Investors feeling positive about the property market

by Sasha Karen | June 11, 2019 | 1 minute read

 

The results of a new survey have revealed what property investors are most concerned about in the current market but also found that they feel more positive than other property owners.

aerial shot of property

According to the latest edition of ME’s Quarterly Property Sentiment Report, perceptions of the market is mixed. A slim majority feel neutral towards the market (37 per cent), while more than a third feel positive (35 per cent) and 28 per cent feel negative.

However, investors feel more positive than owner-occupiers or first home buyers, at 44 per cent of respondents.

According to ME’s general manager of home loans, Andrew Bartolo, the positivity in investors and younger age brackets shows the sentiment that price declines provide a good opportunity to purchase property.

Property investors are also optimistic about property prices. More investors expect the value of their property to rise over the next 12 months more than those who think they will hold steady or decline; 32 per cent are expecting a rise, as opposed to 30 per cent expecting declines and 30 per cent not expecting any movement.

Overall, property owners in metropolitan Tasmania are expecting value rises the most at 50 per cent, followed by those in metropolitan NT (40 per cent), and then metropolitan South Australia and Queensland, both at 36 per cent.

“Enduring positivity about price expectations is possibly linked to Australians’ long-held belief that property prices will always go up,” Mr Bartolo said.

Given that a large proportion expect prices to rise in the next 12 months, 58 per cent of respondents plan to sell their property, while 34 per cent plan to buy property.

For investors, 44 per cent plan to buy property and 23 per cent plan to sell. Two-fifths (39 per cent) said they do not plan to buy or sell.

The largest property fears

First home buyers are most concerned with housing affordability (94 per cent), followed by owner-occupiers (87 per cent). Investors are least concerned, at 83 per cent.

Affordability was a greater concern for investors than many other issues, such as: switching from interest-only loans to principal and interest loans (at 74 per cent), the value of their property declining (64 per cent), declining property prices resulting in owing more on a property (53 per cent), and tighter credit policies making refinancing more difficult (53 per cent).

“People often forget house prices doubled in recent years, so falls of 10-15 per cent won’t do much to improve affordability over the long term,” Mr Bartolo said.

“Concerns about credit may change given the recent APRA announcement on serviceability.”

Meanwhile, 59 per cent of investors were happy that property prices were declining, which could make property purchases a more appealing option.

“Cooling property prices present new opportunities for those trying to get into the market,” Mr Bartolo said.

“If you’re planning to buy, it’s important to think long-term and always buy affordable.”

“Consider whether you can comfortably repay your mortgage over the long term regardless of changes to interest rates, your lifestyle, and without having to rely on less dependable sources of income like rent and bonuses.”

Brisbane house price hits new record: What is your home now worth?

ELIZABETH TILLEY
The Courier-MailMARCH 23, 20196:00AM
Brisbane house prices are continuing to grow, with new figures revealing they have hit a record high for the 26th straight quarter.

Lizzy and Gerard Tibbetts are looking to buy in Sandgate. Photo: AAP/Megan Slade.Source:News Limited

BRISBANE house prices are continuing to grow, with new figures revealing they have hit a record high for the 26th straight quarter — making the Queensland capital the envy of its cooling counterparts.

The latest Real Estate Institute of Queensland Market Monitor, to be released today, shows the annual median house price within the city’s local government area rose 1.1 per cent in the 12 months to the end of December to reach a new high of $675,000.

The Brisbane LGA median house price has jumped 25.9 per cent since December 2013, when it was $535,000.

The last time the city recorded an annual drop in its median house price was back in December of 2012, according to the REIQ, but it has climbed slowly and steadily ever since.

The suburbs of Paddington and Petrie Terrace. In the year to December 2018, the median house price in the Brisbane local government area rose to $675,000. REIQ. Image: AAP/Darren England.

The suburbs of Paddington and Petrie Terrace. In the year to December 2018, the median house price in the Brisbane local government area rose to $675,000. REIQ. Image: AAP/Darren England.Source:AAP

According to the REIQ, Brisbane’s housing market “continues to be one of the nation’s most consistent capital-city performers”, delivering moderate but sustainable price growth — so far defying the downturn gripping Sydney and Melbourne.

Among the top suburbs for house price growth in the Brisbane local government area were Sandgate, Hendra, Mount Ommaney, Albion and Hemmant.

