Featured

About Us

About the FIRE Panda Family

This is the first post on the FIRE panda family blog. I thought this would be a good way to introduce the family and provide an overview of the site.

We are an average family working in IT that started thinking about FIRE when we realized that we were a lot closer to retiring than we actually thought. The more we though and planned about it the more motivated we became to achieving our goals. We also had friends and colleagues ask us advice about various topics including property investing and shares. So we thought why not create a blog and share any tips that was useful to them and us.

The site can be broken down into four main areas, on the home page you fill find the ability to go to each main portal area.

One portal is to our current overall financial position and FIRE end date.

There is a portal to Papa Panda, Mama Panda and Little Panda area which deals with Property, Shares, and Budgeting respectively. There are also other blogs and articles which are of interest to each family member.

Hopefully you will also find something useful or interesting in your FIRE journey. Add a comment to any of the pages or just send us an email, we would love to hear from you.

Welcome to the future 2020 – FIRE Panda Family Update

Happy new year everyone and I hope the coming financial years will be good ones to you and your family. New years always make me excited and energized on how I can set new goals and add momentum on financial independence and retiring early. I know that every year that goes by that’s just one more year closer to financial freedom.

Our total outstanding loan left sits at $633,923 which puts our FIRE end date to March 2024! Only 4 more years left on the work treadmill hopefully.

I have to say the family and Australia did hit some bad luck at the end of 2019. Terrible bush fires have been burning right across the nation and it was very sad to see all the images and articles in the news. It was heartening to see the community and people across the world come together and support all those affected by the fire tragedy though.

As most families do over Christmas and new years we had our family vacation overseas. Everything was good for the most part but we did hit a few issues along the way. First incident on the trip was the resort we booked cancelled our booking by mistake and upon arriving to the resort we had no place to stay! Had to head back to KL and find another hotel.

Second incident the apartment we booked via Air BnB initially refused to provide an extra discount for booking longer stays. Finally the third incident was that the entire family was struck down with the influenza virus the night before we were due to fly home, missing our flights and spending 4 days in an expensive private hospital.

All these items have bitten the budget this month hopefully travel insurance will cover most of the unexpected costs but it does highlight everyone should have adequate insurance for all aspects of your life. Home, income, car, property insurance etc. It will pay off when you need it.

We will be reviewing all our policies to ensure that we are covered appropriately and also getting the best deal by shopping around and comparing online. Don’t be afraid of asking for discounts or price matching for your policies.

How did 2019 treat you? Did you overspend during Christmas and New Years? What saving goals or new year resolutions will you try? Send us an email or comment below.

Wishing you all the best for 2020 and beyond.

The FIRE Panda Family.

Where to for the housing market?

The Australian national housing market is bouncing back from a period of negative growth, due to lower interest rates and relaxation of lending criteria. Let’s take a look at the main capital city housing markets and provide our view of where they are headed in the next 12 months. With population growth remaining solid, macro-economic indicators stabilising and the addition of other stimulus the downturn in housing should be more shallow in comparison to previous cycles.

According to the HIA latest spring report dwelling commencements are tipped to continually fall from a peak of 121,678 in 2017/2018 to just 102,126 in 2019/2020, before a small contraction in 2020/2021 to 101,087.


Overview

Interest rate cuts and the gradual restoration of confidence in the housing market has lifted the median price for Sydney back to the level recorded at the end of 2018, while Melbourne’s median is already 1.0 per cent higher than in December last year. The national median dwelling price increased by 1.0 per cent in October 2019, marking the fourth consecutive monthly improvement. The successive improvements provide for an increase of 2.4 per cent over the October ‘quarter’ but it is still 2.3 per cent below the level recorded this time a year ago.

Sydney

The median dwelling price in Sydney also posted steady improvements since the cyclical low in May this year 2019. These improvements have lifted the price by 3.3 per cent from the cyclical low but it is still 2.6 per cent down from the level recorded in October a year ago. With one month of the year to go, it looks likely that the Sydney market will record modest annual growth.


Melbourne

It is a similar story for the Melbourne market, where five consecutive monthly improvements have lifted the median dwelling price by 6.0 per cent since the low point in May. At the end of October, Melbourne’s median dwelling price was just 1.0 per cent below the level a year ago. Despite fears of oversupply in the apartment market, activity in this segment has been fairly robust. Transaction volumes in the apartment market are up compared to a year ago and the median apartment price in October 2019 was up by 2.6 per cent on the level a year ago.

