From Chris Joye today: One of the most enduring legacies left by the royal commission will be more conservative and risk-averse banks. This process was already underway after the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) embraced the 2014 financial system inquiry recommendation that the banks deleverage. Since then the four majors have raised more than $50
Australian property is one the widest and deepest asset bubbles in the history of capitalism. Any objective assessment of this “market” can lead to no other conclusion.
With a long history of commitment to home ownership, Australians have always been prepared to structure their finances around property. This showed up in a total dwelling stock to GDP ratio that persisted around a very high 150% from 1960 to 1990. In the late 1990s that shot up to 200% and then embarked on near ceaseless climb to 360% today.
There are many other guides to the extreme overvaluation of Australian property. The ratio of household debt (overwhelmingly mortgages) to disposable income is the highest in the world at 186%. Median price to income multiples are anything from 12x in Sydney, to 10x in Melbourne, down to still immensely unaffordable 6x in smaller capitals, up from 3-4x times in all over the long run for all. The extent of overvaluation is plain.
What makes the Australian property bubble unique is the degree to which it has warped the nation’s political economy. Once a diverse and vibrant resources and manufacturing economy, over the twenty years that the Australian housing bubble grew that shape changed completely. An huge proportion of the debt underpinning Australian property is borrowed from offshore, almost $1 trillion, mostly by its big four major banks. This perpetually inflated the local currency, as well as input costs like land prices, which dramatically diminished Australian competitiveness and drove tradable sectors like manufacturing offshore. From 14% of output in the 1970s, manufacturing hit 5% of output in 2016, the lowest in the OECD.
Moreover, the centrality of Australia property to the wealth of the national polity increasingly distorted policy and even elections. In the 2008 global financial crisis, the then Labor government bailed out the the big four banks with guarantees to their offshore loans, rewriting the entire rule book for Australia’s financial architecture in one panicked afternoon. Public subsidies poured into demand-side stimulus, as well as RMBS markets. Any notion that Australian property was a “market” evaporated. Australian property was, and remains, a kind of asset quango, a public/private partnership in support of the retirement plans of its pre-dominant Baby Boomer generation.
MacroBusiness cover all elements of Australian property daily.
These guarantees exist to this day and reached their peak distortion to the political economy in 2016 when the ruling Liberal/National Party Coalition government fought and won an election in the singular defense of “negative gearing”, the principal tax policy most responsible for investor’s favouring property over other asset classes.
Contemporary Australia does not just have a property bubble, it has morphed into Propertocracy in which the primacy of house prices determines who leads the country, what policies are chosen and which generations prosper.
By Leith van Onselen The deflation of Sydney’s housing market rolls on, with values falling another 0.10% in the week ended 17 May, according to CoreLogic: Sydney home values have now declined by a cumulative 4.7% over the past 36-weeks, with values also down 4.6% over the past 41 weeks. Sydney’s quarterly growth rate remains firmly
By Leith van Onselen In the week ended 17 May 2018, the CoreLogic 5-city daily dwelling price index, which covers the five major capital city markets, fell another 0.08%: Values fell across all major markets except Adelaide: So far in May, home values have declined by 0.9%, led by Sydney: So far in 2018,
Via the AFR: …Bankwest…is overhauling credit policy and treatment of residential apartments. Units equal to, or greater than 40 square metres, will be subject to an 80 per cent loan to value ratio (LVR), or up to 95 per cent for borrowers with lenders’ mortgage insurance. Units between 30 square metres and 40 square metres
By Leith van Onselen In the wake of June’s Grenfell tower disaster in London, which claimed the lives of around 80 people, the Queensland Government is preparing to spend “tens-of-millions of dollars” to make dozens of government buildings safer. From The ABC: A year-long inquiry has found about 880 buildings need further investigation but at
By Leith van Onselen CoreLogic’s Daily home values index shows that quarterly values are falling fastest in Sydney (-0.94%) and Melbourne (-0.77%), which has dragged the five-city index down by 0.65% over the quarter: As we have reported previously, first home buyer (FHB) stamp duty incentives were introduced in both NSW and VIC from 1
By Leith van Onselen Over the past year or so, we have witnessed a growing backlash against Sydney’s break-neck population growth and the deleterious impact it is having on infrastructure, housing and liveability. To date, this backlash has encompassed the Labor Opposition, Government backbench MPs, former senior public servants, local councils, and residents. Now it
By Leith van Onselen The latest unit price results from CoreLogic revealed that Brisbane’s unit values continue to languish, down some 13% below their March 2008 peak: Domain also revealed that Brisbane unit rents have experienced zero nominal growth in more than five years (i.e. since December 2012): Little wonder then that The ABC in
Via The Advisor: Slower credit growth and reduced borrowing capacity are expected to wipe 10 per cent off volumes this year, but brokers may find a silver lining in their trail commissions. Investor lending has fallen by 16.1 per cent over the year to March, while owner-occupied lending is off by 2.2 per cent, according
By Leith van Onselen With the release yesterday of the ABS lending finance data for March, it’s an opportune time to once again chart how capital city house prices are tracking against both investor and total housing finance. As readers no doubt already know, housing finance has historically been strongly correlated with values, therefore it
