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Is it now possible to imagine Australia having a national affordable housing strategy, backed by funding, by the end of 2016.

At the National Housing Conference last week, there was considerable optimism about the newly appointed federal minister for cities, Jamie Briggs, whose infrastructure mandate includes housing. New energy is coming from the states with the largest affordable housing deficits – a social housing initiative from the New South Wales government and a “refreshed” metropolitan planning strategy in Melbourne with a stronger emphasis on affordable housing.

It is now possible to imagine Australia having a national affordable housing strategy, backed by funding, by the end of 2016.

Australia certainly needs such a strategy. The population is projected to reach 38 million in the next 35 years. Sydney and Melbourne are each expected to grow by at least three million people. The proportion of older people will be higher, with a lower proportion in the paid workforce.

This means we need at least six million new housing units in the next three decades. There is increasing impetus to locate these dwellings close to public transport, employment clusters and health and social services.

Cost pressures are intensifying

Rising housing demand and prices affect everyone, but low-income renters have fared worst in recent years. Capital city rents rose by twice the level of inflation from 2005 to 2010. By 2011, the shortage of suitable rental properties exceeded 500,000.

As a result, even most households that receive Commonwealth Rent Assistance (projected to cost A$6.6 billion in 2015-16) pay well over the recommended maximum rent. Some 55% of the A$7.7 billion annual cost to the government of capital gains exemptions and negative gearing goes to the top 10% of income earners. Only 4% goes to the bottom 20% of households by income.

Existing programs are not accomplishing policy aims. The Abbott government discontinued two small national programs, the Social Housing Initiative co-funding construction of non-profit housing and the National Rental Affordability Scheme subsidising below-market rental housing. No national strategy or infrastructure funding program has replaced those small but important initiatives.

Key steps towards affordability

What would be the basic elements of a national affordable housing strategy? Economist David Rosen led a review of the US$7 trillion spent in the US on federal finance, tax, lending, spending and regulatory programs and policies. According to Rosen, the place to start is a standard definition of “affordable housing”.

Malcolm Turnbull’s appointment of a cities minister, Jamie Briggs, has raised hopes of action on developing a national affordable housing strategy. AAP/Lukas Coch

The next step would be to calculate current and projected need for affordable housing by subtracting housing need from the available stock. There are local efforts to calculate this in cities like Melbourne, but it would need to be done in a consistent way across the country.

The cost of owning or renting a home includes rent or mortgage payments, property taxes and unit maintenance. A household can also incur onerous transport costs, if living far from employment and good public transport. Internationally, affordability is usually defined as housing that costs no more than 30-35% of household income, adjusted for household size.

For households earning less than 30% of their area’s median income, private market housing will almost certainly be out of reach without some form of subsidy.

In metropolitan Melbourne, for instance, the average weekly income is A$1333. A little over 11% of households in the city (159,000 households) earn less than A$400 a week, which is 30% of the median income. These households could only afford to pay a maximum of A$133 a week on the rent or mortgage. Less than 1% of rentals in Melbourne are available at those prices.

Social housing constitutes less than 3% of total housing stock. Most of it is occupied by these low-income households. So, at the most basic level, affordable housing would seek to fill that shortfall of more than 150,000 units in one major city alone, as well as building for future affordable housing needs.

How do we fund affordable housing?

After calculating need, the next requirement for a national affordable housing strategy would be to identify all potential revenue sources to fund it. These could be direct funding from national, state and local governments, but also indirect funding through tax rebates, low- or no-cost land, or mechanisms like reduced parking requirements or expedited planning approvals (which cuts land-holding costs and uncertainties).

A plethora of mechanisms used in other countries could be adopted here. For instance, in the US the Low Income Housing Tax Credit has, since 1986, allowed private investors to obtain tax credits in return for a ten-year investment in constructing or rehabilitating low-income rental housing. The stable and bipartisan program injects about US$6 billion a year in capital into affordable housing.

If a small proportion of the negative gearing tax credit were re-allocated towards investment in social housing, a similarly scaled program could be instituted in Australia. Similarly, if the Commonwealth guaranteed a 6% return on social housing investment, how much of the A$2 trillionheld in superannuation funds could be unlocked?

For the past two years, the Transforming Housing project has brought together state and local government, private developers, community housing providers and commercial and philanthropic investors to identify barriers to scaling up affordable housing in metropolitan Melbourne and how to overcome them.

