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Not As Safe As Houses: Apartments Record Sharpest Falls

Not As Safe As Houses: Apartments Record Sharpest Falls

National asking rents for units dropped further over the September quarter, with asking prices down 4.2 per cent to March, while national house rents have regained last quarter’s falls.

Across most capital cities, weekly rents for houses were up over the September quarter, but sharp declines were recorded in inner-city areas across Sydney and Melbourne, with some regions dropping by up to $55 per week, the latest Domain Rental Report shows.

Domain senior research analyst, Dr Nicola Powell said that unit asking rents across the country saw the steepest annual fall since the start of Domain’s Rent Report in 2004.

Sydney and Melbourne unit rents recorded declines, but Perth and Adelaide saw increases of up to $20 per week.

Median House Rent Prices

Capital City Sep 2020 June 2020 Sep 2019 QoQ YoY
Sydney $540 $530 $525 1.9% 2.9%
Melbourne $440 $430 $430 2.3% 2.3%
Brisbane $415 $400 $405 3.8% 2.5%
Adelaide $405 $395 $385 2.5% 5.2%
Perth $395 $370 $370 6.8% 6.8%
Hobart $450 $450 $450 0% 0%
Canberra $580 $570 $550 1.8% 5.5%
Darwin $490 $480 $490 2.1% 0%
National $460 $447 $446 2.9% 3.2%

^ Domain Rental report, September Quarter 2020

Adelaide asking rents reached a new record over the September quarter, at $405 a week for houses and $340 for units, with unit rental prices having the strongest quarterly gain of all capital cities, along with Perth.

Perth recorded an increase in asking rents over the period, achieving the strongest gains out of all capitals.

And Canberra house and unit rents regained all of the fall from the previous quarter, with asking rents back at pre-pandemic record highs, Domain notes.

Canberra remains Australia’s most expensive city to rent a house, at $580 a week, and second most expensive to rent a unit, at $480, behind Sydney.

Powell said that regions in Sydney’s City and East, and Lower North Shore were the hardest hit for housing rental declines, with weekly asking rents falling by $55 and $30 respectively. Unit rents experienced similar falls, with Sydney’s City and East, Lower North Shore and Canterbury Bankstown hardest hit.

Across the capital cities, Melbourne suffered the largest falls with unit asking rents dropping another $15 a week over the September quarter and Melbourne’s inner-ring recording the greatest reduction in asking rents.

“In a matter of months Melbourne has become a tenants’ market, with the number of vacant rental properties more than doubling since March, though this is magnified in inner-city areas which are more susceptible to changes in overseas migration and international students, tourism and job losses associated with Covid-19,” Powell said.

While Melbourne’s inner, inner east, and inner south all recorded rent declines over the last quarter, asking prices for every other region either remained the same or increased slightly over the September quarter.

In outer areas of Melbourne, Powell notes that rents have remained stable or even grown, with house and unit rents growing over the quarter in the south-east and Mornington Peninsula.

Median Unit Rent Prices

Capital City Sep 2020 June 2019 Sep 2019 QoQ YoY
Sydney $495 $500 $520 -1% -4.8%
Melbourne $400 $415 $420 -3.6% -4.8%
Brisbane $395 $380 $380 3.9% 3.9%
Adelaide $340 $320 $310 6.3% 9.7%
Perth $340 $320 $310 6.3% 9.7%
Hobart $400 $380 $395 5.3% 1.3%
Canberra $480 $475 $465 1.1% 3.2%
Darwin $390 $380 $380 2.6% 2.6%
National $447 $451 $462 -0.8% -2.9%

^ Domain Rental report, September Quarter 2020

The report notes that Brisbane unit rents could overtake Melbourne in the coming months, as Melbourne unit rents push the rent price gap to $5 between the two cities, a four year low.

“Brisbane is a two-speed rental market, with the inner-city more exposed to changes in supply and demand as a result of COVID-19 restrictions,” Powell said.

