IN 2017, property mogul Tim Gurner became one of the most hated men in Australia. But today, he’s having the last laugh.
LAST May, millionaire property developer Tim Gurner outraged millennials the world over after blaming their housing woes on smashed avocado and coffee.
The Melbourne man made the sensational comments during a 60 Minutes segment about housing affordability, telling the Nine network: “When I was buying my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for 19 bucks and four coffees at $4 each.”
Mr Gurner’s 2017 quote went viral, sparking hysterical headlines around the world and instantly turning Mr Gurner into a villain among young people struggling to break into the housing market.
But the 36-year-old’s comments have clearly done little to hold him back.
Last week, he was officially named as the third richest young person in Australia in the 2018 Financial Review Young Rich List thanks to his impressive $631 million fortune.
He was beaten only by Atlassian co-founders and serial rich-listers Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes, who took out the top two spots on the list for a record-breaking seventh year with a combined net worth of $14.2 billion.
The AFR also explained Mr Gurner had made a stack of cash by “targeting high-end buyers wanting to downsize”.
He got his start in property after taking over a lease on a suburban gym aged just 19, using $34,000 given to him by his grandfather.
A year later he sold the business and went into property development, riding Melbourne and Brisbane’s real estate boom.
At the peak of the smashed avo outrage, many of Mr Gurner’s detractors claimed he had enjoyed an unfair advantage from his grandfather’s cash.
But while the backlash has not affected Mr Gurner’s fortunes, he has previously spoken about the personal toll the scandal took.
At the time, Mr Gurner was ridiculed across social media and inundated with interview requests from local and international reporters alike.
In May this year, around a year on from the original controversy, Mr Gurner told Executive Style it had seriously impacted his life, and that his comments were taken out of context.
“I said it was really hard for them (millennials), I said I feel for them because there were real challenges, but I added I thought there was an issue in society with the amount of conspicuous consumer spending with the millennial generation,” he told the publication.
“I said a large number of this generation needs to lease (the) latest BMW, take the European holiday, buy a 70-inch TV, the latest designer suit, the latest phone, eat smashed avocado and $4 coffees every weekend.
“They took out the last bit and it all went crazy.”
Mr Gurner also described falling ill three days after the story went global as a result of stress — but said he did not regret making the comments.
“It really got me personally. We can all have a tough media facade but I am a normal person inside and it really hurt. But I learned a lot,” he said.
“I learned the haters talk a lot louder than the likers. And I think it did, ultimately, create a really good conversation around affordability and what the next generation will do about it, because it is a legitimate problem.”
Meanwhile, Ori Allon, who built his $539 million wealth in technology and property, scored fourth place in the Young Rich list, while equal fifth and sixth went to fitness entrepreneur Kayla Itsines and her fiance Tobi Pearce.
Seventh place went to Owen Kerr, with $460 million to his name thanks to his stake in foreign exchange Brokerage Company Pepperstone.
Husband-and-wife duo Collis and Cyan Ta’eed, who founded online graphic marketplace Envato, are jointly worth $428 million, earning them the eighth and ninth places, while farming and finance capital investor Peter Greensill sits in 10th place with $412 million in the bank.
The Young Rich List, now in its 15th year, tracks the wealth of the richest self-made Aussies aged under 40.
The 100 rich-listers featured this year have a staggering combined wealth of $23.5 billion — a huge increase on $13.2 billion last year.
Brisbane house prices tipped to rise 11pc in three years: QBE
BRISBANE homeowners will be the envy of their southern counterparts over the next few years, with property price growth predicted to be the strongest in the country.
BRISBANE homeowners will be the envy of their southern counterparts over the next few years, with property price growth predicted to be the strongest in the country after Adelaide.
House prices in the Queensland capital are forecast to rise by 11.3 per cent in the next three years, according to the latest BIS Economics Australian Housing Outlook commissioned by QBE Insurance.
Brisbane’s median house price is tipped to grow to $615,000 by June 2021.
But the outlook is less rosy for Brisbane apartment owners, with unit prices set to fall by 5.1 per cent over the next three years as the oversupply of stock continues to be absorbed and demand from investors weakens.
The median price for an apartment in Brisbane is expected to fall to $405,000 — the greatest forecast decline out of all capital cities.
Greater competition for inner-city apartments is tipped to cause investors to lower rents to try to draw tenants from more affordable city fringe locations.
Competitive unit rents and prices due to the oversupply may encourage some potential first home buyers to remain as renters, or alternatively preference an apartment purchase over a house.
But Queensland’s increasing population growth is expected to support buyer demand.
The report is the only one of its kind in Australia that looks at what house prices will do over the next three years.
‘Perfect storm’ to collapse capital city house prices by 20%
AMP Capital has revised its forecasts for the Australian property market downwards as a perfect storm of factors turns the property boom to a “bust”.
The wealth manager had previously predicted top-to-bottom price falls of 15 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne spread out to 2020, or about 5 per cent per year.
In a client note on Thursday, AMP Capital chief economist Dr Shane Oliver said that was now likely to be 20 per cent as “credit conditions tighten, supply rises and a negative feedback loop from falling prices risks developing”.
That would take average prices back to early 2015 levels. Dr Oliver maintained that a “crash”, defined as 20 per cent plus fall in national average prices, was unlikely – but his revised forecast points to near-crash territory.
“The risks are starting to skew to the downside – particularly around tighter credit and falling capital growth expectations made worse by fears of a change in tax arrangements,” he said. “Auction clearances in recent weeks have been running around levels roughly consistent with 7-8 per cent per annum price declines.”
CoreLogic figures show national house prices fell for the 12th consecutive month in September, with Sydney and Melbourne now 6.2 per cent and 4.4 per cent down from their respective peaks in July and November 2017.