TOP GROWTH SUBURBS FOR HOUSES IN BRISBANE LGA

Suburb Median price Annual change %

      1. Sandgate $750,000 18.1%

      2. Hendra $1.115m 14.7%

      3. Mount Ommaney $1m 13.8%

      4. Hemmant $545,000 13.3%

      5. Albion $858,000 13%

(Source: REIQ, based on 12mths to December 2018)

REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella said the figures showed Brisbane house values had continued to rise at a time when many capital cities were seeing prices go backwards.

“Because (Brisbane) hasn’t experienced that incredible accelerated growth, we’re not going to have that boom/bust experience that other capitals have.” Ms Mercorella said.

But she said that while Brisbane’s growth had been buoyed by increased interstate migration, improving economic fundamentals and strong demand, its resilience was flagging.

“Brisbane has so far withstood the headwinds facing the property markets in Sydney and Melbourne,” she said.

“Our property market has all the ingredients for a strong performance in 2019, including low unemployment, high levels of infrastructure spending that is creating jobs and high interstate migration levels, which creates demand for housing.

“But what we need is a clear signal from the government that responsible lending doesn’t mean limited lending. Currently, limited access to finance is threatening to stifle the market.”

REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella. Photo: Claudia Baxter.

REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella. Photo: Claudia Baxter.Source:News Corp Australia

Ms Mercorella said it was realistic to expect home price growth in Brisbane to be flat for the rest of 2019, but the city had the fundamentals to “really take off” in the near future.

“There are plenty of reasons to be confident and more people are wanting to invest in the Brisbane market because of what’s happening in Sydney and Melbourne,” she said.

“Not only are we affordable, but we offer a good return on investment.”

Ms Mercorella said areas that were most likely to feel the slowdown would be the growth corridors on the outskirts of Brisbane, such as Ipswich and Logan —areas where first home buyers and investors were most prevalent.

“Investors are likely to be the ones facing most of the brunt of tougher conditions in 2019,” she said.

“In addition to a federal election, which always slows activity in the real estate market, there is the threat of looming negative gearing cuts and CGT reforms, plus Queensland investors are also facing the headwinds of a rental legislation review.

“These factors all add up to a potentially very sluggish 2019.”

But buyers’ agents say investors are recognising the growth potential in the Brisbane housing market because of its affordability and lifestyle.

Daniel Walsh, of investment buyer’s agency Your Property Your Wealth, said he had noticed a clear shift in property investment activity away from Sydney and Melbourne to Queensland in the past 12 months.

Your Property Your Wealth’s Daniel Walsh.

Your Property Your Wealth’s Daniel Walsh.Source:Supplied

“Two or three years ago, people were wanting to invest in NSW and Victoria; now we’re seeing them turn to Queensland” Mr Walsh said.

“We had been investing heavily in Victoria over the past two to three years, but yields have started to diminish.

“It’s more attractive in Brisbane in terms of investors seeing greater rental returns and affordability.”

Mr Walsh is forecasting Brisbane to be a standout performer over the next three to five years.

“We’ve had wages increase, job numbers increase, more people are moving to the area and now all these green shoots are showing we’re ready for a boom in Queensland,” he said.

“It’s got all the ingredients for a boom, we just haven’t seen it just yet.”

Over the next six years, the top 10 infrastructure projects in the pipeline are forecast to inject $17 billion into the city and result in significant job creation.

Artist impression of the Queens Wharf development underway in Brisbane.

Artist impression of the Queens Wharf development underway in Brisbane.Source:Supplied

Tourism is one of the most promising growth industries driving the local economy, according to the REIQ.

State government figures released in September show Queensland’s share of the cash international tourists spend in Australia grew more than all other states.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said international visitor expenditure grew 11.5 per cent — more than double the national rate.

“We also saw record highs in international visitor numbers, with 2,762,000 visitors spending $5.9 billion in Queensland,” Ms Jones said.

28 and gerard 29

Lizzy and Gerard Tibbetts are looking at buying a house in Sandgate, which recorded the strongest median house price growth in 2018.

The couple recently sold their home in nearby Brighton and have inspected a three-bedroom character home at 12 Wolsey St, Sandgate, which is on the market for offers over $749,000.

This house at 12 Wolsey St, Sandgate, is for sale. Sandgate recorded the strongest house price growth in the Brisbane LGA in 2018.