While inner-city dwellings may be in less demand in recent times, the growing allure of the regions continues, Domain notes that the outer regions performed better as more people look to regional locations to live.

Powell said that house rents for the Gold Coast remained stable since a record high achieved in mid-2019, with unit asking prices seeing an increase of $5 over the September quarter.

Sunshine Coast house and unit rents peaked over the September quarter at $510 and $420 a week respectively.

This article is republished from theurbandeveloper.com under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article

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Dinah Lewis Boucher

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Brisbane

Cromwell Lands Former Flight Centre HQ

Cromwell

Brisbane-based fund manager Cromwell will add the former Flight Centre headquarters at 545 Queen Street in Brisbane to its managed portfolio.

Settlement is imminent for the $117.5 million acquisition being sold by Axis Capital, which bought it in 2017 for $70 million, in a deal that requires Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

The 13,300sq m, A-grade office building is located on a 2735sq m parcel of land at the entrance to the Brisbane CBD’s ‘Golden Triangle’ and has undergone an extensive refurbishment programme.

Hamish Wehl, Cromwell’s head of retail funds management, said the property fit its target profile with 88 per cent of income derived from the federal government, as well as listed or multinational tenant-customers

“The current interest rate environment has made things challenging for investors searching for opportunities that meet their income needs.

“Cromwell is actively seeking additional assets that will help DPF meet its objectives and benefit unitholders even further,” Wehl said.

DPF, which started in 2013, owns seven office and retail assets—in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and ACT—outright and has exposure to a further three with a total value of just over $1 billion.

Wehl said the fund had been strongly supported by local investors who are paid a monthly dividend averaging 5.8 per cent a year.

The transaction was negotiated by CBRE’s Peter Chapple, Bruce Baker, Flint Davidson and Stuart McCann.

“We have seen a strong increase in buyer demand for high quality, multi-let Brisbane office towers, with long-term investors backing that there will be a flight to quality as tenants seek to upgrade to prime grade CBD and metropolitan office assets,” Baker said.

Brisbane’s renowned Golden Triangle has been subject to a number of high-profile transactions in recent years.

The tower, at 410 Queen Street, sold for $53.5 million to local development and investment group PGA Properties early last year.

Dexus and Canada’s CPP Investment Board also recently sold Brisbane’s 10 Eagle Street office tower for $285 million to Brisbane-based investment manager Marquette Properties.

 

Article Source: www.theurbandeveloper.com

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Brisbane

Speculators back in the game to push up property prices

property prices

Investors in residential property have come out of hibernation and were the driving force behind the record 5.5 per cent increase in housing finance in March.

Having kept a low profile during the pandemic, investors and speculators are now returning to the market with gusto. And that suggests only one thing – home prices will continue to be pushed higher.

The colloquial definition of what turns a housing boom to a housing bubble is the increasing participation of investors. Judging by the latest numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) investors could soon replace first home buyers as key drivers of the red-hot property market.

The 12.7 per cent increase in financing to investors dwarfed the (already strong) 5.2 per cent increase in finance to owner occupiers. And the value of those loan commitments to investors is up 54 per cent on March last year.

And the phoenix-like rise in housing investors has coincided with early signs of a peak in demand for finance by first home buyers whose participation in the housing market appears to be running out of steam. In March first home buyer finance fell by 3.1 per cent (seasonally adjusted), according to the ABS.

The levelling out of first home buyer demand was only ever a matter of time as this group would ultimately come up against the barrier of affordability.

Government assistance and low interest rates spurred demand from first home buyers last year but as prices have moved up the window of opportunity has narrowed. Meanwhile, some of the robust demand from those making their first move into property is thought to have been pulled forward.

Investors deserted the residential property market in response to COVID as rents and returns fell as did values in the early stages of the pandemic. The apartments segment was hit particularly hard as immigration disappeared.

While rents remain at historically low levels, there are clear signs that rental increases are starting to come through – particularly in the outer suburbs of capital cities, the smaller capitals and in regional areas. In March rents rose by 0.6 per cent in Sydney and by 0.2 per cent in Melbourne according to CoreLogic

But the broader enticement for investors is capital gains on offer in the housing market, which is now in full swing. Prices nationally rose by 1.8 per cent in April and by 2.8 per cent in March and careered ahead 6.8 per cent over the past three months.

