Shocking Statistics

According to Peter Nichol on LinkedIn, “Remember 62% of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are due to healthcare bills and 72% of these people HAD healthcare insurance before bankruptcy.”  He was referring to the ever-narrowing margins available to Hospitals to fund new technology, like Medical Imaging Equipment.  The gist of it was a question about the wisdom of GE to make Medical Technology one of the three pillars of its new restructure.  I wonder if he knows how much GE makes on Medical Imaging Equipment sales in the U.S.  It’s huge – about double what it makes elsewhere in the world.  That is, unless things have drastically changed since I left in ’06.  I doubt it.

Over 60? Asset Rich, but Cash Poor?

There is a way to unlock the equity in your real estate:  a Reverse Mortgage.  I’m now an accredited broker, and the first one I wrote was for my wife and me.  It’s made a significant improvement in our cash flow (>$4000 / month), we’ve made a lot of overdue repairs and updates to our home, and we still have enough for nice, long holiday in Fiji.  It’s given us a real lift in terms of Peace of Mind.  Why not give me a call?  A brief discussion will reveal if a Reverse Mortgage is worthy of serious consideration.  Ring Don Greenamyer on 0419 664 186.

Don’t be among the 33%

According to AustralianBroker, 33% of Australians are failing to put in the effort and seek out better home loan deals despite slow wage growth and piling levels of household debt.  Apathy and the hassle of switching lenders seem to be the main reasons, but it’s very easy to ring your broker and let him or her save you the hassle and potentially save you a lot of money.

Revolutionary Technologies: the Printing Press, the Internet, and now Blockchain

For those interested in learning about Blockchain, I strongly recommend a very well-written book by Tim Lea, Down the Rabbit Hole, Discover the Power of the BLOCKCHAIN.  Blockchain is not exactly new and has had some bad press, because it’s the underlying technology of Bitcoin, which recently rose in value to more than an ounce of gold.  The most powerful quote on the subject is from Goldman Sachs in December 2015:  “…the Blockchain, can change…well everything”.

A major turning point in interest rates?

0829 Sooner Solutions logo email and webWe all knew that interest rates would not stay low forever, and we’re now seeing the first signs that the downward trend is being broken.  It’s public knowledge that the banks have been selectively raising rates.  Recent evidence is Westpac and its related banks raising rates for interest only loans by 0.08%.  And, only yesterday, my bank notified me of an increase in my line of credit of 0.15%.

What is not widely known is that since early October, the five-year swap rate (in red) has moved sharply higher, as shown in the chart below.  For those of you with variable rate loans, I suggest that now is the time to fix some or all of your debt.

trendlines-8-dec-16

Thanksgiving

Yes, it’s an American tradition about celebrating a successful harvest, but it’s springtime here, so I’d like to change the meaning somewhat by taking this opportunity to thank all who have supported my work.  I really do appreciate the opportunities and feedback.  So, if you have any ideas about how I can better serve you or those you care about, please let me know.

Continuing Housing Under-supply in Sydney?

When my clients ask about the potential for a substantial drop in prices for residential real estate in Sydney, 0829 Sooner Solutions logo email and webI’ve often referred to the consistent message from the major banks’ economists and others.  That is that supply and demand are pretty much in balance in all capital cities except Sydney, where we have a gross under-supply that is likely to persist well into next year.

I now have reasons to question this position.  Bank economists are very unlikely to ‘talk down’ the market, because 60% of their balance sheets are bricks and mortar.  And, in my previous post, I included graphs provided by Stockland, who also have vested interest in the rising market.  The other reason is that property monitoring experts are projecting a glut of units due to the many high-rise developments now under construction.  They do, however, also project a continuing under-supply in standalone housing.

P.S.  I noticed that the 5-year swap rate increased by a much wider margin than in the past.  On Friday, the 30th, it was 1.87%, and on Friday, the 7th, it was 2.01%.  Could this be a turning point?

Where to from here for residential property prices?

0829 Sooner Solutions logo email and webFriends, clients, and prospects often ask if we’re nearing or at the top of this cycle in the residential property market.  My replies have been consistently the same – probably not.  Bank economists over the last 12-18 months have stated that the Sydney market is grossly under-supplied and will likely remain so well into 2017.  So, prices continue to rise, aided in part by the six-year plus downward trend in interest rates.

An article in the weekend Fin Rev provides further evidence, the most interesting part being the graphs based on data from Stockland.  If they’re anything close to accurate, those who want to buy but think that prices will fall in the next year or two, may experience an expensive regret.

stockland

Interest Rates Update

0829 Sooner Solutions logo email and webI had to add range on the vertical scale of my chart below, because for the first time, one of the rates that I follow closed the week below 2%.  That’s the five-year swap rate, which is a pretty good guide for Medical Equipment Finance, most of which is based on five-year terms.  If we assume that lenders need 2-3% margin for risk and profit, that means five-year rates should be 4-5%, the lowest yet.

So, if you can bring forward plans to replace or add revenue-generating equipment, you’ll get the lowest rate in a very long time.

trendlines 26-6-16

Cognitive Computing Will Change …

0829 Sooner Solutions logo email and web…Everything, and it will be much sooner than you think.  It’s an example of the accelerating advances in Computer Science, Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology that will enable us to, for example, transform Healthcare from Diagnosis and Treatment to Wellness and Longevity.

As announced by Ginni Rometty in her keynote address at CES 2016 (it’s also on YouTube), IBM is investing heavily in Watson, and the results already include the ability to predict the onset of a hypoglycemic event three hours in advance.  That was developed by Medtronics ‘powered’ by Watson.  In the conclusion of that segment of her presentation Ginni said to Medtronics’ Omar Ishrak, “…we will change the face of Healthcare forever.”

Others who described their developments powered by Watson were Under Armour and Softbank Robotics.  These are only a few examples of what’s happening today.  I’m excited about being a part of a future with IBM Watson Health.