Dr Oliver said the tide started to turn about a year ago due to a number of factors including poor affordability reducing the pool of buyers, tightened bank lending standards under pressure from regulators, and a “significant pool” of interest-only borrowers scheduled to switch to principal and interest in the next few years.
Adding to that was banks withdrawing from lending to self-managed super funds, reducing the pool of property investors, and a sharp fall in foreign buyers due to Australian government crackdowns.
Chinese investment in Australian property has fallen by 70 per cent since 2015.
Meanwhile there is rising unit supply, out-of-cycle mortgage rate increases, expectations of changes to tax concessions if Labor wins the next election, and falling price growth expectations creating FONGO, or “fear of not getting out”.
“On their own some of these are not significant, but together they risk creating a perfect storm for the property market,” he said.
Dr Oliver said a crash would require “much higher interest rates or unemployment, neither of which are expected, or a continuation of the recent high construction rates, which is unlikely as approvals are falling, and a collapse in immigration”.
“Strong population growth is continuing to drive strong underlying demand for housing,” he said, adding that while mortgage stress was a risk, “it tends to be overstated”.
“There has been a sharp reduction in interest only loans already, debt servicing payments as a share of income have actually fallen slightly over the last decade, a significant number of households are ahead on their repayments, and banks’ non-performing loans remain low,” he said.
“However, the risk of a crash cannot be ignored given the danger that banks may overreact and become too tight and that investors decide to exit in the face of falling returns, low yields and possible changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax.”
Even without a crash, the property downturn will affect the broader economy “via slowing dwelling construction, negative wealth effects on consumer spending, less demand for household goods and via the banks as credit growth slows and if mortgage defaults rise”.
“This will provide an offset to strong growth in infrastructure spending and solid growth in business investment and will constrain economic growth to around 2.5-3 per cent which in turn will keep wages growth and inflation low,” he said.
AMP’s housing market forecast is the most bearish of the major financial institutions. Morgan Stanley last week said it was expecting 15 per cent falls, “which would mark the largest decline since the early 1980s”, while ANZ and Macquarie have predicted falls of 10 per cent.
Population Boom in Brisbane Won’t Lift House Prices: Opinion
The figures include interstate migration movements.
Queensland’s improving population growth is usually accompanied with rising property values. But this doesn’t appear to be the case at present.
Before I explain what I think is going on, let’s quickly summarise where things are at when it comes to population growth.
- Australia’s annual population growth is rising and currently growing by just under 380,000 per annum
- Three-fifths of this growth is due to net overseas migration
- Some 250,000 or two-thirds of this growth is taking place in NSW and Victoria
- Queensland’s annual population growth is now 83,000, up from 58,000 in 2015 – a big improvement.
Talk has now turned to it being Queensland’s turn to enjoy some serious property value appreciation as residents migrate north from Sydney and, in some instances, from Melbourne.
Many believe this to be the gospel truth. Trying to contradict this mindset is increasingly hard.
So, I will let the four charts do a lot of the talking.
Chart 1: Queensland annual population growth
Chart 1 shows that Queensland’s net interstate migration is improving, up from 6,000 people in 2014 to 24,000 over the last twelve months.
But it still accounts for less that 30 per cent of the state’s annual population growth.
So, the other components of population growth – being natural increase and net overseas migration – are really having a bigger impact.
Chart 2: House price growth v population growth
To that end it often pays to take a wider view, so chart 2 shows total Queensland population growth – advanced by twelve months, see the grey line on chart 2 – compared against annual house price growth (red line) in Brisbane.
In general, there is a relationship between the two – higher population growth usually means more upward pressure on house price growth. Yes, sometimes this relationship has lapsed for a period of time but there have been valid reasons why – as I have noted in chart 2 via the grey highlights.
And importantly chart 2 suggests that property values across Queensland, and in particular across the south east corner of the state, should be improving at a much faster growth rate (see my blue highlight.)
Yet the annual growth rate remains sluggish and has even taken a backward step over recent months, despite the lift in population growth.
Yes, the recent overbuilding of inner Brisbane apartments is having an impact but in the overall scheme of things this impact is small.
Something else must be going on.
Chart 3: Annual employment indicators
That something else is shown in chart 3.
This chart shows that job creation isn’t getting ahead of the increase in population, so Queensland’s level of unemployment isn’t changing much.
In other words, a large proportion of the interstate migrants moving to Queensland are unemployed.
On that note most of Queensland’s interstate migrants come from Sydney and in the most part are young couples trying to make a new start in Brisbane.
In short, they are economic refugees.
Chart 4: House price growth v net economic benefit per person
And chart 4 brings home the bacon.
This chart shows that the net economic benefit per capita or head of population in Queensland is in a slump. It is rising in both New South Wales and Victoria.
This chart also shows that there is a strong connection between economic benefit per head and house prices. When we aren’t all sharing in the economic spoils, local property values either flat line (as they did in the early to mid-1990s) or actually fall (like they have done in the recent past).
Because of the delay factor between economic wellbeing and house values, the recent fall in economic benefit per head suggests that local house values, could actually stagnate, not rise, in the coming years ahead.
So, more bums on a Queensland seat – this time around – isn’t shining everyone’s backside.
Yes, the total rate of economic growth in Queensland has lifted of late, but this isn’t being shared among the local residents as it has in the past.
To summarise, in Queensland, there are too many people and not enough economy.
It gets to the stage where just increasing the size of the local population isn’t enough.
So, while there is increased interest from interstate (and an overall lift in population growth), unless we see a dramatic improvement in the state’s economy, more bums on seats isn’t really doing the average Queenslander much good.
And this is why there is limited house price growth. In fact, Queensland’s housing market may actually be punching above its weight. Generic house price growth in south east Queensland over the next year or two is far from certain
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