Australians continue to bank on housing as pathway to wealth
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Australians continue to bank on housing as pathway to wealth

A shortage of supply has only strengthened appetites for entering the residential property market

Wed, Jul 19, 2023 9:05amGrey Clock 2 min

Residential real estate in Australia accounts for $9.8 trillion, almost three times more than superannuation savings, new data reveals.

In signs that residential real continues to be the most popular pathway to wealth in this country, CoreLogic Australia’s Housing Chart for the June quarter shows that Australian superannuation is valued at $3.5 trillion while Australian listed stocks sit at $2.8 trillion and commercial real estate at $1.3 trillion. Those figures are set against borrowing levels with Australian mortgage holders in debt to the tune of $2.2 trillion.

The results come on the back of growing calls to address housing affordability issues and concerns about the effects of rising mortgage repayments caused by a 4 percent increase in the cash rate in just over 12 months that have left more households in financial stress.

The CoreLogic report also revealed that national home values have continued to rebound this quarter, up 2.8 percent, although they are still down -5.3 percent over the past 12 months.

CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said the lack of housing supply was putting further pressure on rising home values.

“Through June, the flow of new capital city listings was nearly -10 percent below the previous five-year average and total inventory levels are more than a quarter below average,” he said.  “Simultaneously, our June quarter estimate of capital city sales has increased to be 2.1 percent above the previous five-year average.”

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said for investors, motivations for the rental hikes imposed on tenants was less clear. While she noted that many investors had not passed on the full impact of the increase in the cash rate –  ATO data from 2020-2021 financial year showed that 47.1 percent of investment properties were negatively geared – the economics of supply and demand were still a factor.

“Irrespective of mortgage costs, rents can generally only rise substantially if the rental market is competitive, and tenants cannot find alternative accommodation to bargain with; in other words, rents rise when demand for rental accommodation is outweighing supply,” she said.  

“Looking at rental supply in the context of rate movements, it’s clear that a tightening in the rental market occurred well before interest rates started to rise. The rental market started to tighten in mid-2020, while the cash rate wouldn’t go up for another two years.” 

Earlier this week, Ray White chief economist Nerida Conisbee noted that while construction costs, particularly for key materials, had started to ease, building approvals were failing to meet demand for housing.

“Building approvals are currently at a decade low and it will take some time for the pipeline to build,” she said. “In the meantime, population growth is particularly strong. Last year, we saw an increase of almost 500,000 people. 

“That means that in just one year, we need roughly an additional 200,000 homes. With 173,000 homes built last year, we are falling short in just one year by 27,000 homes.”  


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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Wild cities and concrete corridors: How AI is reimagining the landscape

A new AI-driven account by leading landscape architect Jon Hazelwood pushes the boundaries on the role of ‘complex nature’ in the future of our cities

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Dec 6, 2023 2 min

Drifts of ground cover plants and wildflowers along the steps of the Sydney Opera House, traffic obscured by meadow-like planting and kangaroos pausing on city streets.

This is the way our cities could be, as imagined by landscape architect Jon Hazelwood, principal at multi-disciplinary architectural firm Hassell. He has been exploring the possibilities of rewilding urban spaces using AI for his Instagram account, Naturopolis_ai with visually arresting outcomes.

“It took me a few weeks to get interesting results,” he said. “I really like the ephemeral nature of the images — you will never see it again and none of those plants are real. 

“The AI engine makes an approximation of a grevillea.”

Hazelwood chose some of the most iconic locations in Australia, including the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as international cities such as Paris and London, to demonstrate the impact of untamed green spaces on streetscapes, plazas and public space.

He said he hopes to provoke a conversation about the artificial separation between our cities and the broader environment, exploring ways to break down the barriers and promote biodiversity.

“A lot of the planning (for public spaces) is very limited,” Hazelwood said. “There are 110,000 species of plants in Australia and we probably use about 12 in our (public) planting schemes. 

“Often it’s for practical reasons because they’re tough and drought tolerant — but it’s not the whole story.”

Hazelwood pointed to the work of UK landscape architect Prof Nigel Dunnett, who has championed wild garden design in urban spaces. He has drawn interest in recent years for his work transforming the brutalist apartment block at the Barbican in London into a meadow-like environment with diverse plantings of grasses and perennials.

Hazelwood said it is this kind of ‘complex nature’ that is required for cities to thrive into the future, but it can be hard to convince planners and developers of the benefits.

“We have been doing a lot of work on how we get complex nature because complexity of species drives biodiversity,” he said. 

“But when we try to propose the space the questions are: how are we going to maintain it? Where is the lawn?

“A lot of our work is demonstrating you can get those things and still provide a complex environment.” 

At the moment, Hassell together with the University of Melbourne is trialling options at the Hills Showground Metro Station in Sydney, where the remaining ground level planting has been replaced with more than 100 different species of plants and flowers to encourage diversity without the need for regular maintenance. But more needs to be done, Hazelwood said.

“It needs bottom-up change,” he said. ““There is work being done at government level around nature positive cities, but equally there needs to be changes in the range of plants that nurseries grow, and in the way our city landscapes are maintained and managed.”

And there’s no AI option for that. 


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Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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