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Woman buys her childhood home at auction

<p dir="ltr">A young homebuyer has had an emotional win at auction, as she bought the home she grew up in. </p> <p dir="ltr">The auction was held at the home on election day in the Adelaide suburb of Para Vista, with Ray White’s chief auctioneer John Morris calling the sale a heartwarming result for the young woman. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Gemma was taken home to this house when she was born, and has now bought it back from the owners who her family sold it to in 2014,” Mr Morris said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As you can imagine, it is a very special sale for her and her partner who was watching on Facetime,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Gemma, 28, was the only bidder and bought the house for $460,000. </p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the emotional connection, Gemma said her childhood home was not originally on her radar when she started searching for a home. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My partner and I already have another house and we had been looking for another property as an investment,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As we were searching online, the house came up and I was surprised to see it listed for sale.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We quickly spoke to our bank and decided to go for it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“As my partner works away we weren’t able to come for the inspections, so I decided to go to the auction nevertheless.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was crazy. My parents were there too and it was a super emotional day for all of us.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Gemma lived in the house from 1994 to 2012, where she said she holds many fond childhood memories. </p> <p dir="ltr">“At the moment, I am not looking to move in. We want to do it up and see how it goes,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: realestate.com.au</em></p>

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Jaw-dropping estate with 1km-long driveway up for grabs

<p dir="ltr">A luxe country estate just two hours from Sydney has been <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-nsw-robertson-139186571?rsf=syn:news:nca:news:spa" target="_blank" rel="noopener">listed for sale</a> with an eye-watering price guide between $25-$27.5 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">The seven-bedroom, six-bathroom estate in the Southern Highlands, inspired by an iconic 19th century mansion in Point Piper, boasts two floors, an underground wine cellar that can store 4,200 bottles, and a kilometre-long driveway that provides the home with a high degree of privacy.</p> <p dir="ltr">Outside the 2000-square-metre home, the property also boasts rolling pastures, manicured gardens, a pool and a summer house.</p> <p dir="ltr">Having only been completed in 2007, Christie’s agent Darren Curtis said the home’s current owners have spent the last 14 to 15 years extensively changing its interiors.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The owners of the estate bought it in 2008 and over the past 14-15 years they’ve made a number of internal changes and major renovations made to the property,” Mr Curtis said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Usually when people move into large luxury estates, they have to do up a few rooms here and there and clean up the gardens. This is one of those rare occasions where a person can move into a home and not have to tinker with it too much.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The buyers that are expressing their interest in this property include those looking for a seachange and a treechange, those returning from overseas - predominantly Chinese buyers - and (those with) a renewed interest in acreage homes.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Curtis also told The Daily Telegraph that the wine cellar is well-insulated and stays the same temperature all year round.</p> <p dir="ltr">Located in the village of Robertson, which is a popular wine-tasting area, the estate’s guesthouse has been used as an Airbnb while the main home underwent renovations.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There’s certainly nothing in this area that has the same stature and weight as this estate, certainly nothing recently that compares to the $25m+ price tag,” Mr Curtis said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s got a real gravitas to it, the walls are a third of a metre thick and teh current owners also spent quite a bit of time with 65 prime Welsh Black cattle on the 80 hectare estate.”</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-e69647ed-7fff-ebc3-2bd7-f3c10e1f19b2"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Realestate.com.au</em></p>

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How an Aussie senior inherited her long-term home from her landlord

<p dir="ltr">An Australian senior has finally been able to retire after she received an incredible gift from her long-term landlord. </p> <p dir="ltr">Jane Sayner, 74, was used to a life of waking up to her 3am alarm to go and work at a fruit and vegetable market in Epping in order to pay her rent and make ends meet. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, Jane has now been able to turn off her early morning alarm for good after inheriting her home from her late landlord. </p> <p dir="ltr">Jane rented off St Albans multi-millionaire John Perrett, who famously left his $18-million fortune to the Royal Melbourne Hospital when he died in 2020.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Perrett was the local pharmacist in the suburb of Melbourne, but made his riches through clever investing, all while continuing to live humbly in the neighbourhood.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the majority of his generous donation to the hospital has gone towards technology and research in the renal department that delivered him a kidney transplant, his philanthropic nature wanted to ensure Ms Sayner did not have to worry about finding a new place during her own health battle.</p> <p dir="ltr">After renting the two-bedroom St Albans unit for 23 years, Jane was shocked to receive a call from her landlord before he died after a battle with Parkinson’s. </p> <p dir="ltr">While the pair were on good terms, Perrett’s offering was next level, as he left the home to Jane. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Perrett also left another property to another tenant in St Albans, while another flat he owned similar to Jane’s was sold for about $400,000 to go towards the hospital donation. </p> <p dir="ltr">Jane paid $250 a week in rent, which barely rose over the last two decades, and would never have been able to afford anything like what she had if her home had been sold following her landlord’s death. </p> <p dir="ltr">Instead of still having to wake up at 3am to work at the market full-time, Jane now enjoys the simple life of a retiree as she tends to her garden and dreams of travelling to Canada. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: realestate.com.au</em></p>