This house at 12 Wolsey St, Sandgate, is for sale. Sandgate recorded the strongest house price growth in the Brisbane LGA in 2018.Source:Supplied

“We’re looking to have kids in the next few years, so we’re after something a bit bigger and those sorts of houses that have a bit of history,” Mrs Tibbetts said.

“That’s why we like it here — it’s by the water and has a lot of original homes.”

The pair, who have been married about 18 months, also love the community feel of Sandgate and its affordability and proximity to the CBD.

“I can get there on the train in half an hour, but not pay the prices you would in suburbs like Paddington,” Mrs Tibbetts said.

“And it’s not cut up into 300 sqm blocks!”

Marketing agent Zac McHardy of Harcourts Pinnacle – Aspley said he was not surprised Sandgate had recorded growth of more than 18 per cent in its median house price in the past year because it had been experiencing a period of gentrification.

“There’s a lot of older homes in the area with older people living there and a lot of them are being sold and people are renovating them and moving in or selling them off, and that’s making a huge difference to the area,” Mr McHardy said.

Inside the house at 12 Wolsey St, Sandgate. The suburb has a lot of older, character homes.

Inside the house at 12 Wolsey St, Sandgate. The suburb has a lot of older, character homes.Source:Supplied

He recalls moving out of Sandgate when he was 17 because there was “nothing to do”, but that had changed dramatically.

“There’s an actual lifestyle here now,” he said.

“It’s the only place in the Brisbane City Council area on the north side of town that offers waterfront you can actually use properly.

“The whole place is just a community; just a cool place to live now.”

Activity on the waterfront in the suburb of Sandgate. Picture: Josh Woning.

Activity on the waterfront in the suburb of Sandgate. Picture: Josh Woning.Source:News Corp Australia

Mr McHardy said mostly owner occupiers were moving into the suburb, but interstate investors were also buying in.

“We’re already seeing the difference (in price),” he said.

“Shorncliffe is just too expensive, so people move to Sandgate, but it’s now starting to become expensive, so they’re moving to Brighton and then they’ll move to Deagon.”

Closer to the CBD, the more affluent suburb of Hendra has also recorded double digit house price growth in the past year.

The median house price has shot up nearly 15 per cent to $1.1 million.

This house at 28 Raceview Rd, Hendra, has just hit the market. Photo supplied by Ray White.

This house at 28 Raceview Rd, Hendra, has just hit the market. Photo supplied by Ray White.Source:Supplied

It’s not as positive a story when it comes to the Brisbane LGA unit market, but there are solid signs of improvement.

Brisbane’s median unit price slipped 2.2 per cent in 2018 to $440,000, according to the REIQ.

Brisbane’s median unit price slipped 2.2 per cent in 2018 to $440,000, according to the REIQ.Source:News Corp Australia

The annual median unit price fell 2.2 per cent to $440,000 in the 12 months to December, according to the REIQ.

But some suburbs bucked the trend and recorded double-digit growth in unit prices, including Acacia Ridge, Rochedale, Yeronga, Gordon Park and Carseldine.

Agents continue to find the investor-level unit sector challenging, but demand for units aimed at owner-occupiers has improved, according to the REIQ.

The most popular price range for units in the Brisbane LGA is $350,000 to $499,000.

TOP GROWTH SUBURBS FOR UNITS IN BRISBANE LGA

Suburb Median price Annual change %

1. Acacia Ridge $444,017 36.6%

2. Rochedale $747,500 34.1%

3. Yeronga $525,000 21.4%

4. Gordon Park $382,500 17.7%

5. Carseldine $375,000 15.4%

(Source: REIQ, based on 12mths to December 2018)

Originally published as New high for Brisbane house price

Reference: https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/brisbane-qld/brisbane-house-price-hits-new-record-what-is-your-home-now-worth/news-story/568aed86faefec0f6535e42409bf5606

3 critical tax issues Aussies face in the upcoming election

In the lead-up to the 2019 federal election, Australians will need to consider three important tax issues that could greatly impact individual taxpayers.

Speaking to Nest Egg, Rami Brass, who leads tax services for national accounting firm RSM, said that there are currently three front runners for the top tax issues in the upcoming federal election, and they all stem from the Australian Labor Party’s proposed tax policies. These issues are changes to negative gearing, capital gains and franking credits.

