As home prices soar beyond reach, we have a government inquiry almost designed not to tell us why

Never has an inquiry into the skyrocketing price of homes been more urgent.Rarely has one been as insultingly ill-suited as the one under way right now. Midway through last year in the midst of COVID, the average forecast of the 22 leading economists who took part in The Conversation mid-year survey was for no increase in home prices whatsoever in the year ahead (actually for slight falls). At that time the typical (median) Sydney house price was A$1 million, where it stayed until the end of the year. Get news curated by experts, not algorithms. Then it took off. In the ten months to the start of this month the typical Sydney house price soared $300,000 to $1.3 million – a breathtaking increase (and an awfully big penalty for delaying buying) of $1,000 each day. For apartments, the increase isn’t as big, although still extraordinary. The cost of delaying buying a typical Sydney […]

Now it’s Liberals telling us we are going to have to cut the capital gains tax concession if we want to get Australians into homes

In a submission placed quietly on the federal government’s housing inquiry website late last week the NSW government argued that if the concession was cut, housing would be used ‘more for accommodation needs than investment needs’. Photo: Waterfront Properties Redcliffe   NSW is doing what Labor’s Bill Shorten could not – explaining why Australia’s capital gains tax concession is knocking first home buyers out of homes. Shorten went to the 2016 and 2019 elections with a plan – Labor would halve the capital gains tax concession used by landlords who buy and sell properties. In much the same way as he was unable to sell his (now modest by international standards) plan to make half of all new car sales electric by 2030, he was pilloried by Morrision and before him Malcolm Turnbull for a policy they said would smash house prices. Shorten had similar trouble selling his (now modest by international standards) plan to make half of all new car sales […]

Mortgage lending curbs to impact first-home buyers

With the federal treasurer confirming that macroprudential curbs to mortgage lending are on the cards, it appears to no longer be a matter of if, just when, policy will be introduced. The Council of Financial Regulators on Wednesday noted they have been in discussions about possible macroprudential policy responses. They also noted that over the next couple of months, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority also plans to publish an information paper on its framework for implementing macroprudential policy.  The last time lending restrictions were implemented, the focus was on dampening the heightened investment in the property market and excessive use of interest-only mortgages. However, the main culprit for the looming round of lending restrictions appears to be the increasing share of loans on a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Almost a quarter (22%) of new mortgages in Australia now have debt that outweighs their income by more than six times, up from 16% a year ago.  The introduction of macroprudential policies, particularly those around debt to income, will have limited impact on higher wealth households, particularly those with multiple […]

The property markets most vulnerable to remote work disruption

Locations close to CBDs have the highest concentration of workers in jobs that can be done remotely and the highest housing prices. The impact of this will become pronounced as employers and employees adapt to life after the pandemic, with regional Australia the big winner. The pandemic has changed where, and how, we work. These changes are already having an impact on the property market and will continue to do so as more city dwellers take advantage of the lifestyle benefits and lower housing costs outside of cities. In this analysis, I calculate the industries that have the greatest ability to work-from-home and outline where employees of those industries live in Australia. Then we’ll address the impact on property prices and whether cities will maintain a premium in a future characterised by flexible work. What industries have the greatest work-from-home capability? Jobs that can be done remotely are most predominant in […]

How the rental process is evolving

  Back in 2001, real estate transactions took place with copious amounts of paper and a lot of literal legwork, with just the first hint of the digital revolution on its way. “Everything was still hard copy,” says Darren Hunter, a former property manager who now works as a property management consultant and trainer with Inspired Growth Training. “We lived in a paper world but with electronics on the side. You had your emails and inbox, but you were still getting letters, posting out notices to a tenant for an inspection or a termination.” Many tenants still paid their rent in person at the real estate office, and server-based systems kept property managers tied to their desks for much of their day. Hunter says in many offices, the property management team was considered a poor cousin to the sales team, which translated into inferior service for landlords and tenants.   […]

September interest rate announcement: RBA holds rates as lockdowns continue

  Extended lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria, and uncertainty over their impact on the economic recovery, have pushed the Reserve Bank of Australia to keep the cash rate at the lowly 0.10 per cent for the tenth month running. While the bank has been buying $5 billion worth of bonds a month to provide cash to pump into the COVID-19-hit economy, it announced at its monthly meeting on Tuesday a reduction to $4 billion. It has said it will purchase at this rate until at least mid-February 2022. “I’m pleased they’ve done that because it reflects an improvement in the outlook at the moment,” said David Robertson, head of economic and markets research at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. “That indicates they are feeling some degree of optimism.” he difficulty is that, while the economy grew 9.6 per cent over the last financial year, and the recently released June quarter gross domestic […]

Lockdowns hit housing supply but Sydney sellers feeling more confident

More Sydney sellers are feeling confident about putting their properties on the market during the city’s long COVID lockdown, although many vendors in locked-down Melbourne and Canberra are delaying listing. The latest PropTrack Listings Report showed the number of national new listings of properties for sale on fell by 2.3% during August to the lowest level since January. But new listings were still 17.1% higher compared to a year ago. Many sellers are waiting for lockdowns to end and the peak selling season is set to be delayed in Australia’s biggest property markets of Sydney and Melbourne as well as in the ACT, director of economic research Cameron Kusher said.  “At this stage, the spring selling season is likely to be delayed across Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra with momentum building over the final months of this year and into 2022,” Mr Kusher said. “Strong selling conditions for spring are expected in other markets around Australia. This was the case […]