Property Positivity Hits One-Year Low
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Property Positivity Hits One-Year Low

Market sentiment hasn’t been so dour since covid related lockdowns.

By Terry Christodoulou
Tue, May 11, 2021 4:55pmGrey Clock < 1 min

Despite the ascendant housing prices across the nation’s capitals, new data suggests less than half of Australians believe now is a good time to buy property.

According to financial comparison website Finder, and its ‘consumer sentiment tracker’ – which analyses data from more than 24,000 Australians for 24 consecutive month – shows the end of April saw home-buying sentiment reach its lowest point since COVID-related lockdowns begun last year.

Further, Finder’s property positivity index sits at 49%, only 7% higher than April 2020’s low of 42%.

More recently, a record-high number of people (67%) thought it was a good time to buy in December 2020, according to the data.

“As lockdowns rolled out across Australia and open house inspections declined, Finder’s Property Positivity Index nosedived only to recover again as the housing market sprang back to life,” said Finder’s head of consumer research Graham Cooke.

“Both the rock-bottom cash rate and FOMO have turbo-charged prices but fears of a property bubble are making many Aussies pessimistic that now is the time to buy,” added Mr Cooke.

Although positivity surrounding property is at a year low, 74% of those surveyed believe property prices in their area would rise over the next 12 months – up from 24% from April 2020.



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Stronger demand in some areas is pushing unit rents up faster than houses

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Mar 5, 2024 3 min

Renters are returning to the apartment market, leading to higher growth in weekly rents for units than houses over the past year, according to REA data. As workers return to their corporate offices, tenants are coming back to the inner city and choosing apartment living for its affordability.

This is a reversal of the pandemic trend which saw many renters leave their inner city units to rent affordable houses on the outskirts. Working from home meant they did not have to commute to the CBD, so they moved into large houses in outer areas where they could enjoy more space and privacy.

REA Group economic analyst Megan Lieu said the return to apartment living among tenants began in late 2021, when most lockdown restrictions were lifted, and accelerated in 2022 after Australia’s international border reopened.

Following the reopening of offices and in-person work, living within close proximity to CBDs has regained importance,” Ms Lieu said.Units not only tend to be located closer to public transport and in inner city areas, but are also cheaper to rent compared to houses in similar areas. For these reasons, it is unsurprising that units, particularly those in inner city areas, are growing in popularity among renters.

But the return to work in the CBD is not the only factor driving demand for apartment rentals. Rapidly rising weekly rents for all types of property, coupled with a cost-of-living crisis created by high inflation, has forced tenants to look for cheaper accommodation. This typically means compromising on space, with many families embracing apartment living again. At the same time, a huge wave of migration led by international students has turbocharged demand for unit rentals in inner city areas, in particular, because this is where many universities are located.

But it’s not simply a demand-side equation. Lockdowns put a pause on building activity, which reduced the supply of new rental homes to the market. People had to wait longer for their new houses to be built, which meant many of them were forced to remain in rental homes longer than expected. On top of that, a chronic shortage of social housing continued to push more people into the private rental market. After the world reopened, disrupted supply chains meant the cost of building increased, the supply of materials was strained, and a shortage of labour delayed projects.

All of this has driven up rents for all types of property, and the strength of demand has allowed landlords to raise rents more than usual to help them recover the increased costs of servicing their mortgages following 13 interest rate rises since May 2022. Many applicants for rentals are also offering more rent than advertised just to secure a home, which is pushing rental values even higher.

Tenants’ reversion to preferring apartments over houses is a nationwide trend that has led to stronger rental growth for units than houses, especially in the capital cities, says Ms Lieu. “Year-on-year, national weekly house rents have increased by 10.5 percent, an increase of $55 per week,” she said.However, unit rents have increased by 17 percent, which equates to an $80 weekly increase.

The variance is greatest in the capital cities where unit rents have risen twice as fast as house rents. Sydney is the most expensive city to rent in today, according to REA data. The house rent median is $720 per week, up 10.8 percent over the past year. The apartment rental median is $650 per week, up 18.2 percent. In Brisbane, the median house rent is $600 per week, up 9.1 percent over the past year, while the median rent for units is $535 per week, up 18.9 percent. In Melbourne, the median house rent is $540 per week, up 13.7 percent, while the apartment median is $500 per week, up 16.3 percent.

In regional markets, Queensland is the most expensive place to rent either a house or an apartment. The house median rent in regional Queensland is $600 per week, up 9.1 percent year-onyear, while the apartment median rent is $525, up 16.7 percent.

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