A NEW wave of optimism has hit the housing market, with Aussies singling out 2018 as the year they’ll finally chase down their dreams of property ownership — and Millennials are leading the charge.
A national poll has revealed two in five people believe it is a good time to buy a home amid rock bottom interest rates, less competition from foreign buyers and a national cooling in house prices.
Nearly a third of those surveyed plan to buy property this year, whether upsizing, investing, moving to a new area or buying their first home, according to the YouGov Galaxy Poll commissioned by Realestate.com.au.
Millennials have driven much of the new-found optimism, with more than half of those born between 1983 and 2000 planning to pull the trigger on a home purchase.
Realestate.com.au head of home loans Andrew Russell said the increased optimism was the result of a shift to more stable price movements amid a low interest rate environment.
“With a lot of the recent commentary talking about a slowdown, some buyers may be looking at the market and thinking it will be a good time to buy,” Mr Russell said.
Activity on Realestate.com.au’s home loan platforms showed confidence was at a high among one group in particular, he added.
“Excitement is coming from all categories of buyers, but especially first homebuyers,” Mr Russell said.
“It shows that the dream of home ownership has continued to grow and first homebuyers are more confident they can achieve that dream than perhaps they were in years past.”
Canstar financial services expert Steve Mickenbecker said some homebuyers may had spotted a rare gap in the market.
“Rates are at rock bottom, are likely to stay low for some time and prices are down in some areas so you’ve got a lot of people saying ‘now’s our chance’,” Mr Mickenbecker said.
“Investor participation is down too and there are less foreign buyers in the market so some (house hunters) may feel there’s more space for them.”
Brisbane couple Matt Brandon, 31, and Alice Tidmarsh, 27, have just bought their first home together and are feeling positive about their decision.
“With interest rates low and the first homeowners grant still available, I think it’s a great time to get in to the market,” Mr Brandon said.
The Millennials have purchased a new townhouse in a residential development in Cannon Hill and will be paying only $25 more a week than they currently are renting.
“Our plan was to buy something new and live in it for one to two years,” Mr Brandon said.
“We would like to build a portfolio in the future.
“This isn’t going to be our last home — it’s a stepping stone.”
Aaron Woolard of Place Estate Agents said about 80 per cent of his clients were Millennials renting in the trendy, Brisbane inner-city suburbs of New Farm and Teneriffe, who were now looking to buy there.
Mr Woolard said Millennials were willing to spend up to $1 million to get into those suburbs, even if it meant taking on a bigger mortgage.
“Most people I talk to want to get into the market and invest wisely,” he said.
“They have drive and ambition to reach their goals, and one of those is property.”
Mr Woolard said he had also noticed an increase in the number of young people wanting to take advantage of the extension of the Queensland First Home Owners’ Grant to June 30 this year.
The research surveyed more than 1000 people across the country under age, gender and regional quotas reflecting ABS demographics estimates.
The survey also included a mix of renters, adult children living with their parents, mortgagees and those who owned their properties outright.
With less barriers to potentially shut buyers out of the market, those with property ambitions said lofty prices would likely be their biggest obstacle.
More than half of respondents (53 per cent) said high prices would be the factor most likely to derail their property goals for the year, followed by not being able to borrow as much as they would like (30 per cent).
To combat those challenges, 84 per cent of Australians were prepared to make sacrifices to get into the market.
That percentage rose to 94 per cent for Millennials, who were more likely than Baby Boomers and Gen Y buyers to forgo luxuries such as a new car, overseas travel and new clothes, among others.
“Young people are determined to get into the housing market,” Mr Russell said. “They realise how much a home loan will impact their lives and they’re willing to make sacrifices.”
WHAT MILLENNIALS WOULD SACRIFICE FOR HOME OWNERSHIP:
— New car 62%
— New clothes 58%
— Eating out/going to movies 56%
— Domestic holidays 50%
— Overseas holidays 68%
— Private health insurance 36%
— No sacrifice 7%
(Source: YouGov Galaxy poll)
Originally published: brisbaneinvestor.com.au
Experts warn of ‘debt bomb’ as housing downturn worsens
That’s according to the sobering 60 Minutes segment Bricks and Slaughter which aired last night, revealing the country’s property downturn was just the tip of the iceberg.
According to reporter Tom Steinfort, the current slump is actually “more like falling off a cliff”, with a number of real estate and finance experts claiming houses could plummet in value by up to 40 per cent in the next 12 months.
If that happens, it would also cause an economic “catastrophe”.