For big banks lenders the return of the residential property investor could provide them a new source of demand growth in the event the first home owner market continues to run out of puff.

Despite historically low interest rates, the banks say they are not seeing any deterioration in the quality of their loan books. This is despite intense competition among bank and non-bank lenders to capitalise on the demand for housing finance driven by low rates.

Westpac’s accounts for the six months to March, which were released this week ,showed that only 2 per cent of customers were behind on repayments – a level that has remained the same for a year.

For the most part the banks are arguing that there is no need to apply any macroprudential brakes to the housing market.

But history tells us the rise in investor participation also sets off alarm bells within the regulatory agencies, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Reserve Bank.

Both have been disinclined so far to wade into the rapidly heating property market and introduce measures that will hamper first home owners. But regulators have plenty of form in targeting the more speculative investor cohort with macroprudential tools. And the banks will need to avoid the riskier lending that has traditionally been associated with financing investors.

’The resurgence in investor financing and the continuing surge in owner occupiers who are trading up points to further near term strength in home prices,” according to AMP chief economist Shane Oliver.

“It also points to a further acceleration in housing debt, a further rise in the share of interest only loans and increasing lending at high loan to valuation ratios. All of which is increasing pressure on the RBA and APRA to move to tighten lending standards in order to head off increasing risks of financial instability – which we expect to occur sometime in the next six months.”

 

 

Article Source: www.brisbanetimes.com.au

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Brisbane

Cromwell buys in Brisbane and on the hunt for more properties

Cromwell

Cromwell Property Group has confirmed it is buying the former Flight Centre headquarters at 545 Queen St, Brisbane, for $117.5 million.

Hamish Wehl, Cromwell’s head of retail funds management, said the refurbished office building in the Brisbane CBD’s so-called “Golden Triangle” was purchased for its Direct Property Fund (DPF), a retail investment vehicle.

“We are actively looking for further acquisition opportunities,” he said.

“The fund remains open, we’re seeing attractive investment inflows and it’s all about acquiring the right property that suits the return profile of the investors.”

He said DPF has been strongly supported by “mum and dad investors” who are paid a monthly dividend averaging 5.8 per cent a year.

DPF, which started in 2013, owns seven assets outright and has exposure to a further three with a total value of just over $1 billion . All but one – a Bunnings in South Australia – is an office building.

Mr Wehl said office will remain a focus for DPF though there is scope to invest in other sectors, depending on returns.

“We are cautiously optimistic in the current environment and think the office sector as a whole will always be relevant for white collar employment,” he said.

“It fosters innovation, creates and maintains workplace culture.”

He added: “There’s still a bit to play out from last year’s fallout [and] if we see quality property that is attractively priced within the retail and industrial sectors, the fund has the ability within its investment mandate to acquire those assets.”

Cromwell bought the 13,000sq m building – now 100 per cent leased with average weighted expiry of 4.1 years – from Axis Capital, which paid $70 million in 2017 shortly after Flight Centre moved to other premises and left it mostly empty.

Axis Capital refurbished and repositioned the building, leasing it up before selling to Cromwell on a yield of 5.9 per cent.

The sale required Foreign Investment Review Board approval due to the large stake activist investor, ARA Asset Management, based in Singapore, has in Cromwell.

The transaction was negotiated by CBRE’s Peter Chapple, Bruce Baker, Flint Davidson and Stuart McCann.

Brisbane CBD has sprung back to life after the quiet 2020, with at least four other major properties still on the market. Total transaction value this year is expected to exceed $1 billion over the next two months.

The catalyst for the listings surge has been strong post-COVID-19 prices paid for office towers at 10 Eagle Street, which fetched $285 million, and 310 Ann Street, sold to Ashe Morgan for $210 million.

 

Article Source: www.afr.com

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