Much of the emphasis has been on mechanisms at a state and local level, ranging from value capture financing to innovative design and construction. However, there is growing consensus that a Commonwealth affordable housing strategy is essential to enable integrated action by other levels of government and the private and charitable sectors.

With a clear sense of the numbers around affordable housing need and a stable financing and renewal model, the Turnbull government could reap multiple co-benefits. A national strategy could make cities more liveable, stimulate the property and construction sector, and reduce healthcare costs. The private and charitable sectors are waiting to swing into action.


This article was co-authored by: Dr David Rosen, principal of DRA Associates and an advisor on development, finance and policy; Rob Pradolin, general manager of business development for Frasers Property Australia; Catherine Brown, CEO of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation; and Dr Heather Holst, deputy CEO and director of services and housing for Launch Housing.

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Louis Christopher on what to expect from the SE Queensland Property Market 2015

Dear Friends,

We consider Louis a person of influence as well as a friend.  This is his view on what to expect from the 2015 South East Queensland Real Estate Market.

We have been receiving increasing enquiries about the South East Queensland property market. And given what happened with the state election over the weekend plus new developments on the interest-rate front, I thought I would provide the following frank update.

Gold Coast
The market is recovering, however, the improvement appears to be slow and could stall. The rise in listings in recent months could very well be due to desperate vendors finally putting their properties on the market given they now have a stable market to be able to sell into. Have you ever heard of the catch phrase “pent-up demand”? Well there can also very well be “pent-up supply”. That’s what the Gold Coast has – too many vendors who have been sitting on their underperforming property for years. They are now finally selling their properties given the chance to unload them because the market has picked up.

Still, I think the Gold Coast is in a slow but sure recovery. Low vacancy rates and a nice rental yield are attracting investors. Economic conditions for the Coast are also favourable in that the lower Australian dollar is attracting more domestic and international tourists to the strip. Plus, there is increasing optimism on the Commonwealth Games in 2018. While there won’t be any massive infrastructure boost from current levels – it is the ‘Budget Games’ after all – there will be a positive effect nonetheless.

Overall, I anticipate Gold Coast prices will rise from here and outperform the Brisbane market, possibly posting another 5%-7% rise, which is what happened last year is most likely on the cards this year.

Sunshine Coast 
The Sunshine Coast council has some interesting statistics on the local economy. One of which is the main economic industry of the region, which the council describes as “health care and social assistance”. If I was writing a resume for the Sunshine Coast, I think I would want to hide that fact somewhere.

Nevertheless, the Sunshine Coast has been working hard to widen its economic base in recent years and the reality is that it has a very stable work force that commutes daily to and from Brisbane. This assists in creating a stable housing market, particularly at the southern end of the region.

Similar to the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast housing market experienced an extended and acute housing downturn between 2009 and 2013. Prices in some areas fell by more than a third. A combination of heavily inflated prices due to a 10-year run up (1999 to 2008), elevated unemployment numbers, a big drop in local tourism numbers, higher unemployment and higher interest rates (in 2010) all created the perfect trigger for an almighty property crash.

If you want an example of this, look no further than Noosaville. The area went into an extended downturn. But as we can also see, there has been a recovery taking hold since this time.

I think these areas have strong futures, not just in the long term, but also over the short term, as Australians rediscover why these geographically beautiful locations have been our playground for over sixty years.

Investors need to be very mindful that these Queensland regions have most certainly experienced more volatility in their property market, have more con men and spruikers per head of population than Nigeria, and that the best course of action is to avoid off-the-plan developments unless value can be proven.

My personal opinion is these areas are not good for novice, first-time property investors. Rather, they are potentially more suitable for experienced investors who need some diversification, who invest purely on the numbers and can see through the glitz for what it is.

Brisbane
Our statistics on Brisbane are not particularly exciting, other than to say we are not recording any material rise in listings at this stage. Overall, I am more cautious on Brisbane than I was 12 months ago, particularly now given that the state will have a very left leaning government in place or a hung parliament. Both of which are not exactly favourable for economic development.

Those in my industry that called for a big property boom in 2014 totally got this wrong (yet will never be held to account..once again). There was never going to be a boom last year and that was because of the ongoing overhang of housing supply that was always going to keep a lid on prices, plus the ongoing economic downturn created by state government’s austerity and the mining downturn.

