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Housing investors to pick up slack as first home buyers retreat: AFG

Housing investors

One of the country’s biggest mortgage brokers, AFG, expects Housing investors will continue returning to the market, helping to fill the gap left by retreating first home buyers.

After figures this week showed house prices surged again last month, the chief executive of wholesale broker AFG, David Bailey, said investors were making up a bigger share of its new lending and he expected the trend had further to run.

While banks have predicted the rapid growth in house prices will slow this year, Mr Bailey said he had not seen a softening in lending activity, which was being mainly driven by people upgrading to a new home.

“Coming through the other side of the pandemic … my view is that as first home buyers — particularly who look at apartments and smaller places and so forth — come out of the market, that volume will probably be replaced by investors,” he said.

The chairman of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), Wayne Byres, also said on Wednesday he expected investors would continue returning to the housing market.

Appearing before Senate estimates, Mr Byres said the fact owner-occupiers and first home buyers had driven the market until recently was a positive trend, but investor lending was now on the rise.

“Certainly the commitments to investors had been very low through 2020, but they’ve started to pick up again in recent months, so I think we’ll see them start to come back to the market,” Mr Byres said.

Lending to housing investors is being closely watched by regulators, who have warned banks not to cut their loan standards as low interest rates cause prices to surge. When APRA has put the brakes on previous housing booms by introducing credit restrictions, the measures were targeted at investors.

Mr Bailey said the share of AFG’s new lending going to property investors had risen from 21.3 per cent in the first quarter to 24.9 in the current quarter so far, but this was still well below its historical average of about 35 per cent.

Mr Bailey made the comment as AFG on Wednesday said it would take a 7 per cent stake in the neobank Volt for $15 million, and it announced Volt would supply some of AFG’s white-label loans. Volt also said its next chairman would be Graham Bradley, former chair of HSBC Australia and listed companies including Stockland and Graincorp.

In a further sign of investor activity lifting, the chief executive of mortgage broker Homeloanexperts.com.au Alan Hemmings said inquiries from investors were up by about 50 per cent compared with last year. He said this could be a response to some lenders cutting interest rates on investment loans.

“It may also be due to investors seeing opportunity in the market with the RBA continuing to state it will keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future and continued speculation of property price increases,” Mr Hemmings said.

The strengthening conditions in the housing market were also underlined by credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s, which said arrears rates for lower-risk borrowers had fallen to 0.94 per cent in March, down from 1.03 per cent a year earlier.

Director at S&P Global Ratings Erin Kitson said ultra-low interest rates, government stimulus, and a refinancing boom had allowed customers to build up financial buffers, and helped some struggling borrowers to move out of arrears.

“Given the low level overall, we are not expecting a big uptick in arrears as borrowers come off their mortgage deferral arrangements,” Ms Kitson said.

Ms Kitson said that in previous housing booms, the retreat of first home buyers had been followed by stronger lending to investors. She said investors were typically more able to access credit because they were likely to already own property, and had higher incomes.

 

Article Source: www.brisbanetimes.com.au

Brisbane

Best and Worst Suburbs For Rental Properties Revealed

rental properties

Australia’s rental Properties is tightening, finally reaching pre-Covid levels, however some suburbs are faring better than others.

The vacancy rate fell in May for the second consecutive month and now sits at 1.7 per cent. The last time rates were this low was February, 2020 according to research by Domain.

The report showed Sydney’s vacancy was at March, 2020 levels and Melbourne, while considerably high, was rapidly falling from its 5.4 per cent peak in December last year.

Adelaide and Brisbane had the lowest level of vacancy since the records began in 2017 while Canberra and Perth were close to record multi-year lows.

Worst places for rental property owners

Rank Sydney Vacancy Melbourne Vacancy Brisbane, Gold Coast Vacancy Perth Vacancy Adelaide Vacancy
1 Paramatta 4.6% Melbourne City 8.6% Brisbane Inner 3.4% Perth City 1.4% Adelaide City 4.7%
2 Auburn 4.4% Stonnington-East 7.8% Sherwood-Indropilly 2.5% Cottesloe-Claremont 1.5% Prospect-Walkerville 0.9%
3 Strathfield-Burwood-Ashfield 3.9% Whitehorse-West 6.1% Brisbane Inner-West 2.3% South Perth 1.1% Holdfast Bay 0.9%
4 Canterbury 3.9% Stonnington West 5.8% Nathan 2.2% Belmont-Victoria Park 1.1% Norwood-Payneham-St Peters 0.8%
5 Ku-ring-gai 3.2% Boroondara 5.6% Mt Gravatt 2.1% Canning 1% Burnside 0.7%

Best places for rental property owners

Rank Sydney Vacancy Melbourne Vacancy Brisbane, Gold Coast Vacancy Perth Vacancy Adelaide Vacancy
1 Camden 0.3% Yarra Ranges 0.2% Capalaba 0.2% Kwinana 0.3% Gawler-Two Wells 0.1%
2 Blue Mountains 0.4% Nillumbik-Kinglake 0.4% Caboolture Hinterland 0.3% Wanneroo 0.4% Marion 0.1%
3 Wyong 0.4% Maroondah 0.4% Nerang 0.3% Serpentine-Jarrahdale 0.4% Playford 0.2%
4 Gosford 0.6% Cardinia 0.4% Coolangatta 0.3% Cockburn 0.4% Tea Tree Gully 0.2%
5 Campbelltown 0.6% Mornington Peninsula 0.5% Wynnum-Manly 0.4% Swan 0.4% Salisbury 0.2%

^Source: Domain rental vacancy report, May 2021

Despite performing relatively poorly, Melbourne vacancy rate tightened more than any other capital, from 4.2 per cent in April.

Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said extended lockdowns in the state would impact the city.

“Vacant rental listings may increase in regions with a high proportion of people working in the hospitality and tourism sectors,” Powell said.

“Those who have had a significant reduction in hours may be forced to cut costs and move in with family or friends.

“Vacancy rates are also likely to remain particularly weak in areas with a higher proportion of short-term rentals as ongoing outbreaks affect interstate travel and sentiment towards travelling to Greater Melbourne.”

Home owners in Melbourne were trying to get ahead of the curb with the rate of homes selling before auction doubling.

Meanwhile, in a rare occurrence, house prices were on the rise in every capital city during May and 97 per cent of sub-regions.

 

Article Source: www.theurbandeveloper.com

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Brisbane

House Prices Up Again in Synchronised Upswing

House Prices

House prices are continuing to surge with prices up 14.3 per cent in a year as the national market has a rare “synchronised upswing”.

The only things that could slow the market are affordability constraints and tighter credit policies, according to Corelogic’s monthly home value index.

In May, dwelling values rose 2.2 per cent across capital cities, however, this was slightly weaker than March when prices increased 2.8 per cent, breaking a 32-year record.

Sydney had the strongest price growth at 3 per cent while Perth lagged behind at 1.1 per cent and the Melbourne market held on at 1.8 per cent as the state went into lockdown again.

Corelogic house prices: May

Month Quarter Year
Sydney 3.0% 9.3% 11.2%
Melbourne 1.8% 5.5% 5.0%
Brisbane 2.0% 6.2% 10.6%
Adelaide 1.9% 5.4% 11.8%
Perth 1.1% 3.8% 8.5%
Hobart 3.2% 7.7% 16.5%
Darwin 2.7% 7.9% 20.3%
Canberra 1.7% 6.5% 15.6%
Capitals 2.3% 7.1% 9.4%
Regional 2.0% 6.5% 15.2%
National 2.2% 7.0% 14.3%

^Source: Corelogic home value index May 2021

Corelogic research director Tim Lawless said of the 334 sub-regions analysed, 97 per cent recorded a lift in the past three months.

“Such a synchronised upswing is an absolute rarity across Australia’s diverse array of housing markets,” Lawless said.

“Despite the consistently strong headline results, the underlying trends have shifted during the past year.

“The most expensive end of the market is now driving the highest rate of price appreciation across most of the capital cities, whereas early in the growth cycle it was the most affordable end of the market that was the strongest.

“It was the smaller capital cities that led the housing market out of the Covid-19 slump, but now Sydney has risen through the ranks to record the largest capital gain during the past three months with values up 9.3 per cent.”

However, the increased prices are continuing to put pressure on affordable housing in Sydney with the NSW productivity commission finding a lack of housing was limiting the number of workers available.

Lawless said that for now, Australia remains firmly entrenched in a housing boom and will continue to rise in 2021 but will slow down as affordability affects market participation.

 

Article Source: www.theurbandeveloper.com

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Gold Coast

Concerns tight Gold Coast rental market means tenants won’t assert their rights

rental market

There are concerns that low vacancy rates in the Gold Coast rental market are discouraging tenants from asserting their rights with real estate agents and landlords.

Median vacancy rates remain below 1 per cent across the city and the tight competition for available properties has grown amid booming interstate migration.

Burleigh Waters resident Aline Christ said her real estate agent proposed a 15 per cent increase to her rent, due to the competitive market.

“My salary doesn’t really reflect that type of price for rent, especially being a single mother and I am the sole provider,” she said.

While advocacy bodies for both tenants and landlords disagree on what policy responses to the issue should look like, both agree some renters feel discouraged from pressing their rights.

‘It’s a two-way relationship’

Ms Christ said she wrote to her agents because the proposed increase “doesn’t seem fair” and asked for her message to be passed on to the owner.

“[The owner] had no idea the real estate was proposing to raise my rent that much,” she said.

Ms Christ said she and the landlord reached a new agreement, but that it was “a two-way relationship”.

“We’ve been doing the right thing; how about rewarding us for being clean, quiet, paying rent on time?

However, Tenants Queensland chief executive Penny Carr said that, with such low vacancy rates, many renters were desperate.

“People are taking things sight unseen, tenants are up-bidding the rent and offering long periods of time upfront to pay the rent,” she said.

“The past few months have created a lot of problems for renters.”

Review of rental rules underway

Prior to the surge in housing demand seen towards the end of 2020, the Queensland government announced it would review tenancy laws.

According to the Residential Tenancies Authority, a landlord or real estate agent can choose to not renew a lease without providing a reason, so long as they give two months’ notice ahead of the contract’s end date.

But Ms Carr said that rule “brings a lot of instability to renters”.

“Those rights might be around getting repairs done or challenging the amount of [a] rent increase.”

Ms Carr said that, if a tenant suspected their lease had been ended “in retaliation for standing up for your rights”, then there was an ability to challenge that.

“But it’s very hard to prove,” she said.

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