy on Monday morning confirmed her fears.

Now, she is waiting for her son’s remains to finally return home, so she can lay him to rest.

She has no plans to come to Australia to bring them home.

“I’ll just wait here, I asked the Indonesian government to bring back his remains as soon as possible. I will bury him here,” she said.

If you are suffering depression or feeling distress visit beyondblue.org.au or call Lifeline on 131 114.

For assistance with family violence matters phone the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 1800 737 732.

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