The number of new listings added to the national housing market through November was up 56% from the depths of winter, however compared with previous spring periods, newly advertised stock hasn’t been this low since CoreLogic began tracking listings in 2007. With fresh listings at a lower than normal level and buyer demand rising, the total number of advertised properties available for sale is also tracking at historic lows, down 12.4% nationally compared with last year and the lowest reading for this time of the year since 2009.
With buyers taking advantage of the lowest mortgage rates since at least the 1950’s along with an improvement in credit availability/borrowing capacity, market activity is rising. With such a small pool of stock available for sale, competition amongst buyers is increasing, adding a sense of urgency to the market which is another factor supporting price growth at the moment.
Based on a count of new and total listings over the first four weeks of November, both new listings being added to the market and total listing numbers were down compared with the same period a year ago across every capital city.
The largest drop in new listings numbers can be seen in Darwin, down almost 40% compared with last year, while Hobart (-23.3%) and Perth (-23.0%) have also recorded a substantial drop relative to last year.
Total listings numbers were the lowest relative to a year ago in Sydney (-23.1%), Perth (-16.6%) and Melbourne (-15.7%).
The low number of spring listings likely reflects a combination of factors. In markets where housing conditions have been weak, like Darwin and Perth, a lack of vendor confidence is understandable. Selling conditions have been tough in these markets since 2014 and prospective home sellers are likely wary of the challenging selling conditions, where homes are taking a long time to sell, discounting rates are high and properties are often selling for a lower amount than what they were purchased for.
In stronger markets like Sydney and Melbourne, the low number of listings being added to the market is more surprising. One reason could be related to overall consumer confidence remaining low. Selling a home, as well as buying a home, is a high commitment decision that is harder to make when confidence in the overall economy and future household finances is low. Another factor relates to the speed of the market recovery. It was only five months ago that housing values were still broadly falling. Preparing a property for sale involves a number of processes that take some time, including making the decision to sell, finding an agent, preparing the home for sale and commencing a marketing campaign.
Considering this, if selling conditions remain strong through early summer, we could see the market being tested with a larger number of listings through early December or the first quarter of next year.
There were 6,879 new listings added to the market over the first four weeks of November, 19% below the decade average and 3.2% lower than a year ago. This was the lowest count of new listings for this time of the year since CoreLogic listing records commence in 2007. Total listings were running at 24,360 across Sydney over the same period, 23% lower than a year ago and almost 13% lower than the decade average. The short supply levels are adding some urgency to local market conditions as active buyers compete across a relatively small pool of available stock for sale.
There were 8,603 newly advertised properties added to the Melbourne housing market over the first four weeks of November; 7.4% lower than a year ago and 7.7% below the decade average. New listing numbers haven’t been this low since 2011 when the market was still moving through a downturn. Total listing numbers across Melbourne (32,862) were almost 16% lower than a year ago and 0.6% below the decade average. When the market was moving through peak growth conditions in 2015, total advertised stock levels were only slightly lower than their current level.
4,039 fresh listings were added to the Brisbane market over the first four weeks of November, tracking almost 14% lower than a year ago and 11% below the decade average. This was the lowest number of new listings added to the market for this time of the year since 2012. Total listing numbers remain relatively low across Brisbane. There were 20,704 properties advertised for sale across the market over the past four weeks, which was 8.1% lower than a year ago and 3.7% below the decade average.
The past four weeks saw 2,362 fresh listings added to the Adelaide housing market, down 10.3% compared with the same period a year ago and 6.2% below the decade average. This was the lowest number of new listings for this time of the year across Adelaide since CoreLogic listing records commenced in 2007. The past four weeks saw 8,878 total listings available for sale across Adelaide which was 4.0% lower than a year ago and 3.1% below the decade average.
Only 3,392 newly listed properties were added to the Perth market over the past four weeks, down 23% from last year and 23.1% below the decade average. Fresh stock being added to market is well below what might be described as normal levels, with the November 2019 reading the lowest since CoreLogic listing records commenced in 2007. Total listing numbers, at 18,312 over the first four weeks of November, were almost 17% lower than a year ago and tracking 4.2% below the decade average. Total listings haven’t been this low, for this time of the year, since 2013, just before the market peaked across Perth.
