With the year almost at an end, it’s that time when we all stop to reflect on what has passed, before we move on into the future. This most certainly applies to the development and property industry, where we take the time to reflect on the market and where it may be heading in 2017.
Experts from Colliers International in Brisbane and the Gold Coast have take the time to provide commentary on the South East Queensland capital market and metro markets to review the year-that-was and to provide a forecast for the coming new year.
By Tom Barr, National Director of Capital Markets
In 2016 we have seen an increasing buy-side capital demand, particularly from offshore capital, fuelled largely by the substantial yield arbitrage available between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Domestic asset managers have been increasingly active in the market representing offshore capital mandates, as the listed A-REIT’s have found it difficult to compete due to their required hurdle rates of return.
In 2016, our team has received over 85 per cent of bids from offshore parties for the sale campaigns of 41 George Street and Green Square, with the origin of offshore capital on these campaigns emanating from Singapore, USA, Korea and Germany.
Only three major office investments have traded thus far in the core CBD in 2016. The lack of on market core CBD office opportunities has seen investors turn their attention to quality large scale assets outside the traditional CBD grid.
We have seen that with the sales of 100 Skyring Terrace Newstead (50% interest), ATO Upper Mount Gravatt, and the pending sale of Green Square Fortitude Valley.
Record high vacancy rates in Brisbane have resulted in a two-tiered leasing and capital market, as tenants and buyers continue to be focused on the prime-grade end of the market. However with forecasts showing an improving leasing market over the next couple of years, we anticipate an increasing number of buyers willing to go up the risk curve and make counter cyclical plays in the secondary-grade CBD market. We have seen this beginning to emerge, with the transactions of 333 Adelaide Street and 444 Queen Street (66% interest) in 2016.
Given the backdrop of limited supply and unprecedented buy-side capital demand, in 2017 we anticipate market yields will continue to tighten and are expected to breach 5.5 per cent in the core CBD market. Buy-side capital demand will continue to be dominated by offshore groups
We anticipate an increase in the number of owners wanting to capitalise on the unprecedented strength of buy-side capital demand from offshore, and divest out of their investments. The demand from offshore groups will strengthen further in 2017.
Given the heightened geo-political and macro-economic situation globally, and a surprising outcome in the US presidential election, we foresee an increasing number of transactions will be driven by a motivation to repatriate offshore capital back to select origins.
We have already seen this begin to emerge with a number of transactions being driven by repatriation of Malaysian capital.
By Hunter Higgins, Director of Investment Services
In the Brisbane metro market there has been a noticeable change in the demand shift from residential development sites to quality investment stock. With this change in direction, we have also experienced a significant lift in student accommodation and aged care facility developments.
Developers are focusing on investment grade stock with value add potential, and investors are very active in the market due to low interest rates and volatile stock market.
Distinct lack of quality stock has created competitive tension between prospective purchasers, which has ultimately reflected in sharper yields and increased end sale prices. We have also had a significant increase in auction success with 87.5% of properties transacted via auction.
In 2017 we are likely to see a noticeable change in site values due to supply, and the yields for quality stock will continue to remain robust. We are already experiencing significant inbound capital from offshore, investors are now starting to focus on Queensland, due to excessive yields in Sydney and Melbourne.
Demand will remain strong for the CBD and immediate fringe quality blue chip and premium assets such as fast food, service stations, neighbourhood retail and shopping centres. Any value add opportunities with quality national and multinational tenants are favoured.
In Brisbane we are also seeing Asian buyers channeling capital into quality assets. According to CityScope, 43 out of the 137 strata-titled ground floor retail units in the Brisbane City are under Asian ownership.
Originally Published: https://www.theurbandeveloper.com/
How good an investment is south-east Queensland
Why do we believe we’ll see increasing investor interest in this market? Strong population growth, a diversified and growing economy, and substantial investment in infrastructure should combine to boost demand.
We expect that these factors will swell the number of white-collar jobs – increasing demand for office space, which in turn will push down vacancy rates and raise rental incomes. This should be good news for office property investors – especially those like Centuria Metropolitan REIT (CMA) that are already well-positioned in the market.
A significant and growing population
South East Queensland (SEQ) stretches from the Gold Coast up to the Sunshine Coast and across to Toowoomba in the west. As Australia’s third-largest population zone, the region has been growing significantly, particularly Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Interstate migration figures show a pattern of steady net migration, with Queensland the only Australian state with consistent net inflows of people from other states. In the five years prior to the 2016 Census, over 220,000 people moved to the Sunshine State – mainly to SEQ where nearly 90% of population growth occurred. This is important for property investors because of its implications for demand, but the trend is interconnected with other favourable factors.
A diversified economy poised for growth
Queensland’s economy is diversified across a range of industries including agriculture, resources, construction, tourism, manufacturing, and services. Over the past two decades, its economic growth has consistently exceeded the national average – and in our view this is likely to continue.
The resources sector is gaining momentum, and a significant pipeline of major infrastructure and development projects is helping propel economic and jobs growth, in turn increasing interstate migration and driving demand for both residential and commercial property.
Investment in infrastructure
A strong infrastructure program delivers more than business and consumer amenity – it generates jobs, drives investment, and facilitates population growth. The pipeline of infrastructure and development projects announced in the past few years is likely to have a material impact on the region – substantially improving its accessibility and amenity – most notably, Brisbane’s Queen’s Wharf precinct and the Cross River Rail.
Queen’s Wharf, touted as a “world-class entertainment precinct”, is an integrated resort development costing $3.6 billion and covering over 26 hectares with retail, dining, hotel and entertainment spaces. As Queensland’s biggest ever tourism project it will be a game-changer for Brisbane, attracting overseas as well as local visitors. Estimated to contribute $1.69 billion annually to the economy, it will employ more than 2,000 people during construction and an estimated 10,000 once operational.