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Mega mansion with odes to Hollywood hits the market

<p dir="ltr">A mansion on the top of a mountain with “million-dollar views” of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland has hit the market - but its unique interior could be its biggest drawcard.</p> <p dir="ltr">Not only does it come with seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms, it also boasts its own medieval throne room, a Wild West-style saloon bar, and a Hollywood-style theatrette.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ray White Beerwah agent Alex Garden said the property, known as Chateau Cedarton, was built by a concreter who wanted his own mega mansion.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is really unique,” Mr Garden told <em><a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/live-like-royalty-in-qlds-own-game-of-thrones-house/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">realestate.com.au</a></em>. “In its heyday, it would have been a really cool venue.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The medieval throne room, styled with stone tiles to create a classic castle look, is complete with two full-sized replica knights and leads into the 25-metre-long red-carpeted theatrette, decorated with Hollywood-style movie posters.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Wild West-style saloon room features timber panelling, appropriately-themed wall art and a cellar.</p> <p dir="ltr">Other internal features include a sauna and spa, as well as a formal reception area, statement kitchen, formal dining room, space for 10 cars, a pool/rumpus room, and a commercial kitchen and laundry.</p> <p dir="ltr">Outside, the 16.19-hectare block boasts just as many interesting features, such as Roman columns, a pool with its own public bathroom, and replicas of European fountains.</p> <p dir="ltr">There is also a wraparound verandah, a resort-style pool, a gazebo, fruit trees, three dams, and a workers cottage.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-qld-cedarton-139351039" target="_blank" rel="noopener">listing</a>, the home has complete privacy despite being surrounded by large acreage homes and “hosts scenic breathtaking million-dollar views”.</p> <p dir="ltr">After spending a weekend at the home more than a decade ago, owners Victor and Lana, who have asked for their surname not to be published, said they fell in love with the property.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, their plans for transforming the home were put on hold after Victor suffered an accident which saw him undergo extensive rehabilitation two months after they moved in.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We had huge plans for it and we did open it as a function centre, restaurant and accommodation for a while, we also had visits from the elderly, from retirement villages and children with disabilities,” Lana said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And our direction changed towards that, towards helping people who needed some peace and tranquillity.”</p> <p dir="ltr">With COVID-19 lockdowns keeping them away from half of their family in Victoria, the couple then decided it was time to sell - giving them the opportunity to move south and start their new business venture.</p> <p dir="ltr">They have freshened up the home ahead of the sale, softening some of the Tuscan palette to create a more neutral vibe.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, they have left its unique rooms untouched.</p> <p dir="ltr">“That’s what makes it so unique,” Lana said.</p> <p dir="ltr">They hope that the next owner has their own vision for the property, as Lana says the estate has “so much potential”. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It needs someone with some big plans and the ability to make them happen.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The views, the privacy, the grounds, the possibilities are endless.”</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-3423ace5-7fff-e640-f932-7f5b0de0294f"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Ray White</em></p>

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Queensland mum shares heartbreaking story of homelessness

<p>A young mother-of-two from Queensland has documented her devastating journey of homelessness, as she has become the face of how the housing crisis is affected generation Z. </p> <p>Sushannah Taylor, 20, has been staying at campsites around the Bundaberg area after her landlord sold the rental home she was living in with her husband Tristan, 22, and the couple’s two daughters Delilah, 2, and six-month-old Luna.</p> <p>Throughout her experience, she has documented her journey on TikTok to show how the reality of the housing crisis is affecting young families across Australia. </p> <p>In the latest blow to Sushannah and her family, the young woman shared she was recently involved in an accident while driving the family car, with her two young children and all the family’s possessions in the back.</p> <p>Sushannah’s car was hit by another vehicle being driven by an elderly woman who, rather than stop to assist, drove away.</p> <p>No one was hurt in the collision, but now Sushannah and Tristan have been lumped with the full cost of repairs for the vehicle — a cost they cannot pay.</p> <p>Sushannah said that she had to “swerve the car to avoid them hitting the front or, you know, the middle where my kids are” and that the kids got “rattled around a little bit but they are doing great”.</p> <p>“But here’s the kicker. The person that hit me was an elderly woman. And when I pulled over and tried to wave her down to say, ‘hey, like, let’s stop, let’s take each other’s details, let’s assess the damage’, she drove off.</p> <div id="indie-campaign-DifJheZrCrms7j4pmefw-0" data-campaign-name="NCA FINANCE Cashed Up Newsletter OneClick SignUp" data-campaign-indie="newsletter-signup" data-jira="TSN-268" data-from="1645448400000" data-to="1680181200000"></div> <p>“A hit-and-run. So we don’t have a car right now. And it’s gonna cost me hundreds of dollars to fix the damage.”</p> <p>“What I’m so angry about is the person that decided to hit my car and run away like a coward. I’m homeless. I live out of my car. I need my car. It is an absolute necessity for me and my family to survive. And now I have to look at possibly buying a new one. But don’t have the money for that."</p> <p>“I just want one thing to go right. Because right now I feel like the universe if laughing at me.”</p> <p>Sushannah's videos are shining a light on the homelessness crisis in Australia, documenting what the family eats for each meal and the constant unpacking of their lives to move onto a new campsite.</p> <p>The young couple have applied for more than 40 jobs and are now receiving Centrelink payments to support their family.</p> <p>The area of Bundaberg is extremely competitive to secure housing in, while homeless shelters are also at full capacity. </p> <p>“I’ve been a stay-at-home mum for the past two years so it’s going to be a little bit more difficult for me to jump back in but I’m trying,” Sushannah said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Million-dollar home sold with squatter living in the basement