Mr Steinfort spoke with data scientist Martin North from Digital Finance Analytics, who said Australia was uniquely vulnerable when it came to an economic crash tied to a property downturn.
“At the worst end of the spectrum, if everything turns against us we could see property prices 40-45 per cent down from their peaks, which is a huge deal,” he said.
“That’s higher than any other country in the Western world by a long way.
“There’s probably no country in the world more susceptible to the ramifications of a housing crash than Australia. We are uniquely exposed at the moment.”
Mr North said Australia was now in the same position as the US was back in 2006 and 2007 — a position which triggered an economic collapse.
“As a society, and as a government, and as a regulatory system, we’re all banking on the home price engine that just goes on giving and giving and giving. It’s not going to,” he said.
“We’ve got a debt bomb, we’ve got a debt crisis and at some point it’s going to explode in our face.”
He said foreclosures had also risen by 600 per cent in the region.
“The mortgage stress is definitely being felt especially in this area,” he said.
60 Minutes also spoke with several Aussie homeowners who gave harrowing details of the stress they faced trying to pay off their mortgages, including having their power turned off and being “hounded’ by their banks.
What does a million dollars buy in Aussie capital cities?
Market analyst Louis Christopher of SQM Research said the market had been “clearly overvalued”, labelling the downturn as the “correction we had to have” — at least in Sydney and Melbourne.
“On our numbers, Sydney was effectively over 40 per cent overvalued. And Melbourne was overvalued by about the same amount,” he said.
But property investor Bushy Martin said the blame lay squarely at the feet of buyers who “mortgaged themselves up to their eyeballs” in a bid to snap up dream homes before being able to afford them.
However, the segment has also sparked backlash online, with some claiming the situation had been exaggerated.
One Reddit user branded the report as an example of “alarmist journalism and scare tactics”, while another said it was “dramatic and cringe-worthy”.
Others also criticised the segment for making it seem like all homeowners would be affected, when the downturn was actually mainly focused in the NSW and Victorian capitals.
And some said it was unfair to blame the banks for the situation, and that homeowners needed to take responsibility for their own decisions.
That was in response to comments made by one homeowner on the program, who said the bank had “suddenly switched the mortgage to interest and principal”, raising his repayments by 57 per cent.
“The interest only part annoyed me the most. The bank didn’t ‘suddenly change’ your repayment from (interest only) to (Principal and interest) your IO term expired. You a) knew this would happen and b) assumed the bank would renew it when it expired. I hope this speculator gets burnt first,” one Reddit user said.
Related article: Experts warn of ‘debt bomb’ as housing downturn worsens
Australia’s best place to invest is here in Queensland
EXPERTS are hailing Queensland’s Sunshine Coast as the hottest place in the nation to invest in property right now.
A lack of housing, a tight rental market and a rapidly growing population mean supply is failing to keep up with demand in the region – creating perfect conditions for investors.
Leading real estate industry figure John McGrath said the Sunshine Coast presented one of the best opportunities for capital growth because of its liveability, affordability and future economic prospects.
“From an investment point of view, where in Australia right now can you invest your dollar and get better returns than the Sunshine Coast or southeast Queensland?” Mr McGrath said.
” I don’t think there is a location that’s going to offer better investment growth in the future.”
His views are echoed by prestige property agent Tom Offermann of Tom Offermann Real Estate, who claims the Sunshine Coast “is on the cusp of the highest growth period in its history”.
“This is being driven by a raft of infrastructure projects that are delivering exceptional lifestyles, which in the past required some compromises for people coming from big cities,” Mr Offermann said.
The region is in the midst of an infrastructure boom, with billions of dollars being invested in upgrading and creating new facilities.
Work is underway on a new runway at the local airport, which is set to become international by 2020, and a new hospital and health precinct has recently been established.
“These are game changers,” Mr Offermann said.
“Astute property investors who recognise what is happening, and take action to secure the best located property they can afford, will reap the rewards of their foresight.”
Local agents say the region is crying out for more investment properties to cater to the needs of the increasing population.
According to demographer Bernard Salt, the Sunshine Coast’s population of around 298,000 residents is set to rise to 550,000 in 23 years, which will require more than 100,000 new homes to be built.
The latest Real Estate Institute of Queensland figures show the rental vacancy rate on the Sunshine Coast is just 1 per cent, with Caloundra having the tightest vacancy rate in the state at just 0.5 per cent.
It’s good news for investors, who are currently achieving healthy rental returns of around 5 per cent.
