Interest rates on hold for 2 years now, but more out-of-cycle moves to come

first_imgPhilip Lowe, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Photo: Patrick Hamilton/Economic Society of Australia.“Housing credit growth has declined to an annual rate of five-and-a-half per cent,” the statement said.“This is largely due to reduced demand by investors as the dynamics of the housing market have changed. “Lending standards are also tighter than they were a few years ago, partly reflecting APRA’s earlier supervisory measures to help contain the build-up of risk in household balance sheets. There is competition for borrowers of high credit quality.”Mr Lowe noted some lenders had increased mortgage rates by “small amounts”, but “the average mortgage rate paid is lower than a year ago”. HISTORIC CBD PENTHOUSE FOR SALE New homes under construction in Mango Hill, north of Brisbane. Image: AAP/Dan Peled.He said the low level of interest rates was continuing to support the Australian economy.Two of the Big Four banks, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ, along with 19 other lenders, have slashed interest rates on fixed home loans independent of the RBA, as competition among lenders heats shows lenders have dropped fixed interest rates by up to 72 basis points on more than 120 products. Commonwealth Bank cut its fixed rates by 10 basis points, while ANZ cut some of its fixed rates up to 24 basis points.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus17 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market17 hours ago BUILDING A HOME ON A BUDGET The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has cut its fixed home loan rate by 10 basis points. Image: AAP/Joel Carrett.RateCity research director Sally Tindall said banks were slashing fixed rates in a bid to win market share. “Growth in home lending has started to hit the brakes, while non-bank lenders are gaining traction. As a result, banks are throwing everything at fixed rates to keep new customers coming through the door,” she said. BUYERS CLAMOUR OVER RENOVATED ‘UGLY DUCKLING’ “This makes it the perfect environment for refinancers, particularly if you have a bit of equity up your sleeve, but only if you’re willing to fix.“While the cash rate is unlikely to increase before 2020, more than half a million variable rate customers have already been hit with higher rates due to cost of funding pressures, with more hikes expected to follow.” The Reserve Bank has left the cash rate unchanged at 1.5 per cent in August. Image: AAP/Brendan Esposito.THE official cash rate remains on hold for another month, but experts warn more out-of-cycle interest rate moves are imminent.At its August meeting Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.5 per cent — marking two years since it last moved.RBA governor Philip Lowe said, in a statement, that conditions in the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets had continued to ease and nationwide measures of rent inflation remained low. GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE center_img Homes in a street in North Lakes, Brisbane. Photo: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images.But despite the prediction of further out-of-cycle rate hikes, just 35 per cent of experts surveyed by believe homeowners should fix their mortgage rate. insights manager Graham Cooke said mortgage holders should evaluate their interest rate options.“As the market heats up and becomes more turbulent, chances are your bank is going to lift your rate, so why wait around?” Mr Cooke said.“Stop what you’re doing, jump online and get your hands on a lower rate.“Switch to a lender with a more attractive rate or consider restructuring your loan to fix part of your rate — whatever you decide, take action sooner rather than later.” CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless.CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said the steady interest rate setting could be attributed to low inflation, record high household debt, a slack labour market and, more recently, falling home values. “Financial markets continue to expect that the cash rate will remain unchanged until at least January 2020,” Mr Lawless said.“Despite the housing market headwinds from tighter credit conditions, the prospect of mortgage rates remaining reasonably stable should help to keep a floor under housing demand.”last_img read more