<p dir="ltr">A house in the US state of Virginia has sold for way above the asking price, despite coming with a stranger living in the basement. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to public records, the five-bedroom, four-bathroom house sold for $A1.1m ($US805,000) to an unnamed buyer on April 15th. </p> <p dir="ltr">The <a href="https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3709-Prado-Pl-Fairfax-VA-22031/51836844_zpid/">online listing</a> quickly went viral, after it noted that putting an offer in on the home required  “an acknowledgement that home will convey with a person(s) living in lower level with no lease in place.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“NO ACCESS to see lower level,” the listing added.</p> <p dir="ltr">Just days after the home was listed, an Instagram account called Zillow Gone Wild posted about the bizarre listing, noting that it came with “a specific clause in the purchase price”. </p> <p dir="ltr">The post racked up over 35,000 likes and comments from users speculating about the identity of the basement tenant and poking fun at the unusual circumstances of the sale.</p> <p dir="ltr">“800k for 5 bd, 4 ba and your own serial killer,” a user commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Is the basement haunted? Feels like the basement is haunted,” another wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">Before the sale closed, the listing agent told the <a href="https://nypost.com/2022/04/14/virginia-man-selling-home-after-squatter-refuses-to-leave/">New York Post</a> that the seller of the home was an elderly man who was sick in the hospital and had offered the basement dweller a place to stay three years ago after she cleaned his home and “convinced him that she needed a place to stay”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“So he offered her the basement, but then she never left. And she does not pay rent,” Rodgers-Rickert added.</p> <p dir="ltr">The agent told the publication that the man’s family was hoping to sell the home before he died because he didn’t have a will and they didn’t have the money to hire a lawyer to work on the eviction of the “tenant”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rodgers-Rickert declined to comment to NBC News on the circumstances of the seller or the basement dweller following the sale of the house to a new owner. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Zillow</em></p>

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Israel Folau’s spacious estate hits the market

<p dir="ltr">Rugby star Israel Folau and his wife Maria are offloading their Kenthurst estate in New South Wales with a price tag nearly double what they paid for it.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple bought the home for $2.1 million in 2015 - while Folau was still playing for the NSW Waratahs - and have listed the two-hectare property with a price guide between $3.5 and $3.85 million through Bella Vista agent Lucy Jensen, per <em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/sport/sports-life/expatriate-rugby-star-israel-folau-and-wife-maria-list-kenthurst-estate/news-story/75f647b2b73698d4d7c9d5c81ec541bf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The four-bedroom, four-bathroom home is on “one of the best blocks in Kenthurst”, according to <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/property-other-nsw-kenthurst-700198079?rsf=syn:news:nca:news:spa" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the listing</a>, and features a ballroom-like combined dining and lounge area, a home theatre with a combustion fireplace, and one double bedroom that could be split in two for extra space.</p> <p dir="ltr">The property also boasts a free-standing studio, in-ground pool, and a huge shed, along with plenty of space both out the front and out the back of the home.</p> <p dir="ltr">The decision to sell comes after the sportsman decided to play rugby union in Japan last year, and follows the couple’s recent acquisitions in Queensland.</p> <p dir="ltr">Earlier this year, Folau spent $1.28 million on a Hamptoms-inspired home to the south of Brisbane, which followed the $1.5 million purchase of acreage at Brookfield, west of Brisbane.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-5099ee23-7fff-93df-0902-7fb6c422d16f"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: @issyfolau (Instagram), Realestate.com.au</em></p>

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Noosa resident sells home for 190 times what they paid for it

