Nick Hart bought four homes in Adelaide in less than two years, and was getting ready to make an offer for a fifth, when a regulator-inspired move to cool the sizzling Australian property market spoiled his plans.
“I went to my bank for my next home loan and their response was eligibility assessments have changed, and they can’t lend more to me just yet,” said the 37-year-old sales manager at a software services firm. Hart said the bank told him his existing loans, equivalent to 93 percent of the value of his A$1.8 million ($1.3 million) properties, need to be reduced before he can borrow any more.
Last month, Australian banks raised interest rates for property investors and introduced tougher loan-to-value standards in response to a move by regulators to rein in the riskier corners of the country’s house price boom. With interest rates stuck at record lows due to the slowdown in the wider economy, the central bank and the Australian banking regulator have been grappling with ways to prevent a property price bubble.
There are signs that the market may be cooling. Inquiries from property investors dropped by a quarter last month, said Paul Bevan, a Melbourne-based mortgage broker. Price gains in Sydney, the city which has seen the fastest increases, are expected to ease to about a third of the annual pace of 18 percent seen in the year to July 31, according to a Bloomberg survey of six market analysts.
“All ingredients are in place now to spook the Sydney house-price momentum,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney. “It is better to cool the market rather than wait for the bubble to burst.”
Low mortgage rates and a flood of Chinese investment have propelled prices 29 percent higher across Australia in the past three years, according to research firm CoreLogic Inc. Prices in Sydney have jumped 46 percent over the same period.
Last year, the Reserve Bank of Australia called the housing market unbalanced, and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority urged banks to limit the growth in investor home loans, which make up a record 53 percent of all mortgages, according to latest government figures.
The turning point came last month, when the banking regulator increased the capital that the banks need to hold against potential mortgage losses to an average of 25 percent, from 17 percent previously. That will force the four largest lenders to add A$12 billion in equity in a year, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs Inc. and Morgan Stanley.
In response, banks introduced a number of steps to curb borrowing for investment. They reduced the maximum loan amount they will lend relative to the value of a home, increased the interest rate used to assess borrowers’ ability to repay, and reduced the sources of income they would accept in investor borrowing applications.
Last month, the three biggest lenders — Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp. — increased home-loan rates for landlords by as much as much 30 basis points. For the first time since 1997, investors pay more than owner-occupiers on mortgages from those banks.
ANZ and National Australia Bank Ltd., the fourth-largest lender by market value, have capped the loan-to-value ratio at 90 percent, down from as much as 95 percent.
Investors are “still keen” to enter the property market but they would find it difficult to meet the new loan-to-value rules, said Martin North, principal at Sydney-based Digital Finance Analytics, citing a rolling survey of 26,000 households across the country on financial and property expectations.
“While I expect things to slow down through this year and into the next, a price collapse is unlikely when rates are still low,” North said.
Property investor Hart says homes are still his safest bet though he acknowledges he wouldn’t be able to expand his portfolio as fast as he had expected.
“By next year, I’m sure the value of my properties will rise further and I’d be able to pay down some of my mortgage,” he said. “Once that’s done, I can go to my bank for the next one.”
Real estate market in southeast Queensland has made a comeback since the GFC
LAST week with the family in tow, we ventured up the Bruce Highway to the Sunshine Coast.
I was calling auctions at Maroochydore for a number of offices on the coast, so we decided to mix business and pleasure and make a holiday out of it.
It was no small auction event either. The offices had amassed 66 properties from entry level units, canal front homes and even beach front penthouses!
I was calling the auctions with my regular coastal auctioneering partner Dan Sowden, principal at Ray White Maroochydore and the day was decorated with highlights.
But the value on the Sunshine Coast, and again the Queensland market, for me was an absolute stand out.
Bidding on one apartment in particular, 119/223 Weyba Rd, Noosaville, paused at $85,000. It’s a studio apartment and while it wasn’t sitting next to, Sails, on Hastings Street, it’s not in the middle of nowhere either.
I couldn’t believe the numbers I was calling out. When no one pushed beyond $85,000 we made the recommendation to pass the property in and I see it’s now listed at $102,000. Unbelievable!