Only 396 new listings were added to the Hobart housing market over the past four weeks, 23% lower than a year ago and 24% below the decade average. The number of fresh listings being added to the market hasn’t been this low, for this time of the year, since CoreLogic started tracking listings in Tasmania in 2009. Similarly, total advertised stock levels are also tracking at seasonal lows. The past four weeks saw 1,087 residential properties for sale across Hobart, which was 15.4% lower than a year ago, tracking at roughly 50% of the decade average. Such low stock levels are likely to add further upwards price pressures to the Hobart market as buyers compete for such a small pool of properties available for sale.
Only 121 new property listings were added to the Darwin market over the past four weeks; 39% lower than a year ago and 43% below the decade average. Since CoreLogic commenced tracking listing numbers across the Northern Territory in 2007, fresh stock levels have never been this low for this time of the year. Total listing numbers were tracking at 1,324 over the past four weeks, which was almost 10% lower than a year ago, but 2.6% above the decade average. Total advertised stock levels are generally elevated across Darwin, despite the low number of new listings, reflecting weak buyer demand and ongoing challenging selling conditions.
761 fresh listings were added to the Canberra housing market over the past four weeks, which was almost 17% lower than the number added at the same time last year, but 2.2% higher than the decade average. This was the lowest number of new listings added to the market, for this time of the year, since 2014. Total listing numbers were tracking at 2,430 across Canberra over the past four weeks, down almost 9% from last year but 4.6% above the decade average for the city. Higher than normal stock levels across the city suggest buyers probably aren’t facing a great deal of urgency in this market and can potentially drive a harder bargain at the negotiation table.
Experts identify best cities to buy property
Property hunters after the best value should eye up properties in Brisbane and Melbourne, according to a recent survey.
Finder spoke to experts and economists and asked them which city they would buy a property in if they were to invest today.
Nearly a quarter of them picked Brisbane and Melbourne, while 13 per cent would search for property in Canberra or Sydney.
Nine per cent saw potential in Hobart. But Perth and Adelaide did not rate high, with only 4 per cent of experts enticed to invest there.
“While Melbourne and Brisbane are strong candidates for the most promising property market in Australia, it is a bit stunning to see Sydney perform relatively poorly,” Finder insights manager Graham Cooke said.
The results illustrate that it is essential to consider property in other parts of the country, he said.
“The state you live [in] doesn’t need to be the state where you buy. With many Sydneysiders grappling with housing affordability, rentvesting could be the way to go.”
Although the majority of experts and economists were able to put their finger on a city they would invest, 13 per cent did not think it was the right time to buy a property.
Queensland Confirms 2032 Olympic Games Bid
Queensland will join the race to host the 2032 Olympic Games after premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed that cabinet had given the green light for the bid on Monday.
State cabinet officially endorsed the bid after a feasibility assessment detailed significant investment and economic benefits for the state.
A south-east Queensland Olympic Games could create 130,000 jobs and deliver more than $8 billion in new trade opportunities, the analysis found.
“This is about so much more than a few weeks of sport,” Palaszczuk said.
“Hosting the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics could be a game-changer and deliver 20 years of accelerated opportunity for our state.”
More than 80 per cent of venues that would support an Olympic Games are already built, while recent IOC reforms ensure host cities receive significant financial support from the committee.
Preliminary analysis undertaken in May estimated net operating costs of $5.3 billion to host the 2032 Olympic Games.
Lord mayor Adrian Schrinner said that IOC’s financial contributions may be enough to offset the cost of the games entirely.
“The operating costs of the games can be done in a cost-neutral manner,” Schrinner said.
Schrinner, along with the council of Queensland mayors, has been vocal in his support of 2032 Olympics campaign—penning an open letter to the premier in an attempt to fast-track the bid.
The premier said the bid process will be staged, with the first phase about securing financial support across all levels of government.
On Monday, the premier said that the government has “not discounted” the use of the Gabba for the opening ceremony, and flagged upgrades to the ageing QEII Stadium and Albion Park raceway for major events.
The International Olympic Committee is not expected to announce the winner until 2022, giving the state government two years to finalise its bid.
Both the opposition leader Anthony Albanese and prime minister Scott Morrison have already thrown their support behind the bid.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure we receive the financial support we require from all levels of government,” Palaszczuk said on Monday.
Queensland’s initial bid will be assessed by the IOC executive committee, before being signed off by more than one hundred Olympic delegates.