AT A GLANCE •Property management, Rental services. •	Individual solutions to fit our client's needs •	High performance property sales, specializing in sales of properties with tenants in place. •	Body corporate management •	Competitive Commission Rates •	LET FEE FOR REFERRALS, We are a business built on Referrals. •	NO Lease Renewal & Comparable Market Analysis’ Fees/Charges •	PHOTOS TAKEN ON ENTRY •	Hands on approach to all Property Investment Management and & Sales Matters. •	Tenants are shown about safety switches and water mains etc at handover at the property.  We meet all tenants on site for handover.

AT A GLANCE
• Property management, Rental services.
• Individual solutions to fit our client’s needs
• High performance property sales, specializing in sales of properties with tenants in place.
• Body corporate management
• Competitive Commission Rates
• LET FEE FOR REFERRALS, We are a business built on Referrals.
• NO Lease Renewal & Comparable Market Analysis’ Fees/Charges
• PHOTOS TAKEN ON ENTRY
• Hands on approach to all Property Investment Management and & Sales Matters.
• Tenants are shown about safety switches and water mains etc at handover at the property. We meet all tenants on site for handover.

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Aging Population Threatens Society with Unsustainable Debt

by John Edwards
Founder of Residex Pty Ltd and Consultant to Onthehouse.com.au.

residex

In Table 1, we present the growth rates and other statistics for our housing markets across Australia.

Table 1: Market Performance

Sydney is continuing in its ‘boom’ growth path. The median value of all houses in Sydney is now a staggering $911,500. Growth in dollars for the month was $11,000. Sydney home owners are doing well, but how can young people save at a rate that keeps up with property growth rates? The trend data, as shown in Graph 1, does not seem to point to any slowing in this market. The current trend is not what we had expected and is probably a consequence of the expected lower interest rate environment.

Graph 1: Sydney Trends

Rental yields in both Sydney and Melbourne are falling away as the increase in values outstrips dollar weekly rental growth. The yields in both cities are becoming unattractive and will sooner or later cause investors to slow their investment activity as some purchases become uneconomical.

The market is patchy and while Sydney is ‘booming’, Darwin is shedding value. This is a consequence of it being in the midst of economic slowing as the wet season slows activity and some resource projects also slow.

This will be my last newsletter to all of you as I will move to the next part of my life mid next month. I have enjoyed my discussions with a large number of you and trust that I have helped many in their endeavours to improve their personal wealth. It’s hard to believe that when I started analysing the property market, the median value of a Sydney house was in the order of $175,000 – a huge difference to today’s median value of $911,500 (the average per annum rate of growth over the last 25 years has been 6.8 per cent). Although I am leaving, Residex commentaries, statistics and reports will continue. I am leaving you in the capable hands of Eliza Owen – Market Analyst and Editor. Eliza has a Bachelor of Economics (Hons I) from the University of Sydney, and 5 years experience in the real estate sector.

In case you were wondering, I am not leaving to retire. The word retirement doesn’t sit well with my fertile mind, but it does make me think of an issue that is very topical: how do we help to make people independent in retirement and less reliant on the government pension? It is clear that this has to happen for the good of our country. Unless we do, there is a real risk that the standard of living of our aged, and all of us generally, will reduce. This is because government can’t spend more than it receives forever (That is, unless we all want a situation like the one that exists in Greece).

The family home is, in most cases, the largest valued asset that is held by many retired people. It is not fully utilised and in reality most do not need the space it provides. If you can afford to live without any help then why not just continue to live where you have lived for most of your life and enjoy it? However, if you can’t afford to live in the dwelling without government help then rational economics would suggest it should be sold and you should move to a home which is more in accord with your financial position.

My statement is harsh but it is the reality and we would all do exactly as I have stated if Government wasn’t there to support us in our old age.

Notwithstanding the economic rationalism, socially and politically it is very difficult to make a change and remove something that has been previously allowed. For decades, people planned for retirement based on an assumption that they would never have to sell their home. They paid taxes, and accepted those taxes on the basis that in old age, the government would support them and never have regard for the value of the family home.

Yet the reality is that we can’t continue as we have. We have to find a solution. So for what it is worth, here is what I believe Government should do:

  • Include the value of the family home in the means test when identifying the right to any pension or part there of. The value of the family home included should be that amount which exceeds say $400,000;
  • Allow any person to contribute up to $2 million into their super fund where such funds are generated from the sale of the family home and the person is over the age of 60 years;
  • The ability to contribute to the super fund should be a once off entitlement and have no tests other than those in the above point. It should be allowed, even where the person is receiving a pension from their super fund.

