While most major property markets struggle to stay afloat, Brisbane market is believed to be exhibiting resilience yet again. How will the Queensland capital city market fare in the remaining months of 2020?
Despite the overall median data trend showing slight falls in house values, Brisbane continues to witness a significantly high demand for quality housing, according to property professional Melinda Jennison.
“Over July, some open homes we have attended over the month of July have seen more than 30-40 groups through. This illustrates that buyers are still very active in the Brisbane property market,” she highlighted.
“Advertised properties that are listed for sale in desirable locations are being sold very quickly in Brisbane. Often, the sale is a result of multiple offers being submitted on the property. If listed for sale by auction, they are achieving high prices with multiple registered bidders.”
While Sydney and Melbourne lead the fall in capital city values with as much as a 1.2 per cent decline, Brisbane continues to witness strong prices still being paid for quality properties in many regions around the city, as well as several properties being traded off-market.
Ultimately, the COVID-19 outbreak has not resulted in a measurable fall in property prices across Brisbane, so buyers should not expect a bargain brought about by the pandemic, according to Ms Jennison.
House prices across Australia have fallen by 2 per cent, while unit prices are down even further at 2.2 per cent over the quarter, according to the latest edition of the Domain House Price Report.
While all major capital cities saw unit prices fall, house prices fell in most of them except Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart.
Brisbane, in particular, saw property values drop by just 1.4 per cent over the quarter – buffering price falls better than Sydney and Melbourne.
Over the month of July, the latest Hedonic Home Value Index data by Corelogic found dwelling values in Brisbane declining by 0.4 per cent.
Median house values for the greater Brisbane region fell by -0.3 per cent over the month, bringing the median house value to $555,284, while unit median values declined by -0.5 per cent, bringing the median unit value to $384,681.
According to Domain, Brisbane is showcasing a “two-speed property market” as Brisbane City, Moreton Bay, Scenic Rim and Somerset house prices all fell over the quarter, while Ipswich and Logan remained stable.
Domain’s Dr Nicola Powell said: “Prior to COVID-19, there was promising growth in prices for Greater Brisbane. Although this has reversed over the quarter, the fall in prices to date has been minimal considering the economic aftermath of border closures and shutdowns.”
“An initial pullback in seller and buyer activity during the lockdown acted to underpin prices, government financial support has kept distressed or urgent sales minimal, and incentives have encouraged buying journeys to begin.
“The outlook for residential property has improved vastly in recent weeks.”
Ultimately, despite value losses across major capital city markets, Domain noted that the impacts “have been minimal” as the expected drastic price falls were buffered by significant government stimulus, mortgage holidays and the continued low-interest rates supporting home values that have also kept distressed and urgent sales low.
Supply and demand
For the week ending 26 July, CoreLogic found that, of the 1,315 reported auctions, 54.1 per cent returned a successful result, which is an improvement from the week prior when a 53.1 per cent final clearance rate was recorded.
In Melbourne, 540 homes were scheduled for auction, but less than 50 per cent of these returned a successful result.
In Sydney, the final auction clearance rate fell across a higher volume of auctions last week as there were 594 homes taken to auction, which returned a final auction clearance rate of 60.6 per cent, lower than the 61.4 per cent over the week prior when 515 auctions took place.
Across the smaller cities, Canberra was the best-performing capital city, with 77.6 per cent of homes selling at auction. However, this was lower than the week prior when an 88.6 per cent final clearance rate was achieved.
Following Canberra’s results are Adelaide (60.7 per cent), Brisbane (43.9 per cent) and(28.6 per cent).
Over the quarter, unit rental yields fell by 3.2 per cent (equivalent to $15 per week), marking the biggest drop in more than 15 years as COVID-19 pushed landlords to reduce rates, Domain’s latest research found.
House and unit rental prices fell across most major capitals, with Sydney and Hobart unit rentals hardest hit.
According to Dr Powell: “The rental market has become highly fragmented in recent months. With weaker conditions for units compared to houses, tenants have a better chance of nabbing a cheaper unit.”
“This weakness has been led by significant rent reductions in Sydney and Melbourne inner-city areas due to a surge in advertised rentals from March to June.”
Meanwhile, Brisbane house and unit rents also fell over the quarter, but year-on-year data showed that rents remained flat.
At a city level, the rental market in Brisbane has definitely recovered, according to Ms Jennison.
With over 1,200 REIQ property management member agencies surveyed throughout Queensland, results show that only 6.05 per cent of residential rental tenants qualified as “COVID-19 impacted” under the state government’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Regulation. This represents approximately 3,950 renters from a state total in excess of 577,000 residential tenancies.