<p>A buyer has swooped in on a waterfront mansion in Noosa Heads, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.</p> <p>The property comes with a $17 million price tag and cost the vendor only $90,000 when purchased in the mid-'80s.</p> <p>On the numbers, it truly is the deal of a lifetime.</p> <p>The six-bedroom house at 32 Noose Parade was built in 1985 on a plum parcel of land, capturing 20-metre river frontage.</p> <p>The sold price for the brick home on highly-sought after Noose Parade, on the Noosa River, has not been disclosed, but the advertising campaign called for offers over $17 million.</p> <p>If the property achieved close that sum, which it is understood to have, it would be second highest sale ever in Noosa Heads, behind $19.5 million paid this year.</p> <p>The Sunshine Coast and Queensland property record is $34 million paid for the stunning 17 Webb Road, Sunshine Beach, in June last year.</p> <p>Listing agent for 32 Noosa Parade, Tom Offermann, said the riverside location is the "holy grail" for property seekers in Noosa Heads, and the home sold for its land value. He declined to comment on the buyer or their plans for the property.</p> <p>Offermann, director of Tom Offermnan Real Estate, said Noosa Parade has immense appeal and homes often only come to market when vendors reach older age.</p> <p>The listing for 32 Noosa Parade gives away very little about the condition of the house, but the few photos attached hint that it is faithful to the original design.</p> <p><em>Image: Domain</em></p>

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Landlord slammed for “dirty trick”

<p dir="ltr">A landlord has come under fire for using an unusual advertising technique to lease out a studio apartment in Leeds, UK. </p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7dwvy/luxury-shopping-bags-rental-flats-photos">Vice</a> writer Joel Golby noticed the one bedroom studio flat available to rent for £535 ($943AUD) a month excluding bills on real estate website <a href="https://www.zoopla.co.uk/to-rent/details/61269048/?search_identifier=e41b2d510aba81ae7a72f962cd2c3501">Zoopla</a>, when he noticed some very out of place accessories. </p> <p dir="ltr">Almost all of the photos attached in the advertisement featured shopping bags from luxury brands such as Harrods, Chanel and Harvey Nichols. </p> <p dir="ltr">The landlord had increased the price of staying at the property by £9 since the ad was first created, despite its bleak appearance.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The Chanel bag is there to dazzle us: we, foolish non-property owning fools like we are, will easily be distracted by the bag, and ignore the fact that the living room and kitchen are only demarcated by slightly different carpet textures because we know the person renting it to us owns either a really nice card holder or a too-expensive belt,” Joel wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite being listed as partially furnished, the property seems to have all the basic amenities and little space for the renter to bring much of their own belongings.</p> <p dir="ltr">The photos of the flat include images of the small kitchen, living room, bedroom and half of the bathroom, with most surfaces adored with the luxury boxes. </p> <p dir="ltr">Joel slammed the landlord’s “dirty trick”, and challenged readers to share their own stories of upselling rental advertisements, as well as any potential tenants for the “miserable” studio apartment. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Zoopla</em></p>

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Red flags for property buyers considering buying off the plan

<p dir="ltr">Property buyers have been warned of the hidden dangers that come with buying an apartment off the plan. </p> <p dir="ltr">Potential home seekers have been alerted to avoid buying cheap, cookie cutter units that are typically sold off the plan. </p> <p dir="ltr">Michelle May, the Principal of Michelle May Buyers Agents, said some cheaper units sold off the plan were risky purchases because too many corners may have been cut to keep costs down.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prospective buyers must remember that when buying off the plan, you are investing the future of the whole building, not just your chosen apartment. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Developers are in it to make money, pure and simple. Unfortunately, this can lead to cutting costs (and often corners) wherever possible to increase their return,” Ms May said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You only have to look at two recent stories, Opal Tower in Olympic Park and the more recent Mascot Towers, to see how bad things can go for residents when the building hasn’t been built, inspected or appropriately certified.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Ms May said buyers had less confidence as a result of rising interest rates and the ongoing election campaign taking away their attention from the property market.</p> <p dir="ltr">She went on to say that buyers of units off the plan would struggle to earn back their money if they had to sell in the future. </p> <p dir="ltr">“People buying apartments off the plan usually think it’s cheaper and go for the lowest price. The reality is that the quality build of these newer off-the-plan apartments just isn’t good.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Visually it might look okay, but a lot of these new apartments aren’t built to stand the test of time. A lot of people who I’ve spoken with often complain about the noise they hear between the walls or the high turnover of other tenants.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“If you’re considering buying new or off the plan, make sure you work with a specialist property lawyer, not just your run-of-the-mill conveyancer. The lawyer will help you understand the many ins and outs of the contract, so you know exactly where you stand.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Gordon Ramsay makes piping hot profit on seaside mansion

