This biggest property news this week is the how our banks will be in the position to lend more for real estate.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is hell-bent on getting our economy up and running and proposes to loosen the the “responsible lending” shackles holding back lenders and make it easier for people to borrow money.
Essentially, he plans to shift some of the responsibility for ensuring that a loan is affordable from the lender to the borrower, much like it was before the GFC.
This must be good for our real estate markets.
The other big news this week was that Melbourne property markets have partially reopened.
As of today agents and potential buyers can conduct one on one inspections at properties currently available for sale, but it seems that at present agents are not able to visit new properties and appraise them for vendors who are planning to sell.
This means there will be restrictions holding back the re-opening of Melbourne’s property markets for some weeks to come.
Currently, there are no indications of forced sales happening in Melbourne, however, it is likely that some sectors of the market, in particular the new apartment and off the plan markets, will show signs of stress once Melbourne is out of its Coronavirus Cocoon.
To help keep you up-to-date with all that’s happening in property, here is my updated weekly analysis of data and charts as at September 28th and provided by Corelogic and realestate.com.au.
Then further down in this long article, you’ll find a more detailed State by State update using Corelogic’s monthly charts.
Early Market Indicators
Let’s start with the number of indicators that could give us a clue to what’s ahead.
- Buyer demand has continued to trend lower over the past week as shown by realestate.com.au’s Weekly Demand Report
The REA Insights Weekly Demand Index, which measures high-intent buyer activity on realestate.com.au, fell by -0.3 per cent last week.
Demand is now -13.4 per cent lower than its peak but remains up year-on-year.
Half of the states recorded a decline in demand last week, with the largest falls in Queensland (-2.2%) and Tasmania (-1.2%) and the largest increases in Western Australia (2.7%), South Australia and Northern Territory (both 1.5%).
Cameron Kusher Executive Manager, Economic Research, reports that demand remains at an all-time high in Northern Territory and only marginally lower in Australian Capital Territory (-2.2%).
Victoria (-34.9%) and South Australia (-8.5%) have recorded the largest overall falls from their peak.
Victoria recorded a further fall in demand last week (-0.4%) and it’s clear this second lockdown is playing-out quite differently from the first – demand has trended lower since early July compared to just three weeks of falls during the first lockdown.
Kusher says that this speaks to the fact that it is extremely difficult to transact property at the moment and with very few new properties being listed demand has continued to fall. However, I would expect new listings and demand to rebound quickly once lockdowns come to an end and real estate inspections are once again allowed.
Nationally, the level of demand last week was 24.9 per cent higher than it was the same time last year.
Victoria was the only state in which there was a year-on-year fall in demand (-4.6%), while Tasmania has recorded a relatively small increase (20.6%).
By comparison, Australian Capital Territory (69.1%) and Northern Territory (49.5%) have recorded much larger increases.
Kusher explains that demand has now been trending lower since it hit a historic high in the middle of June. While lockdowns in Victoria have certainly impacted that market, the subsequent drop in consumer confidence seems to have also led to reduced demand.
One thing that this index doesn’t measure is demand, switching from properties on the for sale section of our website (established) to the new homes section.
Kusher suspects that we may be seeing some of the demand that was previously evident for established housing switching to new because of the HomeBuilder incentive.
Despite the recent reduction in the index, demand is much higher than it was a year ago, indicating that stimulus, historic low mortgage rates and restrictions on how people can spend their money (can’t holiday overseas or interstate in some circumstances) seems to be driving a much higher appetite for housing than we were seeing 12 months ago.
2. Rental markets.
Realestate.com.au tracks the number of rental searches on its portal and reports that rental demand has continued to trend lower over the past week.
After a rise of 1.8 per cent the previous week, the REA Insights Rental Demand Index fell by -1.9 per cent last week, taking it to its lowest level since mid-April 2020.
Rental demand is now -17 per cent lower than its historic peak.
