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House Prices Set to Grow 9pc in 2021

House Prices

ANZ economists have significantly revised house price forecasts from a bearish 10 per cent decline to a 9 per cent lift in 2021.

The counterweight of low rates and government stimulus has flowed through to housing construction, approvals and sentiment, economists Adelaide Timbrell and Felicity Emmett said.

The peak-to-trough decline will be limited to 2 per cent, with Perth set to benefit from a 12 per cent lift as Brisbane and Hobart follow with gains of more than 9 per cent now forecast.

Sydney prices are expected to rise at about the national average of 8.8 per cent, while Melbourne will continue to lag slightly at 7.8 per cent.

“Our view that house prices would decline around 10 per cent, peak-to-trough, has proven too pessimistic: low rates have trumped factors like elevated unemployment and low population growth,” Emmett and Timbrell said.

Stagnant population growth will continue to weigh on demand and place downward pressure on prices, however the RBA’s latest rate cut has proven a heavier offsetting factor as debt serviceability hits 20-year highs.

House Prices

More than three-quarters of homes taken to auction sold over the weekend, as confidence builds in housing markets.

ANZ’s latest housing market update comes as auction clearance rates hit 75 per cent across all capital city markets over the weekend. A total 1,739 homes were taken to auction, compared to 2,590—at a 70 per cent clearance rate—the same time last year.

Sydney’s market performed well, according to Corelogic’s weekly figures, returning a 76.6 per cent clearance rate while Melbourne posted a strong post-lockdown result with 603 scheduled auctions returning a 73.5 per cent clearance rate.

Emmett and Timbrell said the momentum will continue as policy and lending support mitigates 2021 labour market risks.

“Owner-occupiers, and particularly first home buyers, are driving the market. Clearly a significant cohort of buyers with stable employment are keen to take advantage of historically low interest rates,” Emmett and Timbrell said.

Investor participation, in contrast, remained well removed from the 30 per cent-plus levels seen in 2015, making up less than 15 per cent of new loans, according to the ABS’ latest lending figures.

Emmett and Timbrell said that the impact of waning demand from investors and new migrants will hit the apartment market hardest.

“The overall weakness in the rental market is flowing through to investor demand, for both established and new housing.

“However, low rates and government stimulus are more than offsetting these negatives.”

“The recent announcement that the Victorian government will spend $5.3 billion on social housing will further lift activity, while news that a vaccine may be widely available by the June quarter will only increase confidence in the housing market.”

Housing market no longer a source of risk: CBA

Meanwhile, CBA head of Australian economics Gareth Aird has indicated that the unprecedented amount of fiscal stimulus means the housing market is no longer a key source of risk.

Aird said the downside risks of lower net overseas migration and house price falls have “diminished materially”.

“It is clear that price falls will only end up being modest nationally. Indeed prices are now rising in most capital cities.

CBA updated house price forecasts in early September for a 6 per cent peak-to-trough decline and a strong rebound in prices in the second half of 2021.

“We believe the risks to our forecasts are skewed to the upside,” Aird said.

“Near-term momentum indicators of the housing market have continued to strengthen and our home price model is signalling that solid price rises could be imminent.

“We no longer expect dwelling investment to be a drag on the economy in 2021 and forecast growth in renovation activity to offset lower new construction.”


The post “House Prices Set to Grow 9pc in 2021” by Ana Narvaez appeared first on the Blog

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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

Property Industry

^Source: RBA 

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.


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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.


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Home Loan Deposit Tops $100,000 for First Time

Home Loan

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

Home Loan

^Source: Finder, ABS loans data. Analysis assumes a 20 per cent 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.


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