<p dir="ltr">The foul-mouthed celebrity chef has flipped his Cornwall mansion for £7.5 million ($AUD 13 million), earning him the title of this year’s most expensive sale in the area.</p> <p dir="ltr">Gordon Ramsay famously spent much of 2020 in the Cornwall home, which made appearances as the backdrop for his clips on Instagram.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to property records, he went on to sell the six-bedroom, four-bathroom home for the princely sum in 2021, as reported by <em><a href="https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/celebs-tv/gordon-ramsay-sells-home-75-7038948" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cornwall Live</a></em>.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-9461f89e-7fff-96c3-ed01-aa9604f7b485">It also seems to have served him a tidy profit, after he initially spent £4 million ($7 million) on the property - resulting in a cool $6 million in his pocket, per <em><a href="https://www.domain.com.au/news/gordon-ramsay-flips-seaside-mansion-in-record-breaking-deal-2-1137168/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Domain</a></em>.</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/05/ramsay-1.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Ramsay’s Cornwall home has made several appearances on his social media accounts, including clips with his daughter Tilly Ramsay. Image: ITV</em></p> <p dir="ltr">Though we know very little about the home - besides it also boasting a swimming pool and tennis court - Ramsay’s time in Cornwall has been anything but uneventful.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2016, he infuriated his neighbours and local community members while engaged in a eight-month planning battle with council to bulldoze another Cornwall property which housed a 1920s-built home called Lanarth.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Michelin star chef won his fight, levelling the home and replacing it with a new mansion which he still owns.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even more recently, Ramsay sparked ire among the seaside community after appearing on radio and saying: “Trust me, I absolutely love Cornwall, it’s just the Cornish I can’t stand.” </p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-be0ae0ca-7fff-bc50-2cb6-3c6179692f6b"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: @gordongram (Instagram)</em></p>

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Adele shares exciting news on the home front!

<p dir="ltr">Adele and her boyfriend have announced that they have bought a new home and are moving in together a year after dating. </p> <p dir="ltr">The British singer and millionaire boyfriend Rich Paul reportedly bought the Los Angeles home - which belonged to Sylvester Stallone and his wife Jennifer Flavin Stallone - for an eye-watering $83 million. </p> <p dir="ltr">The pair have been dating for about a year and the singer announced the exciting news to Instagram.</p> <p dir="ltr">Adele shared a photo of herself and Rich outside their stunning new home, along with a series of other images giving a glimpse of their loving relationship.</p> <p dir="ltr">Captioning the post “Time Flies”, the <em>Hello</em> singer also shared a fortune cookie reading which read: “You have found good company – enjoy”.</p> <p dir="ltr">The gorgeous mansion was designed by Richard Landry and boasts eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms.</p> <p dir="ltr">The main house features six bedrooms and nine bathrooms including a master suite, three spacious en-suite bedrooms, and two maids bedrooms.</p> <p dir="ltr">The luxurious master suite includes a sauna, steam room, and office with a terrace.</p> <p dir="ltr">There is also a two-story guest house with two en-suite bedrooms and a full chef's kitchen.</p> <p dir="ltr">To top it off, there is also a professional movie theatre and cigar room with an air-filtration system.</p> <p dir="ltr">There is also a gym, a massive patio outside with incredible views of the infinity pool, spa, and even a putting green. </p> <p dir="ltr">The home was on the market for about six months for a whopping $110 million, but when there were no takers, he dropped the price down to $83 million. </p> <p dir="ltr">The loved up couple sparked dating rumours last year in July when they were spotted together at an NBA game.</p> <p dir="ltr">They first claimed to have only been “hanging out” but the mother-of-one and father-of-three soon began dating.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Westside Estate Agency</em></p>

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Giving ex-prisoners public housing cuts crime and re-incarceration – and saves money

