The new Maroochydore City Centre is helping drive residential property price growth on the Sunshine Coast with new figures revealing double digit increases in top performing suburbs.
Property analyst Terry Ryder revealed in a new report that some Sunshine Coast suburbs had experienced media house price rises of up to 37 per cent in the past year, a growth trend driven by unprecedented infrastructure spending across the region.
“From the recently completed $2 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital and its broader $5 billion health precinct, to the current expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport and the preliminary work for light rail and passenger train services, there is more growth happening in this region that almost any other region in the country,” Mr Ryder said.
“The new CBD, being built from scratch on a 53-hectare greenfield site, is at the heart of this growth, providing a centre for the Sunshine Coast’s growing economic and job opportunities while helping to fuel residential price rises across the region.”
The new Maroochydore City Centre, being designed and delivered by SunCentral Maroochydore, was officially opened in August and the first buildings are currently under construction.
SunCentral Maroochydore Chief Executive Officer John Knaggs said other large infrastructure projects, such as the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network, were also contributing to the region’s economic evolution.
“The growth metrics of the region are all coming together,” Mr Knaggs said.
“There’s been a decade of planning getting to this point, and now the Sunshine Coast is realising these opportunities creatively.”
Mr Ryder said there was $20 billion in projects either recently completed, under construction or approved on the Sunshine Coast – more than more than Canberra, Hobart or Darwin and challenging Adelaide and Perth.
“This can be seen in the property market with values for both homes and units soaring in the past year,” he said.
“We have suburbs like Twin Waters and Doonan where the median house price was up by about 20 per cent and the unit market median price jumping 14 per cent to reach $700,000 in the past year.
“This, combined with strong population growth, puts investors on the Sunshine Coast in the box seat to take advantage of ongoing price growth.”
In his report, The Sunshine Coast: Australia’s Most Compelling Growth Story, Mr Ryder said the population of the Sunshine Coast and Noosa local government areas were tipped to reach 580,000 by 2041.
“Population growth leads to more demand for property and that in turn translates to increased values,” he said.
“In fact, the region is now tending towards a shortage of new dwellings with the Property Council of Australia warning that the Sunshine Coast is at risk of not keeping up with demand.”
Mr Ryder said the Sunshine Coast’s economic and real estate fortunes had risen dramatically as the region expanded and diversified its economy.
“Nothing supports price growth like a booming economy,” he said.
The report revealed the Sunshine Coast had achieved an economic growth rate of more than 4 per cent a year over the past 15 years – well above national averages – and the region’s $17.7 billion economy was expected to expand to $33 billion by 2033.
TOP PERFORMING SUBURBS FOR MEDIAN HOUSE PRICE GROWTH
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TOP PERFORMING SUBURBS FOR MEDIAN UNIT PRICE GROWTH
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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.
Bureaucratic stroke of pen boosts Perth, Gold Coast
Why should property investors care that Perth and the Gold Coast are now considered “regional” towns instead of “metro” cities?
They should care because the change could have a significant impact on the real estate markets in those two cities, creating both opportunities and risks for investors. Here, I will explain why.
We all know that immigration is one of the reasons Australia’s economy has kept growing year after year, for the past 27 years. A provocative professor at the University of Sydney claims that Australia’s “economy is addicted to immigration” because —without the constant growth in population— our economy actually would have gone into recession several times over the past three decades.
Saving the country from recession isn’t enough anymore, however. The federal government wants immigrants to do more. That’s why it’s passed its regional immigration plan, which allocates 25,000 visas to immigrants who are willing to live for three years in regional Australia. After that, they can qualify for permanent residency.
The government billed the plan as a way to boost hardscrabble Australian bush towns.
Now, the government has decided that both Perth and the Gold Coast qualify as “regional” under the regional migration program. While that may be bad news for smaller, dustier towns, for the two cities it is excellent news. It means that they can benefit from thousands of new immigrants, the jobs they help create, the university fees they pay, and the money they invest in housing.
The new regional designation could be the factor that helps many students, workers, and investors from China decide to move to these two cities. It won’t mean more transactions tomorrow. Over the next 12 to 24 months, however, this change could add several thousand additional sales to the two markets.
A 10% TO 20% INCREASE IN TRANSACTION VOLUME?
These following numbers are an example of how it could play out. In Perth last year, there were about 26,000 sales. An additional 3,000 sales in a year would be more than a 10 per cent increase in annual transactions. An extra 10% in transaction volume would help put a floor under prices and help stimulate new construction.
On the Gold Coast this year, there will probably be about 15,000 transactions. At that pace, an additional 3,000 sales would mean an increase of about 20% in transactions. That would have a similar impact as in Perth.
