Tomorrow night you'll be able to watch the first episode of new reality TV show Our First Home. Although the home-renovation formula has been well established with local and imported TV programmes, this show from TV One adds a new twist -- families working together to fix up tired properties.
In fact, there will be three Kiwi families taking part, each working on a home to bring it up to scratch. Contestants, I am told, "will be putting everything on the line to help their children take their first steps on to the property ladder".
There's sure to be some domestic squabbles to entertain viewers as well as some home renovation ideas and tips.
Supporting the show is family-owned real estate firm Barfoot & Thompson, which will be writing about all aspects of buying and selling property in a special Herald Homes series -- its first feature appears on page 46.
Our First Home is broadcast Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays at 7.30pm.
Will mortgage interest rates go down? That's the question many watchers of the financial markets are asking -- because there is little danger of them going up any time soon. And with inflation well below the target range of between 1 and 3 per cent (it's 0.8 per cent), I wonder if the Reserve Bank's decision to raise rates last year was a mistake.
Trouble is, having raised them -- in four 0.25 per cent increments between March and July -- it would look silly lowering them so soon. Frankly, I could not see a compelling reason to raise them at all (it didn't cool Auckland's hot housing market).
On top of our low inflation, the price of oil has halved. And in a surprise move this week the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its cash rate from 2.50 per cent to 2.25 per cent (our current cash rate is 3.50 per cent).
The bottom line is that banks here may be reluctant to lower their floating rate while our official cash rate remains unchanged, but they are awash with cheap cash they want to lend out.
Perhaps the banks will risk losing a bit of profit and lower their fixed rates to get the cash out the door and into the hands of home buyers.
There are already some good fixed-rate home loan deals on offer, but don't be afraid to call your bank and get a slice off the advertised rates before you sign on the dotted line.