China, Germany, Indonesia and the “combined Koreas” are among rumoured early-stage bidders.
Window to slam shut for first-time buyers as property prices surge
First-time buyers could well be locked out of the market again if property prices continue to surge – and the government’s scheme to help new buyers with small deposits is unlikely to make much of a difference, experts say.
Property investors often compete in the same parts of the market as first-home buyers, particularly modestly priced apartments.
The prospects of surging prices, future capital gains and even lower mortgage rates next year are likely to see investors flood back into the market.
While the increase in investor finance for mortgages so far has not been overly strong, this is highly likely to change in 2020, according to Doron Peleg, founder of property researcher RiskWise.
With official interest rates likely to be even lower from as early as February, he expects Sydney and Melbourne property prices to snap back to record highs by the end of 2020.
“First-home buyers are likely to be significantly impacted due to projected increased competition [from investors] and way less affordable houses,” Mr Peleg said.
I think [first-home buyers] will be crowded out of the market in 2020 – as has happened in previous upward price cycles
Louis Christopher, managing director of property researcher SQM Research, said first-home buyers have been entering the market in greater numbers over the past two years, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.
“But following the latest price surges in both cities, I think [first-home buyers] will be crowded out of the market in 2020 – as has happened in previous upward price cycles,” he said.
Property prices in Sydney dropped about 15 per cent after peaking in mid-2017 and dipped a little more than 10 per cent from peak to trough in Melbourne, before recovering strongly from the middle of this year.
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that during 2014, 2015 and 2016 – when prices were booming – the number of loans to owner-occupier, first-home buyers was between 7000 and 8000 a month.
However, since prices started falling in 2017, commitments by first-home owners have surged to between 9000 and 10,000 a month.
Since the beginning of June, the Reserve Bank of Australia has cut the cash rate three times to a new record low of 0.75 per cent.
Over the three months to November 30, Sydney dwelling prices lifted by 6.2 per cent and by 6.4 per cent in Melbourne, CoreLogic figures show. Dwelling values in Sydney rocketed 2.71 per cent and across Melbourne by 2.25 per cent in November alone.
For many first-time buyers, even when prices were falling, a significant obstacle was coming up with a sizeable deposit. And buyers with less than a 20 per cent deposit of the purchase price are usually required by lenders to have mortgage insurance.
Though paid for by borrowers, the insurance covers lenders for any shortfall that may occur through the sale of a re-possessed house.
The one-off premium can to run to several thousands of dollars – even on modestly priced properties – although it is usually added to the home loan at the time of purchase.
The Morrison government’s First Home loan Deposit Scheme will start on January 1.
The scheme guarantees mortgages for up to 10,000 first-home buyers each year who have saved deposits as low a 5 per cent, helping them buy sooner and avoid having to pay mortgage insurance.
The government’s scheme limits the purchase price of Sydney properties to $700,000, which to be honest, is a joke
Graham Cooke, insights manager at comparison site Finder, said that aside from the small number of borrowers who may be able to get help in buying their first home, the property value caps for the scheme are also “problematic”, especially in Sydney.
“The government’s scheme limits the purchase price of Sydney properties to $700,000, which to be honest, is a joke,” he said. That is also the cap for regional centres in NSW, defined as cities with populations of more than 250,000. The cap for the rest of NSW is $450,000.
“Not many properties [in Sydney] will qualify for this scheme – some apartment buyers may qualify, but not many houses are available for below that price,” Mr Cooke said.
The cap for houses is $600,000 for Melbourne and regional Victorian centres and $375,000 for the rest of Victoria.
Successful applicants must have taxable incomes of $125,000 or less a year for singles and $200,000 or less for couples.
The scheme is administered through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corp. in partnership with major lenders. Last week, the scheme signed its first lender, NAB.
The government has said the scheme is designed to help first-home buyers purchase a modest home and is just one way it supports them.
In 2017, the Morrison government introduced the First Home Super Saver Scheme, which helps first-home buyers save a deposit inside their superannuation fund by making voluntary contributions.
The government will be monitoring the new scheme, including how the supply for loans is meeting demand, and it can be modified, if required.
Robert Mellor, executive chairman of economic and property forecaster BIS Oxford Economics, said first timers can take some heart that prices of cheaper dwellings, particularly apartments, are not rising as quickly as the middle and upper ends of the market.
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