The new east coast capital outranking Melbourne for property values
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The new east coast capital outranking Melbourne for property values

The ability to work from home prompted many Australians to relocate to this city for lifestyle and affordability during the pandemic

By Bronwyn Allen
Thu, Jan 11, 2024 9:39amGrey Clock 2 min

The median home value in Brisbane has surpassed Melbourne for the first time in 15 years following a staggering 50 percent increase in home prices since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. CoreLogic Head of Research, Eliza Owen said the price data reflects “the substantial impact that the pandemic has had on housing preferences” in Australia. Before the pandemic, Brisbane’s median dwelling value was $187,000 lower than Melbourne’s and today it is $7,000 higher at $787,000.

Brisbane now has the third-highest median dwelling value among the capital cities, behind Sydney and Canberra. Home values in the nation’s capital overtook Melbourne in 2021, with Canberra’s median dwelling value rising 31 percent between March 2020 and today. Over the same time frame, Melbourne values rose by just 11 percent, which was the weakest growth among the capital cities. Melbourne was last year rated the third most liveable city in the world on the Global Liveability Index by the Economic Intelligence Unit, the highest ranking for any Australian city.

[Brisbane’s] appeal amid an increase in remote work helped fuel strong population growth, increasing housing demand, driving down supply and making it a seller’s market,” Ms Owen said.The reason for such varied capital growth outcomes may be partly due to lifestyle factors, where the appeal of South East Queensland rose through the pandemic. The normalisation of remote work for many professionals made interstate migration to Queensland more feasible, while Melbourne’s extended lockdowns from March 2020 through to October 2021 may have prompted people to leave the city.

Net interstate migration to Queensland reached a record high of 51,500 in the year to March 2022, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Over the same period, net interstate migration to Victoria was -20,000. Net internal migration to Victoria bottomed out at a loss of -35,600 people in the year to June 2021, and was still negative as of June last year,” Ms Owen said. Value falls across Melbourne were also exacerbated by the loss of overseas migration through COVID.

Over the 12 months to June 2022, Brisbane’s population grew by 2.3 percent compared to Melbourne’s 1.1 percent. However, Melbourne’s residential population is almost double the size of Brisbane at an estimated 5,031,000 people compared to 2,628,000 in Brisbane.

Ms Owen also explained a technical reason why Brisbane’s median dwelling value has surpassed that of Melbourne. Dwelling median values combine all types of properties. If the data is separated into houses and apartments, Melbourne remains more expensive than Brisbane – but only just. Melbourne’s median house price is $72,000 higher than Brisbane and the median apartment price is $49,000 higher. The reason for this is that Melbourne has a higher share of units as a portion of the dwelling market. Because units are generally lower value than detached houses, a higher portion of units brings down the median dwelling [value] across all houses and units.

Ms Owen said Brisbane remains a seller’s market, although the pace of growth in home values is now easing.

As home values in the city continue to rise, there is less claim to Brisbane being relatively affordable, and some prospective interstate movers may decide to remain in their city,” she said. “Recent weeks have also demonstrated there is some added risk to pockets of the Brisbane property market from extreme weather and flooding, which could impact demand in the near term.



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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

By ELAINE YU
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.

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