We also sold the million dollar plus penthouses and the glamour properties too. It took us about six hours and the event was filled with excitement and drama.
But it’s the value story that I think will surprise many people, it certainly surprised me.
The Sunshine Coast has a relaxed holiday lifestyle, it has amazing beaches and world class restaurants.
So with all that on offer there will always be multimillion-dollar homes on the Sunshine Coast, but sub $100,000 properties, even sub $300,000 properties are a genuine reality for the discerning buyer
Every school holiday, and as we step closer to Christmas, many Aussie’s will do what we did this week and head to the beach. They will likely have had to pay a peak season rate for their accommodation and quite often that can spark the idea of buying a holiday house.
The Sunshine Coast was one of the hardest hit markets in the GFC, this impact is still showing value today. If the dinner table conversation involves a coastal retreat, before you squash it on account of affordability, I’d head to realestate.com.au or grab a copy of the Sunshine Coast Daily, you too might be surprised by the value, there appears to be property for all budgets.
Originally published as Coast tourist hot spot where bargains can be found
Where you can rent in Brisbane for only $400 a week
While renters in southern capitals such as Sydney and Melbourne worry about how to pay each week – let alone how to save a home deposit – Brisbane tenants can affordably rent within cooee of the city.
Domain Group data shows that there are 14 suburbs in the Brisbane City Council area with median rental prices of just $400 per week.
While renting an affordable unit can see you living within a couple of kilometres of the CBD, middle-ring houses in suburbs such as Upper Mount Gravatt and Oxley can also be leased affordably, according to the data.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) CEO Antonia Mercorella said Brisbane offered tenants the “best of both worlds” due to the affordability of desirable rental locations.
“Probably one of the strongest benefits is that you don’t have to go very far from the CBD to reach an affordable price point,” she said.
“Suburbs such as Bowen Hills, Cannon Hill, Kelvin Grove, Morningside and New Farm are all well serviced by public transport and are all within five kilometres of the CBD – you would never get that in Sydney or Melbourne.”
Some of the suburbs have more than just proximity to the city to offer, she said.
Kelvin Grove has some of Brisbane’s best schools and is very well serviced with public transport options, Ms Mercorella said.
“Springfield Lakes is one of the most popular new areas, and at the last Census was one of our fastest growing regions in Australia,” she said.
“It is a master-planned community that offers families a lifestyle option – lakefront living with a community feel.
“Morningside is a suburb in transformation, with a number of new small-lot developments renewing the area. It is also a suburb in close proximity to the prestige Hawthorne and Bulimba pocket at more affordable prices.”
Ray White New Farm’s Haesley Cush said inner-city tenant demand continued to grow strongly, with unit rental prices softer due to the ample supply of new apartments that had hit the market.
“Developers were so intent on letting out their properties because they had rental guarantees … that incentives came into the rental market for residential property for the first time in as long as I can remember,” he said.
“That put downward pressure on mum and dad investors with older units to compete with a brand-new unit where the developer not only has a better product in a lot of ways, but they were also offering incentives.”
Mr Cush said the new competition resulted in rents falling by about 30 per cent in New Farm. Lower interest rates were lessening the financial impact on landlords, however.
With supply of new units still high, most landlords were opting to retain their existing tenants and slowly increase the rent over time rather than take a punt on the open market, he said.
Mr Cush said southern buyers and renters were starting to stake their claim on the Brisbane rental and sales markets.
“I do think they won’t return once they get up here. The weather is better, school fees are cheaper, and it’s not the compromise in lifestyle for the difference in price,” he said.
“It does have less people, you don’t get as good a meal on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, and you can’t dine after 9.30pm still in most places, but for what is in some cases half the rent and sales price, we’re not talking about half the lifestyle.”
SEQ begins big push for a billion-dollar City Deal
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (left) and Treasurer Jackie Trad are pushing for a City Deal for south-east Queensland.
Photo: AAP/Dan Peled
Political delays dogging infrastructure projects will be history if talks on Tuesday morning cement a new billion-dollar 15-year City Deal for south-east Queensland between all three levels of government.
Such a deal could benefit 3 million people catching trains and buses, driving on highways, building businesses, looking for housing, and finding school and universities between the Sunshine and Gold coasts and west to Toowoomba.
