This biggest news in property this week is the how our banks have revised their property forecasts – on the positive side.
CBA was the first of the big 4 banks to upgrade their outlook for our property markets.
CBA now expect a peak-to-trough decline of more like 5%, which to me suggests there is very little further downside.
Then last week Westpac released an upbeat forecast for house prices in the next couple of years
Westpac expects Brisbane house prices to surge 20 per cent over two years after the market bottoms out in mid-2021, while Sydney prices could climb 14 per cent while Melbourne prices are predicted to lift by 12 per cent fuelled by record low interest rates and freely available credit.
These two large home lenders have access to a significant database of information and understand what’s happening out in the world of mortgages.
They can see that those who took a mortgage holiday are now beginning to repay their loans and more importantly they’re seeing new home lending increasing.
New lending for housing rose again in August. A recovery in lending is one factor behind our view that dwelling prices will fall only modestly over the next 6 months. And we expect dwelling prices to rise solidly in H2 21
As you can see from the table below, median property values are higher than they were 12 months ago in all our capital cities other than Perth, with Sydney +8.5% and Melbourne +3.7% over the last year.
But what do the Melbourne figures really mean if you can’t transact property?
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 14th 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.
- Following four weeks of falls, demand for properties for sale on realestate.com.au picked up last week as shown by realestate.com.au’s Weekly Demand Report
High-intent buyer activity on realestate.com.au, increased by 0.7 per cent last week.
The uptick was the first in four weeks and means demand is now -13.1 per cent lower than its record high.
Over the past week, demand fell in Western Australia (-1.5%) and Tasmania (-2.0%) but increased elsewhere, with the largest increases recorded in Northern Territory (3%) and Australian Capital Territory (1.5%).
Cameron Kusher Executive Manager, Economic Research, reports that Northern Territory (-0.4%) and Queensland (-0.5%) are the two states in where demand is closest to its historic peak, while Victoria (-34.6%) and and Western Australia (-10.7%) are the only two states in which demand has fallen by more than 10 per cent from peak.
Following nine consecutive weekly falls, demand rose by 0.2 per cent in Victoria last week.
While the increase was marginal, it will be interesting to see whether this is the start of a new recovery trend, especially as the state takes its first (albeit small) steps toward re-opening.
On a year-on-year basis demand remains up by 25.3 per cent.
Victoria is the only state in which demand is lower than it was a year ago (-5.6%), while the growth has been relatively moderate in South Australia (23.2%). It’s a different story in Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory where demand is up 78.8 per cent and 46.4 per cent respectively.
2. Rental markets.
Realestate.com.au tracks the number of rental searches on its portal and reports that for the first time in four weeks, rental demand on realestate.com.au jumped last week.
High-intent rental activity on realestate.com.au, increased by 1.8 per cent last week. The uptick represents the largest weekly increase in 17 weeks.
Rental demand is now at its highest level in six weeks but remains -16.9 per cent lower than its peak.
The REA Insights Weekly Rental Demand Index, showed that Western Australia was the only state to record a fall in rental demand last week, slipping -0.3 per cent.
Demand was flat in South Australia and Tasmania last week, while the largest increases occurred in Victoria (3.9%) and Queensland (1.6%).
Cameron Kusher Executive Manager, Economic Research explained that rental demand remains below peak levels in all states.
The smallest falls have been experienced in Australian Capital Territory (-9.1%) and Northern Territory (-13.6%), while the largest falls have been recorded in South Australia (-24.1%) and Tasmania (-21.5%).
Despite all the challenges currently facing the rental market, demand (based on engagement with live rental listings) has increased by 48.2 per cent relative to levels from a year ago.
The largest year-on-year increases in rental demand have been recorded in Australian Capital Territory (65.4%) and New South Wales (56.2%), while the smallest increases were in South Australia (20.4%) and Western Australia (30.9%).
The strength of the index somewhat beggars belief given that rental rates are falling and the supply of renters is dramatically reduced.
What it indicates is that the rental market is being very closely monitored, likely from both landlords and renters.
With fewer renters due to the closed international borders, some domestic border closures and HomeBuilder encouraging first time buyers it seems clear that the impact of all of these factors is being closely followed by renters and landlords.
Given these conditions Kusher expects the index to remain heightened throughout the rest of the year with the first quarter of next year being the time to watch given it is typically when the bulk of lease expiries occur.
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 increased 2.52% for the week ending 21st September, and over the month the number of new properties brought on to the market has increased by only 1.03% – 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, but over the last month, 3.98% 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 21st 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 18.3% 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 615 houses (last week 754) and 217 apartments or units were sold (last week 273) 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 1,667 houses (1,607 last week) and 834 apartments were sold (798 last week), so the market is continuing its steady growth.
- In Brisbane 1,153 houses (960 last week) and 282 apartments were sold (246 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
This week, the combined capital city preliminary auction clearance rate came in at 72.4 percent, the highest preliminary clearance rate recorded since early March so it will be interesting to see how it holds up as final results are collected.
In comparison, last week recorded a preliminary clearance rate of 67.3 percent which later revised down to 63.0 percent at final figures.
This time last year, a final clearance rate of 70.7 percent was recorded across the combined capitals.
There were 918 homes taken to auction over the week, up from 816 over the previous week, although significantly lower than this time last year (1,983).
Auction activity remains extremely low across Melbourne this week with just 11 homes taken to auction.
Of the results collected so far, all 7 were successful, with 5 reported as selling prior to auction and 2 selling on the day.
Over the previous week, 13 auctions were held across the city, while this time last year, 1,020 Melbourne homes were taken to auction.
Auction numbers are expected to rise off their record lows next week, with CoreLogic currently tracking around 60 auctions scheduled to be held.
Sydney was host to 679 auctions this week, up from last week when 600 auctions were held, and higher than this time last year when 646 homes were taken to auction.
Of the 562 auction results collected so far, 72.4 percent were successful, up from last week’s preliminary result of 70.4 percent which revised down to 65.9 percent at final results.
This time last year, Sydney recorded a final auction clearance rate of 72.7 percent.
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
- Buyer’s agency – As Australia’s most trusted buyers’ agents we’ve been involved in over $3Billion worth of transactions creating wealth for our clients and we can do the same for you. Our on the ground teams in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane bring you years of experience and perspective – that’s something money just can’t buy. We’ll help you find your next home or an investment grade property. Click here to learn how we can help you.
- 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.
Subscribe & don’t miss a single episode of Michael Yardney’s podcast
Hear Michael & a select panel of guest experts discuss property investment, success & money related topics. Subscribe now, whether you're on an Apple or Android handset.
Need help listening to Michael Yardney’s podcast from your phone or tablet?
We have created easy to follow instructions for you whether you're on iPhone / iPad or an Android device.
Prefer to subscribe via email?
Join Michael Yardney's inner circle of daily subscribers and get into the head of Australia's best property investment advisor and a wide team of leading property researchers and commentators.