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
Brisbane apartment market in the spotlight: Media Hunt’s May update
The media veteran Steve Hunt has cast his eye over the Brisbane market and what’s happening in the Queensland capital
The Brisbane apartment market continue to show strength over May, posting 1.1 per cent gains, CoreLogic’s monthly Hedonic Home Value Index found.
The rolling quarterly apartment gains are now up to 3.2 per cent, with the median apartment price reaching $411,000.
The media veteran Steve Hunt, who founded the public relations and media strategy firm Media Hunt in 2005, has cast his eye over the Brisbane market and what’s happening in the Queensland capital.
Hunt mentioned The Fernery, which has been popular with local owner-occupiers
Urban recently spoke to Colliers residential director Andrew Scriven, who said most of the buyers have come from a couple of kilometre radius.
“There’s been overwhelming success since launch in April from the local market, looking to either downsize, invest or secure something for the children,” Scriven said.
“Locals have really embraced the project. They haven’t really had that offering ever.”
The project by the Townsville-based Honeycombes, in partnership with their financier MaxCap, will comprise the 82 apartment block The Fernery, as well as a 12,000 sqm retail centre set next to the Ferny Grove train station.
Article Source: www.urban.com.au
Multimillion-dollar deals fuel record auction day in Brisbane
A record-setting $43 million in real estate sold under the hammer across Brisbane on Saturday in an incredible feat of strength that has revealed the city’s soaring market is showing no signs of slowing.
From the 71 auctions reported 63 transacted to achieve a 89 per cent clearance rate, compared with 65 per cent last week and a meagre 33 per cent this time last year.
It’s also the highest amount fetched in a single day of Saturday auctions in more than six months, with several multimillion-dollar properties sold amid reports of fierce bidding wars.
Although one of the top sales included a sophisticated Queenslander at 92 Elfreda Street in Enoggera, which collected $2.301 million through Place Estate Agents Newmarket, it was a laid-back family suburb on the outskirts of the city that stole the show after hundreds of buyers and onlookers flooded three separate auctions, resulting in milliondollar-plus sales.
Wishart, which is 14 kilometres from the city and has a median house price of just over $800,000, could have been mistaken for an inner-city borough after the three homes collected a combined $3.644 million. Property punters said house prices in the increasingly popular patch have risen by as much as 25 per cent in a year.
Ray White Annerley principal Geoff Sellars sold a dated, low-set brick abode on a 646-square-metre block at 106 Delavan Street to two first-home buyers for $1.067 million on Saturday, and said the price and number of bidders told more than just a tale of the city’s soaring market, but also of a suburb where demand was skyrocketing.
The young buyers were forced to compete against 35 registered bidders for the modest four-bedroom house, forking out $217,000 over the reserve price in front of a crowd of more than 150.
“Wishart has always been fairly popular as well as the Mansfield area, there are people who just buy there to be in the Mansfield High School catchment, but not in the like of what we’re seeing at the moment,” Mr Sellars said.
“There’s an enormous amount of confidence in the market and it becomes a snowball effect. Interest rates are low and people have just prioritised buying property over things like travel and I think the bank of mum of dad is the fifth biggest bank in Australia right now so a large majority of buyers are first home buyers. The confidence over the past 12 months has driven them to that point but a lot of their parents are fronting up money (to help them get their deposit over the line) as well.
“And, in Wishart, I would have thought 106 Delavan would be lucky to be a mid-$700,000s property so there has been a 25 per cent price increase here in some parts.
“At its worst, I think this is the new normal and we have set new average prices for a lot of suburbs. I don’t think we’ll go down from here and there’s definitely the potential for things to strengthen.”
LJ Hooker Sunnybank Hills agents Rob Senic and Kosma Comino sold the other two Wishart homes under the hammer on Saturday, collecting $1.45 million for a contemporary abode at 44 Craig Street and $1.127 million for the slightly rundown four-bedroom house at 22 Cotswold Place.
It was the Cotswold Place property that Mr Comino said attracted an almost rockstar turnout, leading to a 45-minute auction, about 50 bids and a sale price that was $127,000 above the reserve.
“While I knew it would be a good auction because that part always does well, we were thinking it would sell for a maximum of $1,030,000 but then, during the auction, we had a lot of people rock up late and we had a total of 15 registered bidders,” he said.
“From the 15 registered, we had six of them really fighting for it – they were a very mixed group. The bidding opened at $800,000, and it was really rapid then on the fifth bid we hit the reserve.
“A family ultimately won the auction and it’s funny because they had actually missed out on the last two auctions with me in that pocket.”
Mr Comino said first-home buyers and young families looking to upgrade into their second home were making up a large portion of the buyer demographic, with that enticing school catchment attracting half of the buyers, and the suburb’s location being the “X-factor” for the rest.
“You’re also close to the motorway and then you’re close to Westfield Garden City – in fact, if you drive through there now, it’s busier than the city centre. It’s gotten crazy there now.”
Elsewhere, Ray White Carina agent Jose Peralta sold a striking four-bedroom family oasis at 22 Faraday Street in Camp Hill for $1.401 million, and next door in Norman Park, Paula Pearce, of Place Estate Agents Bulimba, sold a modern Queenslander at 64 Morehead Avenue for $1.675 million under the hammer.
In Northgate, Ray White Aspley agent Dwight Colbert transacted the meticulous four-bedroom abode at 26 Mann Avenue for $1.07 million in an auction he said attracted nine registered bidders before fetching $120,000 above the reserve price.
“They were all local buyers and many with young families but in the end it was a retired couple who bought the place as they have six grandchildren. My sellers are upsizing and have bought at Nudgee Beach as they have three children and want some more room,” Mr Colbert said.
“There’s still a lot of desperation for good stock, and it feels like a shortage of listings which I know is helping with competition.”
Article Source: www.domain.com.au
This is how long it takes Brisbane first-home buyers to save for a house
Brisbane first-home buyers have bucked a nationwide trend. They are now taking less time to save for a deposit, with closed borders, government grants and a softening of entry-level house prices launching locals onto the property ladder faster than a year ago.
Despite the city’s soaring property market recently pushing median house prices to record heights, new data from Domain’s First-Home Buyer Report, released on Monday, revealed it now takes the average couple four years and two months to save a 20 per cent house deposit – which is four months less than this time last year.
Brisbane was the only capital city to see savings time slashed over the 12-month period, with Sydneysiders forced to tack an extra six months onto their already painfully slow savings haul – which is now seven years and one month for the average couple.
Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said the data revealed just how sunny the market remains in the Queensland capital – with grants and wage growth easing the squeeze for first-home buyers alongside COVID, which had worked wonders for savvy savers.
“Brisbane bucks the trend really in terms of what we’re seeing across our other cities, and while it doesn’t have the quickest time to save, it’s seen more favourable conditions over the past year,” Dr Powell said.
“It was the only city to see a decline in time for houses while for units it remained stable … and what we’ve also seen is tax cuts and compounding interest on savings have helped speed up that time.
“I think over the past 12 months, we’ve all saved more, and for first-home buyers, it has supercharged their savings pot … the pandemic has also really unlocked an element of affordability. For those first-home buyers who can work from home, they are able to now seek different locations to reside, which opens the door to affordability.”
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