However, there are still some at-risk markets around the city, particularly in terms of the imbalance in supply and demand.
While Brisbane real estate has not been impacted like other cities with international border closures, plummeting foreign student numbers, job losses and pay cuts have still made their mark, with Brisbane’s CBD particularly exposed to reduced rental demand.
“The vacancy rate in many locations is trending down and is very tight. The areas where this trend is not happening are in the Brisbane CBD and locations immediately surrounding this and also in areas where there are a lot of higher-density unit developments. In these locations, vacancy is still a big problem. Therefore, these markets remain high-risk,” she said.
Moving forward, there remains a lot of worry and concern about what might happen to property values across the country when the government’s fiscal response starts to taper in October and repayment holidays expire at the end of March next year.
For one, experts are forecasting a rise in distressed properties coming to the market.
However, they have yet to see whether this would also mean any downward pressure on prices.
“This is where I think the different property markets around Australia will each experience something slightly different,” according to Ms Jennison.
According to the Commonwealth Bank Home Buying Spending Intentions Index, there was a 6 per cent rise in home buying intentions nationally up to the end of June 2020. This index showed the index had returned back close to levels seen in March – after much weaker readings in April and May.
“We are definitely seeing this trend on the ground with the current high volume of buyers in Brisbane. Because of this, I’m sure we could see some moderate increase in new listings come to the market without any significant impact on the supply and demand balance,” she highlighted.
“Remember, property prices will only fall when supply outstrips demand.”
With dwelling approvals now at the lowest level in eight years, the future supply pipeline also looks tight. The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed a decline of -10.9 per cent in new detached house approvals in Queensland.
Overall, real-time demand remains strong in Brisbane as property buyers are being fuelled by the lowest-ever interest rates, good levels of affordability and strong rental yields compared with many other state capitals.
Amid economic uncertainties, Atelier Wealth’s managing director Aaron Christie-David said that conditions are likely to be more difficult in the short-term, but those with a long-term view will most likely prevail.
“For investors wanting to sell, days on the market have increased as has vendor discounting, which could further impact median prices,” Mr Christie-David highlighted.
“The good news is that while yields have been trending downward, in May rental yields recovered by 3 basis points. There continues to be opportunities for investors, with supply at record lows and demand strong in certain suburbs.
“Areas which will benefit from First Home Buyer incentives and where incomes and jobs have been less impacted by the economic downturn will remain attractive to investors and will withstand any potential deeper price falls from September.”
Home upgraders will also have good opportunities in today’s market, according to him.
“Falling property values will allow for upgraders to access better homes. Steeper falls will lead to better discounts, but will also affect those opting to sell their PPOR. Record low-interest rates are also making purchases much more affordable,” he said.
Meanwhile, first home buyers will have government incentives, record low-interest rates and falling prices providing them opportunities.
Mr Christie-David advised them to focus on saving for their deposit right now so they could take advantage of the dropping property values.
“The higher the deposit, the lower the [loan-to-value] ratio (LVR) which may potentially allow you to avoid lenders mortgage insurance… If rates fall again or remain steady, this can provide good opportunities for first home buyers,” he said.
While there’s no certainty about the future of the property market, Mr Christie-David advised investors to avoid panicking and, instead, watch the market closely.
As September is a potential danger zone, he strongly encouraged undertaking extensive and engaging professionals in order to assess how any investment decision will affect their portfolios in the short, mid and long-term.
For those keen to buy, Propertyology’s head of research Simon Pressley highlighted five major government projects in Queensland that are tipped to lift the housing market:
- Inland Rail project: A $10 billion 1,700-kilometre rail infrastructure project connecting ports in Melbourne and Brisbane to meet demand for an anticipated 75 percent increase in Australia’s freight over the next decade. The inland route was strategically chosen to more efficiently transport food and general cargo throughout the eastern states and to reduce the volume of trucks on highways. Completion of the project will provide enormous scope for Australia’s vast agricultural precincts to ramp up production as a global giant food supplier. The post-construction economic benefits for regional communities will be substantial and will have a positive influence on property markets in communities such as Seymour, Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury-Wodonga, Wagga Wagga, , Parkes, Dubbo, Narrabri, Armidale, , Toowoomba and Beaudesert.