There is a significant amount of discussion currently around the right of people to contribute more than is realistically needed into super simply for real estate planning. That discussion is soundly based given the large cost this potentially has on tax revenue when government is struggling to reduce debt and balance the budget. In reality, even if we retire at say, 60 years most of us don’t need to support ourselves for more than about another 30 years. So how much do we really need in our super fund?

If we assume inflation at a rate of say 2%, and today we are happy that we can comfortably live on $70,000 per year after tax, then we would need to have a fund today of approximately $2.06 million. This assumes our fund has a growth rate equal to the inflation rate only. Clearly, our fund should be able to do better than this.

On the above basis, it does appear reasonable that the government should limit the size of the tax free status retirement fund to something in the order of say $2.5 million.

Given all of the above it seems to me that a reasonable and acceptable solution is to encourage home downsizing and at the same time alter the super fund rules so funds have a limit of $2.5 million. At the same time, people downsizing should be allowed to make a contribution of up to $2 million to their fund.

The consequence for all is a win. For people downsizing:

  • They will still be able to live in a home they own;
  • They will no longer have a tax liability on earnings being generated off the sale proceeds of the family home;
  • They will not have to enter into reverse mortgages which have a high interest cost and have the potential to reduce the value of their asset by an unknown amount when it is sold; and
  • Their prior, non-income earning home will start to produce income, tax free and enhance their lifestyle.

For Government, the cost of the current Super Fund arrangements, and the amount spent on pensions, will be reduced. Those who contribute funds to their super as a consequence of the sale of the family home will, in all probability, require much lower levels of support.

Perhaps as an additional benefit, state governments across the nation might consider removing conveyancing duty where a person over the age of 60 sells their family home and buys a lower cost property and contributes surplus funds to their super fund.

Perhaps all of the above is wishful thinking but I hope for the sake of all it isn’t.

Wishing you all well and I trust all your property investments turn out to be, as mine have been, exceptional investments.

AT A GLANCE •Property management, Rental services. •	Individual solutions to fit our client's needs •	High performance property sales, specializing in sales of properties with tenants in place. •	Body corporate management •	Competitive Commission Rates •	LET FEE FOR REFERRALS, We are a business built on Referrals. •	NO Lease Renewal & Comparable Market Analysis’ Fees/Charges •	PHOTOS TAKEN ON ENTRY •	Hands on approach to all Property Investment Management and & Sales Matters. •	Tenants are shown about safety switches and water mains etc at handover at the property.  We meet all tenants on site for handover.

AT A GLANCE
• Property management, Rental services.
• Individual solutions to fit our client’s needs
• High performance property sales, specializing in sales of properties with tenants in place.
• Body corporate management
• Competitive Commission Rates
• LET FEE FOR REFERRALS, We are a business built on Referrals.
• NO Lease Renewal & Comparable Market Analysis’ Fees/Charges
• PHOTOS TAKEN ON ENTRY
• Hands on approach to all Property Investment Management and & Sales Matters.
• Tenants are shown about safety switches and water mains etc at handover at the property. We meet all tenants on site for handover.

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Filed under LJ Gilland Real Estate Pty Ltd, ljgrealestate

Success is first and foremost about communication El éxito es, ante todo, sobre la comunicación

We believe that regular, open communication is the key to building strong partnerships. And it’s these partnerships that give LJ Gilland Real Estate Pty Ltd the power to push through new challenges and deliver industry-best property management and sales solutions to Our clients.

Together with extensive local knowledge and more than a decade of experience in the Brisbane Wide & Mt Isa, Queensland Real Estate market, it’s this commitment to open and regular communication that powers Our combined success, and the success of Our long term friends, clients and associates.

Creemos que la comunicación abierta regular es la clave para construir sociedades fuertes. Y es estas asociaciones que dan LJ Gilland Real Estate Pty Ltd el poder para empujar a través de los nuevos retos y ofrecer soluciones de la industria-mejor gestión de la propiedad y la venta a nuestros clientes.

Junto con un amplio conocimiento local y más de una década de experiencia en el Brisbane ancha y Mt Isa, mercado Queensland Real Estate, es este compromiso con la comunicación abierta y regular que los poderes de nuestro éxito combinado, y el éxito de nuestros amigos y largo plazo, los clientes y asociados.

