Fraught as it is to make predictions, it’s that time of year, when taking a stab at what 2018 will hold is expected of business columnists.
Rather than forecast where the stock market will travel in 2018 – because that is way too dangerous – of even where commodities will go – which would be another perilous pursuit – I will confine my crystal-ball gazing to house prices and interest rates.
In 2017, we saw definitive signs of a change in direction on residential dwelling prices. After some false starts there is clear evidence that the property market is cooling.
We should expect this to continue in 2018 but at this stage there are no immediate signs of the property bubble bursting and a crash in prices.
Other than Perth and Darwin, which have both seen sizeable declines in property values over the past year, Sydney and Adelaide are the only cities where residential prices have started to actually decline and this should continue over the next 12 months.
In Melbourne, prices have essentially just held steady over the past few months. In the early stages of 2018, Melbourne should join its northern neighbour and prices should start to drift down.
The national property market declines will be driven by the falls in Melbourne and Sydney, which will be larger.
To the extent housing prices continue to experience a soft landing we should be grateful to the financial regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
It has essentially cleaned up the mess left by the Reserve Bank, which cut interest rates to the bone and in doing so created the preconditions for the massive price rises for housing.
APRA seems (to date) to have successfully employed “macroprudential” measures that essentially put checks on bank lending – curbing the rate of growth in interest-only loans and investor loans.
In response, banks started to increase the interest rates for these borrowers – which had the effect of cooling demand.
Meanwhile, over the past couple of months the clearing rate for housing sales has fallen significantly, which suggests seller expectations have not come down to match the market so many properties are simply not being sold.
Real estates agents may not be happy with this trend but it does indicate the property sellers are not especially financially distressed. In other words, they are not forced sellers.
This augurs well for a steady deflation in house prices in 2018.
This view is echoed by the group that monitors and collates property prices, CoreLogic. It expects to see a further slowdown in national housing market conditions and continued tightness on credit policies as “regulators keep a watchful eye out for a rebound in investment credit growth or, a reversal in the trend towards fewer mortgages with a loan to valuation ratio of more than 80 per cent”.
CoreLogic is also a member of the growing band of experts that don’t see an interest rate rise coming in 2018.
I agree with them but would go one step further and predict that we won’t see interest rates rises for at least the first half of 2019, given there is little prospect of inflation and wages growth in the short term.
(In December’s mid-year economic fiscal outlook, the government revised down its expectations for wages growth.)
Among economists there is little consensus. Financial markets point to a 50:50 chance of a rate rise to 1.75 per cent by the end of next year from the current rate of 1.5 per cent.
National Australia Bank economists are looking for two rate rises in 2018 – one in the middle and one towards the end.
At the other end of the spectrum, Westpac sees no rate movement in 2018.
Shane Oliver from AMP pitches his expectations somewhere in the middle and is looking for one rate rise in late 2018.
And Deutsche Bank economist Adam Boyton isn’t expecting a change in rates for quite some time.
“That view reflects not just an expectation that inflation is likely to remain low and wages growth stubbornly weak; but also that household incomes and spending will remain under pressure,” he says.
While the economy is expected to continue its gradual pick-up, it will be somewhat constrained until households begin to feel good again.
Gold Coast house values record the biggest growth in Queensland
The Gold Coast has recorded the strongest growth in house prices in Queensland over the past 12 months.
GOLD Coast house prices are leading the way in Queensland, up six per cent in the past 12 months to an average $620,000.
The latest figures by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland show homes on the Glitter Strip are $35,000 more on the same time last year.
Unit prices are up 1.9 per cent to $428,000.
REIQ data reveals houses on the Glitter Strip are worth $35,000 on the same time last year.
REIQ’s Queensland Market Monitor for March said the strong population growth came on the back of infrastructure projects such as the $550 million Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct and M1 upgrades.
“The property market has been one of the big winners from the sporting event as the $1.5 billion infrastructure investment has boosted confidence and demand for housing in the region,” the report stated.
“We expect house prices will show an upward path in 2018. However, this growth will most likely be more moderate.”