- Australia-Singapore Military Training hubs: The Australian and Singaporean federal governments have signed an agreement for Australia to provide advance military training to 14,000 Singaporean military personnel every year for 25 years. Singapore has committed to investing $2.25 billion, which will benefit Townsville and Rockhampton through facility infrastructure development. In addition to construction jobs, the 25-year provision of goods and services to trainees will provide long-term economic benefits for Rockhampton and Townsville, increasing the demand for real estate in both regional cities.
- Maroochydore City: A $430 million development of a modern CBD for the Coast. The region’s population grew at a higher rate than any other location in Australia over the last decade. The new Maroochydore city centre development will include commercial, retail, high and medium-density residential development, high-speed internet, parklands, waterways and bicycle tracks.
- Queens Wharf: A $3.6 billion world-class entertainment precinct in Brisbane’s CBD, meaning that Australia’s third-largest city will (finally) have a world-class precinct to rival Melbourne’s Crown entertainment and Sydney’s Barangaroo precincts. Due for completion in 2022 and developed across five city blocks, this game-changing project will attract a staggering 1.39 million visitors per year, bring billions of dollars to the coffers of Brisbane’s economy each year, create approximately 10,000 new jobs and breathe an exciting new energy into the Brisbane community.
- Hells Gate Dam: Agribusiness and general economic development for northern Australia will be big winners from this $5.3 billion irrigation and energy project by constructing an enormous dam on the upper Burdekin River, north of Charters Towers. According to a viability assessment conducted by Townsville Enterprise, if Hells Gate Dam is developed to full capacity, it has potential to inject billions of dollars into the North Queensland economy. The property market beneficiaries of this game-changing project will be Cairns, Townsville, Innisfail, Ingham, Ayr and Charters Towers.
This article is republished from www.smartpropertyinvestment.com.au under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Unit oversupply remains an issue in Brisbane CBD: RiskWise’s Doron Peleg
The inner-city Brisbane unit market, already hit hard by unit oversupply, continues to remain a huge danger zone for investors since the advent of COVID-19.
Not only is equity risk the major issue for investors, increased vacancy rates and risk to cash flow are also heavily impacting the market.
According to RiskWise Property Research CEO Doron Peleg, things have not improved in the market since the pandemic hit and, if anything, have become worse.
“RiskWise reported in July 2018 that there were 14,813 units in the pipeline in inner-city Brisbane for the next 24 months, being an addition of 20.1 per cent of the current stock,” Mr Peleg said.
“Two years later and there is still a very high level of supply with 5,431 units in the pipeline, making up an addition of 5.9 per cent of the current stock.”
Pete Wargent, co-founder of Buyers Buyers, a national marketplace now offering affordable buyer’s agent services to all Australians, said that rental demand had been weak for CBD apartments for some time.
“The trend has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and CBD rents have been very soft” Mr Wargent added.
Analysis by RiskWise in 2018 showed unit over-supply in inner-city Brisbane had created weakness in the market leading to an elevated level of risk for investors and, therefore, lower valuations and rising defaults on settlements.
“The issue of oversupply is not a new problem and has been there for a few years and the continuous weakness of the unit market in inner-city Brisbane should raise red flags for developers and lenders,” Mr Peleg said.
“Defaults have been rising and will continue to do so.
“One of the key factors has been developers’ lack of foresight regarding unit oversupply as well as the impact of lending restrictions introduced from 2014. It seems there has been no methodological and structured risk-management approach including identification, assessment, and mitigating action plans to address those risks.
“This takes us back to the feasibility stage which includes the assessment of the projected fair market value and the likelihood of defaults and their potential consequences. Developers and lenders must find the right balance between taking risk and making profit.
“COVID-19 has only served to increase the risk. Currently, there are many high-rise properties being offered to a smaller number of investors. This is because there are less investors in the market due to the pandemic.
“The point is that if developers and lenders had put more proper risk-management practices in place, this could all have been avoided.”
Mr Peleg said it must also be remembered the value of off-the-plan property could decrease between the original contract date and settlement resulting in capital loss, as the equity in the home could be reduced, and this was well known in inner-city Brisbane.
He also stressed that investors buying rental apartments unsuitable for families were taking an enormous gamble, with both equity and cash flow risk expected to materially increase. Serviceability is also a major factor for investors who rely on a stable rental income to cover the costs associated with property and particularly the mortgage.
Mr Wargent of Buyers Buyers said houses for investors often carried significantly lower risk for those with the right budget because renters, especially in the more established suburbs, included families and, in many cases, those with permanent full-time jobs. They were also more likely to deliver good medium and long-term capital growth.