Cameron Kusher Executive Manager, Economic Research explained that Tasmania (1.1%), Northern Territory (0.3%) and Australian Capital Territory (3.7%) were the only states in which rental demand rose last week, with the largest falls being recorded in Western Australia (-2.9%) and New South Wales (-2.5%).
Rental demand is currently below peak across all states, with the smallest overall declines in Australian Capital Territory (-5.7%) and Northern Territory (-13.4%) and the largest falls recorded in South Australia (-25.0%) and Tasmania (-20.6%).
Despite the fact that rental demand has been trending lower, the index remains 45.5 per cent higher than this time last year.
The largest year-on-year increases in the index were recorded in Australian Capital Territory (72.6%) and New South Wales (51.1%), while the smallest increases were in South Australia (17.9%) and Western Australia (25.1%).
Kusher says it remains surprising just how strong rental demand remains given international borders are closed, as well as many domestic borders.
Furthermore, there has been a moratorium on rental evictions in place (although it is due to end shortly) and the HomeBuilder stimulus is leading to a large surge in demand from first home buyers, many of whom would be purchasing as current renters.
The only logical conclusion is that renters and landlords are very closely monitoring what is becoming available for rent and watching price adjustments.
Given the potential oversupply of rentals as borders remain closed Kusher would expect that listing engagement will remain much higher than it was a year ago over the coming weeks, even though it may continue trending lower from its historic highs.
3. Newly advertised properties for sale and rent
The following chart from Corelogic shows the change in the number of new residential listings being advertised for sale or rent in the past 7 days.
For sale listings in Australia decreased 2.93% for the week ending 28th September, and over the month the number of new properties brought on to the market has increased by only 2.61% – not surprising considering that very few properties came on the market for sale in Melbourne.
But vendors are obviously still placing their properties on the market in Sydney and Brisbane.
At the same time, there have been a few more properties brought onto the rental market – 5.35% more properties hit the rental market than the previous month.
4. Finance Activity
While many Australians have been busy getting new loans, with loan activity picking up considerably, as you can see from the charts below, more than two-thirds of these were for refinancing existing loans, rather than for new property purchases.
Of course, this isn’t surprising considering the prevailing low-interest rates.
What’s happening to property prices?
Considering all the negative market sentiment, capital city property values have held up pretty well over the last month.
While property values are slipping a little, one has to dig deeper into the numbers to see the full picture.
Certain segments of our markets are holding their values well, with a shortage of A-grade homes and investment properties compared to the number of buyers out looking for them meaning that property values in certain locations are creeping up.
On the other hand B grade (secondary) properties are selling at a discount and no one really wants C grade properties.
The following charts were updated on September 28th 2020.
There is a flight to quality.
Significant policy support and the earlier reopening of the economy have meant the various “worst-case scenarios of 20-30% price falls” that some of the economists have been touting now seem highly unlikely.
However, I still see property values falling a little further as unemployment will remain high, consumer confidence will continue to languish and immigration will fall.
Properties listed for sale
Even though buyers are returning to the market, overall the number of properties listed for sale is down 18.4% over the year.
And of course, there has been a significant drop in new listings for sale in Melbourne because of the lockdown.
The lack of good properties for sale at a time when there are still many interested buyers is one of the reasons property prices have, in general, held up.
This confirms what we are finding on the ground Metropole that well-located properties are selling quickly with a queue of buyers waiting for them.
The number of property transactions
The Coronavirus lockdowns have caused a very significant slow down in transaction numbers.
The following table of private treaty sales (which represents the vast majority of all dwelling sales across the country) shows that over the last week:
- In Melbourne, 537 houses (last week 615) and 192 apartments or units were sold (last week 217) While over the last few weeks the number of transactions has been decreasing, the big surprise here is how many transactions actually occurred during the lockdown.
- In Sydney, 1,679 houses (1,667 last week) and 856 apartments were sold (834 last week), so the market is continuing its steady growth.