Xin nian quila 2015

成功首先是关于通信 Chénggōng shǒuxiān shi guānyú tōngxìn

我们相信,正规,开放的沟通是关键,建立强有力的合作伙伴关系。和它的这些合作伙伴关系,让LJ Gilland房地产控股有限公司,以推动通过新的挑战,并提供业内最优秀的物业管理和销售解决方案,我们的客户的能力。

加上十几年的布里斯班宽和伊萨山,昆士兰房地产市场经验丰富的本地知识,更多的,它的这个承诺,打开和定期沟通的权力,我们的联合的成功,以及我们的长期朋友,客户的成功和同伙。

Wǒmen xiāngxìn, zhèngguī, kāifàng de gōutōng shì guānjiàn, jiànlì qiáng yǒulì de hézuò huǒbàn guānxì. Hé tā de zhèxiē hézuò huǒbàn guānxì, ràng LJ Gilland fángdìchǎn kònggǔ yǒuxiàn gōngsī, yǐ tuīdòng tōngguò xīn de tiǎozhàn, bìng tígōng yènèi zuì yōuxiù de wùyè guǎnlǐ hé xiāoshòu jiějué fāng’àn, wǒmen de kèhù de nénglì. Jiā shàng shí jǐ nián de bù lǐsī bān kuān hé yī sà shān, kūnshìlán fángdìchǎn shìchǎng jīngyàn fēngfù de běndì zhīshì, gèng duō de, tā de zhège chéngnuò, dǎkāi hé dìngqí gōutōng de quánlì, wǒmen de liánhé de chénggōng, yǐjí wǒmen de cháng qī péngyǒu, kèhù de chénggōng hé tónghuǒ.

AT A GLANCE •Property management, Rental services. •	Individual solutions to fit our client's needs •	High performance property sales, specializing in sales of properties with tenants in place. •	Body corporate management •	Competitive Commission Rates •	LET FEE FOR REFERRALS, We are a business built on Referrals. •	NO Lease Renewal & Comparable Market Analysis’ Fees/Charges •	PHOTOS TAKEN ON ENTRY •	Hands on approach to all Property Investment Management and & Sales Matters. •	Tenants are shown about safety switches and water mains etc at handover at the property.  We meet all tenants on site for handover.

AT A GLANCE
• Property management, Rental services.
• Individual solutions to fit our client’s needs
• High performance property sales, specializing in sales of properties with tenants in place.
• Body corporate management
• Competitive Commission Rates
• LET FEE FOR REFERRALS, We are a business built on Referrals.
• NO Lease Renewal & Comparable Market Analysis’ Fees/Charges
• PHOTOS TAKEN ON ENTRY
• Hands on approach to all Property Investment Management and & Sales Matters.
• Tenants are shown about safety switches and water mains etc at handover at the property. We meet all tenants on site for handover.

Leave a comment

Filed under empowerment, family, LJ Gilland Real Estate Pty Ltd, ljgrealestate

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake & Chocolate Swirls Recipe…

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake
 choc-cheesecake-slice

YIELD: SERVES 8-10

choc-cheesecake-top

Note: This cheesecake needs to be chilled overnight so plan ahead! The good news is this cheesecake can be made all the way through the topping, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving. It is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature 1-2 hours before serving.

INGREDIENTS

Crust:
    • 9-ounce package of chocolate cookies (such as chocolate wafers, graham crackers or teddy grahams)
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
Filling:
    • 10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use the best quality you can afford – I love the Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chips and I’m not ashamed to admit I buy them in bulk, often, at Sam’s Club)
    • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 4 large eggs
Topping:
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Chocolate curls for garnish (I use the method outlined further below)

choc-cheesecake-whole-slice-cutout

DIRECTIONS

  1. For crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch-high sides (or use a 10-inch springform pan with 2-inch sides). Process the chocolate cookies in a food processor (or the old-fashioned way with a bag and a rolling pin) until they are finely ground. Transfer them to a small bowl and mix in the sugar. Add the melted butter and mix until well combined. Press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom only of the prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. Keep the oven heated at 350 degrees.
  2. For filling: Melt the 10 ounces of chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler until melted and smooth. Cool the chocolate until lukewarm but ensure that it is still warm enough to be pourable. In a large bowl (or with a stand mixer), blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Mix in lukewarm chocolate. Pour the cheesecake filling over the crust; smooth the top. Bake until the center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  3. For topping: One hour before serving (or up to 3 days ahead of time), stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over the center of the cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until the topping is set, about 1 hour.
  4. When ready to serve, release the springform pan sides. Transfer the cheesecake to a platter. Top with chocolate curls. It is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving.

