Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Life in lockdown - Making your home more important than ever

One thing is certain during these strange covid times – home is of the most paramount importance. Many of us have now been staring at our own four walls for so many months that the cracks are both literally and metaphorically starting to show. I believe that the increasingly urgent desire to upgrade our home and location is largely what is fuelling the property market at present. More and more of us are wanting to find a home that works for us on many different levels – as a beautiful, well-designed, flexible, conveniently located place to be. A place where we can engage with our community even given the current restrictions. A place where we feel safe and sound and happy to spend the days/weeks/months inside that these lockdowns dictate.

It is incredible how the aesthetically beautiful and architecturally sublime can lift the spirit. Perhaps it is this reason why luxurious, beautifully finished properties are in high demand at present. Increasingly, buyers are choosing properties that are a pleasure to inhabit, that feature intelligently designed spaces that allow us to thrive now work is increasingly becoming the office and school room. 

Purchasers are increasingly seeking out new, state-of-the-art homes that are a pleasure to inhabit. Light, natural tones with bursts of colour create harmony while lifting our mood. Things around the home that function well make life easier and give us more time to focus on what’s important. Where only a few years ago, homes we could renovate proved all the rage, now the prospect of renovating a home seems overwhelming to many. Many are now looking for streamlined, beautifully crafted and flexible properties, driving off-the-plan property sales. Another added benefit of off-the-plan is these properties allow us to plan, prepare and save more while only requiring a 10% deposit. And anything that helps us to stress less is of benefit at the moment.

Properties that offer everything we need all in one place are also proving incredibly popular at present. Properties that are close to public transport and in burgeoning, exciting and popular locations attract buyers who are yearning for a sense of community and looking to the future when lockdowns will be a thing of the past. Masterplanned precincts in coveted or burgeoning locations are proving incredibly popular, as residents have an instant village with excellent restaurants, cafes, boutique shopping, gymnasiums, and common work and landscaped spaces at their immediate disposal.  

So, if you are looking for a newer, better way of living - a gorgeously designed home where you can have all the amenity of urban life while enjoying a village atmosphere - check out our superb properties below. Surry Hills Village offers a full dining precinct, exquisitely landscaped residential park and commercial precinct featuring gym, yoga, work spaces, art and cultural hub.

Monday, 30 August 2021

The apartment precinct - The future of apartment living

Apartment Living Chronicles Part 3

It is expected that Australia’s population will expand to more than 35 million citizens by 2050, with a large percentage of its inhabitants living in urban centers. The existing infrastructure and public utilities that were set up to accommodate an urban density model of 8 to 15 detached dwellings per hectare are now largely unsustainable. 

However, the advent of the apartment to replace detached houses has tended to bring with it certain setbacks of their own. They have tended to eat into public space, been heavy consumers of energy and offered lonely, characterless corridors as the only common areas.  And this is not to mention their aesthetic value or lack thereof on our urban landscape. So, what does the future of apartment living look like, and will we remedy the errors of the past?

Progressive architects are looking to design spaces that not only provide dwellings, but also create community infrastructure in sustainable, medium density developments that embrace and nurture the social aspect of community. Rather than limiting their design to purely residential, many cutting edge architects are developing vibrant precincts within apartment complexes for both residents and the public to enjoy. This type of urban development has long been seen in Europe, where communities seem to have the social and leisure aspects of life down pat. So, it is almost inevitable that Australia’s largest cities adopt this successful urban design for the future.

Never has the home and its relationship to community been more important than in the current climate. The best upcoming developments not only provide homes, but also contribute positively to our cities in a sustainable way. Private foyers are becoming public spaces and provide infrastructure and services often lacking in the local community. This not only serves the community at large, but also residents. Additionally, it creates a sense of vibrancy and a buzz of activity for the people living in the apartments connected to these precincts. This supports residents’ wellbeing and creates spaces where neighbours can connect with each other. 

Precincts allow residents a village way of life that reduces carbon emissions and means they are able to live small and shop local. The on-hand convenience of having a trendy restaurant, café or boutique shop a lift ride away, means residents have more time up their sleeve. And the best apartment precincts are close to transport corridors, shops and services. Ideally, precincts have their own green space that not only beautifies the immediate area, but also offers a readily accessible space for leisure and recreation. 