- In Brisbane, 938 houses (1,153 last week) and 259 apartments were sold (282 last week) – showing a little slowing in the Brisbane home market.
Other than in Melbourne which is in lockdown, vendor metrics had generally remained steady with the number of days to sell a property decreasing (a sign of the tight supply situation), and vendor discounting (it’s easier for them to sell) at realistic levels.
The shortage of good properties on the market is seeing properties selling quickly with minimal discounting.
Auction clearance rates
There were 1,107 capital city homes taken to auction this week, of the 841 results collected so far, 70.5% were successful results.
This week’s preliminary figure is down on the 72.4% preliminary figure last week, which later revised down to 67.6% by final collection.
Last week’s clearance rate was the highest final clearance rate since early March.
This time last year, a higher 1,278 capital city homes were auctioned with a final clearance rate of 71%.
The performance across the two largest capital cities remains mixed.
Melbourne continued to record very subdued levels of activity, while Sydney volumes reached their highest level since the first week of April.
While volumes remained extremely low across Melbourne, there was a slight rise in the number of homes scheduled to go under the hammer this week.
There were 60 auctions scheduled across the city, returning a preliminary auction clearance rate of only 28.6%.
Of the 49 results collected so far, 31 were withdrawn from the market or 63%.
Of the 14 properties that did sell, 93% sold prior to auction.
While volumes did increase over the week, the high withdrawal rate, and high proportion of properties selling prior to the auction, suggest vendors remain reluctant to test the market through the lockdown period.
There were 815 Sydney homes taken to auction this week, returning a preliminary auction clearance rate of 74.8%.
This was an improvement on last week’s preliminary figure of 72.4% which later revised down to 67.5% at final collection.
In contrast to Melbourne, the number of auctions across Sydney has been consistently trending higher, with this week’s volumes the highest recorded since April.
One year ago, a higher 950 Sydney homes were taken to auction returning a higher final success rate (74.5%).
Of course, the above auction clearance rates were on a relatively very small number of auctions.
Here are the long term auction clearance trends
Regional breakdown of auction results for last weekend:-
The Statistics above are updated weekly.
The following State by State Data is updated Monthly at the beginning of each month
The following commentary is from Tim Lawless is based on Corelogic’s charts provided at the beginning of September 2020.
Source: Charter Keck Kramer
Prior to COVID-19 the Sydney property market was on the move having recorded its quickest turnaround in decades.
But Covid-19 put an end to that!
The rate of decline in Sydney home values eased in August, with values down half a percent over the month compared with last month’s drop of 0.9% and a 0.8% fall in June.
Clearly home values are still falling, just not as quickly as they were previously.
Auction markets are also pointing towards stabilising market conditions, with the number of auctions held consistently rising since mid-May and clearance rates holding firm around the decade average at 63% through August.
The most expensive quarter of Sydney’s housing market has continued to show weaker returns relative to lower value homes, with the top quartile of the market down 3% in value since the end of March while lower quartile values are only 0.2% lower.
Despite the recent weakness, Sydney home values remain 9.8% higher than a year ago.
From a more positive perspective, estimates of sales activity is up by around 40% from the April low and auction clearance rates have remained in the 60 percent range.
This implies an improvement in buyer demand and a better fit between buyer and seller pricing expectations.
While A grade homes and investment grade properties are likely hold their values well moving forward, this is a great time for cashed-up investors and homebuyers planning to upgrade to buy a property for considerably less than they will have to pay this time next year.
B grade (secondary) dwellings may still fall in value by – 10 and C grade properties are likely to have real difficulty finding a buyer.
Sure there are fewer good properties for sale at the moment, and almost all the good ones are for sale off market, however if you’d like to know a bit more about how to find these investment gems give the Metropole Sydney team a call on 1300 METROPOLE or click here and leave your details.
