As demand outstrips supply pressure mounts on housing prices
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As demand outstrips supply pressure mounts on housing prices

Selling conditions are on the up for vendors in Australia’s capitals

By Tim Lawless
Thu, May 25, 2023 3:17pmGrey Clock 3 min

Not that long ago, Australia was in the midst of the fastest drop in housing values on record, as rapidly increasing interest rates caused capital city values to plunge more than 9 percent in the space of about 10 months. 

That’s all changed since hitting a low in February, with three consecutive months of positive growth in housing values due to a significant imbalance between supply and demand. So, less than a week out from winter, what’s the outlook for Australia’s property market? 

Resilience: Competition is rife 

There’s not a lot of competition in the market for vendors currently with decade-low listing numbers. It’s one of the reasons selling conditions have strengthened, as evidenced by above average clearance rates, faster selling time and less negotiation. For context, the total number of homes listed for sale nationally is tracking 28 percent below usual. When listing volumes are very low, selling conditions strengthen, which means potential vendors thinking about selling may well be tempted to list now rather than waiting until the traditional spring period, when activity surges and there’s a spike in competition to sell. 

Rising prices: Sustainable or not? 

Home values for the four largest capital cities all recorded an increase in housing values from the lows recorded in February. A mid-month update based on CoreLogic Australia’s daily Home Value Index showed the upswing gathering momentum, especially in cities such as Brisbane where the index is up 1.0% over the past four weeks. Sydney however is still leading the charge. Considering housing affordability measures remain stretched such a strong rate of growth is surprising and probably unsustainable. Clearance rates: Low supply vs high demand 

Auction clearance rates have been holding at 70% or higher in recent weeks and volumes are slowly on the rise at a time when they would traditionally start to drift lower. Coupled with the upwards pressure on housing values these signs suggest, if anything, the market is gathering momentum rather than slowing down. The stronger clearance rates along with other vendor metrics like faster selling times for private treaty sales and reduced discounting rates, indicate sellers are getting a little bit more leverage back. 

Buyer motivation: Urgency and FOMO on the rise 

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) or buyer concern about being left behind was at its peak when the market was in full flight in 2021. While the trend is not back, yet, it does appear that some buyer demographics are highly motivated to get into the market. If the trend for low advertised stock 

levels, rising clearance rates and higher values continues, it would not be surprising to see FOMO becoming more pervasive. As demand picks up against strong overseas migration and extremely tight rental markets, there’s likely to be some renters who try to fast track their purchasing decisions as well. The pool of available properties they’re competing for is the smallest it’s been in more than 10 years. A sense of urgency will likely play a part in some decision making over winter. 

Challenges: Interest rates and market sentiment 

Demonstrating an ability to service a loan is going to be one of the biggest hurdles that prospective buyers will face this year. Interest rates are high, but assessment levels are three percentage points higher again. However, qualifying for the loan is only one challenge. We can’t ignore low consumer sentiment levels, which will also be having some dampening effect on the market’s current exuberance and we shouldn’t expect to see a material lift in property activity until there’s an improvement in consumer confidence more broadly. 

Wavering confidence: Economic uncertainty 

If the RBA were to cut interest rates there is a good chance we would see a lift in consumer spirits, accompanied by a substantial pick up in both buyer and selling activity. Logically, lower interest rates would be the catalyst for a further uptick in housing values. Of course, we’re not expecting a rate cut anytime soon and there’s speculation that rates may even rise a little bit further this year. Economists are split on their forecasts with predictions for further rate hikes, some stability and some cuts later this year. All of this is likely to be adding to uncertainty and low consumer confidence levels, however any reduction in rates will likely be the cue for more buyers and sellers to become active again. 

Homeowner resilience: Mortgage repayments remain steady 

We would be naive to think there isn’t going to be a rise in motivated selling or increase in mortgage arrears in the short to medium-term. However, coming off record low rates, most banks were reporting 90-day arrears rates of around 0.5% to 0.6% at the end of 2022. That benchmark is set to increase, however most homeowners or borrowers will do their best to pull back sharply on discretionary spending before missing mortgage repayments or selling their home. 

After winter, what’s next? 

Spring 2023 is going to be interesting. Historically, it’s the season for new listings and sales transactions, but that activity didn’t materialise for spring last year. There’s possibly some accrued supply building up from people who have been thinking about selling but holding back, and if the market remains relatively buoyant we could see a very active spring this season. A material increase in advertised supply could dampen values and clearance rates as more homes come on the market. 

Tim Lawless is Research Director at CoreLogic Asia Pacific


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Ray White’s chief economist outlines her predictions for housing market trends in 2024

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Nov 28, 2023 2 min

Ray White’s chief economist, Nerida Conisbee says property price growth will continue next year and mortgage holders will need to “survive until 2025” amid expectations of higher interest rates for longer.

Ms Conisbee said strong population growth and a housing supply shortage combatted the impact of rising interest rates in 2023, leading to unusually strong price growth during a rate hiking cycle. The latest CoreLogic data shows home values have increased by more than 10 percent in the year to date in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Among the regional markets, price growth has been strongest in regional South Australia with 8.6 percent growth and regional Queensland at 6.9 percent growth.

“As interest rates head close to peak, it is expected that price growth will continue. At this point, housing supply remains extremely low and many people that would be new home buyers are being pushed into the established market,” Ms Conisbee said. “Big jumps in rents are pushing more first home buyers into the market and population growth is continuing to be strong.”

Ms Conisbee said interest rates will be higher for longer due to sticky inflation. “… we are unlikely to see a rate cut until late 2024 or early 2025. This means mortgage holders need to survive until 2025, paying far more on their home loans than they did two years ago.”

Buyers in coastal areas currently have a window of opportunity to take advantage of softer prices, Ms Conisbee said. “Look out for beach house bargains over summer but you need to move quick. In many beachside holiday destinations, we saw a sharp rise in properties for sale and a corresponding fall in prices. This was driven by many pandemic driven holiday home purchases coming back on to the market.”

3 key housing market trends for 2024

Here are three of Ms Conisbee’s predictions for the key housing market trends of 2024.

Luxury apartment market to soar

Ms Conisbee said the types of apartments being built have changed dramatically amid more people choosing to live in apartments longer-term and Australia’s ageing population downsizing. “Demand is increasing for much larger, higher quality, more expensive developments. This has resulted in the most expensive apartments in Australia seeing price increases more than double those of an average priced apartment. This year, fewer apartments being built, growing population and a desire to live in some of Australia’s most sought-after inner urban areas will lead to a boom in luxury apartment demand.”

Homes to become even greener

The rising costs of energy and the health impacts of heat are two new factors driving interest in green homes, Ms Conisbee said. “Having a greener home utilising solar and batteries makes it cheaper to run air conditioning, heaters and pool pumps. We are heading into a particularly hot summer and having homes that are difficult to cool down makes them far more dangerous for the elderly and very young.”

More people living alone

For some time now, long-term social changes such as delayed marriage and an ageing population have led to more people living alone. However, Ms Conisbee points out that the pandemic also showed that many people prefer to live alone for lifestyle reasons. “Shorter term, the pandemic has shown that given the chance, many people prefer to live alone with a record increase in single-person households during the time. This trend may influence housing preferences, with a potential rise in demand for smaller dwellings and properties catering to individuals rather than traditional family units.”


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