Cramer have an exciting collection of apartments for sale by developers TOGA, who have really embraced the precinct concept for living and incorporated it into their outstanding apartments, retail and green spaces. Here is a selection of our fantastic listings in Surry Hills Village and Wicks Place on the Park in Marrickville, two of Sydney’s most creative, cool and cosmopolitan suburbs.

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Post Lockdown Must See – One of the world’s top ten coolest neighbourhoods, Marrickville

The locals know it, and now it’s gone international with Marrickville having been voted by Time Out magazine as one of the world’s top ten coolest neighbourhoods. While we are all stuck in lockdown, use the internet to go sightseeing while your feet cannot, and get to know why Marrickville is fast becoming the most popular Sydney suburb. I’ve popped a few links below for your armchair travels until happy, post lockdown days will allow you to visit the real thing!

The best cuisines of the world are showcased here in Marrickville’s restaurants - try Peruvian at Pepito’s, Mediterranean at Barzaari, Kurumac for Japanese, Pizza Madre for Vegetarian Italian. Some of Australia’s most authentic Vietnamese and Filipino cuisine is there to enjoy and eating out doesn’t cost have to cost an arm and a leg. 

The pub culture in Marrickville is becoming world-renowned and its craft beer halls arguably the best in the country. And for those who love their coffee, the café culture and quality of brew is exceptional in this thriving suburb. Meet with a mate (once the lockdown ends – and it will end thank God) and take your pick from Ona, Matinee or Stix and while you’re there, try the food as it is as good as it gets. And Two Chaps has a vegetarian based menu and is also open at night for pasta and Italian style desserts.

Then for a mean breakfast and bargains galore, explore the Marrickville Organic Markets at the Addison Road Community Centre. These markets are dog-friendly in Marrickville’s typical inclusive style and offer everything from bespoke artisan wares to organic produce and vintage clothing. 

It’s easy to get out and about in this fantastic suburb’s many great parks – take a book and a picnic to your choice of Marrickville, Henson or Enmore Parks. Or to get a great cardio and enjoy water views, try the Cooks River Foreshore walking and bike track. Also check out the brand new, award-winning, architecturally superior Marrickville Library and Pavillion. If you have little ones, the library has a great Rhyme Time, then after take the tiny tots for an excellent adventure at the playground in Marrickville Park. 

A huge factor that contributes to Marrickville’s liveability and lovability is its multi-cultural population that creates a melting pot of all that is great about the individual cultures and shows Australia functioning socially at its best with everyone getting on with everyone. 

Marrickville’s Inner West centrality is greatly assisted by the neighbourhood’s two train stations – Marrickville and Sydnenham – taking you direct to the CBD and the buses connect easily to other popular Inner West suburbs such as Newtown and Enmore. And just before I sign off, let’s look forward to the Marrickville Annual Street Festival - once things open up again and we can all happily return to live as we somewhat know it. 

For more on Marrickville, check out Concrete Playground’s neighbourhood guide.

If you're considering a move to Marrickville, then look no further than Wick's Place. 
View Cramer Property's available residences, including this beautiful two bedroom apartment.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Why the Sydney property market remains strong

On the surface, it seems to defy logic that the Sydney property market is remaining so strong during one of the major global crises in living memory. However, you don’t have to go digging too deeply to see why property still stacks up as being your best bet, whether this involves investing in or owning your own property.

With money in the bank earning negligible interest, and the share markets being unpredictable and usually only beneficial in the long term, property is becoming the place that so many of us are choosing to park our cash. In Sydney, property has been steadily going up in value for well over a decade now, and the capital gains to be had in property have far exceeded those to be found in any bank. Placing our dollars in hard assets not only fights inflation, it also gives us the reassurance of something tangible during these changing times and most importantly, provides us with a place to live. And when purchased as an investment, return on investment through rent is generally far more attractive than other forms.

Another major driver of the hot property market, also involving interest rates, is the historically low cost of borrowing money. We are able to borrow more now than ever, largely due to the fact that our interest rate will vary somewhere between 1% and 3%, which was previously unheard of. The fact that interest rates have remained low or even further decreased over the last decade stems from the global financial crisis of 2008. And the RBA and banks all indicate rates will remain low in the foreseeable future. All this gives us confidence that rates will remain at all-time lows for the foreseeable future, increasing our buying power which in turn generates property market activity. 