Source: Charter Keck Kramer
Before Coronavirus hit our markets, Melbourne property prices were surging with dwelling values up 12% higher to reach new highs.
However now Melbourne home values and market activity are being adversely affected by stage four lockdown conditions.
Home values were down 1.2% in August following a similar result in July, taking the cumulative decline to 4.6% through the COVID period so far.
Similarly, estimates of the number of home sales has fallen by 20% compared with June, demonstrating the impact from lower household confidence and social distancing policies that prevent inspections and on-site auctions.
The upper quartile of Melbourne’s housing market is wearing the brunt of the downturn with values down 7% since March.
Meanwhile, the lower quartile of the market has recorded a smaller 1.7% drop. Despite the weaker conditions, Melbourne housing values remain 5.9% higher than they were a year ago, demonstrating the strong capital gains that were present prior to COVID-19.
Many are asking what’s ahead for Melbourne now that it is in lockdown for another six weeks.
Well – transactions with no transactions occurring property values really aren’t going anywhere.
Once the lockdown opens up it is likely that pent-up demand will mean property values will respond differently in different markets segments
A grade homes and investment grade properties in Melbourne are likely to fall a little ( -5%) moving forward.
B grade (secondary) dwellings may fall in value by 10-15% and C grade properties are likely not to sell at all.
At Metropole we’re finding that strategic investors with a long-term view and homebuyers looking to upgrade are still in the market, getting ready to pick the eyes out of the off market properties.
It’s likely that they see the long-term fundamentals, as Melbourne rates are one of the 10 fastest-growing large cities in the developed world,.
Melbourne’s population was forecast to increase by around 10% in the next 4 years.
Clearly this will slow down now, with restricted borders protecting Australia, but once we “cross the bridge” Melbourne will remain one of the most liveable cities in the world.
Source: Charter Keck Kramer
Understandably, the coronavirus crisis is creating uncertainty for those interested in the Brisbane property market, however while Brisbane home values have lost their upwards momentum through 2020, but they’ve held reasonably firm through the past few months.
Looking back over the last few years Brisbane’s property downturn in 2018-9 was quite shallow compared to the big two capital cities and following its recent upturn property values growth has slowed.
Brisbane home values have recorded only a modest decline through the COVID period, with dwelling values down 0.9% since peaking in April.
Housing values were virtually steady across Brisbane in August, down by one tenth of a percent over the month while the estimated number of home sales was up 0.3%.
Since moving through a recent peak in April, home values have fallen by 0.9%, with larger falls across the unit market where values are down 2.1% compared with a 0.7% fall in house values.
Similar to other cities, Brisbane’s upper quartile housing market is recording larger falls, with values down 2.2% across the upper quartile since March while lower quartile home values have held firm over the same period and the broad middle of the market has recorded a 0.6% lift in housing values.
Moving forward…while some locations in Brisbane have strong growth potential, and the right properties in these locations will make great long term investments, certain submarkets should be avoided like the plague.
In the long term Brisbane’s economy is being underpinned by major projects like Queen’s Wharf, HS Wharf, TradeCoast, Cross River Rail, the second airport runway and the Adani Coal Mine, but jobs growth from these won’t really kick off for a few more years.
Our Metropole Brisbane team has noticed a continued enquiry with many more homebuyers and investors showing interest in property.
At the same time, we are getting more enquiries from interstate investors there we have for many, many years.
Adelaide Property Market
Housing values across Adelaide were unchanged in August.
Through the COVID period to-date, values across the capital have slipped by only one tenth of a percent.
Houses and units have returned the same result over the past three months, with both sectors of the market down 0.1% in value.
Lower value properties have shown slightly better performance relative to other sectors of the market.
Lower quartile property values are up 1.3% since March compared with a 0.6% lift in upper quartile property values.
Geographically the quarterly growth rate across Adelaide’s sub-regions ranges from a 1.3% lift in values at Unley and Adelaide Hills to a 3.2% drop in values in the CBD.
