They are baaack!

They are baaack!

“They’re baaack”!! We get a minimal interest rate increase (0.25 percentage points) and out ‘they’ come! Those predictions of doom and gloom. There are no queues at ‘The Gap’, nobody phoned us wanting to sell as a direct result of the announcement (which was probably Australia’s worst kept secret). As for what effect it will have on our market, I would think very little. If you have a mortgage of $1,000,000 it will cost you an extra $154.16 a month based on a standard 25-year variable rate mortgage. With concerns that borrowings have exploded by forty per cent, to a record $333 billion, once again this excuse is all ‘huff and puff’. You only have to look at the rental market to see where the answers are. It is that simple. The First Home Buyers Grant of which the younger generation have taken full advantage means that they own real estate and have ceased renting. This is why, when you look in the paper, there is an abundance of rental property and the vacancy rates are at a record high. That market, being the first home buyers, is the one that needs to be closely monitored as their margins are much tighter. If this does happen, look for an increase of private sales by owners, because once you add on Stamp Duty and legals, they can’t afford the agent’s commission so they will try to minimise their costs.

Many will monitor the market and use the rate increase as the excuse that halted the market, however I believe that there are a couple of other factors that will play a more dominant role. The agents are valuing in many instances, to get the business, so at the end of the campaign we are already seeing our clearance rates reducing. With some properties in our market at ‘Waterhouse odds’ to achieve the advised price expectations, there are more than a few houses in Mosman at the moment, that won’t be seeing removalists for quite some time to come. The only thing being removed is the agent !!

Last weekend was a most interesting one. In some cases the numbers at open for inspections dropped dramatically. I spoke to one agent, and in the first week after two open for inspections, they had not hit double figures and they had spent $7,000 advertising. I have always said… look at the numbers in the home to get a feel for the market, if there are not many in attendance, then the agent is not exactly getting knocked over in the rush! We are nearing Winter, however in the past this has had little or no effect on the market. Real estate is a business now, so for some, ‘opportunity knocks’, because some vendors have already purchased. I wrote a few weeks ago that one of the problems with stock levels is that vendors are waiting to buy before they sell. This reversal in past practice could prove in this market to be a stroke of genius, or a most costly mistake.

Our IT Manager is always on our backs to install our weekly virus definition updates… my current protection is for a staggering, 61,007 viruses! Over the last two weeks we received 78 copies of the “W32.Klez” virus! Here is some great information about it to help you all:

This is a must read virus warning.

It is estimated that the latest fast-spreading versions of the Klez worm have so far infected more than 7 percent of PCs worldwide, surpassing totals chalked up by previous threats such as SirCam and Nimda. A worm of many subjects “The Klez” worm arrives in an e-mail message with one of 120 possible subject lines. There are 18 different standard subject headings,including “let’s be friends,” “meeting notice,” “some questions,” and “honey.” On top of those, seven other patterns exist, such as “a x game” and “a xpatch,” where x can be one of 16 different words, including “new,” “WinXP,” and the name of any of six major antivirus companies. What’s alarming is that in many circumstances the worm doesn’t need the victim to open it in order to run. Instead, it takes advantage of a 12-month-old vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook, known as the Automatic Execution of Embedded MIME Type bug, to open itself automatically on un-patched versions of Outlook. The malicious program will find any network storage available on the infected PC and copy itself to the remote disk drives using a random file name and a .EXE, .PIF, .COM, .BAT, .SCR or .RAR extension. Occasionally, the file name will include a double extension. The program will also cull e-mail addresses by searching a host of different file types on the infected PC. Using its own mail program, the worm will send itself off to those e-mail addresses. In addition, it will use the addresses to create a fake “From:” field in the e-mail message, disguising the actual source of the e-mail. Finally, the worm attempts to disable antivirus software by deleting registry keys, stopping running processes and removing virus-definition files.

Email spoofing… Some variants of this worm use a technique known as “spoofing.” If it does this, it chooses at random an address that it finds on an infected computer as the “From:” address that it uses when it performs its mass-mailing routine. Numerous cases have been reported in which users of uninfected computers receive complaints that they have sent an infected message to someone else. For example, Linda Anderson is using a computer that is infected with W32.Klez.E@mm; Linda is not using a antivirus program or does not have current virus definitions. When W32.Klez.gen@mm performs its emailing routine, it finds the email address of Harold Logan. It inserts Harold’s email address into the “From:” line of an infected email that it then sends to Janet Bishop. Janet then contacts Harold and complains that he sent her infected email, but when Harold scans his computer, Norton AntiVirus does not find anything–as would be expected–because his computer is not infected. If you are using a current version of Norton AntiVirus, have the most recent virus definitions, and a full system scan with Norton AntiVirus set to scan all files does not find anything, you can be confident that your computer is not infected with this worm.

More Information can be found online @ Symantec’s Web Site.

That is why we don’t use Outlook for our e-mails, the people creating these viruses target the masses and the programme itself has so many security issues.

It would be remiss of me not to give my twin brother Richard a big pat on the back. Steve and I were observing him work the floor at this week’s ‘First 8’ auctions and yes, another above the reserve result! His results to date have been nothing short of sensational. Steve commented to me “He is good that brother of yours, you had better watch yourself”… I responded “if he is this good with sleep deprivation imagine how good he will be when the triplets start sleeping through”. Richard has 10 month old triplets and a 3 year old son. Which probably explains why he works so hard!!

Well back to the grind-stone. We have some fantastic properties coming to market soon, and yes they are on the money, so stay tuned!! Have a great week… Cheers…^_^

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