In its recent report, Herron Todd White noted an increase in investor activity in the Sunshine Coast market, with the sub $350,000 unit and townhouse sector particularly popular.
“It’s not uncommon to see townhouses selling for $220,000 attracting a rental of $280 per week – over 6.5 per cent gross return,” the report said.
For investors looking to capitalise on the growth in the region, McGrath Real Estate founder John McGrath said now was the time to get into the market.
“I think there is a great opportunity, in particular right now, because we’ve seen Sydney and Melbourne have shown unprecedented growth over the last five or six years,” he said.
“Now those markets have come to a plateau and a lot of people are going to be saying; ‘Do we take our profits and reinvest them, or, in fact, do we move up north and get better value for money?’
“So, I think right now there’s a terrific window of opportunity where people can capitalise on the immense growth we’ve seen in the southern states.”
Reed & Co director Adrian Reed the increased international access the new airport would provide would likely change the profile of buyers in the Noosa region.
“We’re currently seeing an increase in Australian expats buying back into the market, but if accessibility becomes easier, we’re expecting a more aggressive upward trend in high-end premium property,” Mr Reed said.
He said that lending restrictions and the impact of the banking royal commission had had little impact on the region’s prestige market.
“The vast majority of deals I’m doing at the top end of the market are cash,” he said.
“They’re self funded retirees who’ve already sold their principal place of residence.”
Owner/builder Paul Saunderson, who is selling his home in Noosa Heads through Peter TeWhata of Tom Offermann Real Estate, said the local market was “out of control at the moment”.
“There are houses getting knocked down and new dwellings being built everywhere,” Mr Saunderson said.
He said the contemporary, four-bedroom, three-bathroom property at 20 Sanctuary Ave, Noosa Heads, which he lived in with his wife and two children, was attracting strong interest from interstate and overseas investors.
“It’s a good investment opportunity because it’s been valued as holiday letting, which is anywhere from $6000 to $10,000 a week during peak season,” Mr Saunderson said.
Jamie Smith of Century 21 On Duporth in Maroochydore said he’d never seen so much activity in the Sunshine Coast property market, with strong interest from both local and interstate investors.
Mr Smith said many investors were looking to buy in the less expensive suburbs, where new housing developments were popping up, such as Caloundra, Sippy Downs, Birtinya and Mountain Creek.
“It’s definitely unprecedented in terms of what we’re seeing on the Coast,” he said.
But Mr Smith said investors who were not already in the market needed to act fast.
“If you were here three years ago, you could have bought between $400,000 and $500,000,” he said.
“Now you’re looking at anywhere from $600,000 plus, so it’s definitely changed a little bit.”
SUNSHINE COAST SUBURBS FOR BEST CAPITAL GROWTH
Suburb Property type Median price 12 month change in price
Minyama House $1.31m 45.8%
Kenilworth House $399,000 40%
Yandina Creek House $820,000 32.3%
Beerwah Unit $375,000 25%
Mount Coolum House $676,200 23.2%
Mapleton House $543,250 21.3%
Mudjimba House $739,500 20.7%
Peregian Springs Unit $475,200 18.8%
Battery Hill House $579,500 18.4%
Montville House $707,500 17.9%
Queensland is the next property hotspot, experts say
As New South Wales and Victoria continue to experience weakness. Queensland is expected to take the lead, a National Australia Bank (NAB) poll of property professionals revealed.
According to the survey, industry experts project house prices in Queensland to increase by 0.7% next year and 1.3% in two years.
Some areas seen to perform strongly over the next year include Brisbane, Cairns, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast. Out of the suburbs, Coomera and New Farm are expected to realize robust gains.
Meanwhile, Queensland’s rental market is also poised to enjoy an upward boost, growing by 1.3% next year and 1.9% in two years. This is despite the stricter rules on housing investment.
The respondents of the survey also expect Queensland to retain foreign buyer interest. In fact, the share of foreign sales hit a four-year high of 22.8% over the previous quarter.
The results of the survey go against NAB’s own projection of the market. For instance, the bank expects house prices to remain flat in Brisbane over the next three years. Unit prices, on the other hand, is seen to fall by 4.5% over the next year.
NAB chief economist Alan Oster said Brisbane’s housing market seemed to be going sideways and its unit market still creates concern.
“It hasn’t peaked yet, so that’s good. We’re seeing quite strong economic activity in Queensland, so that always helps,” Oster said, as quoted by The Courier-Mail.
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