The Queensland Government’s number one infrastructure project, the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail, comprises a new 10.2km rail line between Dutton Park and Bowen Hills, which includes a 5.9km tunnel under the Brisbane River and CBD. It’s the first major rail infrastructure investment in the inner city since 1986 and is set to generate urban renewal, economic development and the revitalisation of inner-city precincts.
Outlook for commercial office property investment
These factors indicate a region poised for growth – and for growing commercial property demand. CMA’s portfolio has a significant exposure to the area in general (six SEQ assets with a combined book value of over $480 million), with many of the individual assets located in those parts of Brisbane set to benefit most from these developments.
Our view is that Brisbane office markets, where five of CMA’s assets sit, are continuing to improve, with vacancies hitting a five-year low – indicating increasing tenant demand – and continued yield compression, demonstrating strong investment demand. Office sales hit the highest level in a decade during 2018 (at $2.35 billion), increasing 60% from 2017.
With the strong outlook for SEQ, we expect the region will continue to attract tenants and investors alike.
Queensland’s 100,000-property public housing shortfall revealed
Queensland has a severe shortage of social and affordable housing, an issue that is projected to get worse by 2036 according to new research.
More than 102,000 additional social houses are currently needed across the state, and 54,700 affordable houses are also needed with nearly 13 per cent of Queenslanders spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.
By 2036, Queensland is projected to need 254,300 more social and affordable houses – the second-highest unmet need behind NSW, the report found.
The new figures come from a UNSW City Futures Research Centre report on social housing shortfall across Australia.
Regional social housing shortfalls are higher than in Brisbane, the data shows, but Brisbane residents are slightly more likely to be spending more of their income on rent.
Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said housing affordability was a “big issue” for Queensland.
“Through the Palaszczuk government’s $1.8 billion Queensland Housing Strategy, Labor is driving key reforms and targeted investment across the housing continuum,” he said.
“The Strategy commits us to build more than 1000 affordable homes for Queenslanders, as well as a further 4522 new social homes to help ensure everyone has a safe, secure and stable place to live.”
Lead researcher Laurence Troy said 22.5 per cent of Australia’s entire housing growth must go to social housing to meet demand into the future.
“Our analysis shows that the sheer number of households in rental stress across the country means that if we’re going to meet the need, at least 12 per cent of all our housing by 2036 will need to be social and affordable housing – which is a very reasonable ambition in global terms,” Mr Troy said.
“To cover the backlog of unmet need and future need in Australia two in 10 new homes will need to be for social housing over the next 20 years, and a further one in ten for below-market affordable rental housing.”
Mr Troy said the research’s financial modelling found the “best and cheapest way” for governments to meet the need for social housing was to fund it through upfront grants and low-interest government financing.
“Delivering below market rental housing through the not-for-profit sector, as opposed to the private equity model, will save $3 billion a year by removing developer mark-ups and shareholder returns,” he said.
The financial modelling was commissioned by the NSW community housing sector.
Mr de Brenni said the state government was “listening” through its recent public consultation on rental reform and was committed to investing in affordable housing in partnership with community housing, to provide more subsidied homes for low income earners.
“We heard Queenslanders are struggling to afford rental properties in the suburbs close to where they work,” he said.
“Through our Build-to-Rent pilot project, we are seeking to work with the private sector to increase the number of long-term, affordable rental properties for low to moderate income earners, including key workers in health, early childhood and hospitality.
“Internationally, the Build-to-Rent model is delivering fantastic outcomes and facilities for tenants and we’re looking to see what the market is open to delivering here.
“The pilot, if it proceeds, will see $70 million invested towards delivery of hundreds of affordable rental properties for key workers in inner-city areas where affordability has been identified.”
Mr de Brenni said the registrations of interest for that pilot had seen strong market interest, and the department was considering the responses before calling for expressions of interest.
Treasury: Negative Gearing Reforms Will Have ‘Little to No Effect’ on House Prices
Federal Treasury has delivered a serious rebuke to the Coalition for exaggerating the impact of Labor’s negative gearing and capital gains changes.
In emails released under freedom of information, acting treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer requested the department fact check the Coalition’s claims that Labor’s policies would cause house prices to fall.
In response, Treasury issued a correction: “The [s]tatement is not consistent with our advice.”
“We did not say that the proposed policies ‘will’ reduce house prices,” the email reads.
“We said that they ‘could’ put downward pressure on house prices in the short-term depending on what else was going on in the market at the time.
“But in the long-term they were unlikely to have much impact.”
Labor has jumped on the release, with shadow treasurer Chris Bowen saying that the government had been “caught red-handed” misrepresenting Treasury’s advice.
For his part, treasurer Josh Frydenberg denied that the government was misrepresenting Treasury, pointing to the Financial Review’s take on the release that changes “could” put downward pressure on house prices in the short term.
Frydenberg quoted building industry group the Masters Builders Association figures.
“If Labor’s policy is in place you’ll see 32,000 fewer jobs and 42,000 fewer homes being built.”
House prices hit spending
It has been a difficult week in economic policy, with GDP figures released on Wednesday revealing that the economy has slowed significantly, entering a “per capita recession” for the first time in 13 years.
Retail trade figures for the March quarter were also sluggish, with falling house prices impacting wealth and spending.
RBA governor Philip Lowe highlighted the link between the two at the AFR annual business summit on Wednesday.
“The evidence is that a tightening in credit supply has contributed to the slowdown in credit growth,” Lowe said.
“The main story, though, is one of reduced demand for credit, rather than reduced supply.
“When housing prices are falling, investors are less likely to enter the market and to borrow. So too are owner-occupiers for a while.”