Investors at near-record highs? – Think again | Property Insiders [Video]


Boy has there been some let’s call them “interesting” headlines in the mainstream media lately.

Click bate headlines like:

  • Suddenly the “peak” is in sight for residential property prices.
  • Investors are coming to the party too late
  • Lockdowns are going to cause a double-dip recession

Over the last week, there has been quite a bit of new data released that has debunked a number of misbeliefs, so in today’s Property Insider chat I’d like to get the thoughts of Dr. Andrew Wilson, chief economist of My Housing Market, on what this means for our economy and our property markets moving forward.

Investors at near-record highs? – Think again

The recent record surge in home lending has clearly peaked, with loan activity over October falling for the fifth consecutive month.

Although owner-occupiers and first home buyers have reported consistent declines in activity since May, investor lending has continued to rise.

Housing Finance

Now it’s important to look at these numbers in more detail because, despite the current near-record loan value, investor activity clearly remains subdued.

The investor market share of total residential lending has fallen from 42.5% in June 2015 to the current 29.1% and despite recent growth remains below the long-term investor average of 32.8%.

Abs National

It’s important to remember that high levels of investor activity in 2015 encouraged APRA – the financial regulator for the big banks – to initiate actions designed to reduce investor lending predicated on then-booming home prices and fears of imminently rising interest rates.

Currently, however, investor activity remains relatively low, housing markets are clearly cooling as prices growth wanes – particularly in the primary investor markets of Sydney and Melbourne – and importantly the RBA continues to stipulate that interest rates will not rise until at least 2024.

Although reviving, investor activity clearly remains in the doldrums and with the national shortage of rental properties reflecting the restrictive policies of recent years pushing rents through the roof.

So let’s hope APRA remembers to form its past mistakes and does not interfere unnecessarily.

Moderate decline in GDP kills the silly recession predictions.

Economic growth has predictably retreated over the September quarter, but the results were significantly better than the gloomy numbers that had been widely forecast.

Real Gdp

Source: NAB and ABS

This certainly kills stone dead the prospects of another recession as was also predicted by many.

The ABS reports that the national GDP contracted 1.9% seasonally adjusted over the September quarter which particularly reflects the impact of the coronavirus lockdown is in NSW and Victoria.

State final demand contracted sharply over the September quarter in New South Wales by 6.5%, with Victoria down 1.4%, and Canberra falling 1.6%.

All other states, with the exception of Western Australia, reported strong economic growth over the quarter.

Final Demand

With lockdowns having ended in October, the prospect of a sharp rebound in economic activity is clearly likely over the December quarter with a sustained recovery set to continue over 2022.

Although challenges remain with the emergence of coronavirus variants, the Australian economy has again proven resilient with consumer confidence rising with the ending of coronavirus elimination policies through lengthy lockdowns.

Another weekend of strong auction results.

December has commenced with a wave of weekend auction listings however clearances rates – that have eased over recent weeks – generally remained relatively steady, with sellers overall maintaining the upper hand.

National Auction Capitals

Watch this week’s Property Insider video as we discuss how most cities continue to record generally strong results for sellers.

Sydney Auction Market  

Sydney auction market remains strong and steady on record listings day.

Clearance rates were only slightly lower in Sydney on the weekend despite a record December day for auction listings.

Sydney recorded a clearance rate of 76.6% at the weekend which was similar to the previous weekend is 77.2%, but again lower than the 82.5% recorded over the same weekend last year.

A December record of 1189 homes were listed for auction on Saturday, which was just below the previous weekend is November a record of 1234, but significantly higher than 781 auctions over the same weekend last year.

The clearance rate for houses were 78.1%, with you to slow at 70.7%.

Sydney Auction Trends

Source: Dr. Andrew Wilson

Melbourne Auction Market.

Another near record auction day – clearance rates remain steady.

Melbourne’s weekend auction market has commenced in December with a near-record number of listings for the month.

Despite the unprecedented flood of listings over recent weekends, clearance rates were steady at the weekend.

Melbourne reported a clearance rate of 68.5% on Saturday which was similar to the previous weekend and 69.8%, but lower than the 72.8% recorded over the same weekend last year.

The house clearance rate was 70.1%, with units lower at 62.3%.

Melbourne Auction Trends

Source: Dr. Andrew Wilson

READ MORE: Interest rates and inflation: where are they heading?


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'Investors at near-record highs? – Think again | Property Insiders [Video]' have 28 comments

    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    October 6, 2021 Karen

    Mortgage insurance concerns me as it doesn’t only cover the banks and the borrower still has to pay the loan back? I see my kids now as very vulnerable!


      October 6, 2021 Michael Yardney

      You are right, the banks are covered by mortgage insurance and the borrower is responsible for their debts.
      Having said that people should develop good money management skills and not borrow more than they can afford to repay.
      It’s unlikely the interest rates will go up for a while and hopefully your kids will not be vulnerable


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    September 29, 2021 Karon Cumner

    In all this covid mess its been reassuring that the property market has done well. People who own property make sacrifices to get into the market. I appreciate this blog for good solid information thank you.


