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Saturday, February 22, 2014

The newest celebrity in Perth: The Sorrento Seal

This guy, a 2000kg elephant seal showed up way off course on Sorrento beach.   He's departed a few times now and then come back to hang out again on the beach.   Thankfully wildlife officers have stepped in and roped off an area to keep the thousands of people coming to get a look back.

Update:  The Sorrento Seal would leave Perth about a week after he landed and has not been back to the beaches since.

Check out hash tag #sorrentoseal on Twitter and you get a sense of what news he has become.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A few thoughts on international hockey commentators

When I was growing up I thought the world only had Canadian Hockey commentators.  Everyone would have the pleasure of listening to the great Bob Cole, Don Whitman or Jim Hughson calling the game while equally great color commentators, studio analysts like the polarizing Don Cherry provided additional detail with a passion and enthusiasm that couldn't help but make you smile.

And here I sit, POSITIVE 31 degrees outside on a late Perth evening with Olympic Hockey on TV and the classic US vs Canada womens match on TV.   And yet, I just can't help but thinking something is missing.  Snow, well sure, but we can't live without that now can't we? Beer? Nope, Aussie's produce a pretty fine brew, perhaps a Molson Canadian, or Labatt Blue would be nice, but we're ok here.

The issue so very clearly is there is a brit and an aussie commentating the game.  I'm sure they're lovely blokes, and they even seem to have a decent handle on the game.  But COME ON, just buy the Canadian audio so I can get the true feel of the game!  Oh no the aussie lady host just announced we were coming back to the third period like she was talking about a unique fish dish she had while in Bali.    Ahhhh make it stop.  

Seriously Canada, sell the audio to all other nations for these internationally broadcast games, even non english speakers could gain something...

Ok, enough of that back to the game....hoping the Canadian ladies can pull this one out?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Renting a house in Perth: Prices are dropping

The topic of real estate in Perth is a common one.   The rental market in particular is like no other that I've ever experienced.   We're getting ready for a move to a different property and I cannot get over the difference in the market.
Two years ago when we arrived, property rentals went something like this:
Find a property on realestate.com.au or reiwa.com.au  (both have the same properties,  realestate.com.au has a better site and great apps.)
Figure out when the next inspection will be.
Arrive on time or just before the inspection time.
Have your application pre-filled out.
Watch as 10-40 other families show up.  Apparently because of the way I look and dress, many will think I am the rental agent.
Offer full value or higher on the spot
Wait 2 days for an email that states that you have been unsuccessful.
All that on a property that was 1500 / week or more.  It was apparently extreme on properties under $700 per week.

Fast forward to today.   Newspapers are stating that rental vacancies are up 60+ percent from year ago levels and that unit rentals prices are down 2 percent.   My experience tells me that rentals rates are dropping much more quickly.   Many agencies have confided that rentals on properties in 1000 per week range are seeing drops of up to 200 dollars per week.

One of the agents the other night said to us "Houses $650 and under per week, no problem....$700 and over are getting really difficult to move"

Some examples of the funky and not so funky houses we've seen in our short experience lately:

A mansion in South Perth with a pretty much unusable kitchen that the owner wants someone to pay $900 a week for and will not commit to fixing anything....but wow what a cool building and amazing views.  I have to say, whoever the photographer on this was, good job mate, the inside did not look this good to us.

A property in Sorrento walking distance to the Beach / Ocean that was ultra modern but above what we wanted to pay at $1100 per week (the agent claims the last tenant was paying $1350)  This place had a very cool roof top balcony with ocean views and an oddly shaped pool.  

A good bones house in Gwelup that has been fit out as cheaply as absolutely possible and getting lots of noise from Karrinyup Road.  700 / week  I want to like it, I want to like it, I want to like it.....ummmmm NO.

And finally a nice house in South Perth.  I think this would have easily fetched 1300+ / week 2 years ago and they are struggling to get 980 / week.   ** Update - 8 days later this one came off the real estate boards and I thought, hmmm they did get that much.  A day later it's back on at 930/ week.