PAC to develop Guyana’s protected areas by 2020

first_imgIn attempts to strengthen the network of protected areas in the Guyana Shield, the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Amazonian Park of French Guiana on Wednesday hosted a discussion to acknowledge the aspects of sustainable developments in Guyana and its neighbouring countries, Suriname and French Guiana.While using French Guiana as a demonstration, it was noted that Guyana can attempt to enhance its protected areas; a project which was expanded to 2020.During his brief address, President of the Amazonian Park of French Guiana, Claude Suzanonm emphasised on the works done to establish 10 national parksDeputy Director of the Amazonian Park of French Guiana, Arnaud Anselinin specific areas across French Guiana.He related that the main factor behind the success of these parks stemmed from reliable law enforcement which tackles issues such as illegal mining in those areas.Meanwhile, Deputy Director of the Amazonian Park of French Guiana, Arnaud Anselin further highlighted the methods which Guyana and other countries can adopt to successfully programme a national park that will boost eco-tourism.“It’s interesting to see the difficulties that we share and the questions that we ask that can lead to successful cooperation of the projects in Guyana,” the Deputy Director said.This, he reiterated, can only be made possible by establishing good relations with Indigenous communities and local municipalities. With this, the rainforest would be made available to all, including the disabled, he added.Furthermore, the responsible sectors can capitalise on the human resources that are present within the regions, where training can be done to create an additional workforce to assist with the organisation of these proposed national parks.“There is also the possibility to adapt the legal framework on regulations that can help in developing tourism and other economic projects. The protection of biodiversity is adapting to the local communities,” he stated.Additionally, Commissioner of the PAC, Denise Fraser, stated the difficulties being faced by Suriname and French Guiana are somewhat similar to that which Guyana is currently being faced with, as it relates to the forest resources and development.“We feel that we have similar, very similar issues, especially when it comes to mining. We are trying to keep illegal mining out of the protected areas. We also have to deal with community engagement and our mission is to effectively manage our protected areas while ensuring that they advance to the lives of the present and future generations,” Fraser related.To foster technical dialogue between countries that are attempting to develop their natural resources and establishing sustainably developed national parks, funds have been injected into projects by European entities which will see future partnerships between the PAC and Surinamese Ministries that are focused on the forest and natural resources of the country.These projects are expected to last from 2018 until 2020.last_img read more

A playground providing opportunities for youngsters

first_imgProject Playground strives to foster capable individuals through running life orientation programmes in a safe and nurturing environment.(Image: Project Playground)Brand South Africa attended a fundraising event in October 2017 hosted by the Embassy of Sweden in support of Project Playground.Project Playground is a Swedish-South African non-profit organisation founded in 2010 by Princess Sofia of Sweden and Frida Vesterberg. Their mission was to give youngsters between the ages of four and 18 better opportunities in life through recreational and educational activities.The project currently helps about 750 youngsters in the Western Cape townships of Langa and Gugulethu.Attending the fundraiser, Brand South Africa CEO, Dr Kingsley Makhubela spoke of the long-standing relations between Sweden and South Africa. “Swedish-South Africa links go as far back as the 1960s when a countrywide Swedish anti-apartheid movement was founded in support of the struggle for liberation.”In true Play Your Part spirit, Sweden contributed a great deal to bringing about positive change in South Africa, and the relations between Sweden and South Africa have continued beyond the struggle for liberation. They now include partnerships that address other socio-economic and political challenges – children’s rights being one of them.Project Playground strives to champion children’s rights through various life orientation programmes. The project provides a safe environment where every child grows up with a belief in the future and the desire to positively improve their own life. It is hoped that by making available good role models for the children, Project Playground can nurture capable and assured individuals.Project Playground is a sanctuary away from the insecurity that characterises many of the children’s lives. Life orientation is achieved by means of team sports, dance, music, art, and drama, among other activities.The 50 staff members are highly dedicated to the project’s vision and mission. Through regular staff development programmes the team is able to gain knowledge in their specific areas of specialisation in the organisation. This means that the children’s interactions with their mentors is effective because they have a comprehensive view of the child’s environment and represent a continuous and secure contact throughout the child’s upbringing.Project Playground is a wonderful demonstration of how individuals and collectives can come together and play their part for the greater good of their society.Visit the Project Playground website to find out more about how this organisation is playing its part and how you can get involved in helping children in South Africa reach their potential.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Government has prioritised energy security to enable economic growth and development