One of the chief reasons the RBA are reluctant to raise interest rates is because owning your own property gives us a sense of wealth, which generates spending both elsewhere in the economy and within our own home. We tend to purchase more things when we own our own place compared to when we rent, and we are prone to want to upgrade our property with far more regularity than in previous generations, and spending more the next time round as we move up the property ladder. The flow on effects of all this include increases in property values, a decline in unemployment, a steadier rate of inflation and more discretionary spending - all good for the economy. 

Now 18 months into this pandemic, our homes have increasingly become our places of work as well. This change of use has a number of ramifications. We are becoming more insular in our way of life, and home is often now where we work, exercise and periodically home-school our children. These extra purposes ideally require extra space, and many of our homes just aren’t user friendly enough. This has created incredible demand and is fuelling the property market as we seek more multi-purpose properties.

With so many of us now working remotely from home, it is imperative that we have a work-dedicated area. This change of use repercussion is that we are now able to write off a percentage of expenses associated with our home as work-related. When paying off a mortgage, every little saving counts, and every dollar saved in income tax when working from home contributes to greater mortgage serviceability potential and can allow us to upgrade to a more suitable home. 

There has also been a big drive towards off-the-plan property that is brand new, intelligently designed and move in ready. Not having to contend with a fixer-upper and having a beautifully designed new property that is move-in ready is proving highly attractive. And off-the-plan has the added benefit of allowing us to plan, prepare and save more while only requiring a 10% deposit. So if you are looking to either purchase your first home, move up the property ladder or invest in a rental property, here are some of the great properties Cramer currently has available.

Friday, 30 July 2021

Smarter home spaces – How to organise and use your space intelligently

Apartment Living Chronicles Part 2

To optimise space in our apartment, we need to first create order out of what can range from organised chaos to utter mayhem! We need to seek ways to use our space in the most intelligent manner possible as this will translate into a greater sense of space and home harmony. And there is no time like the present – thanks to covid and our current enforced homebound state when we are spending almost every hour of our life in our own home.

The less stuff you have, the bigger your space will feel. The greatest way towards a well-ordered and above all beautiful home is to start with a pre-spring clean. Keep an eye out for things we rarely use that are simply just taking up space. A good rule of thumb for the exercise of culling our excess, is if you haven’t used it in a year, toss it out. To make the task less daunting, start by going through a couple or drawers, a cupboard or a wardrobe each day. Set the intention to be realistic – will you really ever wear that bridesmaid’s dress again? Do you really need eight vases and two sets of cutlery? You will be surprised at how you hardly use or wear, and anything that is in good order can usually be donated to your local church, St Vinnies or Smith Family. 

Once you have removed the excess (and I know how hard this can be as sentimental value can have great power over us), we need to find space saving and storage solutions to allow our homes to shine in all their clutter-free glory. A smart place to start is when looking at furniture, opt for dual purpose or adaptable size pieces. When looking for an ottoman or even a bed, if you are short on storage then get one with storage drawers underneath. Need side tables – try nesting tables as you can pull them out as needed. A daybed can be a chillout couch for you or a bed for guests. 

If you like to entertain, extendable dining tables are the way to go as they don’t take up as much space for the everyday but come to the party when you need them. And beware of oversized pieces of furniture as they will dwarf your space, however where you cannot go wide you can go high. A tall armoire looks gorgeous, has a small floorplate and holds a lot. If you are in a studio, a Murphy bed is the way to go. It slots up in its cupboard against the wall by day, giving you loads more room to move, and pulls down by night.

Final tips for organising your space, create spaces to put things away once they have been used. If your memory is not the best, write an alphabetical list outlining where you have stored things, such as Medical files: Second shelf in the armoire; Winter tights: Bottom drawer of the guest bedroom; Wrapping paper: Top shelf of linen cupboard. As the seasons change, review you wardrobe and pass on anything you no longer wish to keep, then swap out winter clothes for summer by putting heavy clothing in the spare bedroom wardrobe. Swap winter tights out for bikinis/speedos. Remember that a clean house is a happier, lighter, far more pleasant place to live so keep on top of housework and you will find even your mind feels less cluttered. And most importantly, only buy things you absolutely love and always think quality over quantity.