Additionally, as rental properties are not fully substitute products with owner-occupied dwellings, there is inherent risk associated with them as they do not appeal to families looking for three bedrooms, with outdoor space, close to schools, transport, and employment hubs.
This article is republished from https://www.propertyobserver.com.au/ under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article
Queensland Extends Commercial Eviction Moratorium
Queensland commercial tenants impacted by the pandemic are set to get further relief, with the state government extending the ban on evictions until the end of the year.
The move means that to the end of 2020 commercial leaseholders can’t have their lease terminated if they fall into arrears as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
First introduced in March by the national cabinet, the six-month ban on evictions are due to expire at the end of this month.
Leaving out residential tenancies, the Queensland government’s latest announcement pushes the moratorium on evictions in the commercial space to the new date of 31 December 2020.
Queensland’s announcement comes as other states have extended eviction protection.
Last month, Victoria extended its own ban on evictions for both residential and commercial tenants until 31 December.
While Western Australia and South Australia have each put a six-month extension in place for residential and commercial tenancies until the end of March.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said that landlords and tenants had been working together “in good faith” to “tackle the economic challenges”, describing the announcement as “a shot in the arm” for many small businesses still struggling because of the pandemic.
“This extension is about giving businesses, and the thousands of workers they employ, the certainty they need in these challenging times,” D’Ath said.
With no mention made about Queensland residential tenants, the end of the moratorium looks set to remain as 29 September.
The Queensland government’s decision has been criticised by three of the five members of its Covid-19 Housing Security Subcommittee; Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS), Q Shelter and Tenants Queensland.
“Since the Covid-19 crisis began, demand for the state’s tenant advisory services has increased drastically,” Tenants Queensland chief executive Penny Carr said.
“Particularly from tenants fearing eviction after losing their jobs or having their income reduced as a result of Covid-19.”
The code extension means that affected businesses can come forward to receive assistance under the code until 31 December.
Buyer Demand Builds in the Outer Suburbs
Buyer demand has significantly jumped compared to last year across all capital cities aside from Melbourne.
The Domain buyer demand indicator shows that the market has rebounded in recent months—revealing the top suburbs piquing buyer interest.
Houses and apartments in the outer-suburban areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, were the highest in demand for the month up to 6 September.
This follows a state of hiatus caused by caused by Covid which is ongoing in Victoria where restrictions have stopped inspections and dropped listings.
Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said they tracked people who were most likely to buy, indicated by shortlisting, sending inquiries, inspecting and frequently viewing photos.
“The current health crisis has changed the way we use our homes, and for some altered our purchasing decisions and property wish lists,” Powell said.
“And while Covid-19 lockdowns sent buyer demand into a state of hiatus, activity from people likely to buy has rebounded in all capital cities apart from Melbourne.”
Top greater Sydney suburbs
|1.||Hawkesbury demand increase since Covid||Rouse Hill-McGraths Hill||Wollondilly (Houses)|
|2.||Rouse Hill-McGraths Hill||Pennant Hills-Epping||Richmond-Windsor (Houses)|
|4.||Hornsby||Eastern Suburbs-south||Gosford (Units)|
|5.||Dural-Wisemans Ferry||Warringah||Hawkesbury (Houses)|
Top greater Melbourne suburbs
|1.||Whitehorse-west||Mornington Peninsula||Macedon Ranges (Houses)|
|2.||Macedon Ranges||Cardinia||Manningham-east (Houses)|
|3.||Manningham-east||Knox||Mornington Peninsula (Units)|
|4.||Mornington Peninsula||Maroonah||Yarra Ranges (Houses)|
|5.||Yarra Ranges||Kingston||Frankston (Units)|
Top south-east Queensland suburbs
|2.||Nundah||Coolangatta||Noosa hinterland (Houses)|
|3.||Carindale||Redcliffe||Gold Coast hinterland (Houses)|
|4.||Surfers Paradise||Ipswich inner||Noosa (Units)|
Meanwhile major gains have been made in national vacancy rates to pre-Covid levels with outer suburbs also showing the most improvements.
Residential property prices dropped by 1.8 per cent in the latest quarter according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
In Perth, Mundaring houses and Wanneroo units topped the list, Canberra’s Weston Creek was listed for houses and Gungahlin for units. Litchfield, Darwin topped the list in the Northern Territory for both houses and units.
Hobart was the only other city to record a fall in activity over the four week period to 6 September, along with Melbourne, where the most demand was seen for Sorrell-Dodges Ferry and Hobart.
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