<p>“Going home” is a classic metaphor for exiting prison. But most people exiting prison in Australia either expect to be homeless, or don’t know where they will be staying when released.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/361">recent research for AHURI</a> (the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute) shows post-release housing assistance is a potentially powerful lever in arresting the imprisonment–homelessness cycle.</p> <p>We found ex-prisoners who get public housing have significantly better criminal justice outcomes than those who receive private rental assistance only. </p> <p>The benefit, in dollars terms, of public housing outweighs the cost.</p> <h2>The imprisonment-homelessness connection</h2> <p>There is strong evidence linking imprisonment and homelessness. Post-release homelessness and unstable housing is a <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/46">predictor of reincarceration</a>. And prior imprisonment is a <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/2202865/Scutella_et_al_Journeys_Home_Research_Report_W6.pdf">known predictor of homelessness</a>. It is a vicious cycle.</p> <p>People in prison often contend with: </p> <ul> <li>mental health conditions (40%)</li> <li>cognitive disability (33%)</li> <li>problematic alcohol or other drug use (up to 66%) and </li> <li>past homelessness (33%). </li> </ul> <p>People with such complex support needs are often deemed “too difficult” for community-based support services and so end up entangled in the criminal justice system.</p> <p>Also, prisons are themselves places of stress and suffering. So people leaving prison a high-needs group for housing assistance and support. </p> <p>There are about 43,000 people in <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/prisoners-australia/latest-release">prison in Australia</a>. Over the year there will be even more prison releases (because some people exit and enter multiple times).</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/prisoners/health-australia-prisoners-2018/summary">latest published data</a>:</p> <ul> <li>only 46% of releasees expect to go to their own home (owned or rented) on release</li> <li>more expect to be in short-term or emergency accommodation (44%) or sleeping rough (2%), or </li> <li>they don’t know where they will stay. </li> </ul> <p>Ex-prisoners are the fastest growing client group for Australia’s <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/homelessness-and-homelessness-services">Specialist Homelessness Services</a>. </p> <p>Over the past decade, <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/prisoners-australia/latest-release">imprisonment rates in Australia</a> have been rising. </p> <p>Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/report-on-government-services/2021/housing-and-homelessness/housing">funding for social housing</a> – public housing provided by state governments, and the community housing provided by non-profit community organisations – has been declining in real terms.</p> <p>We must turn both those trends around.</p> <h2>The difference public housing makes</h2> <p>In our research, we investigated the effect of public housing on post-release pathways. We analysed data about a sample of people with complex support needs who had been in prison in NSW. </p> <p>The de-identified data show peoples’ contacts before and after prison with various NSW government agencies, including criminal justice institutions and DCJ Housing, the state public housing provider.</p> <p>We compared 623 people who received a public housing tenancy at some point after prison with a similar number of people who were eligible for public housing but received private rental assistance only (such as bond money).</p> <p>On a range of measures, the public housing group had better criminal justice outcomes. </p> <p>The charts below compare the number of police incidents for each group. </p> <p>The first chart shows recorded police incidents for the private rental assistance group, which gradually rose over the period for which we have data.</p> <p>The second chart shows police incidents for the public housing group: they also had a rising trend, until they received public housing (year 0 on the x-axis), after which police incidents went down 8.9% per year.</p> <p>For the housed group: </p> <ul> <li>court appearances were down 7.6% per year</li> <li>proven offences (being found guilty of something at trial) were down 7.6% per year</li> <li>time in custody was down 11.2% per year</li> <li>time on supervised orders (court orders served in the community, including parole) initially increased, then went down 7.8% per year</li> <li>justice costs per person, following an initial decrease of A$4,996, went down a further $2,040 per year per person.</li> </ul> <p>When we put a dollar value on these benefits, providing a public housing tenancy is less costly than paying Rent Assistance in private rental (net benefit $5,000) or assisting through Specialist Homelessness Services (net benefit $35,000).</p> <p>Unfortunately, public housing is in very short supply. </p> <p>For our public housing group, the average time between release and public housing was five years. Others are never housed. </p> <h2>Post-release pathways are fraught</h2> <p>We interviewed corrections officers, reintegration support workers, housing workers, and people who had been in prison, across three states. </p> <p>They were unanimous: there is a dearth of housing options for people exiting prison. </p> <p>A Tasmanian ex-prisoner, who lived in a roof-top tent on his car on release, said, "You basically get kicked out the door and kicked in the guts and they say, ‘Go do whatever you need to do, see ya’."</p> <p>Planning for release is often last-minute. A NSW reintegration support worker told us, "It’s not coordinated. We’ll get a prison ringing up on the day of release saying, ‘Can you pick this woman up?’ on the day of release, when they knew it was coming months in advance. There’s no planning."</p> <p>A housing worker in Victoria described those next steps as a series of unstable, short-term arrangements, beset by pitfalls, "They could easily be waiting a couple of years, realistically. And for them that’s a long time, and so far off in the distance it’s difficult to conceive of. And a long time in which for things could go wrong in their lives – to be homeless or back in prison, all sorts of things … What they do in the meantime: they couch surf, stay with family, stay in motels, stay in cars/stolen cars, stay with friends, sleep rough, all those things."</p> <p>A Tasmanian corrections officer told us, "People want to come back to custody because they’ve then got a roof over their head. They don’t have to worry; they’re getting fed, they can stay warm."</p> <h2>It’s not just about housing support</h2> <p>Community sector organisations specialising in supporting people in contact with the criminal justice system, such as the <a href="https://www.crcnsw.org.au/">Community Restorative Centre (CRC)</a> in NSW, do extraordinary work providing services and support that aim to break entrenched cycles of disadvantage and imprisonment.</p> <p>However, this sector’s funding has been turbulent, marked by short-term programs.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.crcnsw.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/CRC-AOD-Evaluation-final-report-1Dec21.pdf">another project</a> by some members of this research team, we saw the difference CRC made to 275 of its clients over a number of years. This evaluation found supported clients had 63% fewer custody episodes than a comparison group – a net cost saving to government of $10-16 million. </p> <p>These support services would be even more effective if clients had more stable housing. As it is, specialist alcohol and other drug case workers are often spending their time dealing with clients’ housing crises.</p> <p>Secure, affordable public housing is an anchor for people exiting prison as they work to build lives outside of the criminal justice system.</p> <p>It is also a stable base from which to receive and engage with support services. It pays to invest in both.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/giving-ex-prisoners-public-housing-cuts-crime-and-re-incarceration-and-saves-money-180027" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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Nick Kyrgios' big move to Sydney