Have you ever made chocolate curls? NO? Oh, okay. That’s cool. You’re among friends here. Whoever spread that rumor that possessing the ability to make chocolate curls is the secret to happiness should be flogged in the public square. You don’t HAVE to know how to make chocolate curls in order to be happy. But just in case…why not learn now? They’re fun,fanciful, pretty darn easy, and let’s face it: they’ll make you look reeeeeal cool. And THAT, my friends, is the secret to happiness.

choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 019Grab some Crisco and some semi-sweet baking chocolate. (Any brand will do, and you can even use semi-sweet chocolate chips if you’d like!)
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 020Place three ounces (usually three squares) of chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 021Now place one tablespoon of Crisco (vegetable shortening) into the bowl.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 022Now throw it in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, or until the shortening is melted and hot.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 023With a fork…
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 024Stir to combine thoroughly.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 024And there you have it—chocolate curls!

Just kidding. I just love doing that, though.

choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 030Now, grab a metal cookie sheet, turn it upside down, and pour the melted chocolate on.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 031Then, with a flat spatula (or heck, a knife), spread the chocolate in a thin layer…
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 034Keep going until it’s very, very thin. Then…and this is the key…stick it in the freezer for a few minutes.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 035Now, this is after one minute in the freezer. I gave the chocolate the ol’ fingerprint test, and it failed miserably. It’s still way too soft to make the curls. So I put it back in for exactly two minutes.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 036Be sure to give it the ol’ fingerprint test. And when it’s ready, it should leave the slightest mark, but not an actual depression.

Next, get a somewhat sharp-edged spatula and begin to scrape the chocolate from the bottom of the pan. When the chocolate is just the right temperature, it’ll curl instead of break.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 038See, right now it’s still just a tad too cold/hard. So I waited one minute and tried again.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 041And guess what? It’s just right.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 042Now you have a couple of minutes before the chocolate gets too soft.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 044So just scrape along the bottom of the pan…
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 047…And the chocolate will curl right up. If it’s too hard, give it a minute, then try again. If it gets too soft, stick it back in the freezer for a minute.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 048Pretty soon you’ll have a bunch of fun little chocolate curls.
choc pie creamed spinach pizza crust 049And I have no idea how this one happened, but I think it’s kinda neat. And I totally meant to do it.

Important: as soon as possible, transfer the curls to a cold pan or plate, then stick them in the freezer to harden. Store in the freezer in a Ziploc bag until you need them. Use them to adorn pies, cakes, or platters of fruit. You’ll feel instantly fancy!

_________________________

Source *This PW How-To was extracted from this previously-posted Delicious Chocolate Pie recipe.

HAPPY COOKING! Please join us on facebook and Google+ https://www.facebook.com/ljgrealestatehttp://www.ljgrealestate.com.au/index.php?lan=ch

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Filed under chocolate, cooking, empowerment, family, LJ Gilland Real Estate Pty Ltd, ljgrealestate

China and the elusive superpower status

China and the elusive superpower status.

ljgrealestate at your service

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10 Abandoned Cities & Why they were left behind!

L J-Gilland-Real-EstateTen abandoned places and why they were left behind

 
  • 14 DAYS AGO DECEMBER 05, 2013 9:28PM
Kolmanskop. Picture: Sjorford, Flickr

Kolmanskop. Picture: Sjorford, Flickr Source: Supplied

AN ANCIENT village. A “haunted” hotel. A once-bustling island.

Have you ever wondered why some places were left behind, to fall into ruins while others prospered?

Here are 10 abandoned places and the real reason they came to be deserted, with inspiration from a list compiled by MentalFloss.com.

In pictures: Amazing ghost towns

1. Kolmanskop, Namibia

If you want to visit this abandoned mining town in the Namib desert, you’ll need to stop in nearby Luderitz for a permit – a holdover from the days when Kolmanskop was a free-for-all for diamond hunters. The town was at its heyday in the 1920s but abandoned in 1956 when richer diamond deposits were found in other locations. It has since been partly restored.