Brisbane

The Brisbane market wasn’t locked into the east coast home price roller coaster in the last cycle. Dwelling prices softened a little during late 2018 and early 2019, and have now begun to reverse the downturn. The median price dwelling in Brisbane increased by around 1.1 per cent over the three months to October, and only around 1.5 per cent below the peak recorded a year ago.

Perth

The last five years have been pretty woeful for Perth’s housing market. This period of decline has taken the median home price back to the level last seen in early 2006, essentially reversing all of the gains recorded during the mining boom. The post mining boom correction should be nearing completion.

In fact, the cyclical correction is probably now into a phase where the downturn has overshot fair housing value. The Western Australian economy is now on a more solid footing, the rate of population growth is continuing to increase, rental vacancy is dropping, some metrics show that rental prices are increasing and there is very little new housing stock being added. When you combine these factors with the low interest rate environment, it is hard to see Perth prices remaining this low for too much longer.

Adelaide

Adelaide’s median price reached an all-time high in the latter months of 2018. Like everywhere else, the fear and uncertainty in the lead up to the federal election kept any jubilation in check. Since reaching the peak in October 2018, the median price eased and was 0.9 per cent below the peak at the end of October this year. On a positive note, preliminary estimates show that the volume of property transactions in Adelaide during the three months to October this year are slightly higher than a year earlier.

Darwin

The median dwelling price in Darwin has fallen by 31 per cent since the 2014 peak, including a 9.2 per cent fall over the twelve months to October this year. Unlike Perth, Darwin’s economy is still in the process of down-sizing following the conclusion of construction of the Inpex LNG project. Latest demographic statistics show the population of the NT is declining which is a response to the reduction in demand for labour. Without a sizable surge in new investment to take up the excess productive capacity that has been freed up in Darwin, this population decline will drag on confidence in the housing market and likely prices with it.

Tasmania

The national median reached a peak in August 2017 and is now 5.8 per cent below the peak (as of October this year), over the same time frame Hobart’s median price has increased by 14.7 per cent. Hobart had a good period of strong price growth during 2017 and 2018 but the pace has slowed considerably in 2019. The median price in Hobart was up by 0.5 per cent in October and is up by 2.5 per cent compared to this time a year ago.

Canberra

Despite the wild fluctuations in prices in neighbouring cities to the north and the south, the median price in Canberra has been slowly but steadily moving higher, up by 2.0 per cent over the year to October. This steady growth has seen the median price in the nation’s capital reach a record high.

HIA Australian Outlook Spring Edition 2019, This time a year ago the HIA were amongst the few expecting the property market to begin recovering in 2019 amidst a barrage of dire predictions from pessimists. With the improving credit environment, low interest rates, and confidence in the housing market being restored, we are optimistic that the recovery in prices will continue into 2020.

I for one sure hope it will seeing how closely tied housing is with the overall Australian economy. Let me know your thoughts and predictions on where you think house prices in Australia are going?

The risk of speculative shares

The green line is going down… what should I do?

I have just sold one of my speculative share investments. I really believed in the technology and the company was Australian owned and operated.

With many shares of this nature you are really hoping that the company can turn their dream into reality and ultimately a steady revenue stream. However many companies wont make it out of R&D phase without significant capital raising and loans to fund the development to commercialization.

In the meantime other larger multinationals are just waiting around the corner to snap up any technology or IP that was developed for a bargain price.

Okay so I’m sure your dying to find out what the speculative share is? FBR or Fast Bricks Robotics is a company which has designed a robot to build houses in days rather than months. It also claims to be able to build houses to Australian building codes and standards, while minimizing brick wastage and improving safety.

Anyway I bought in when the shares where roughly 20 cents, and have held them for almost 6 months now, watching the share price steadily fall to 11 cents and now almost rock bottom 4.4 cents at time of writing.

I could have sold at the 11 cents mark and maybe take a 50% hit to my investment but I thought announcements and major deals with corporations would be done by now. Alas I cannot see any way a company that is burning 18 million a year with no solid revenue stream can survive past another 6 months.

True to form a recent capital raising was done to raise 5 million more… but again this will not solve the underlying problem of a decent revenue stream. Lucky for me I did not over invest and was just a small amount in the grand scheme of things but it could have been money better spent in other shares.

So I will just have to take my lesson and spread the word know when to quit, trust your gut, learn your lessons and don’t over commit yourself in any stock.

I will give you an update on my other speculative share and if that too will be sold… at the moment I’m holding on tight!