<p>Tennis superstar Nick Kyrgios is moving to Sydney with suggestions that he’s bought a $1.6 million penthouse in Kensington.</p> <p>His purchase has been pinpointed as a three bedroom, two bathroom apartment with sweeping panoramas, along with two car spaces for parking his Tesla.</p> <p>It seems the 26-year-old wants to live in Sydney with his partner Costeen Hatzi as his base while not travelling overseas on the tennis circuit.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/journalists/phil-rothfield" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Phil “Buzz” Rothfield</a> from the Sunday Telegraph: "He has fallen in love with the lifestyle in the Harbour City,” after he was spotted grabbing a coffee The Pool cafe at Maroubra Beach.</p> <p>The penthouse was secured with assistance from buyers’ agent Jack Henderson, and while there has been no confirmation from Henderson, a recent post on his agency Instagram came with the telltale caption: “game, set, match”.</p> <p>It's expected Kyrgios’ purchase and move to Sydney will feature as part of a Netflix documentary that Kyrgios ­recently confirmed he was participating in.</p> <p>It will also include his relationship with Hatzi, brand ­ambassador, blogger, home decorator, model and entrepreneur. </p> <p>The two-level 175 sqm penthouse is a perfect fit, coming with a rooftop wet bar. There’s wraparound, double-height glass with city skyline views that let in plenty of natural light. There’s an integrated kitchen with Miele appliances. The complex also contains a lap pool and a gym.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty / Domain</em></p>

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Richard Gere makes bank on “magical” estate

<p dir="ltr">After spending a decade building it and 36 years owning it, Richard Gere has farewelled his lavish New York country estate and walked away with a tidy $USD 28 million ($39.4 million or $NZD 44.1 million).</p> <p dir="ltr">The <em>Pretty Woman</em> star bought the property in 1986, four years before starring in the cult classic with Julia Roberts, </p> <p dir="ltr">He went on to build the mansion over 12,000 square metres using custom joinery, with the home boasting including a handsome library, several living areas, and a breakfast nook with an open fireplace.</p> <p dir="ltr">The estate, located about an hour’s drive away from Manhattan, also features a private lake with a beach and an island, a pool with a guest house, and a soccer field and is surrounded by 1740 hectares of hills and dense foliage.</p> <p dir="ltr">Having <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/property/real-estate/bought-for-1-5m-selling-for-40m-richard-gere-lists-new-york-mega-mansion" target="_blank" rel="noopener">spent $USD 1.51 million</a> on the vacant property in the ‘80s, the 72-year-old earned a monumental profit when he finally sold the home five months after <a href="https://www.ginnel.com/exclusive/1193/81-Lyndel-Road-Pound-Ridge-NY" target="_blank" rel="noopener">listing it</a> with agent Muffin Dowdle from Ginnel Real Estate.</p> <p dir="ltr">With the home now under contract, it comes after he and his wife, Alejandra Silva, dropped $USD 9.8 million ($13.9 million or $NZD 15.4 million) for <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/property/real-estate/richard-gere-lists-stunning-estate-for-eye-watering-price" target="_blank" rel="noopener">an upstate New York home</a> sitting on 14 acres in North Salem.</p> <p dir="ltr">Their new home sees the couple live among a slew of A-listers, with their new neighbours including media mogul Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates’ daughter Jenna Gates.</p> <p dir="ltr">Residents reported that Gere and Silva have already moved in after spotting Buddhist prayer flags at the property, with Gere being one of Hollywood’s most high-profile Buddhists, according to <em><a href="https://www.nine.com.au/property/news/richard-gere-sells-40-million-dollar-new-york-country-estate/e0adf945-fd45-4269-bff0-dc70f92592c2" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Domain</a></em>.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ad0eb81f-7fff-c4df-ff12-342abbde6a42"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty Images, Ginnel Real Estate</em></p>

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More affordable housing with less homelessness is possible – if only Australia would learn from Nordic nations