Negative gearing

Under the proposed Labor Party policy, negative gearing will be limited to new housing. Losses from negatively geared property, other than new housing, will not be allowed to be claimed against salary and wage income, but will be able to be claimed against positively geared properties, Mr Brass said.

“Individuals who have negatively geared share investments will continue to be able to offset negative gearing losses against investment income. However, as with negatively geared property, any excess losses will not be able to be offset against salary and wage income or against any future capital gain on the sale of the investment,” he said.

“Essentially, the ALP policy will result in the addition of a new category of tax loss: the investment loss. This will result in a new layer of complexity when preparing individual tax returns, with taxpayers impacted having to appropriately calculate, apply and carry forward investment losses in addition to dealing with capital losses.

“It also raises issues in regards to existing properties and what happens when loans are refinanced and there are borrowings in regards to improvements on existing rental properties.”

Capital gains

Australians who have or are looking to acquire investment assets may also be impacted by Labor’s proposed policy to halve the capital gains tax discount from the current 50 per cent to 25 per cent.

“It is not all bad news, though, with the ALP indicating the policy will not apply to investments made before the implementation date and will be fully grandfathered, in line with the approach to negative gearing changes,” Mr Brass said.

“Combined with the proposed ALP limitations on negative gearing, individual taxpayers looking to capitalise on existing tax concessions to build their wealth will face challenging times with complex and conflicting changes to existing law.”

Imputation credits

Finally, the Labor Party is proposing to disallow cash refunds of imputation credits. Under current laws, the imputation credit system allows a taxpayer to be entitled to a credit for the tax paid on dividends paid by companies to shareholders, Mr Brass said.

“A taxpayer who receives franked dividends can use the imputation credit to reduce their tax payable, and where there is no tax payable, or excess imputation credits, the taxpayer is entitled to a cash refund,” he said. “Under the proposed ALP policy, individual taxpayers will no longer be eligible for refunds of excess franking credits.”

Mr Brass said that the original intent of the imputation system was to prevent double taxation, so shareholders who would ultimately be taxed at marginal rates on the distribution of company profits would receive a credit for the share of tax paid by the company on that profit.

“The concern of the ALP, which may be justified to an extent, is that where the marginal tax rate of the individual is lower that the company tax rate, the government loses out on tax revenue,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the individual taxpayers likely to be impacted most by the proposed change will be low-income earners which on face value appears unfair and inconsistent with overall ALP policy.”

What happened when the IMF ran big stress-test on Aussie banks

The IMF found that Australia’s five largest banks’ CET1 ratios fell from 10.6 per cent to only 7.2 per cent, comfortably above the 5.125 per cent CET1 threshold at which Additional Tier 1 (AT1) capital hybrids are switched into shares. “These results are broadly similar to those obtained by APRA in its bottom-up stress test conducted one year earlier,” the IMF noted.

The IMF also interrogated Aussie banks’ exposures to global systematically important banks (GSIBs) overseas, and documented a much lower level of interconnectedness compared to Asian, European, Japanese and US banks’ correlations with one another. (Interbank exposures domestically were likewise found to be “relatively small” at just 5 per cent of assets.)

An interesting feature of the IMF’s paper was its explicit call for APRA to introduce a “creditor no worse off” regime to protect the investors that fund our banks “as an additional legal safeguard to the bank resolution framework”. This is a significant development in the context of APRA’s current consultation process regarding its evolving “total loss absorbing capacity” (TLAC) framework, which the government (and the IMF) has stated should conform with global best practice.

In addition to requiring hybrids to convert into equity if a bank’s CET1 ratio falls to 5.125 per cent, which injects extra “going concern” capital while a bank is alive, APRA also has the right to unilaterally switch AT1 hybrids and Tier 2 subordinated bonds into a bank’s ordinary shares if it declares a “non-viability” event. This gives APRA access to “gone concern” capital to recapitalise a failing bank with equity once it has become non-viable.

APRA defines these rights in the prudential standard that dictates the terms on which banks can issue AT1 and Tier 2 securities, which are then embedded into their contracts. In March 2018 APRA upgraded the Banking Act to legislatively acknowledge that hybrids and Tier 2 bonds can be bailed-into equity under their contracts.

It is not widely appreciated that this means that Aussie hybrids and Tier 2 bonds now possess both “contractual” and “statutory” (or legislative) bail-in. More technically, APRA created a circular reference in the legislation that endorses bail-in only where the security’s contract explicitly references APRA’s bail-in rights, which carves out depositors and senior bondholders where no such contractual terms exist.

