The Australian property investment market bounces back
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The Australian property investment market bounces back

More property investment means more supply for tenants amid a rental housing crisis

By Bronwyn Allen
Fri, Feb 9, 2024 10:28amGrey Clock 2 min

Investors are returning to the property market after an exodus in early 2023 and a significant decline in investor buying between 2015 and 2020. The lack of investor activity has been seen as a  contributor to today’s massive undersupply of rental homes. That five-year decline began after the banks applied higher interest rates to investor loans in a bid to slow investor loan growth, as requested by the prudential regulator.

However, the latest lending data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a 20.4 percent increase in the value of investor loans over the past year, indicating more investors are buying property. This is welcome news for renters across the country, who are finding it exceedingly difficult to secure affordable accommodation amid rapidly rising rents and record-low vacancy rates of about 1 percent.

Last year’s surprisingly strong price growth across most of Australia’s markets has likely inspired more investors to look at property again. Capital growth is typically the primary goal of new investors, with yield seen as simply a way to help pay off the mortgage over time. However, yield becomes more important when interest rates are rising, and a 40 percent increase in rents since the pandemic means many city and regional markets are now delivering healthy yields above 5 percent.

Investors are also increasingly looking beyond their own neighbourhoods for more attractive property investment opportunities, typically in cheaper markets. Research by MCG Quantity Surveyors shows the average distance between landlords’ homes and their investments was 1,502km in the year to November 2023. Prior to the pandemic, that average distance was just 294km.

Western Australia provides an example of this trend, and is one of the hottest markets among out-of-area investors today. This follows a 15.6 percent lift in Perth’s median house price to $691,100 in 2023 – the highest capital gain of any capital city – along with an 8.2 percent increase in regional house values to a median $477,690 – the third highest gain among Australia’s regions, according to CoreLogic figures.

WA and Perth have caught the eye of Eastern States investors, said Joe White, president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA). They’re drawn by the value our market offers. Despite increases over the past few years, our property prices are much more affordable than the east coast and we’ve had significant rent price growth. This means properties have the potential for very good yields.

Total returns including capital growth and rent on investment houses reached a staggering 20.8 percent in Perth last year, and 14.5 percent in regional areas, according to CoreLogic data.


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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Hong Kong Takes Drastic Action to Avert Property Slump

The city’s real-estate market has been hurt by high interest rates and mainland China’s economic slowdown

Fri, Mar 1, 2024 3 min

Hong Kong has taken a bold step to ease a real-estate slump, scrapping a series of property taxes in an effort to turn around a market that is often seen as a proxy for the city’s beleaguered economy.

The government has removed longstanding property taxes that were imposed on nonpermanent residents, those buying a second home, or people reselling a property within two years after buying, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in his annual budget speech on Wednesday.

The move is an attempt to revive a property market that is still one of the most expensive in the world, but that has been badly shaken by social unrest, the fallout of the government’s strict approach to containing Covid-19 and the slowdown of China’s economy . Hong Kong’s high interest rates, which track U.S. rates due to its currency peg,  have increased the pressure .

The decision to ease the tax burden could encourage more buying from people in mainland China, who have been a driving force in Hong Kong’s property market for years. Chinese tycoons, squeezed by problems at home, have  in some cases become forced sellers  of Hong Kong real estate—dealing major damage to the luxury segment.

Hong Kong’s super luxury homes  have lost more than a quarter of their value  since the middle of 2022.

The additional taxes were introduced in a series of announcements starting in 2010, when the government was focused on cooling down soaring home prices that had made Hong Kong one of the world’s least affordable property markets. They are all in the form of stamp duty, a tax imposed on property sales.

“The relevant measures are no longer necessary amidst the current economic and market conditions,” Chan said.

The tax cuts will lead to more buying and support prices in the coming months, said Eddie Kwok, senior director of valuation and advisory services at CBRE Hong Kong, a property consultant. But in the longer term, the market will remain sensitive to the level of interest rates and developers may still need to lower their prices to attract demand thanks to a stockpile of new homes, he said.

Hong Kong’s authorities had already relaxed rules last year to help revive the market, allowing home buyers to pay less upfront when buying certain properties, and cutting by half the taxes for those buying a second property and for home purchases by foreigners. By the end of 2023, the price index for private homes reached a seven-year low, according to Hong Kong’s Rating and Valuation Department.

The city’s monetary authority relaxed mortgage rules further on Wednesday, allowing potential buyers to borrow more for homes valued at around $4 million.

The shares of Hong Kong’s property developers jumped after the announcement, defying a selloff in the wider market. New World Development , Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development were higher in afternoon trading, clawing back some of their losses from a slide in their stock prices this year.

The city’s budget deficit will widen to about $13 billion in the coming fiscal year, which starts on April 1. That is larger than expected, Chan said. Revenues from land sales and leases, an important source of government income, will fall to about $2.5 billion, about $8.4 billion lower than the original estimate and far lower than the previous year, according to Chan.

The sweeping property measures are part of broader plans by Hong Kong’s government to prop up the city amid competition from Singapore and elsewhere. Stringent pandemic controls and anxieties about Beijing’s political crackdown led to  an exodus of local residents and foreigners  from the Asian financial centre.

But tens of thousands of Chinese nationals have arrived in the past year, the result of Hong Kong  rolling out new visa rules aimed at luring talent in 2022.


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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