<p>Housing is expensive in Australia. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Higher quality, more affordable housing is a matter of policy choice.</p> <p>A key problem is Australia’s housing market is too skewed towards treating housing as a financial asset, rather than a basic human need. </p> <p>There is almost a universal consensus among economists, for example, that negative gearing <a href="https://theconversation.com/vital-signs-why-now-is-the-right-time-to-clamp-down-on-negative-gearing-107370">favours the interests of investors</a>to the detriment of others, but both major parties are scared to change the policy.</p> <p>One way to break the policy stalemate is to consider policies shown to have worked in other countries. To facilitate this, the Nordic Policy Centre – a collaboration between The Australia Institute and Deakin University – has <a href="https://australiainstitute.org.au/report/homes-for-people/">published an overview</a> of housing and homelessness policies in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.</p> <p>Of particular note among the wide range of housing policies in these nations is the prominence of housing cooperatives, which assist both renters and those wanting to own a secure, high-quality home.</p> <h2>Why Nordic countries?</h2> <p>Why look at the Nordic countries?</p> <p>One reason is their relative success in tackling homelessness. </p> <p>Finland is the world leader in this. There, the number of people experiencing homelessness has fallen from more than 16,000 people in the late 1980s to about 4,500 people in 2020. This represents a homelessness rate of less than one per 1,000 (Finland’s population is about 5.5 million) compared with nearly five per 1,000 in Australia.</p> <p>Homelessness, granted, is more complicated than just the cost of housing. It involves family and relationship trauma, physical and mental health issues, and substance use. </p> <p>The Finns’ achievement is due to a range of policy responses including strong outreach services. </p> <p>But underpinnning these responses is the Finnish government’s “<a href="https://housingfirsteurope.eu/countries/finland/">Housing First</a>” principle, adopted in 2007, which says people have a right to decent housing and to useful social services. It’s a seemingly simple concept, but radically inclusive compared with how other countries deal with the homeless.</p> <h2>Vibrant cooperative sectors</h2> <p>In Australia, housing cooperatives might conjure up images of small hippie communes. This is an unfair characterisation, borne of the fact the sector is so tiny and unknown. </p> <p>All up, cooperative housing comprises less than 1% of the Australian housing sector, with about <a href="https://researchdirect.westernsydney.edu.au/islandora/object/uws:53637/">200 housing cooperatives</a>mostly focused on providing affordable rental housing. </p> <p>In Nordic countries, however, housing cooperatives are a mainstream option for both renters and owners. </p> <p>Sweden’s cooperative sector amounts to 22% of total housing stock. Norway’s represent 15% nationwide, and 40% in the capital, Oslo. In Denmark, more than 20% of the population lives in cooperative housing.</p> <h2>How cooperative housing works</h2> <p>Cooperatives take a variety of forms. But the key features are that they are democratically organised and exist to serve a real economic or social need of their members.</p> <p>Rental housing cooperatives exist to provide housing, not accrue wealth. They pool common resources to own and manage affordable rental accommodation. Tenants are generally required to become members and encouraged to be actively involved in decision-making, management and maintenance. Any revenue from rents is reinvested in new housing projects or upgrading older buildings. </p> <p>In Denmark, rental cooperative housing – known as Almenboliger– plays a critical role in providing affordable housing for a range of people, including the elderly and those with disabilities. Its non-profit orientation as well as supportive government policies – such as lower-interest loans – enable cooperatives to reduce construction costs and offer lower rents. </p> <p>In Norway, national law allows 10% of units in a housing cooperative complex to be bought or used by local government authorities to house people who can’t afford alternatives. Housing cooperatives in Oslo have been vital for securing decent housing for immigrants and for older people. </p> <h2>A path to home ownership</h2> <p>Just as important in terms of lessons for Australia is that Nordic housing cooperatives also play a big role in helping people buy a home.</p> <p>So-called “equity-based” housing cooperatives in Sweden, Norway and Denmark help reduce the cost of home ownership. This generally involves the cooperative building or buying an apartment or unit block, then allowing members to buy individual homes, while the cooperative retains ownership of common areas. </p> <p>Members own their individual dwellings and co-own and manage shared spaces with other co-op members. The structure is similar to strata title in Australia, with individual ownership of some parts of a property and shared ownership of others. The big difference is strata title is often “investor-owned”, while a housing cooperative is “user-owned”. </p> <p>The result is that members can buy a home for about 20% less than what it would cost them otherwise.</p> <h2>More collaboration needed</h2> <p>Not everything the Nordic countries do can be replicated in Australian conditions. But one thing we can certainly learn is the importance of collaboration between different tiers of government and civil society organisations. </p> <p>Australia’s superannuation funds, for example, have the means to invest in low-returning, but very safe, affordable housing assets. Government policies should support them doing this through cooperative structures that help to fill the gap between market and state.</p> <p>There’s no quick fix. Emulating any Nordic housing policy achievements will take decades. Finland’s <a href="https://ysaatio.fi/en/hom">critical organisation</a> for tackling homelessness, for example, was established in 1985. </p> <p>But better housing options are there in plain sight, waiting for policy makers and other stakeholders to take them. If they want to.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/more-affordable-housing-with-less-homelessness-is-possible-if-only-australia-would-learn-from-nordic-nations-182049" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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