The problem identified by the IMF (and global investors) is that APRA’s non-viability clauses have not been properly defined and do not protect against regulatory decision-making errors. Here global best practice recommends two core principles. First, that the “gone-concern” bail-in right should only be invoked when a bank is truly “gone” (ie, about to be placed into administration). And, second, that if a regulator erroneously imposes losses on creditors, they should have legal recourse to sue for appropriate compensation.

Under Title II of the Dodd Frank Act in the US and the European Bank Resolution and Recovery Directive, creditors are entitled to receive the same economic outcome in any gone concern bail-in that they would experience if the bank was resolved via standard bankruptcy processes. This is why the IMF implores APRA to adopt a “creditor no worse off” protection, which ensures regulators exercise their bail-in rights carefully and mitigates the risk of errors caused by carelessness and/or political pressures to inflict punitive damages on certain stakeholders.

As a consequence of APRA’s nebulous non-viability clauses, global investors have historically required Aussie banks to pay an extra risk premium when raising money via securities that are subject to them, which is inevitably passed on to bank customers.

In the context of APRA’s TLAC consultation process one interesting development was the French bank, BNP, issuing a 5 year, “non-preferred senior”, or “Tier 3”, TLAC bond last month to Aussie investors, sourcing $475 million at a cost of just 1.75 per cent above the bank bill swap rate (BBSW).

The government’s financial system inquiry expressly recommended APRA consider this type of Tier 3 product, which has become global best practice, to ensure our banks can source TLAC capital in the lowest cost and most liquid manner possible. Trying to raise an extra $80 to $90 billion of TLAC funding via Tier 2 subordinated bonds (or $125 billion including existing Tier 2 maturities) would make our banks some of the most financially unstable in the world. This is because their capital structures would have a globally unprecedented 6 to 7 per cent sleeve of illiquid and volatile Tier 2 securities (compared to just 2 per cent for banks overseas) that would be impossible to refinance during stressed market conditions.

Tier 3 bonds rank higher than Tier 2 in the capital structure, have superior credit ratings, and are classified by global investors as “senior” rather than “subordinated”, which means the capital available to invest in them is orders of magnitude larger than Tier 2 (actual global Tier 3 issuance is about 10 times larger than Tier 2).

At just 1.75 per cent above BBSW, the spread on the BNP Tier 3 issue last month was also notably 75 basis points cheaper than the 2.5 plus per cent spread the major banks would have to pay if they attempted to originate $125 billion of Tier 2, and this assumes benign market conditions.

Tier 3 issued by the major banks would likely carry the same A band rating as BNP’s bond, and in Australian dollars would price well inside BNP at about 1.5 per cent above BBSW or roughly 1.5 times the cost of current senior bonds (where the latter are subordinated to deposits but rank above Tier 3 in the same way that Tier 3 ranks ahead of Tier 2 but below current senior).

Following APRA’s recent upgrades to the Banking Act, it has room to accommodate a Tier 3 security via an “other securities” carve-out. Yet if APRA wants our banks to be able to access global Tier 3 markets at the same cost and with the same liquidity as rivals overseas, it will have to embrace a creditor-no-worse-off protection and ensure its bail-in clauses can only be exercised in true gone concern events.

Reference: https://www.livewiremarkets.com/wires/what-happened-when-the-imf-ran-big-stress-test-on-aussie-banks

Housing Dream Turned Nightmare Spurs a Backlash in Australia

Housing Dream Turned Nightmare Spurs a Backlash in Australia

(Bloomberg) — A generation of young Australians priced out of the property market and frustrated at a widening wealth divide could prove pivotal in triggering a change of government in May.

The main opposition Labor party has made tackling the growing gap between so-called baby boomers and millennials a key plank of its campaign to win office for the first time since 2013.

The center-left party, which is leading Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government in opinion polls, is pledging to curb tax breaks for property investors that helped drive home prices beyond the reach of many Australians. Labor leader Bill Shorten is also promising to scrap tax refunds worth A$5 billion ($3.6 billion) a year for share investors — a policy that’s angered wealthier retirees but is more popular with under-35’s.

“Younger voters are missing out on political and economic benefits that previous generations have enjoyed and Shorten has been smart enough to make that an election issue,” said Jill Sheppard, a political analyst at the Australian National University. Labor is “targeting its message at younger generations that fair reforms are needed.”