first_img• Government is aware that the country’s economic growth performance needs to be improved in a sustainable manner and has therefore made the resolution of the energy challenge an immediate priority.• Progress has been made on stabilising the energy supply, in particular, maintenance practices have been improved; short term power purchase programme contracts of 1 350MW of electricity has been approved for 2015/16; and request for proposals of 2 500MW of coal-fired power has been issued.• Efforts to increase and stabilise energy supply have produced positive results. The first unit of Medupi has come online in 2015, adding 800MW to the grid.• The permanent appointment of the CEO and the CFO for Eskom have brought stability in the governance of the institution. Government recapitalised Eskom with R23 billion from the sale of none core assets. This brings financial stability and allows Eskom to keep the lights on.South Africa and the renewable energy programme• South Africa is succeeding in diversifying its energy mix through its Renewable Independent Power Producers Programme.• Private sector investment in clean energy has seen more than 6000MW of renewable energy projects awarded under the government’s REIPPP.  Thus far, 1800MW of renewable energy power has already been connected to the national grid.  Further determinations for the rollout of renewable energy will see an additional 6300MW being procured as well as new determinations for gas to power, co-generation and coal based load.  The 2014 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) put South Africa among the top 10 countries for renewable energy investments.• Notable achievements include the commercial operation of the SERE wind farm in the Western Cape, which saw 100 megawatts added to the grid.last_img read more

Walgreens Plans a Net-Zero Store

first_imgRooftop PV, wind turbines and LED lightingWalgreens estimates the building will actually be on the plus side of the energy ledger, generating 256,000 kWh of electricity a year while using 200,000 kWh.Like any net-zero building, the new drugstore will get to net-zero performance with a combination of lower than average energy consumption and renewable energy systems.Here are the details:Roughly 850 rooftop photovoltaic panels, with a total generating capacity of 225 kW.Two vertical-axis wind turbines, with a capacity of 6 kW.A ground-source heat pump using eight 550-foot deep wells below the store as its earth link.LED lighting.Carbon dioxide refrigeration equipment. If you were thinking the nation’s first net-zero energy retail store might turn out to be something trendy, like an Apple store or a Starbucks, brace yourself. Those honors will apparently go to Walgreens, the national drugstore chain.The company has announced that as far as it can tell its retail store in Evanston, Illinois, will be the first retail outlet in the U.S. to generate as much energy as it uses over the course of a year, thus meeting the “net-zero energy” test. Evanston is on the western shore of Lake Michigan just north of Chicago and not far from Walgreens headquarters in Deerfield.“We’ve done some exhaustive research as you can imagine to find another retailer that has done this and we haven’t been able to find one,” says Jamie Meyers, Walgreens’ manager of sustainability. “That’s not to say there isn’t one out there but we’re fairly confident that if anyone had done this they would have spoken up about it because it’s a pretty difficult task particularly for a retailer.”An existing Walgreens store is being torn down to make room for the net-zero building at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Keeney Street. Its proximity to company headquarters will make it convenient for Walgreens engineers to stop by and measure building performance over the year.Meyers says the 13,968-sq. ft. drug store should be open for business by November. Walgreens won’t disclose how much the building will cost, but admits it will cost more than a typical outlet. Not a typical net-zero strategyBecause of the cost of renewable energy systems and the space required to deploy them, residential net-zero projects tend to be super-insulated buildings with very low heating, cooling and electrical loads. Wall R-values of 40 and roofs insulated to R-60 aren’t uncommon.“I can tell you we’re nowhere near that,” says Meyers. “We found through the energy model that once you get to a certain point it’s a case of diminishing returns.”Designers did cut energy consumption in a variety of ways, but the nature of a retail store is completely different than a house where only a few people live. The whole point is to get people in and out of the building to shop, not button the building up tightly to reduce heating and cooling demands. Doors are opened and closed many times a day.Meyers says the building has typical block and brick walls and an insulated metal deck roof. Although air sealing and insulation levels are relatively modest, the project makes up for it with its oversized renewable energy package. The rated 225 kW capacity of the PV panels is 20 times as much as a typical net-zero energy house.Suppliers for the project include Trane, Cree lighting, Acuity Lighting, CalStar Products, Cooper Lighting, Geothermal International, and SoCore Energy. Energy modeling was done by Cyclone Energy Group of Chicago and the Energy Center of Wisconsin.In addition to shooting for net-zero performance, Walgreens wants the building to win LEED’s top tier platinum rating and will enter it in the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge. The company also is partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge and committed to cut energy consumption by 20% by 2020.The net-zero project is far from Walgreens’ first foray into energy efficient design. The company says 150 of its stores have solar power, two have been LEED-gold certified, and 400 have charging stations for electric vehicles.“We want, as a company, to help people get, stay and live well,” Meyers says, “and part of living well is minimizing our impact on the environment, and so we have an opportunity with having 8,000 locations to have an impact. It’s important to us.”If you have a Facebook account, you can read more about the project here.last_img read more

