Have you noticed over the past few years, there seems to have been a flood of new services offering us a whole bunch of professional people willing to help almost exclusively with odd jobs?
Apps like Fivver and Freelancer find specialists who can deliver on one-off projects. There are a handful of websites and apps available to help renters find roommates. And they are just a couple of examples.
It is a fascinating shift in how we do business, and will likely have some pretty considerable long-term economic impacts.
Contributing writer Alex Morris took an in-depth look at one of these sharing economies in Saturday's Weekender, focusing on a website helping homeowners find willing house-sitters to drop by for a week or two to look after their homes (and usually their pets) while they are away.
The site has been so successful that house-sitters are funding their travel and even making long-term living arrangements bouncing between homes in the Hunter and beyond, diligently minding the fort while the owners are on holiday.
The not-so-private world of housesitters was not the only big property headline this week. Land value had risen almost nine per cent in the 2017/18 financial year, but as the market in Sydney and Melbourne slumped in a rocky end to 2018, Newcastle house prices fell 4.1 per cent. It was the biggest fall in a decade.
And then on Friday, the state government unveiled plans for the vacant Honeysuckle waterfront, including an eight-storey apartment building and a promenade spanning an opened Cottage Creek. Michael Parris has the full story in Saturday’s Herald.
Meanwhile, daytime testing on the trams is continuing. But Kelios Downer - the transport operator - says there are five things we're doing wrong on the tracks. Max McKinney's coverage in Saturday's edition reports Kelios Downer urging drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to act safer around the trams ahead of the service coming fully-online in a few weeks.
Finally, this week, if you have not seen this year's entries to the Hunter Photography Competition, you're missing out. There have been some incredible entries this year from amateur photographers across the Hunter capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments through the lens.
There is still time to enter before the closing date on January 24 and all the details are available here.