Australian property price falls may have already peaked
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Australian property price falls may have already peaked

Hoping for further property price falls? Don’t hold your breath.

Mon, Dec 12, 2022 8:57amGrey Clock 2 min

Rapid interest rate rises might have taken a toll on property prices, which reached an all-time high last year but the greatest drops may have already happened, Ray White economist Nerida Conisbee said today.

In a country as large and varied as Australia, positions for borrowers have ranged from low debt and high income conditions in some mining regions to high debt and high interest rates in cities like Sydney, where prices have fallen by more than 10 percent in the past year.

Low unemployment and accelerated population growth are also putting greater pressure on housing demand, keeping prices steady, she said.

“Although many people are starting to feel the pinch with increasing interest rates, as well as high inflation, we are yet to see this flow through to distressed sales,” Ms Conisbee said. “Prior to the interest rate rises, borrowers were assessed on being able to pay three percent over their mortgage rate. 

“We have now hit that three percent rise but banks are profitable and well capitalised. As a result they are in a good position to assist people who are struggling with high debt levels.”

Some sellers are also sitting back, with more buyers competing for those properties on the market. Ms Conisbee said property sales are down more than 10 percent on last year.

While Australian property prices may have already taken their biggest tumble, Ms Conisbee said there may still be decreases on the cards.

“While inflation appears to be coming down, we may still see more interest rate increases next year if it fails to come down quickly enough,” she said. “Unemployment is very low but is expected to start to rise next year as the economy slows. 

“The high levels of uncertainty are expected to continue into at least the first quarter of 2023.” 



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Wild cities and concrete corridors: How AI is reimagining the landscape

A new AI-driven account by leading landscape architect Jon Hazelwood pushes the boundaries on the role of ‘complex nature’ in the future of our cities

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Dec 6, 2023 2 min

Drifts of ground cover plants and wildflowers along the steps of the Sydney Opera House, traffic obscured by meadow-like planting and kangaroos pausing on city streets.

This is the way our cities could be, as imagined by landscape architect Jon Hazelwood, principal at multi-disciplinary architectural firm Hassell. He has been exploring the possibilities of rewilding urban spaces using AI for his Instagram account, Naturopolis_ai with visually arresting outcomes.

“It took me a few weeks to get interesting results,” he said. “I really like the ephemeral nature of the images — you will never see it again and none of those plants are real. 

“The AI engine makes an approximation of a grevillea.”

Hazelwood chose some of the most iconic locations in Australia, including the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as international cities such as Paris and London, to demonstrate the impact of untamed green spaces on streetscapes, plazas and public space.

He said he hopes to provoke a conversation about the artificial separation between our cities and the broader environment, exploring ways to break down the barriers and promote biodiversity.

“A lot of the planning (for public spaces) is very limited,” Hazelwood said. “There are 110,000 species of plants in Australia and we probably use about 12 in our (public) planting schemes. 

“Often it’s for practical reasons because they’re tough and drought tolerant — but it’s not the whole story.”

Hazelwood pointed to the work of UK landscape architect Prof Nigel Dunnett, who has championed wild garden design in urban spaces. He has drawn interest in recent years for his work transforming the brutalist apartment block at the Barbican in London into a meadow-like environment with diverse plantings of grasses and perennials.

Hazelwood said it is this kind of ‘complex nature’ that is required for cities to thrive into the future, but it can be hard to convince planners and developers of the benefits.

“We have been doing a lot of work on how we get complex nature because complexity of species drives biodiversity,” he said. 

“But when we try to propose the space the questions are: how are we going to maintain it? Where is the lawn?

“A lot of our work is demonstrating you can get those things and still provide a complex environment.” 

At the moment, Hassell together with the University of Melbourne is trialling options at the Hills Showground Metro Station in Sydney, where the remaining ground level planting has been replaced with more than 100 different species of plants and flowers to encourage diversity without the need for regular maintenance. But more needs to be done, Hazelwood said.

“It needs bottom-up change,” he said. ““There is work being done at government level around nature positive cities, but equally there needs to be changes in the range of plants that nurseries grow, and in the way our city landscapes are maintained and managed.”

And there’s no AI option for that. 


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