If you need some more inspiration and information on organising your home, get one of The Home Edit’s fantastic books 

Friday, 23 July 2021

Beat the blues with green and surround yourself with plants

Apartment Living Chronicles Part 1

If you are feeling a bit blue this winter, with the short days and covid wreaking havoc in our lives, then you are certainly not alone. Never before has our home environment been so critical to our mental health, so here are some sure-fire ways to beat the blues with nature’s most healing and regenerative organism - plants.

Constantly seeing and being around plants has been proven in a multitude of studies to help people feel calmer and more relaxed, thus decreasing levels of anxiety. Having plants in our lives also helps improve memory and attention span by 20 percent and can increase concentration. Other benefits include reducing depression and increasing creativity, self-esteem and overall quality of life, so there is every reason to invest in some plants for your home. And on top of this that they produce oxygen and remove carbon dioxide, which is all the more important in winter and lockdown when we are spending so much time indoors.

Specifically, researchers have found that people who surround themselves with plant life and other forms of natural beauty, both indoors and out, experience emotional and mental health benefits that have a positive impact on their social, psychological, physical, cognitive, environmental, and spiritual well-being.
Balconies are the more obvious places to introduce plants into our apartment, but don’t neglect to have them indoors also. There are so many varieties that thrive inside and many that are far easier to keep happy than even the least green thumbed of us might think. Mother-in-law’s Tongue and Devil’s Ivy are great plants to start with, as are Zanzibar Gem, Dragon Tree, Maidenhair Fern, Zebra Plant, Lucky Bamboo, Boston Fern, Long-leaf Fig and indoor varieties of Succulent.

Gorgeous indoor flowering plants include Orchid, Cyclamen, Flamingo Lily, African Violet and Peace Lily. Larger plants can serve as dramatic sculptural statements. Banana trees, Fiddle-leaf Fig, Rubber Plant, Lady Palm, Monstera Deliciosa, Olive Tree, Chinese Fan Palm, Cornstalk Dracaena, Bird of Paradise, Dwarf Date Palm and Weeping Fig are all striking varieties to have inside our homes.

And simply buying yourself fresh flowers – not just for family and friends - brings seasonal joy and colour into your home and supports your local florist.  Many bunches of flowers will last for a week, so ask your florist which varieties will last the longest and spoil yourself. If the florist doesn’t provide a little sachet of flower food, you can easily make your own by adding a good squeeze of lemon juice, a teaspoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of bleach to the water in your vase. 

But don’t just limit your plant interactions when only at home, find your nearest park and set up a walking regime there and back each day, whenever possible. Not only will this help clear your head and give you a healthy dose of Vitamin D from the sunlight, being around trees boosts our wellbeing, encourages socialisation and even makes us kinder! And exciting new research suggests that trees can boost our immunity due to the oxygen and aromatic compounds they release. So don’t delay, lift your mood and improve your health and wellbeing by making plants and trees your new best friends.

Friday, 16 July 2021

BREAKING NEWS: Federal government releases 30,000 new grants for First Home Buyers

If you’ve been dreaming of buying your first home, the latest Australian Federal Government incentives may be the help you need to make it a reality. As of the 1st of July, 2021, the government has introduced 30,000 new places for its First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, New Home Guarantee and Family Home Guarantee. 

Some 10,000 additional places have been released under the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme for the 2021-2022 financial year. The scheme supports eligible first home buyers purchase an established home or a new home sooner with a deposit of as little as 5 per cent. The price cap for Sydney properties eligible for this scheme is now $800,000, up from last financial year’s cap of $700,000. 

The Family Home Guarantee is a new grant announced in the 2021-2022 Federal Budget to support eligible single parents with at least one dependent child. There will be 10,000 Family Home Guarantees made available over four financial years from 1 July 2021 to buy a new or existing home with a deposit of as little as 2 per cent. The Sydney price cap for this grant is $800,000.

The New Home Guarantee, announced in October 2020, is specifically for eligible first home buyers building or buying a new home with a deposit of as little as 5 per cent. This scheme has been extended under the 2021-2022 Federal Budget with 10,000 new places available from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022. The price cap for the New Home Guarantee is $950,000. 

Applications for the three schemes can be made through participating lenders or mortgage providers so speak to your bank to see if you are eligible and start to make your first home dream a reality.