Australia’s biggest bank – the CBA – just upgraded its housing market forecast, joining the long line of economists that have done a 180° about-face.
CBA economists think Australia’s housing market is “on the cusp of a boom”, saying that surging momentum in the property market and leading indicators pointed to strong price rises.
They are forecasting that dwelling prices will rise 8% in 2021 and 6% in 2022, with house prices rising 16% in that time and unit prices by 9%, continuing the disparity in these two segments of our property markets.
If Sydney and Melbourne home values grow by 12 per cent in the next two years that would mean Sydney’s median price would jump to around $1.2 million, and Melbourne’s would increase to $920,000, an increase of $160,000 in Sydney and $110,000 in Melbourne.
Of course not all properties will increase at the average rate – some will outperform the averages while others will languish – but that’s how averages work isn’t it?
CBA’s house price forecasts in underpinned by no change in the cash rate for the next two years, which is likely considering the Reserve Bank stated that they were unlikely to change their interest rate for three years.
The main risks to the bank’s forecast property boom were:
- a significant outbreak of COVID followed by large-scale lockdowns,
- a hike in interest rates, and
- the re-introduction of macro-prudential measures to slow the rate of lending.
The bank’s head of Australian economics, Gareth Aird wrote:
“We do, however, factor in a modest increase in fixed rate mortgages, which will rise if the RBA removes or raises its target yield on the 3 year Australian Government bond, as we expect in the second half of 2021.
At this stage we consider the reintroduction of macro-prudential measures to be a relatively low risk in 2021.
However, if new lending accelerated too quickly, particularly to investors, there is a risk that the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) could reintroduce macro-prudential measures to slow things as they did in 2017.
History shows that prices can rise very quickly when the housing market is on a roll. Indeed it may turn out to be the case that the growth profile for price outcomes over the next two years ends up more front loaded than our current projections.”
What an about-face…
It’s a stunning turnaround from the dire predictions made during the pandemic’s early days last year.
At the beginning of the pandemic, CBA economists forecast an 11 per cent fall in house prices over three years under their ‘best case’ pandemic scenario.
But it’s the bank’s worst-case scenario of a prolonged downturn that had factored in the risk of a 30 per cent plus fall in prices, which received a lot of publicity.
Now it’s understandable that in March last year no one really knew what was ahead, and clearly unprecedented government support as well as fiscal and monetary stimulus underpinned our property markets, supported jobs, and allowed us to have a short sharp recession with a quick rebound.
The bank’s head of Australian economics, Gareth Aird admitted had that this turnaround had taken many in the industry by surprise saying:
“The negative impact that COVID-19 had on Australian property prices turned out to be much more muted than almost any forecaster expected, us included,” he wrote.
“We were earlier than most, however, to recognise this and revised our call in September 2020 to look for a smaller peak-to-trough fall and a decent lift in prices over 2021.
Mr. Aird wrote:
“In many respects, it’s a simple story.
New lending has lifted sharply.
Dwelling prices are rising briskly in most capital cities.
And turnover is up significantly on year ago levels.
The boom is being driven by record low mortgage rates coupled with a V‑shaped recovery in the labour market.
Borrowing rates, which are the single biggest driver of prices in the short run, remain below the rental yield in most markets across Australia.
This is an unusual situation and means that property markets across the country need to find an equilibrium.
For the bulk of Australia, equilibrium will be achieved via further dwelling price rises.”
Article Source: propertyupdate.com.au
Property Industry Expects Interest Rate Rise
Property industry confidence levels are near record highs but there are rumblings that interest rates could to increase soon.
The ANZ/Property Council industry survey for the March quarter found confidence levels has improved drastically since the pandemic started, led by the residential sector.
The survey canvassed the views of more than 830 respondents—including, owners, developers, agents, managers, consultants and government—across all major industry sectors and regions.
The results revealed respondents also believe there will be an interest rate increase during the next 12 months.
This comes as the Reserve Bank of Australia closely watches the housing market as “cyclically low-interest rates and rising asset prices create a risk of excessive borrowing”.
According to the RBA financial stability review, this could lead to financial instability particularly if lending standards are weakened, which could expose lenders to large losses.
Interest rate changes
For the meantime, the Reserve Bank decided to hold the official cash rate at 0.1 per cent for the fifth time in a row.
Despite expecting an interest rate rise, survey respondents were confident about work expectations, national growth and house prices in the next year.
Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison said the expectations for house prices were at the highest level in the survey’s 10-year history.
“When the property industry is confident it is exceptional news for the entire national economy because it employs so many people—more than 1.4-million Australians,” Morrison said.
“While the economy still faces significant challenges, the property industry is clearly buoyed by the speed of our turnaround and the strong demand they are seeing, particularly in the residential and industrial sectors.”
ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said that for now the combination of record low mortgage interest rates and targeted stimulus was clearly supporting the housing sector.