The reclassification sounds like bureaucratic mumbo jumbo, but it has real-life impact. It was subject to a lot of behind-the-scenes lobbying and arm-twisting. This change could mean thousands of new residents coming to these cities and buying property, attending university, or starting businesses. It’s an economic gold mine for Perth and the Gold Coast.
There will now be a total of 25,000 visas for foreigners willing to live in regional areas. With their new “regional” classification, the Gold Coast and Perth have become (with Adelaide) the locations by far most likely to attract those immigrants.
The educational institutions, job markets, infrastructure, and lifestyle in the cities makes smaller regional destinations look less appealing by comparison. Regional areas like Dubbo or Geelong have a lot going for them and can provide excellent opportunities to new migrants. But the Gold Coast, Perth, and Adelaide are more prominent and by most calculations offer better prospects.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR INVESTORS?
The change will also give the Gold Coast and Perth a boost in the battle to displace Melbourne and Sydney as the top destinations for Chinese migrants, students, and property buyers.
Both cities are struggling to increase the share of foreigners they attract. Their retailers want more residents, their universities want more students, and their developers want more property buyers.
If I were a property investor in the Gold Coast or Perth today, this new development would reassure me. Population growth has been the primary driver of price growth in Australia over the past several decades. With the regional migration program, Perth and the Gold Coast stand to see their population growth increase above present rates. Investors who can ride that growth to profits should do very well.
House Price Surge Continues in ‘Rapid Recovery’ Corelogic
Australia’s housing market is now five months into its recovery, as Sydney and Melbourne drive the turnaround with values up by 2.7 and 2.2 per cent respectively for the month of November.
The national index recorded an increase of 1.7 per cent for the month, with all capital cities but Darwin recording a lift in values.
Corelogic described this as the largest monthly rise in the national index since 2003.
The November results see Corelogic’s national home value index move into positive annual growth territory for the first time since April 2018, with Australia’s dwelling values now 0.1 per cent higher over the past twelve months.
“The Australian housing market is now five months into an unexpected period of rapid recovery,” Corelogic head of research Tim Lawless said.
“The question is, how long can such a high pace of capital gains be sustained?”
Taking in the latest Corelogic data, BIS Oxford Economics says indicators show that sales volumes are still down “significantly on the levels of a year ago”.
As a result, BIS expects “quarterly price growth to slow significantly over the second half of this financial year to June 2020 as listings increase”.
Change in dwelling values
Lawless said that the market is yet to be tested on higher supply levels, with advertised listing numbers remaining seasonally low through spring.
“Considering wages and household income growth remains low,” Lawless added, “economic conditions are losing momentum and housing affordability is once again worsening, from an already high base in the largest cities, there are likely to be some headwinds in maintaining such a fast recovery.”
“With interest rates likely to track lower in 2020, we could see additional stimulus counteracting some of these headwinds,” Lawless said.
RBA governor Philip Lowe last week said that the central bank had ruled out quantitative easing as an economic stimulus measure, but that it would become an option to “be considered” at a cash rate of 0.25 per cent, “but not before that”.
While Australia’s economy has been benefiting from low interest rates, ongoing investment in infrastructure combined with the stronger outlook in the resources sector, analysts have predicted rates to be cut to 0.25 per cent by April next year.
Index results as at November 30 2019: Corelogic
The index shows early signs of improvement in Brisbane’s market with growth of 1.8 per cent for the 3 months to November, and a slight 0.8 per cent uplift for the month.
Corelogic’s national dwelling value index has recovered by 4.7 per cent since hitting its trough in June, but nationally home values remain 4.1 per cent below their 2017 peak.
Four of Australia’s capital cities returned to positive annual growth, led by Hobart, up by 4.2 per cent, Canberra with a 3 per cent rise, Melbourne up 2.2 per cent for the year, and Sydney, up 1.6 per cent.
While the largest declines remain concentrated in Darwin, down 10.9 per cent and Perth.
Perth’s housing rebound
While Perth’s housing market is down 7.7 per cent for the year, it recorded a slight 0.4 per cent uplift in the November results.
Dwelling values have been trending lower since mid-2014, the index notes this is down a cumulative 21.3 per cent through to the end of November.
“Over the past thirteen years, Perth has seen house values move from being the most expensive across the capital cities to now be the lowest,” Lawless said.
“Great news for first home buyers, however Perth home owners have seen a material reduction in their wealth over the past five and a half years.”
Looking ahead, BIS noted that by June next year, it expects Sydney median house prices could be up nearly 14 per cent on the June quarter of 2019.
While in Melbourne BIS forecast house prices could increase 12 per cent over the year to June 2020.
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