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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House values continued to fall last month, but the pace of decline has slowed, CoreLogic reports.

In signs that the RBA’s aggressive approach to monetary policy is making an impact, CoreLogic’s Home Value Index reveals national dwelling values fell -1.0 percent in November, marking the smallest monthly decline since June.

The drop represents a -7.0 percent decline – or about $53,400 –  since the peak value recorded in April 2022. Research director at CoreLogic, Tim Lawless, said the Sydney and Melbourne markets are leading the way, with the capital cities experiencing the most significant falls. But it’s not all bad news for homeowners.

“Three months ago, Sydney housing values were falling at the monthly rate of -2.3 percent,” he said. “That has now reduced by a full percentage point to a decline of -1.3 percent in November.  In July, Melbourne home values were down -1.5 percent over the month, with the monthly decline almost halving last month to -0.8%.”

The rate of decline has also slowed in the smaller capitals, he said.  

“Potentially we are seeing the initial uncertainty around buying in a higher interest rate environment wearing off, while persistently low advertised stock levels have likely contributed to this trend towards smaller value falls,” Mr Lawless said. “However, it’s fair to say housing risk remains skewed to the downside while interest rates are still rising and household balance sheets become more thinly stretched.” 

The RBA has raised the cash rate from 0.10 in April  to 2.85 in November. The board is due to meet again next week, with most experts still predicting a further increase in the cash rate of 25 basis points despite the fall in house values.

Mr Lawless said if interest rates continue to increase, there is potential for declines to ‘reaccelerate’.

“Next year will be a particular test of serviceability and housing market stability, as the record-low fixed rate terms secured in 2021 start to expire,” Mr Lawless said.

Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week also reveal a slowdown in the rate of inflation last month, as higher mortgage repayments and cost of living pressures bite into household budgets.

However, ABS data reveals ongoing labour shortages and high levels of construction continues to fuel higher prices for new housing, although the rate of price growth eased in September and October. 

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