By Leith van Onselen SQM Research has released its rental vacancy series for April, which revealed a steady national vacancy rate over the month but a 0.3% decline over the year: Over the year, decreases in vacancies were recorded in Adelaide (-0.5%), Perth (-1.1%), Melbourne (-0.2%), Brisbane (-0.7%), Canberra (-0.2%), and Darwin (-0.1%), whereas a
By Leith van Onselen Australia’s speculator frenzy continues to retreat, according to today’s Lending Finance data for March, released by the ABS. As shown below, the annual value of investor loans in New South Wales (read Sydney) is falling fast, whereas Victoria (read Melbourne) is also moderating. Investor loans in the other major jurisdictions are either
By Leith van Onselen For years, MB has called on the federal government to implement the second tranche of anti-money laundering (AML) legislation covering real estate gate keepers, which was promised more than a decade ago and has undergone stakeholder consultations in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2017, but has been shelved each time. MB’s incessant
By Leith van Onselen Treasurer Scott Morrison has been accused by major property developers of trying to stifle the development of a “build-to-rent” sector in Australia. Morrison has reportedly published a draft law that would ban managed investment trusts from acquiring residential property unless the property is targeted at low-income consumers. This law, in turn,
By Leith van Onselen The AFR reports that the VIC and NSW Governments are facing multi-billion dollar slowdowns in stamp duty receipts as lower sales and falling prices hits revenue: Both states’ Treasuries are warning their governments they might have to tighten their belts after nearly seven years of tax windfalls filled their coffers, the analysis
Banking Day pulls no punches today: It’s going to be massive, the pain in banking. The credit crunch is breaking for crisis. Housing prices are turning toward freefall, with discounting the only real option for vendors in a market now dictated by bargain hunters. RateCity summed up Friday morning’s ABS data on housing lending for
Via The Australian: Billionaire apartment developer Harry Triguboff has brought in a raft of measures to halt weakening sales in a market he says is “getting worse”, while other developers including Stockland CEO Mark Steinert are also feeling the squeeze. Mr Triguboff, founder of Meriton, has increased commissions to real estate agents, is covering buyers’ stamp
Basically, at this stage, an ongoing house price bust has moved to the base case for Australia. Macroprudential has worked well. The Hayne Royal Commission has reset credit. Housing supply is flowing. Affordability is disastrous. And the immigration economy has destroyed income growth. The question now is is there another save? The obvious place to
From Martin North: Back in January I published a video entitled “To Buy, Or Not To Buy, That IS indeed the Question” which addressed the question of should I buy property now. It’s still available, and as current as ever it was. But as we have seen prices slide further, which we showed in yesterday’s
CoreLogic released its auction report yesterday, which reported a small fall in the preliminary national auction clearance rate to 61.0% from 63.5% last weekend (later revised down to 62.1%). The preliminary clearance rate was also way below the 72.8% recorded in the same weekend of last year: Auction volumes nationally were 2,245 – below the
Via UBS this afternoon: Budget significantly better than expected, but only modest fiscal stimulus… The Commonwealth Budget this week was a ‘positive’ for the Australian economy, showing a significant cumulative (5-year) improvement since MYEFO of $25.6bn, or an average upgrade of ¼% of GDP p.a. However, this is not a ‘game changer’ for our moderate
By Leith van Onselen Today’s housing finance data for March posted a 3.5% fall in the number of new home finance commitments (both construction and new), with commitments also down by 10.5% since the July 2017 peak: Nevertheless, the annual number of new home commitments is still running near the highest levels since the mid-1990s:
From the excellent Damien Boey at Credit Suisse: Sharp fall in loan approvals Housing finance approvals data came in well below expectations in March. Owner-occupier loans fell by 1.9% over the month, while investor loans fell by 9%. We do not yet have detailed data on business and personal loan approvals. But if we assume
By Leith van Onselen Today’s housing finance data for March released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed a collapse in overall finance commitments, led by investors. According to the ABS, the total number of owner-occupier finance commitments (excluding refinancings) fell by 1.7% in March in seasonally adjusted terms and was down 3.5% over
By Leith van Onselen Following on the heels of MB’s detailed report on Tuesday arguing (yet again) for one’s principal place of residence to be included in the assets test for the Aged Pension, the Australian Housing & Urban Research Institute (AHURI) has released a report similarly arguing for reforms to make the Aged Pension
CoreLogic’s Cameron Kusher has produced an interesting report examining internal migration, which is based on recent annual population data released by the ABS. Interestingly, this data shows that the majority of migration out of the major cities is to adjacent ‘sea change/tree change’ locations: Regional population and migration data for 2016-17 recently released by the
Via the AFR: ANZ has increased rates on its fixed interest in advance loans by eight basis points, or about $800 a year in extra annual interest on a $1 million loan…The bank, which is the most dependent of the major banks on brokers for distributing mortgages, is circulating “policy updates” about minimum evidence of
By Leith van Onselen The deflation of Sydney’s housing market rolls on, with values falling another 0.06% in the week ended 10 May, according to CoreLogic: Sydney home values have now declined by a cumulative 4.6% over the past 35-weeks, with values also down 4.5% over the past 40 weeks. Sydney’s quarterly growth rate remains firmly
By Leith van Onselen In the week ended 10 May 2018, the CoreLogic 5-city daily dwelling price index, which covers the five major capital city markets, fell another 0.01%: Values fell in Sydney and Melbourne but rose in the other major markets: So far in 2018, home values have declined by 1.26%, with only Brisbane