“Property sentiment has improved again, reflecting stellar economic performance, a large pipeline of work for the coming year and a strong outlook for property prices,” Emmett said
The survey also revealed an easing of concerns about the office sector as more CBD workers return to their work places.
Article Source: theurbandeveloper.com
Property confidence stages remarkable comeback
The latest results from the ANZ/Property Council Survey reveal surging confidence levels in Queensland’s property sector, despite the slower than anticipated return of workers to major business precincts.
Property industry sentiment in Queensland bounced from 124 points in the December 2020 quarter, to 144 index points in the March 2021 quarter. The result shows that industry confidence has nearly tripled since the height of the COVID pandemic, when a low of 58 index points was recorded during the March 2020 quarter. A score of 100 is considered neutral.
Property Council Queensland Executive Director, Chris Mountford, said the results were nothing short of phenomenal, however, it was critical that the positivity was not taken for granted.
“The results highlight a remarkable recovery for Queensland’s property sector, which proved resilient throughout the challenges of last year and is now spearheading the State’s economic recovery,” said Mr Mountford.
“The industry has recorded strong results on most metrics of success, from crane counts to property clearance rates, to our own quarterly confidence surveys.
“However, we do need to maintain some degree of caution as these positive results were recorded prior to Brisbane’s most recent lockdown, and while the benefits of Government stimulus programs continue to be felt.
“It is well documented that these lockdowns cost our economy millions and impact on the confidence of employees to return to their places of work.
“Office occupancy within Brisbane CBD has stagnated at circa 63 per cent, showing the road to recovery for our city centres has clearly not been as smooth as in other property sectors.
“With the end of JobKeeper and the ever-present spectre of another lockdown, there is clearly a need to support our CBDs and the many businesses that rely on the daily visitation of workers, students and tourists to make ends meet.
“Over the coming months, the Property Council will be working with its members, Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government, to implement a plan to support our city centre and ensure it continues to drive Queensland’s economy,” concluded Mr Mountford.
Article Source: www.miragenews.com
Home Loan Deposit Tops $100,000 for First Time
The average deposit required by first home buyers has topped six figures as record low borrowing costs, stimulus payments and low stock levels send prices racing higher.
Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data has revealed the national average deposit needed to secure a mortgage is now $106,743—an increase of 16 per cent since January, 2019.
It is the first time in Australia’s history the average deposit has exceeded $100,000.
For first home buyers it means a longer path towards homeownership with the burden of raising a deposit—based on higher values—greater than ever.
According to comparison website Finder, which surveyed more than 1000 first-home buyers, one in four first home buyers need between five and 10 years to save a 20 per cent deposit.
More than a third of respondents—38 per cent, require between two and five years to save for their deposit.
The ACT had the largest house deposit increase since 2019, with the upfront amount required surging by 24 per cent to $117,790 as the rise in entry-level house prices exceeds wage growth.
NSW was just 1 per cent behind at 23 per cent for an average of $128,469.
The average deposit in Tasmania has climbed to $81,438, in Queensland it is now $95,784 and up to $92,784 in Western Australia.
South Australia remains the only capital city offering stable conditions for first home buyers with the time to save for a deposit for a house or unit remaining the lowest in the country.
First-time buyers’ new loan commitments made up 35.1 per cent of February’s near-55,000 monthly loans, more than investors’ 22 per cent, and have continued to grow.
While first home buyer loan commitments fell 3.3 per cent in February, they remain near 12-year highs, up 65.8 per cent year on year.
Average first home buyer loan, deposit
The pandemic-induced downturn that gripped the nation for much of 2020 cut nearly half a year off the time needed to save for a deposit, according to figures published by the Australian Institute for Progress earlier this year.
The national figures showed an improvement due to the price falls in Australia’s two biggest cities during the quarter, even as the situation in individual cities varied.
Repayments and deposits fell in Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart but rose in Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin, Canberra, and Perth.
Finder spokeswoman Sarah Megginson said that saving for a house deposit is a big financial hurdle for first home buyers, with more than half of first home buyers—53 per cent—spending more than 30 per cent of their income in order to meet mortgage repayments.
“Prospective buyers are being stumped by a supercharged property market, which isn’t showing any signs of slowing down just yet,” Megginson said.
“Low interest rates have made it cheaper to pay down a mortgage, but this has pushed up property prices, making it even harder to save for a deposit.”
Record low interest rates—RBA governor Philip Lowe has said the benchmark cash rate would likely stay at 0.1 per cent for the next four years—are keeping repayments low.
Current interest rates have also pushed home values to new highs while making the return on any savings minimal.
The surging prices that last month pushed the housing market up 2.8 per cent, the fastest pace of appreciation in 32 years, have created several inflection points across the market with Sydney and Melbourne staging a full recovery from earlier downturns.
At the same time, data released by the REIA showed housing prices had soared by more than 500 per cent during the past 25 years, with the median price surging from $160,000 in 1996 to $825,000 in 2020.
Article Source: theurbandeveloper.com
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