Let me start this by saying that I’m not an expert in environmental matters, but by adding that I am interested in environmental matters. I was an early adopter of LED bulbs back when they cost more than the light fitting you put them into; I set up a couple of compost heaps in our last house and reduced our weekly rubbish collection by a third; and I’m generally happy to invest in something that I think will reap longer term benefits either in efficiency or in reducing my environmental footprint.
So when we arrived in Canberra, I was interested to learn that every property is assessed according to an ‘Energy Efficiency Rating’ or EER. Our year in a rental house – which is freezing in winter, boiling in summer and generates energy bills that would make a sheikh weep – only served to heighten my interest in energy efficiency when hunting for a house to buy.
There’s quite a funny song that appeared on the British TV comedy show ‘Spitting Image’ many years ago, entitled ‘I’ve Never Met A Nice South African’ and it provides a suitable backdrop for the trouble I’ve had with writing this post.
Originally, this piece had an introduction along the lines of: “Every city has their undesirables and Canberra is no exception. In London, it’s investment bankers, in Copenhagen, it’s the hipsters, while in Canberra, it’s estate agents.”
But, just like the Spitting Image song, this sweeping claim troubled me. For the record, I’ve met plenty of lovely South Africans. I actually know an investment banker who’s a pretty good guy. And I even know an estate agent whom I believe to be ethical and principled.
A few days ago, the CBRbound family went to a housewarming party for some friends here in Canberra. The timing of the event was significant in that it both signalled and echoed our own trajectory as new migrants.
Every now and then, you catch yourself saying something and wonder at the significance of it. While this may sound strange – after all, your own thoughts can hardly be a surprise to you – there is something about articulating them that gives them a slightly different form, and allows you to recognise their existence more readily.
If there’s one thing that Aussies and Brits have in common, it’s a constant fretting about the housing market – are prices going up or down? Are we at the peak of a price bubble? Should you rent until things calm down?
There’s no shortage of experts willing to offer answers to all of these questions but, in truth, only time will offer up the real answers.
Finding somewhere to live from 15,000km away is a pretty tough job, and our own experience benefited from a certain amount of serendipity. Even so, there was a method behind our decision to live in Canberra’s Nicholls suburb. It all started with a research trip a couple of years ago. Continue reading
Today’s blog was going to be about how hard it is to arrange accommodation when you’re 16,000 km away. And with good reason. I’ve been trawling the various websites listing homes to rent in the Canberra area and three ‘home truths’ have become apparent: Continue reading