A quiet real estate period leading up to, and during, the Commonwealth Games likely contributed to a slight drop (-0.3 per cent) in the March quarterly median sales price, the report reveals.
Andrew Henderson says a growing population and employment opportunities were contributing to a strong property market. Picture: Jerad Williams
REIQ Gold Coast zone chairman Andrew Henderson said he expected interstate migration to continue to benefit the city.
“I expect the market to remain strong,” he said.
“There is a heavy amount of interstate buyers moving here.
“I was at an auction recently where the winning bidder was from Sydney and the underbidder was from Melbourne.”
Mr Henderson said growing employment opportunities were also attracting homebuyers to the city.
The Gold Coast property market is expected to remain strong.
“We have some of the best health facilities in the country and our universities are world recognised.
“Those two things alone complement the tourism industry and the lifestyle aspects that the Coast offers.”
The report found the fastest-selling suburbs on the Coast included Worongary, Merrimac, Highland Park, Mudgeeraba and Carrara.
It also revealed the rental vacancy held tight throughout the first quarter of the year at 1.1 per cent.
Andrew Bell says the Coast had evolved from a tourist town into a vibrant city with an expanding economy. Picture Mike Batterham
Ray White Surfers Paradise Group CEO Andrew Bell said the Games heralded the next chapter for the Coast, as it evolved from a tourist town into a vibrant city with an expanding economy.
“The city’s property market is riding the irreversible momentum that has now come to the Gold Coast in terms of economic diversity and with more employment options we will need more housing options for people,” Mr Bell said.
“We are no longer going to be subject to tourism upsides and downsides as we were in the past because our economy has well and truly diversified beyond just tourism.”
Australia’s golden triangle of opportunity
It was great to be back on the Gold Coast for the 21st annual Australasian Real Estate Conference (AREC), attended by over 4,000 of Australia’s best industry professionals. While I was there I was once again reminded of how much potential the South-East Queensland property market is offering both sea changers and investors at this stage in its market cycle.
In my view, Brisbane is the best market in Australia currently for short to medium term price growth, with the value gap between it and the other big East Coast capitals as large as I’ve seen it in many years.
When you factor in the key drivers for future growth – liveability, affordability, scale and future economic prospects, they all suggest that Brisbane is a market to invest in. Check out the latest statistics from CoreLogic below.
Value gap – median house prices
Value gap – median apartment prices
I’ve been bullish on Brisbane for many years and in hindsight, I called its next growth phase a couple of years too early. It’s had some growth in recent years but there is a lot more to come over the next few years.
According to McGrath’s top prestige agent in Brisbane, Alex Jordan, one of the dominant trends today is downsizers buying up luxury apartments.
Alex says: “Despite the reported oversupply in Brisbane’s inner city apartment market, we are seeing great strength in the prestige apartment sector.
“The luxury apartment market ($1M+) is driven by owner occupiers, particularly baby boomers and empty nesters, who are attracted to less maintenance and better accessibility.
“Popular suburbs include New Farm, Newstead, Teneriffe, Kangaroo Point, South Brisbane, St Lucia, Paddington and the Brisbane CBD. These areas offer a desirable lifestyle with an abundance of shopping, dining and entertaining precincts at their doorstep.”
South East Queensland has so many options for asset-rich, cash-poor southerners. Many of our customers in Sydney and Melbourne are looking closely at South East Queensland both for investment and a potential sea change. I believe its affordability will continue to attract record levels of interstate migration.
If you live in Sydney or Melbourne and you’re struggling with the mortgage and cost of living, Brisbane is a fantastic alternative. It offers big city job opportunities, high quality education options and the chance to transform your financial future.
The boom delivered Sydney and Melbourne home owners a capital gain of up to 75% – that’s enormous new equity that could be cashed in to fund an amazing new lifestyle with far less mortgage stress up north. Plus, you’d be buying in just before Brisbane’s next wave of price growth. It’s the perfect scenario.
I believe the area from the Gold Coast to Toowoomba and up to the Sunshine Coast is Australia’s golden triangle right now.
