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Opinion

What’s different about this property boom?

property boom

If not for the backdrop of a global pandemic, you could be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu as the property market shows all the signs of launching into yet another boom.

Auction clearance rates are at near-record highs, bankers are rubbing their hands together as lending takes off and many economists are predicting double-digit percentage gains in house prices over the next two years.

Latest quarterly figures from CoreLogic, when annualised, imply the national property market is growing at 11.2 per cent a year.

However, there are some big differences between the latest price upswing and previous booms in Australian bricks and mortar.

A glaring distinction is the market is overwhelmingly being driven by owner-occupier homebuyers, rather than investors, who turbo-charged the property surge of the past decade.

CoreLogic’s Tim Lawless says at the peak in 2015, property investors made up about 46 per cent of all new mortgage lending. Today, investors account for just 23 per cent.

Lawless says possible reasons could be banks’ tighter credit polices around interest-only lending, and softer conditions in the apartment market that many investors favour.

“Weaker rental demand, especially in the investment enclaves of Melbourne and Sydney’s inner-city unit markets, is likely a significant disincentive for investors,” Lawless says.

Peter King, chief executive of Westpac, has also described the investor market as “relatively quiet.”

“I wouldn’t say we’ve seen [investors] come back into the market yet, but conditions are looking like that’s a possibility, I think,” King said.

Another unusual feature of the latest property boom is that it is occurring amidst the slowest population growth since the First World War – something that you might expect to detract from housing demand.

Owner-occupier mortgages hit record levels

 

property boom

Source: ABS

What’s more, Mortgage Choice chief executive Susan Mitchell points out that the uncertainty of COVID-19 is likely to continue to hang over the market for months, as emergency financial assistance from banks and the federal government is withdrawn.

The mortgage broker’s half-year result also underlined another peculiarity of these times: while new loan growth is strong, there are also many customers repaying outstanding debt at a cracking pace.

So, if the property market is not being fuelled by investors or population growth, and coronavirus uncertainty lingers, what is driving prices higher?

All the evidence points to an owner-occupier bonanza. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show new loan approvals to owner-occupiers surged 39 per cent in the year to December, while loan approvals for first-home buyers leapt by 61 per cent, boosted by government grants.

The surge is also a response to rock-bottom mortgage interest rates; when combined with a low supply of homes for sale, the result is strong price growth.

There is also a self-fulfilling dynamic at play in which people tend to jump into the market when they see prices going up, thereby drawing in more buyers. The phenomenon, known as “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, could further exacerbate price growth.

Experts say the unusual conditions suggest there is a divergent ongoing outlook for property – as opposed to yet another long-running boom.

Lawless is tipping national house price gains of 7-10 per cent but expects Sydney and Melbourne prices would be tempered to a degree by limits of affordability and their greater exposure to overseas immigration.

“I don’t think the market is fragile or is going to go backwards, but it’s hard to see housing values rising as quickly into next year,” Lawless says.

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver also expects growth of 5-10 per cent, but says inner-city Sydney and Melbourne price hikes would likely be more constrained.

If FOMO catches fire and the boom starts to accelerate, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has made it clear that regulators would likely step in dampen the market. But for now, this looks unlikely.

RBA governor Philip Lowe this month said his main concern was “risky” lending from banks, not changes in house prices, but so far there had been few signs of a deterioration in lending standards.

 

 

Article Source: www.brisbanetimes.com.au

Opinion

Property Industry Expects Interest Rate Rise

Property industry confidence levels are near record highs but there are rumblings that interest rates could to increase soon.

The ANZ/Property Council industry survey for the March quarter found confidence levels has improved drastically since the pandemic started, led by the residential sector.

The survey canvassed the views of more than 830 respondents—including, owners, developers, agents, managers, consultants and government—across all major industry sectors and regions.

The results revealed respondents also believe there will be an interest rate increase during the next 12 months.

This comes as the Reserve Bank of Australia closely watches the housing market as “cyclically low-interest rates and rising asset prices create a risk of excessive borrowing”.

According to the RBA financial stability review, this could lead to financial instability particularly if lending standards are weakened, which could expose lenders to large losses.

Interest rate changes

Property Industry

^Source: RBA 

For the meantime, the Reserve Bank decided to hold the official cash rate at 0.1 per cent for the fifth time in a row.

Despite expecting an interest rate rise, survey respondents were confident about work expectations, national growth and house prices in the next year.

Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison said the expectations for house prices were at the highest level in the survey’s 10-year history.

“When the property industry is confident it is exceptional news for the entire national economy because it employs so many people—more than 1.4-million Australians,” Morrison said.

“While the economy still faces significant challenges, the property industry is clearly buoyed by the speed of our turnaround and the strong demand they are seeing, particularly in the residential and industrial sectors.”

ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said that for now the combination of record low mortgage interest rates and targeted stimulus was clearly supporting the housing sector.

“Property sentiment has improved again, reflecting stellar economic performance, a large pipeline of work for the coming year and a strong outlook for property prices,” Emmett said

The survey also revealed an easing of concerns about the office sector as more CBD workers return to their work places.