Perth Property Market
Perth’s housing market has staged a turnaround since the early months of coronavirus.
Home values fell 1.6% between May and June, with the rate of decline more than halving through July and values holding firm in August. T
he levelling out in the rate of decline was accompanied by a lift in the estimated number of sales, in fact home sales over the past three months are tracking about 10% higher than a year ago across Perth.
Perth is also showing the tightest rental market conditions of any capital city with rents up 2% since the end of March.
Perth housing values remain the lowest of any capital city, with a median house value slightly less than $462,000.
No doubt the healthy levels of affordability, together with low interest rates and a generous mix of federal and state incentives are helping to buoy demand.
Hobart Property Market
Hobart home values have risen over three of the past four months and dwelling values are only 0.1% off record highs.
Most of the strength is apparent in the detached housing sector where values are up 0.4% over the past three months, while unit values have slipped 0.1% lower over the same period and are tracking 1.3% lower over the year to date.
Rental market conditions haven’t been as resilient, with Hobart rents falling the most of any capital city through the COVID period to-date.
House rents are down 3.1% since March while unit rents are down a larger 5.1%.
The weak rental conditions together with relatively stable home values has caused gross rental yields to compress, declining from a 2019 high of 5.3% to 4.7% in August.
Darwin Property Market
Darwin home values posted an impressive 1% rise in August following a 0.3% dip in July.
The value indices for Darwin show higher volatility than other cities due to the smaller population of dwellings and relatively low number of observations, so the trend results provide a more intuitive read on the market.
The past three months has seen Darwin home values rise by 1%, demonstrating an improving trend following a sustained downturn over previous years.
Houses continue to be the main driver of growth, with the unit sector is showing persistently weaker conditions.
Over the year to date, Darwin house values have posted a 4.5% rise while unit values are down 3.5%.
Canberra Property Market
Canberra home values remained at a record high in August, defying the broader downturn that has been evident across most other capitals.
Housing values have consistently trended higher through the COVID period, reflecting some resilience in housing demand despite wavering confidence nationally.
Estimated sales activity over the past three months are tracking 5% higher than a year ago, providing further evidence of Canberra’s resilience.
Rental markets haven’t been quite as strong, with Canberra rents down 0.8% since March, with a larger 1.5% drop in unit rents recorded.
Our rental markets
Unit rentals experienced the biggest price drop in more than 15 years, marking a historic rent price fall of 3.2% (equivalent to $15 per week) over the June quarter according to Domain.
House and unit rental prices fell across most major capitals, illustrating no city was immune from the impact of coronavirus, with Sydney and Hobart unit rentals hardest hit — both recorded the steepest quarterly fall on record.
More than a quarter of advertised rental properties across Melbourne have had their asking prices slashed in recent months as landlords tried to lure new tenants in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.
At the same time almost a third of rental properties in Sydney have been discounted since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australian shores, as landlords battle it out to secure tenants.
At Metropole Property Management we found the situation worse at the height of the lockdown, but over the last six weeks, we have found more tenants out looking for new premises in both Melbourne and Sydney, and we manage to lease properties promptly and keep the vacancy rate for our landlords below industry averages and using innovative marketing and inspection techniques.
Other market indicators:
Vendor metrics have generally softened over the last few months with the number of days to sell a property increasing (a sign of excess supply), vendor discounting deepening (it’s harder for them to sell.)
The RBA dropped “official interest rates twice in March and banks have been lowering their rates to new borrowers in order to “buy” business.
And it is unlikely interest rates will rise for some years.
Read more (and watch the video): How will COVID-19 impact on your banking and loans?
And first homebuyers are back into the market, some taking advantage of government incentives while others experienced FOMO, wanting to get into the market before property values start increasing again.
Interestingly, investor activity start the year off slowly and has continued that way.
At Metropole we are finding property investors keen to get into the market, but they’re having difficulty getting finance with the bank and putting more hurdles in the way they never before.