Toowoomba, with its expanded airport facilities which have opened up easy access to the south, is the perfect and affordable treechange destination. Known as Queensland’s Garden City, about 2,300 people moved here from Brisbane last year for its cheaper house prices and enjoyable regional city lifestyle.
Both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are also appealing sea change options benefitting from a raft of new infrastructure that will drive further population growth and generate more local jobs.
Brisbane is one of the world’s great cities but I don’t think this is fully realised as yet. If you haven’t been to Brisbane for a number of years, get on a plane. This is a thriving city that offers many of the lifestyle amenities you love about the southern capitals but at a much cheaper price.
I think Brisbane will also become very attractive to migration and investment from Asia in the years ahead.
South East Queensland is offering opportunity everywhere for both owner occupiers and investors alike. Now’s the time to consider what Australia’s premier lifestyle market can do for you!
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella on What’s Next for Brisbane’s Property Market
After five years of booming apartment construction, Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella says Brisbane is now entering a new era of game-changing mixed-use development that has the potential to propel the city into a sophisticated lifestyle destination.
Brisbane’s real estate market is in the midst of a dramatic transformation, and combined with the Queensland government’s $45 billion infrastructure pledge, Mercorella says it’s exciting times ahead for the Sunshine state capital.
The Urban Developer spoke with Mercorella about what’s next for Brisbane’s transitioning property market.
TUD: Brisbane’s project pipeline: What’s new in Brisbane?
AM: The $3 billion Queen’s Wharf Project, Howard Smith Wharves, the new Brisbane Airport Redevelopment, the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail, the Brisbane Quarter and the new $350 million Herston Quarter are all developments changing Brisbane’s city skyline and creating dynamic economic and vibrant community hubs.
However, probably one of the most exciting projects to be unveiled is the Brisbane Live project which, if successful, will deliver an exciting Maddison Square Garden-type venue and precinct right in the heart of the city.
TUD: Brisbane’s growing city: How is it changing?
AM: Queensland is home to more than five million people – and this figure is expected to grow. We’re seeing more people moving here in ever increasing numbers.
Queensland has overtaken Victoria as the state receiving the highest number of interstate migrants. Overseas migration to Queensland is the highest it’s been in more than a decade and this is driving demand for accommodation.
In addition, the way we live is changing.
Queenslanders have embraced apartment living, choosing to live in smaller spaces closer to work and entertainment precincts. According to CoreLogic, more than 17 per cent of Queenslanders live in apartments, higher than Victorians at 15 per cent. Of course, New South Wales leads the pack, with 22 per cent.
TUD: Brisbane’s inner city apartment market – where to next?
AM: Much has been made of the soft inner city apartment market. But will that continue? Or will value rebound as migrants move in and scoop up the bargains to be found?
The inner city apartment market is patchy but if you do your research there are good opportunities to be found. Albion, Bowen Hills and Brisbane City unit markets have grown in median unit prices over the past 12 months while Fortitude Valley eased 1.2 per cent.
To find out more about Brisbane’s changing real estate market join the REIQ Property Insider lunch. Speakers include:
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk
CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher, and
Realestate.com.au EGM Residential Andrew Rechtman
Tickets are selling fast to this event. Don’t miss an opportunity to get valuable insights into Brisbane 2.0.
What: REIQ Property Insider lunch presented by Aon
When: Friday 1 June
Where: Moda, Portside Hamilton
Cost: $155 non-members $130 members
- Developments3 months ago
Brisbane and interstate investors drawn to up-and-coming King Street precinct
- Opinion2 years ago
Are we headed for a housing crash — or not?
- Market Place5 months ago
Looking for a property to rent? Good luck finding something here
- Market Place5 months ago
How to make $1 million ‘flipping’ houses
- Infrastructure5 months ago
How train lines are driving property prices
- Market Place2 years ago
Brisbane real estate: Most expensive homes see growing sales results
- Developments4 years ago
Investors turning to Brisbane
- Developments5 months ago
Sekisui House Lodges Plans for Added Public Green Space to Meet Approval Conditions