While houses in Tasmania have enjoyed exceptional price growth in recent years, there has been a marked drop in this increase which is highly likely to continue.
According to the latest RiskWise Property Research Risks & Opportunities Report, and as projected in previous reports, the Tasmanian market has been experiencing decelerated price growth over the past year.
One of the key reasons for the deceleration was that the state remained less affordable than five of the states and territories (in price-to-income ratio) making the market less attractive to investors and owner-occupiers.
Other factors include the economic growth of Tasmania, which is ranked fifth in Australia, having the lowest median weekly wage and low annual wage growth of 2.3 per cent.
As house prices continue to rise, they are becoming less affordable due to the low median household income and less affordability means less demand, which affects price growth.
Houses in the southern state had enjoyed exceptional capital growth in recent years due to low supply, affordability, lack of attractive investment destinations at the time, i.e. the Sydney and Melbourne markets, a tighter rental market and strong rental returns.
However, while houses in Tasmania are expected to deliver positive capital growth in the short term, the market has been experiencing decelerated price growth and we expect this to continue in 2020 with some areas likely to deliver very low or negative capital growth.
It should also be noted that the recovery of the Melbourne market, with its strong fundamentals and affordability in a number of areas, such as the Western suburbs and Geelong, are providing more attractive investment opportunities than Tasmania, especially Hobart which has become less affordable.
CoreLogic figures show the annual price growth for houses in Hobart is 3 per cent compared to 9.7 per cent last year.
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However, that houses in Tasmania carried a low-medium risk level as approximately 86 per cent were owner-occupied.
In addition, houses in high-demand areas, particularly affordable houses, still enjoy strong demand and present low risk.
Furthermore, unlike some other states, lending restrictions have had a relatively modest impact.
While units had also delivered strong growth, they carried a higher level of risk due to the relatively high number in the pipeline compared to population growth.
The relatively high proportion of units that are investment properties also increases the risk associated with such properties, particularly with the improved attractiveness of the Melbourne market.
Also, there are a number of risk factors that may have a negative impact on units in the medium to long term. For example, off-the-plan units carry a significantly higher level of risk.
Furthermore, the unit-to-house price ratio in Tasmania is high. Our research shows that, statistically, if the unit-to-house ratio exceeds 65 per cent it makes houses a much better investment option for buyers with significantly higher capital growth.
Conversely, if it falls below 45 per cent, units are preferred. In Greater Hobart, the median unit price is $378,846, while the median house price is $492,465, placing the unit-to-house ratio at 77 per cent, which is considered high and this means there is certainly a higher risk for units.