      September 29, 2021 Michael Yardney

      Thanks Karon – you’re right become financially free doesn’t just happen – you need to work for it and make sacrifices


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    September 15, 2021 Errol

    Are we still this optimistic about Australia and its future ?
    Australia has changed a lot since this blog post was submitted.
    Under “normal” circumstances, I would say “yes, Australia will bounce hardly”
    But we most likely won’t be under “normal” circumstances for the mid to possibly very long term anymore.
    I come from a communist country, and I lived the transitional period from full democracy to becoming a tyrannical regime.
    There are many strategical similarities to what’s happening in Australia, but with different colors.
    If we keep this path, we won’t be ok, things will change forever
    “Profits” from real estate will become irrelevant when there are no freedoms.
    Even if you get “vaccinated”


      September 15, 2021 Michael Yardney

      This blog is updated every week Errol – and yes, we’re still optimistic


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    June 2, 2021 Mike Schwarz

    Dr Andrew Wilson – Question on Interest Rates
    It is said that the banks have been receiving cheap funding from the reserve and this ends in June. They will then need to source funding on the global market which is markedly higher. This would suggest they will have no option but to raise interest rates.
    Had you factored this into your view on interest rates?


      June 2, 2021 Michael Yardney

      Great question Mike. I know Dr Wilson has taken this into account from our private discussions. The banks will have to borrow overseas, but look what interest rates are overseas. Of course the value of the Australian dollar will be a factor.
      Remember, the RBA is keen to keep interest rates low to stimulate the economy, increase business activity and jobs growth and eventually get unemployment down. They are not not going to pull the rug out from under us


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    April 25, 2021 Mark

    Its interesting to watch the FOMO effect on purchasing real estate at higher prices than they are worth as real estates are elevating prices during the demand. I also recently read an account of a person at auction in Sydney saying I felt like I had won lotto just because he secured the winning bid !
    Now the prices are rising so quickly and people are borrowing way to much to purchase at historically low interest rates its not difficult to work out what happens next when interest rates rise again !
    See household debt in Australia
    Another concern is the misdemeanor of good debt and bad debt lets face it all debt is bad but it portrays a certain air of its ok because its good debt .. but good debt can turn bad too ie negative equity
    We see the occurrence every decade or so the debt delinquency increases this last happened when interest rates were increased
    I have been in a position where I have not only seen this occur but almost been burnt too .. not a good feeling but you learn by your mistakes very quickly
    The oracle Buffet says be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful
    I am standing back and waiting for this supposed pandemic mayhem to cease ….


      April 25, 2021 Michael Yardney

      What you say is correct – some people are making poor decisions driven my FOMO – but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong time to make a wise investment decision


      Avatar for Michael Yardney

      August 18, 2021 Bruce Mitchell

      Hi Michael,
      I don’t feel the question was answered, what’s GOING TO happen, up, down, you hint it’s not, but I agree with one of your comments above.
      Interest rates are going higher, people have overspent and it’s gonna crash soon.
      I’ve been wrong till now and hope I continue to be,
      Tho it’s a time bomb waiting g and it’s gonna be bad but with opportunities opened.
      You and all real estate keep talking it up, that’s your job, I just don’t agree.


        August 18, 2021 Michael Yardney

        Bruce, with so many unknowns what’s going to happen in the short-term is very hard to forecast, but I tend to avoid forecasts and have expectations instead.

        I expect we will have some difficult times and some good times, but I don’t know when they will occur.

        I expect we will learn to live with the coronavirus, but I don’t know how long it will take, and I expect the underlying fundamentals will keep driving up our property markets, not because I’m in eternal optimist it because I’m a realist and I don’t fight the big trends.


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    April 2, 2021 Mary

    Your comment about “Australia heading towards Japan” and being over 1T in debt

    Have you seen this link lately?

    Australia is doing AMAZINGLY WELL compared to the rest of the world.

    I suggest to try removing the lens of pessimism and looking at life in general with a more realistic and optimistic outlook

    People are angry when prices go down
    People are angry when prices go up

    Can’t seem to win either way eh?


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    March 3, 2021 Jennifer

    90% of jobs recovered? I I don t think so. The tourism and travel sectors have been decimated and the education sector is not far behind. It s a shame that 9-5ers forget that these sectors even exist. I personally have been getting by on menial casual jobs for over a year and it looks like that will continue for most of this year as borders remain closed. Some of us have had our lives turned upside down for the foreseeable future, so No, it is not back to normal. I m lucky as I had some money and a mortgage already but I can t even go to the bank to access a better rate through refinancing as I don t tick a single box right now. And I work for a very reputable company normally – stood down definitely through no fault of theirs or mine. Not all of us are back to normal!