Warnock happy players granted his birthday wish

first_imgCardiff City manager Neil Warnock is happy with the performance of his Cardiff squad after their comeback win over Wolves.He says the players gave him the perfect 70th birthday present with their victory as he had said before the match that all he wanted for his birthday was three points in the struggle against Premier League relegation.His wish was granted by as second-half goals from Aron Gunnarsson and Junior Hoilett which automatically snapped them out of the bottom three and sends them up to 15th place.“I thanked the players for letting me have a nice birthday,” Warnock said, according to Sport BT.“It wouldn’t have been a nice one if we’d lost because the bad feeling stays with you for a couple of days.“This is why I’m still in the game, when you see your team perform like that.”“You’ve got to have skill to survive in the Premier League, but it’s nothing without character,” Warnock said.AAIB responds to Sala’s family request to recover the plane’s wreckage Manuel R. Medina – August 14, 2019 The Air Accidents Investigation Branch says they already explained their decision not to recover the plane’s wreckage to Sala’s family and the pilot’s.“My players have shown that by winning from behind in three games and they just never know when they’re beaten.”“It’s the feeling you get on nights like this that keeps me going.”Wolve went  18th-minute ahead as Matt Doherty finished from a tight angle. However, they couldn’t take the pressure they met at second-half having them take one point from their last six games.“We stick together as a team, but individually we have to raise our standards at some moments that can define the games,” Wolves coach, Nuno Espirito Santo said.“I think the boys work hard, the attitude and energy is there.”“But it is six games without a win, that’s the reality.”“There is only one way we can go out there – sticking together and believing in how we do things.”last_img read more

Escondido Council votes to join federal lawsuit against California sanctuary city policies

first_img Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsESCONDIDO (KUSI) — In a 4 to 1 vote, the Escondido City Council will join the Trump administration’s lawsuit against California’s so-called sanctuary laws.The council is in support of the lawsuit, which challenges the legality of three state laws enacted last year. Among them is a statute that limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, which U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says is unconstitutional and compromises public safety.Escondido City Councilmember Olga Diaz — who represents District 3 — was the dissenting vote.Escondido is now the first local government in San Diego County to sound off on the case. Orange County has led the way in opposition against the sanctuary policies, though tactics have varied between governments.The Mission Viejo City Council voted to file an amicus brief last month, and the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to join the administration’s lawsuit.The Huntington Beach Council on Monday voted to become a part of the courtroom fight against the laws and the council in Los Alamitos recently voted to “exempt” itself from the policies.The matter was put on the council agenda by Mayor Sam Abed and Councilman John Masson.The San Diego Board of Supervisors on April 17 plan to discuss the case. Supervisor Dianne Jacob said she expects the board to vote at least 3-2 to join the lawsuit. April 4, 2018 Posted: April 4, 2018 Ed Lenderman, Ashlie Rodriguez, Escondido Council votes to join federal lawsuit against California sanctuary city policies Ed Lenderman, Ashlie Rodriguez 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings Updated: 10:59 AMlast_img read more