While Australia has avoided recession for 27 years, the spoils have not been shared evenly as older people capture a greater share of the nation’s wealth. According to the Grattan Institute, households headed by people aged 65-74 were on average A$566,000 wealthier in 2015-16 than the same age group was 12 years earlier. That far outstrips growth in other bands and compares with just A$38,000 for the 25-34 age group.

Such a concentration of wealth among older Australians can hurt the real economy, according to Danielle Wood, an economist at the Melbourne-based think tank. Younger Australians priced out of the property market, for instance, are forced to live further from cities — lengthening their commutes and reducing the likelihood of second income-earners working full time, she said in an interview with Bloomberg Television Thursday.

“Housing affordability has clearly been the No. 1 economic issue for younger Australians in the past decade,” Wood said.

While prices have retreated 12 percent from a mid-2017 peak, Sydney’s median house price is still more than A$900,000 and the city is the world’s third least-affordable housing market. Only 45 percent of people aged 25-34 own their own home, down 16 percentage points from the 1980s.

As well as pledging to subsidize rents and build 250,000 new homes, Labor plans to scale back a perk called negative gearing, which allows investors to claim the costs of owning a rental property as a tax deduction against other income. The curb is backed by 51 percent of voters, with support rising to 59 percent among those aged 18-34, according to a Newspoll published Feb. 11.

The same poll put Labor ahead of Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition, on 53 percent to 47 percent, though an Ipsos poll this week put the lead at just 51-49 percent.

Shorten also plans to scrap tax refunds paid out to shareholders under a system known as dividend imputation. Labor says ending the refunds, introduced by a Liberal-National government in 2001, will save the budget A$56 billion over the next decade and relieve the burden on younger taxpayers.

Morrison says curbing negative gearing will cause the housing market to tumble even further and jeopardize the economy. His government also opposes ending the refunds, saying the policy would strip a key source of income for many retirees, who have staged protests against the plan.

Labor, which unlike the government has a portfolio for young people, is also pledging more concerted action to curb carbon emissions and support renewable energy. Morrison has faced nationwide protests from school children over his inaction on climate change.

Shorten has long sensed an opportunity in capturing the youth vote. In 2015, he called for the voting age to be lowered to 16, saying there was a “democracy deficit” for young people disengaged with conservative government. A growing number of young Australians are politically engaged, with more than 70 percent of 18-year-olds voting in the 2016 election, up from about 50 percent in 2013.

Labor is tapping into a growing sentiment among younger Australians that inter-generational inequality must be tackled. In 2010, 42 percent of voters aged 18-25 supported a redistribution of income and wealth, according to a study commissioned by the Australian National University. By 2016, that had grown to 63 percent.

Wood of the Grattan Institute said she was watching for signs that the “stark polarization” of voting behavior seen in the U.K.’s last election — with young people increasingly supporting Labour and older people backing the Conservatives — would be repeated in Australia. Key factors that drove voting patterns in Britain — housing affordability, educational costs and stagnant wages for young people — were also apparent in Australia.

“I do expect that we might see a little bit more of this generational polarization than we have in the past,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Scott in Canberra at jscott14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Edward Johnson, Chris Bourke

Reference: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/housing-dream-turned-nightmare-spurs-140000851.html

14 Clever Ways to Partition a Room Without Blocking out Light

When you want just the right amount of space and light, get creative with glass, slats, beads, exposed framing and more

 7 December 2018
Room dividers can help direct foot traffic, define spaces, create a sense of privacy and hide unsightly areas. But while solid room dividers, such as folding screens, can create privacy and hide unsightly objects, they can also block out light and make a smaller space feel confining. If you want to divide a room without losing light and depth, consider these 14 ideas.

Best of the Week: 34 Brilliant Bathroom Vanities

A striking vanity is a great way to make a design statement in a bathroom – here are 34 examples to inspire you

 28 November 2018
Senior writer, Houzz Australia
Re-doing your bathroom? If so, choosing a new vanity is likely to be high on your to-do list. You’ll want whatever you pick to be practical and functional, but it’s also an opportunity to add a little character to the space. We’ve gathered together 34 of our all-time favourite vanities from Houzz around the world to show you just what’s possible.

And remember, you can get more details of a project and see more of a professional’s work by clicking on a photo.