Deputy premier Jackie Trad and Brisbane’s lord mayor Graham Quirk will on Tuesday morning outline how close the 10 south-east Queensland councils – Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley – are to signing Australia’s largest City Deal with the federal government.
Australia now has three City Deals backed by the federal government: Townsville (2016), Launceston (April 2017) and Western Sydney (March 2018).
Cr Quirk, the chairman of Council of Mayors (SEQ) that represents the region’s local governments, described a City Deal for the area as “a dramatic change”.
“The power of aligning the efforts of all levels of government and securing a long-term program of investment in our region will be a game changer,” Cr Quirk said.
“For the first time, all levels of government will be working in unison to protect and enhance the prosperity and liveability of south-east Queensland.”
Brisbane’s lord mayor Graham Quirk begins a campaign for a City Deal funding package for 10 councils on Tuesday morning.
Photo: Fairfax Media
A City Deal binds the three levels of government — federal, state and local — as a group to agree to a 15-year rolling funding program of infrastructure projects that a fast-growing region needs.
As projects provide a lift in land value, that financial uplift is identified, captured and then re-invested into the infrastructure funding pool, under a model first identified in Manchester in 2012 and then in Brisbane in 2014.
In April 2018, Cr Quirk and Ms Trad met the federal government’s new Cities and Urban Infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher, when they first put forward the SEQ City Deal.
All parties described those 2018 talks as “positive”.
Cr Quirk and Ms Trad will begin the public push for the SEQ City Deal at a business breakfast at Brisbane’s Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday.
“We secured Australia’s first ever City Deal in Townsville, which is paying dividends with projects like the North Queensland Stadium, delivered through the City Deal,” Ms Trad said.
“That is under construction and on track to be open for the start of the 2020 NRL season.”
Townsville’s City Deal is a 15-year arrangement, while Launceston’s is a five-year deal and Western Sydney’s is a 20-year deal.
The federal government is tipped to announce City Deals for Geelong and Darwin by September 2018, allowing planners to work on Hobart, Perth and south-east Queensland over 18 months.
How could it help?
It locks in project funds over 15 to 20 years, moving them away from political promises, which are subject to election outcomes. It could remove election squabbling over the same project.
It sets out a timetable for projects allowing the private sector to invest more confidently.
It could help the next generation of infrastructure projects, after the Pacific Motorway, Cross River Rail and Brisbane Metro projects were all delayed by politics, angering voters.
It has also been mentioned as a way of funding Moreton Bay’s new university campus at Petrie and breathing life into the Brisbane River’s Resilient Rivers proposal.
What is Townsville’s experience after 18 months?
The Townsville City Deal was signed on December 9, 2016. It is a 15-year agreement.
Work has begun on stage two of the 25,000-seat $250 million North Queensland Stadium. It will be finished for the 2020 rugby league season. It is funded by the federal and state governments, and Townsville City Council.
The Queensland government has promised $250 million for new water supply for Townsville.
A business case for new Townsville Port facilities is almost finished and the Queensland government has pledged $75 million for port upgrade.
Townville mayor Jenny Hill said choosing the right projects was essential to make a City Deal effective.
“The City Deal provides a roadmap for delivery that breaks the political cycle so it is very important to choose the right projects or areas for reform that will make the biggest difference to a city or region,” Cr Hill said.
“All three levels of government also need to buy into the key priorities of the local area that are included in any City Deal.”
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill on top of Castle Hill with Townsville in the background.
SEQ City Deal – the background
- May 2012: Co-funding model idea began in United Kingdom.
- June 2015: Queensland prepares its own case for City Deals after Ms Trad looked at the UK City Deals idea in Manchester.
- 2016: Council of Mayors (SEQ), Queensland Property Council and the Queensland government put a plan together.
- November 2016: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk signed a memorandum of understanding with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in November 2016 to develop “tailored City Deals” for Queensland.
- February 2017: Ms Trad and Cr Quirk wrote to then-federal cities minister Angus Taylor, agreeing to a joint submission.
- Late 2017: A Cities Transformation TaskForce established in Brisbane.
- June 2018: Queensland’s major contractors called for a City Deal.