      March 3, 2021 Michael Yardney

      We quoted the Australian Bureau of Statistics latest figures. Of course for the many people like you who are still without a permanent job and the situation is terrible and we are not wanting to belittle that.


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    February 4, 2021 Raj Thakrar

    Hi Michael,
    It is too early to be generalist and say property prices will hike. There are number of factors in play here.
    1 Due to lock down some sales were on hold
    2 Government Incentive in play
    3 Relaxed lending rule
    4 Government incentive
    Cost of new build artificially inflated by builders and developers sending cost of new build to new level making house price higher. The buyers technically are not benefiting for these Government incentives they are going in to builder and developers pocket. Housing in Australia is still young growing market so bubble will burst scenario does to stack up. It is always demand and supply simple economics.


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    December 10, 2020 Philip Lee

    The property market didn’t collapse because the government is throwing everything at it to keep it afloat. Our property market is not a free market driven by market fundamentals. It is manipulated by the government cutting interest rates to zeo, stamp duty concessions plus first home buyer grants, and government guarantees for deposits all sucking in the financially unsophisticated into putting themselves into a life of mortgage stress. It’s just kicking the can down the road.


      December 10, 2020 Michael Yardney

      Philip. You are correct, our property markets have never been a “free market”, they have been manipulated by the Reserve Bank and APRA. Remember a couple of years ago when investors were dominating the market pushing up prices, the RBA raised interest rates and APRA made it much harder for banks to lend to investors and this slowed down the markets.
      Currently intervention has supported our markets and that’s good. It’s the government’s job to protect its constituents – you and me and one way of doing that is providing stability to our housing market. They are too big to fail and no one will let them fail.


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    October 16, 2020 Joseph Battaglia

    Michael your optimistic views irrespective of the true underlying data is disconcerting.
    The government is covering up the reality of the situation, throwing money against the wall at all costs (hoping some will stick) and falsely propping up the economy whilst kicking the can down the road. The rhetoric from parties with bias/interest in the real estate market are also contributing to the propaganda that “things are ok and sentiment is up” – whilst reality is different.
    We are not leaders on the world stage, for our real property obsession, in fact we are almost ridiculed that we are a nation that increases their wealth through selling properties to each other increasing the price at each transaction.

    Its fiscally clear, we should allow the reset button to deflate this overvalued bubble and get back to reality. I mean seriously, some of these prices are ridiculous!

    Are we going the way of Japan?
    This QE is just irresponsible on all counts.
    Over $1T in debt for such a small economy… come on, who are we kidding.


      October 16, 2020 Michael Yardney

      You are right Joseph, many of our industries are on life support from the government at the moment. And while the property market was being supported by loan deferrals, they seem to be cleaning themselves up nicely. What is the alternative? Do you really want to see businesses go broke and people go hungry? Our government and those around the world have learned how to handle economic downturns. And spending our way out of a downturn is a valid economic argument


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    October 2, 2020 Dave

    Dear Michael. Your articles are interesting
    and usually very well written . However this one is full of a lot of spelling and sentence construction mistakes that in parts make it hard
    to follow . Take a look at where it says sh-t (Let me know if you need a proof reader ) 😉


      October 2, 2020 Michael Yardney

      Thanks for the heads up Dave – you are right lots of errors in this one. As I can talk faster than I can type I usually use voice to text, and it is pretty accurate. But clearly I missed a couple of bad bloopers this time.


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    July 24, 2020 Martin

    The RBA will print money. And has printed plenty of it already to fight covid-19. It just doesn’t give the money directly to the government. It prints new money and uses it to buy government bonds on the secondary market so that institutions can take a cut as they buy the newly issued bonds from the government So that the government can pay for jobkeeper and Then these institutions onsell them to the RBA for a markup.


      July 25, 2020 Michael Yardney

      There has been a lot of discussion recently about Modern Monetary Theory, which suggests central banks should print more money and then give (lend) it to the government, to help pay for it debts.
      This week RBA governor Philip Lowe said that he won’t do that (print extra money) instead the banks should borrow on the open market at the prevailing low interest rates because they can afford it.
      Rather than print more money he gave the Morrison government the green light to increase debt levels and lock in a larger budget deficit to support the economy during its recovery from the virus crisis


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    June 26, 2020 Alex P.

    While Dr Wilson may say that more sellers entering the market is an expression of confidence, the flip side is that it may be the smart money taking the opportunity to exit while prices are still holding up. If you drill down in the data is there a way to differentiate whether these are investment properties or owner occupied properties being sold and how does that relate to historical data. Second point is that government intervention has done a good job of addressing short term liquidity over the crisis but there have been no measures on a similar scale to address solvency, and solvency is what really matters after the liquidity tap has been turned off.


      June 26, 2020 Michael Yardney

      Alex, you are right on both counts.

      Our experience on the ground speaking to buyers, sellers and estate agents, is that there are very few distressed properties coming on the market at present.

      Similarly we do not believe the government is going to pull the rug out from under us in September after he’s gone to such an effort to support the economy and our markets


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