BUBBLE BURSTS ON AUSTRALIAN REGIONAL PROPERTY PRICES | Kanebridge News
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BUBBLE BURSTS ON AUSTRALIAN REGIONAL PROPERTY PRICES

Interest rate increases and the impact of floods on regional centres have taken a toll on once sought-after areas

By Robyn Willis
Tue, Nov 15, 2022 10:04amGrey Clock 2 min

As floodwaters inundate regional towns across NSW, Queensland and Victoria, regional real estate markets have recorded the fastest decline in values in the past quarter, CoreLogic reports.

The Regional Market Update, from the property data provider oversees activity in Australia’s 25 largest non capital city regions and has revealed that the COVID-induced boom in property values has ended, with six of the most popular regions recording falls in house values of at least -6 percent. This includes the Richmond-Tweed area at -11.7 percent, the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven, -7.1 percent, the Sunshine Coast -7.1 percent, the Gold Coast -6.4 percent, Illawarra -6.1 percent and Newcastle and Lake Macquarie -6.0 percent.

CoreLogic Economist Kaytlin Ezzy said the drop in values was not unexpected.

“It is unsurprising the Richmond-Tweed region recorded the strongest decline in house values,” she said. “Throughout the COVID period, values skyrocketed, rising more than 50 percent and taking the median house value to more than $1.1 million. 

“However the impact of this year’s floods, coupled with seven consecutive rate rises, has seen house values fall in the region by nearly -16 percent since April.” 

Housing markets also took a hit, with regional NSW recording the worst results. The Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven saw a -27.5 percent downturn in sales volumes while properties in New England and the North West region averaged the longest time on the market at 43 days.

“Sales activity has continued to soften over the quarter, with only a few regions, predominantly in northern Queensland, recording an increase in annual sales volumes,” Ms Ezzy said. 

“While down compared to the previous year, it’s important to remember that last year was one of the busiest sales periods on record, and the majority (76 percent) of regional markets analysed are still recording higher annual sales volumes compared to their previous five-year averages.”

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The Lipstick Index Is Back

Sales of the cosmetic product are a bright spot in an otherwise bleak discretionary-goods environment

By JINJOO LEE
Fri, Nov 25, 2022 2 min

Masks off, lipstick index on.

In a gloomy economy, consumers might cut back on other discretionary purchases but will keep shelling out for small luxuries such as lipstick—or so goes the theory. “When lipstick sales go up, people don’t want to buy dresses,” Leonard Lauder, then-chairman of Estée Lauder who is widely credited for coming up with the so-called “lipstick index,” told The Wall Street Journal in 2001.

L’Oréal Chief Executive Nicolas Hieronimus called this out during the company’s earnings call in October, noting that a luxury lipstick or mascara is only €30, making it an “affordable treat.” Sales at L’Oréal rose 9.1% in the third quarter compared with a year earlier despite slower sales in China due to Covid-related lockdowns. Coty, maker of CoverGirl makeup, said organic sales grew 9% over the same period.

Beauty sales have also been a rare bright spot for retailers: Target said beauty category sales grew roughly 15% in its quarter ended Oct. 29 compared with a year earlier, with Ulta Beauty shops in Target tripling their total sales volume over that period.

While Macy’s namesake stores saw comparable-store sales decline last quarter, its beauty-focused Bluemercury chain saw same-store sales grow 14% last quarter compared with a year earlier. Kohl’s locations with Sephora are outperforming the rest of the department-store chain.

Of the 14 discretionary categories that market research firm NPD Group tracks, prestige beauty—products you might find at a department store or a Sephora—is the only category that is seeing unit sales growth year to date. And lipstick, which suffered during the masked-up pandemic, is making up for lost time.

Lipstick sales have grown 37% through October this year compared with a year earlier, according to Larissa Jensen, beauty industry analyst at NPD Group. That is an acceleration from the 31% growth seen during the same period last year. Lip product is the only major category within prestige beauty where sales are actually up compared with pre-pandemic levels, according to Ms. Jensen.

Cosmetic companies have also called out strong sales in fragrances, calling it the “fragrance index.” Demand has been so robust that there is an industrywide fragrance component shortage, Coty said in a press release announcing third-quarter earnings earlier this month. CEO Sue Nabi said during the call that Coty hasn’t seen any kind of trade-down or slowdown, also noting that consumers are shifting away from gifting perfume to buying it for themselves.

“A big piece of it is just a shift in what wellness means to consumers,” NPD Group’s Ms. Jensen said. “Beauty is one of the few industries that are positioned to meet [consumers’] emotional need. It makes them feel good.”

While the lipstick effect could be observed in the recession in the early 2000s, that wasn’t the case during the 2007-09 recession, during which lipstick sales declined alongside other discretionary purchases. Part of this might have had to do with category-specific dynamics.

There was a lot of newness in the cosmetic industry in 2001, including lip gloss, a relatively nascent category back then. That tailwind simply wasn’t there starting in 2008, though nail polish turned out to be consumers’ small indulgence of choice in that period. This time around, consumers may be eager to show off a part of their face that was hidden behind a mask for so long during the pandemic.

In an otherwise bleak environment for companies selling discretionary goods, those in the business of selling cosmetics look well poised to come out of the holiday season looking freshened up.

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