 

Article Source: theurbandeveloper.com

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Brisbane

Property confidence stages remarkable comeback

property

The latest results from the ANZ/Property Council Survey reveal surging confidence levels in Queensland’s property sector, despite the slower than anticipated return of workers to major business precincts.

Property industry sentiment in Queensland bounced from 124 points in the December 2020 quarter, to 144 index points in the March 2021 quarter. The result shows that industry confidence has nearly tripled since the height of the COVID pandemic, when a low of 58 index points was recorded during the March 2020 quarter. A score of 100 is considered neutral.

Property Council Queensland Executive Director, Chris Mountford, said the results were nothing short of phenomenal, however, it was critical that the positivity was not taken for granted.

“The results highlight a remarkable recovery for Queensland’s property sector, which proved resilient throughout the challenges of last year and is now spearheading the State’s economic recovery,” said Mr Mountford.

“The industry has recorded strong results on most metrics of success, from crane counts to property clearance rates, to our own quarterly confidence surveys.

“However, we do need to maintain some degree of caution as these positive results were recorded prior to Brisbane’s most recent lockdown, and while the benefits of Government stimulus programs continue to be felt.

“It is well documented that these lockdowns cost our economy millions and impact on the confidence of employees to return to their places of work.

“Office occupancy within Brisbane CBD has stagnated at circa 63 per cent, showing the road to recovery for our city centres has clearly not been as smooth as in other property sectors.

“With the end of JobKeeper and the ever-present spectre of another lockdown, there is clearly a need to support our CBDs and the many businesses that rely on the daily visitation of workers, students and tourists to make ends meet.

“Over the coming months, the Property Council will be working with its members, Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government, to implement a plan to support our city centre and ensure it continues to drive Queensland’s economy,” concluded Mr Mountford.

 

Article Source: www.miragenews.com

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Opinion

Home Loan Deposit Tops $100,000 for First Time

Home Loan

The average deposit required by first home buyers has topped six figures as record low borrowing costs, stimulus payments and low stock levels send prices racing higher.

Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data has revealed the national average deposit needed to secure a mortgage is now $106,743—an increase of 16 per cent since January, 2019.

It is the first time in Australia’s history the average deposit has exceeded $100,000.

For first home buyers it means a longer path towards homeownership with the burden of raising a deposit—based on higher values—greater than ever.

According to comparison website Finder, which surveyed more than 1000 first-home buyers, one in four first home buyers need between five and 10 years to save a 20 per cent deposit.

More than a third of respondents—38 per cent, require between two and five years to save for their deposit.

The ACT had the largest house deposit increase since 2019, with the upfront amount required surging by 24 per cent to $117,790 as the rise in entry-level house prices exceeds wage growth.

NSW was just 1 per cent behind at 23 per cent for an average of $128,469.

The average deposit in Tasmania has climbed to $81,438, in Queensland it is now $95,784 and up to $92,784 in Western Australia.

South Australia remains the only capital city offering stable conditions for first home buyers with the time to save for a deposit for a house or unit remaining the lowest in the country.

First-time buyers’ new loan commitments made up 35.1 per cent of February’s near-55,000 monthly loans, more than investors’ 22 per cent, and have continued to grow.

While first home buyer loan commitments fell 3.3 per cent in February, they remain near 12-year highs, up 65.8 per cent year on year.

Average first home buyer loan, deposit

Home Loan

^Source: Finder, ABS loans data. Analysis assumes a 20 per cent deposit 

The pandemic-induced downturn that gripped the nation for much of 2020 cut nearly half a year off the time needed to save for a deposit, according to figures published by the Australian Institute for Progress earlier this year.

The national figures showed an improvement due to the price falls in Australia’s two biggest cities during the quarter, even as the situation in individual cities varied.

Repayments and deposits fell in Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart but rose in Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin, Canberra, and Perth.

Finder spokeswoman Sarah Megginson said that saving for a house deposit is a big financial hurdle for first home buyers, with more than half of first home buyers—53 per cent—spending more than 30 per cent of their income in order to meet mortgage repayments.

“Prospective buyers are being stumped by a supercharged property market, which isn’t showing any signs of slowing down just yet,” Megginson said.

“Low interest rates have made it cheaper to pay down a mortgage, but this has pushed up property prices, making it even harder to save for a deposit.”

Record low interest rates—RBA governor Philip Lowe has said the benchmark cash rate would likely stay at 0.1 per cent for the next four years—are keeping repayments low.

Current interest rates have also pushed home values to new highs while making the return on any savings minimal.

The surging prices that last month pushed the housing market up 2.8 per cent, the fastest pace of appreciation in 32 years, have created several inflection points across the market with Sydney and Melbourne staging a full recovery from earlier downturns.

At the same time, data released by the REIA showed housing prices had soared by more than 500 per cent during the past 25 years, with the median price surging from $160,000 in 1996 to $825,000 in 2020.

 

Article Source: theurbandeveloper.com

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