Beating the heat - and rising energy prices - in a luxury property | Kanebridge News
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Beating the heat – and rising energy prices – in a luxury property

Temperatures can exceed 40C in Sydney’s west but everyone keeps their cool in this resort-style home

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Jan 18, 2023 12:06pmGrey Clock 4 min

 The owners of this property in Sydney’s outer west never set out to be environmentalists. And, at first glance, the sprawling luxury home they built at Twin Creeks at Luddenham does not appear to be eco friendly. But appearances can be deceiving.

When they approached building designer Luke Van Jour at Distinct Innovations, they wanted a resort-style home befitting the spacious greenfield location at the golf course estate. A large, wraparound pool would be at the centre of the design for the single level home, along with three entertaining areas, an outdoor cabana and home theatre. This would be in addition to four bedrooms, a guest room and a study.

With about 4,000sqm to work with, there was plenty of room to move so the owner decided to include a spacious home gym. He also wanted a half size tennis and basketball court to round out the leisure options – and to fulfil a childhood dream.

“The client had a tough upbringing,” Van Jour says. “When his parents were not around he used to go to the local basketball court to shoot hoops, so including a basketball court was about bringing back some of those positive childhood memories.”

With a healthy budget to work with, Van Jour was tasked with creating a resort-style experience, with a wet bar and water wall next to the outdoor kitchen, all in a single level design so that every day would feel like a holiday for the family.

“The client had spent a lot of time travelling the world,” he says. “When he came home, he wanted that same feeling that he experienced when he was staying in hotels and resorts overseas. Everything had to be wrapped around this pool.”

In keeping with the luxury theme, Van Jour specified several home automation options.

“It’s a key part of this house,” he says. “You can turn on the aircon, warm up the coffee machine, open the garage doors. It also has security and biometric systems.”

With all the hi tech, it might be easy to miss the lengths Van Jour has gone to in order to design a house which is a little easier on the environment – and the owners’ bank balance – than you might expect of a building this size.

“I designed the house to block as much sun in summer as I could and bring as much winter sun into the

house as possible,” he said. “The whole house was double glazed and full passive design. It is brick veneer on concrete slab-on-ground with stone floors to allow for optimum thermal mass.”

There’s also a 8kw system of photovoltaic cells to cut down on energy bills, and rainwater tanks that hold up to 100,000L for washing clothes, topping up the pool and watering the garden. 

“Without the solar panels, if this house had to run on standard electricity, it would easily be $7000 to $8000 a quarter but now it is about $2000 to $3000 a quarter,” Van Jour said.

However, it took a little while for the owners to get into the swing.

“When the clients first moved in, the bill for the first quarter was close to $10,000,” he said. “The owner asked me what was going on. 

“In Luddenham, it gets down to -2C in winter and up to 48C or 49C in summer but when I went over, he greeted me in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter.”

As it transpired, all the thermostats had been set to 28C and both the reverse cycle air conditioning and the underfloor heating had been turned on. There were also four large screen TVs running 24/7 and the pool pump had malfunctioned so that it was running day and night when it should only operate four hours a day. After turning off the aircon completely (it was installed mainly for cooling the house in summer), resetting the temperature of the underfloor heating, fixing the pool pump and only using the TVs when there was someone in the room, the bill dropped almost 80 percent the next quarter.

The house took 18 months to build, which is relatively speedy for its size. Now, the family enjoys a resort lifestyle while reducing their bills – and their impact on the environment. When it runs well.

“We did all the right things but if the house is not operated properly, it’s a waste of time.”


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By CAITLIN MCCABE 30/01/2023
The Australian capital setting a new record for property value falls

Property values have fallen hard and fast in this popular city, but it’s done little to dent pandemic rises

Mon, Jan 30, 2023 2 min

Highest property values, biggest dip the next. That’s the outcome for Australia’s northernmost capital on the east coast, with Brisbane property values recording their largest and fastest decline, data from Corelogic reveals.

The fall comes just seven months after values hit their peak after a population surge driven by the pandemic saw an increase of 43 percent. Home values hit a record high on June 19, 2022 but have since declined 10.9 percent, in parallel with eight consecutive interest rate rises since April last year.

Historically, peak-to-trough declines in Brisbane have lasted 14 months and have ranged from value drops of -2.9 percent to -10.8 percent. While the new record is just -0.1 percent compared with previous figures, that fall came over 21 months between April 2010 and January 2012. The latest decline was a much swifter seven month drop.

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said it is worth putting the Brisbane figures into context with the rest of Australia’s capital cities, as well as considering the significant rise in property values in the Queensland capital over the pandemic.

“Brisbane now stands out as one of two capital city markets with record declines, the other being Hobart,” Ms Owen said. “Sydney continues to have the largest peak-to-trough falls of the capital city markets (currently at -13.8 percent), while peak-to-tough falls remain mild in some cities (such as Perth, where values are down just -1.0 percent from a recent peak in August 2022).” 

“The record fall in Brisbane home values has not made much of a dent in the gains made during the upswing. The fall in the Brisbane daily HVI follows an upswing of 43.5 percent between August 2020 and 19 June 2022, which was the fastest trajectory of rising values on record. This leaves home values across Brisbane 27.9 percent higher than at the previous trough in August 2020.” 

The median dwelling value in Brisbane jumped from $506,553 at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to $707,658 by the end of last year, Ms Owen said.

“Despite the large decline from peak, Brisbane maintains the third highest gain in value of the capital cities since the start of the pandemic,” she said. 

“Only Adelaide and Darwin, which are 42.8 percent and 29.6 percent higher respectively than at the onset of the pandemic, have performed stronger. 

“For this reason, there is marginal risk of negative equity for Brisbane homeowners, with the exception of very recent buyers, who purchased around the peak in June 2022 with less than a 20 percent deposit.” 

However, there are signs of resilience in the market. Brisbane remains a more affordable option compared with the other east coast capitals, Ms Owen said.

Although housing values remain higher than pre-COVID levels, Brisbane retains a lower price point than Sydney, with a $435,170 difference in median house values and $280,749 difference in median unit values,” she said. 

“The gap between Brisbane and Melbourne housing values is also significant, with a $119,697 gap between median house values and $97,692 difference in median unit values.

“This could encourage ongoing housing demand from those willing to migrate to the state, or own an interstate investment.” 


What a quarter-million dollars gets you in the western capital.


Sales volumes and median prices on the rise in the N.T

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