Kolmanskop. picture: Calliopenjen1, Flickr

Kolmanskop. picture: Calliopenjen1, Flickr Source: Supplied

Picture: Flickr user Coda

2. Michigan Central Station, Detroit

Detroit was a bustling area in the early 1900s, full of factory jobs, and known for its impressive interior design. However, the railroad industry fell into decline as highways were built and intercity airline traffic became subsidised. Train lines began abandoning the station and on 1988, the final train, no. 353, left. Since then it’s fallen into ruins.

Michigan Central Station, Detroit. Picture: Jeremy Blakeslee, Wikicommons

Michigan Central Station, Detroit. Picture: Jeremy Blakeslee, Wikicommons Source: Supplied

3. Abandoned military hospital in Beelitz, Germany

This military hospital was built in 1898 to house tuberculosis patients, and Adolf Hitler recovered there after being injured in the 1916 Battle of the Somme. It was a busy hospital in the 1920s but after WWII the soviets took control of Beelitz-Heilstätten and used it to treat Soviet soldiers stationed in the area. Once they withdrew in 1994 it was left empty.

Beelitz. picture: Miss - yasmin...

Beelitz. picture: Miss — yasmin, Flickr Source: Supplied

4. Salto Hotel, Colombia

Perched next to a huge waterfall near Bogota, the Hotel del Salto opened in 1928 and was quite popular. But it soon became contaminated and tourism numbers dwindled. It closed in the 1990s. Some believe it’s haunted, as there were a high number of suicides near the waterfall. It’s now a museum.

The Salto Hotel

The Salto Hotel Source: Supplied

Ancient ruined cities that remain a mystery

5. Hashima

Located off the coast of Nagasaki in Japan is an eerie island that has long been abandoned.

With its warship-like appearance, it’s little wonder why Hashima Island is commonly known as Gunkanjima (or ‘Battleship Island’). It’s other nickname? Ghost Island.

For nearly a century (from 1887 to 1974), the island was a bustling coal mining facility that housed thousands of workers. Mitsubishi bought it in 1890 and built Japan’s first large concrete building, at nine stories high.

With a population of 5259 people in 1959, the 6.3ha island was the most densely populated place per square metre in the world. But when the busy mine closed, Hashima Island fell into ruins.

Hashima. Picture: Kntrty, Flickr

Hashima. Picture: Kntrty, Flickr Source: Supplied

6. Fatehpur Sikri, India

Built by Emperor Akbar to be the most beautiful city in the world, it was widely thought this goal was achieved – until people realised the city lacked access to water. It was abandoned as the capital of the Mughal Empire after just 10 years and is today a perfectly preserved 16th-century town.

Fatehpur Sikri, India. Picture: Flickr user Sikri Goove2007

Fatehpur Sikri, India. Picture: Flickr user Sikri Goove2007 Source: Supplied

7. San-Zhi, Taiwan

The Taiwanese Government subsidised the building of futuristic pods for use as summer villas for the wealthy in 1978, but the investment capital for the project disappeared before it was completed. The company building the pods went bankrupt. Many believe the land was cursed.

San-Zhi, Taiwan

San-Zhi, Taiwan Source: Supplied

8. Deception Island, Antarctica

A regular stop on Antarctic sailings, Deception Island was a popular place for scientific outposts until several volcanic eruptions destroyed the bases in the 1960s. Today you can see their remains, plus swim in hot springs.

Deception Island. picture: Liam Quinn, Flickr

Deception Island. picture: Liam Quinn, Flickr Source: Supplied

Inside China’s ghost cities

Inside a Japanese ghost hotel with a troubled past

9. Craco, Basilicata, Italy

Greeks settled the town of Craco in 540AD, with a prison, university and plazas. But plagues, poor agricultural conditions and earthquakes took their toll. It was rendered uninhabitable between 1959 and 1972 due to destructive landslides. It remains empty to this day, but has played the backdrop for films such as The Passion of the Christ.

The cities humanity left behind

Craco, Basilicata. Picture: Andrea. Tomassi, Flickr Source: Supplied

10. Shicheng, China underwater city

Shicheng – or “Lion City” – was submerged under Qiandao Lake in China in 1959 amid the construction of the Xin’an River Hydropower Station. The entire city is underwater. It’s approximately 1400 years old and is a time capsule of ancient China.

Shicheng. picture: Nihaopaul, Wikicommons

Shicheng. picture: Nihaopaul, Wikicommons Source: Supplied

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