It’s hard to make predictions. Especially about the future.
It’s even harder to predict the end point of a moving target.
Yet, as someone who’s meant to know a bit about our property markets, I’m regularly asked how all this is going to play out?
What’s going to happen to the property markets? Are house prices really going to crash like those doomsayers keep telling us?
Of course, I realise there are some commentators out there making predictions; but my answer is – I really don’t know!
I realise that’s not a satisfactory answer.
By the way…no one else really knows the answers either!
Yet at a time like this, most of us are looking for someone to tell them what’s going to happen next.
Of course I wish I had the answers. I really do.
All I can say is I don’t know.
I don’t know how this virus is going to play out, how long we’ll be in lockdown or what the economic fallout will be.
But there are a few things I do know and I suggest you read this blog to understand what’s ahead: Coronavirus crisis: I have no idea what will happen to property prices!
What I do know is that once we cross the proverbial bridge that the government is building for us, a property market will rebound again as they always have.
I also know that there’s a group of strategic investors and business owners who are positioning themselves for the future.
They recognise that there is currently a strategic window, the time between now and that survival to get set to take advantage of the opportunities that always abound after severe downturns.
As property investors they are working with their consultants to set up a strategic property plan, they getting their financial and ownership structures in place and doing the appropriate research.
They’re not trying to time the market, but they want to take advantage of the opportunities the market is currently and will in the future be offering.
These strategic investors know that people will eventually come out of lockdown and want to get on with their lives.
These strategically focused investors know it looks bad today, it might even look bad tomorrow, but they’re prepared to hang in there, they’re prepared to lay the foundations for their future success.
Despite the headlines, they know that the world will not going to end. They are prepared to bet on humanity.
They recognise that how they think and what they do between now and that survival line will determine their level of success when we move on to whatever our new normal will be.
NOW READ: Is now a good time to buy property?
In my opinion for those who have a secure job and their finances organised, this is a great time to buy a home or investment property at a price that you were unlikely to be able to get a couple of weeks ago when the property markets in big capital cities were booming and there were more buyers around than sellers.
It is likely that human nature will cause many would-be buyers to sit on the sidelines for a little while until things become more clear, which means that sellers will be more amenable to accepting offers rather than holding out for a top price.
Remember don’t make long-term decisions like buying a home or an investment property based on the last 30 minutes of news.
There is no doubt there will be opportunities in the market for those who are willing to go against the crowd and when they look back in a year’s time and definitely in 5 or 10 years’ time, they will remember the unprecedented events of 2020 as a great buying opportunity for property.
Now is the time to take action and set yourself for the opportunities that will present themselves as the market moves on
If you’re wondering what will happen to property in 2020–2021 you are not alone.
You can trust the team at Metropole to provide you with direction, guidance and results.
In challenging times like we are currently experiencing you need an advisor who takes a holistic approach to your wealth creation and that’s what you exactly what you get from the multi award winning team at Metropole.
Why not get the independent team of property strategists and buyers’ agents at Metropole to help level the playing field for you?
We help our clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through a range of services including:
- Strategic property advice. – Allow us to build a Strategic Property Plan for you and your family. Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now! Click here to learn more
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- Wealth Advisory – We can provide you with strategic tailored financial planning and wealth advice. Click here to learn more about we can help you.
- Property Management – Our stress free property management services help you maximise your property returns. Click here to find out why our clients enjoy a vacancy rate considerably below the market average, our tenants stay an average of 3 years and our properties lease 10 days faster than the market average.
Remember the multi award winning team of property investment strategists at Metropole have no properties to sell, so their advice is unbiased.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned property investor, we would love to help you formulate an investment strategy or do a review of your existing portfolio, and help you take your property investment to the next level.
Please click here to organise a time for a chat. Or call us on 1300 METROPOLE.
Source of graphs and data: CoreLogic.
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