CoreLogic has released its final auction clearance results for last weekend, which reveals that the final national clearance rate firmed to 70.6% from 69.0% the prior week: Sydney’s auction clearance softened to 71.3% from 73.3% the prior week, whereas Melbourne’s firmed to 69.7% from 68.0%. As noted by CoreLogic: There were 1,728 capital city homes
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.
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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.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet’s plan to phase out stamp duty on property transactions and replace it with a land tax has won broad support, including from Mirvac CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz. Lloyd-Hurwitz says stamp duty is a “very poor tax” that lessens mobility and keeps people in the wrong type of housing “for too long”. Lloyd-Hurwitz
21 months is a long time in Australian politics. In February 2019, the Kenneth Hayne released his final report from the banking royal commission which, as its first recommendation, directed the government to keep responsible lending rules: This recommendation came after the Hayne royal commission documented extensive cases of criminal lending and behaviour, leaving Australia’s
That’s the question asked by Tim Lawless at CoreLogic: Australian household debt levels have increased substantially over the past thirty years, with the ratio of household debt to annual disposable income rising from 68% in June 1990 to a recent peak of 188.5% in June 2019. Since June last year, the ratio has reduced slightly
The Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) has partnered with Roy Morgan Research to conduct monthly surveys measuring the financial impacts and consumer experiences of COVID-19 across essential and important services markets, including housing, energy, telecommunications, credit and insurance. The September Report has just been released which shows that around half of Australian renters are experiencing
In the week ended 19 November 2020, the CoreLogic 5-city daily dwelling price index, which covers the five major capital city markets, rose another 0.17%: It was the fifth consecutive weekly rise. All major markets recorded value rises: So far in November, dwelling values have risen by 0.33%, with all major capitals rising: Quarterly value
The Australian Bankers Association (ABA) has provided an update on its members deferred loans, which shows that the mortgage cliff that was towering over Australia’s property market has shrunk by two-thirds from its peak in June: According to the latest data up to November 4, home loan deferrals by the seven largest banks are down
CBA has released its internal mortgage data for October, which shows that mortgage lending consolidated in October, whereas lending for renovations rocketed. Consumer and business lending also remained weak. Key Points: There was a consolidation in lending for housing in October after several months of very strong growth. But lending for renovations continued to rocket
Late last year, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet flagged that he was looking at eliminating inefficient state taxes like stamp duties, to spur growth. Yesterday he put rhetoric into action, launching a reform that would offer owner-occupiers an alternative to stamp duty via a fixed $500 up-front fee plus an annual tax of 0.3% on unimproved
Eighteen months is a very short time in Australian politics. In February 2019 we were all agog at the criminal lending and behaviour unmasked by the Hayne Royal Commission. The Government was humiliated. Regulators humbled. Victims vindicated. Yet, here we are today, at the AFR: At a speech on Wednesday morning to a special, virtual
SQM Research has released its rental vacancy data for October, which reported a small rise in the national vacancy rate to 2.1% from 2.0%: The increase was driven by Melbourne, whose vacancy rate soared by 0.6% to 4.4%: Sydney’s vacancy rate is also elevated at 3.6%, whereas vacancies are fairly tight everywhere else. SQM’s asking
From the Housing Industry Association: “The detached housing market continues to perform strongly and as it accelerates will pull the rest of the Australian economy forward into 2021,” stated HIA’s Chief Economist, Tim Reardon. “New Home Sales fell marginally by 1.3 per cent in the month of October to remain 31.6 per cent higher for
Like many of us, ANZ has reversed its property price forecasts for 2021 and now expects strong price growth, driven by the smaller capital cities: Since our last forecast, fixed rates have moved down substantially — the amount of interest people are paying on fixed-rate mortgages has approximately halved over the past year and a
There are areas of recovery but other segments are still sinking like the Titanic. It’s a genuine patchwork with huge winners and losers: Covid, Our Changing Economy and Monetary Policy Philip Lowe Governor Committee for Economic Development of Australia Annual Dinner Address Sydney – 16 November 2020 Thank you very much for the invitation to speak at
Recent data suggests that Australia’s deferred mortgage cliff has shrunk considerably since the nation went into lockdown earlier this year. According to APRA’s latest monthly update, the number of mortgage deferrals had fallen by around one-third, from a peak of 488,249 mortgages in May to 324,894 mortgages in September. CBA’s latest update also showed that
SQM Research’s new weekly rental listings data shows an extraordinary increase in the number of apartments listed for rent across Melbourne: According to SQM, there were 21,889 apartments listed for rent in the week to 9 November versus 8,154 houses listed for rent. Separate data released by Domain also shows that the number of dwellings
Last month, The Guardian reported that Victoria had spent about half the national average per person on social housing and that the stock of social homes has fallen to the lowest proportion of all housing in Australia: The Victorian government has built only 57 of the 1,000 new public housing units it pledged by 2022…
CoreLogic’s preliminary auction clearance rate strengthened this weekend, with 75.1% of reported auctions cleared versus 73.2% last weekend: Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate remained strong with 76.6% of reported auctions cleared versus 78.6% last weekend. Melbourne’s preliminary auction clearance rate firmed to 73.5% versus 71.8% last weekend. According to CoreLogic: There were 1,739 homes taken to
In today’s investment webinar we discussed the RBA’s recently unveiled plans to drop interest rates to unprecedented levels to support the Australian economy and property market, but the million dollar question is, will it work? To help determine this, MB Fund’s Head of Investments Damien Klassen and Head of Advice Tim Fuller are joined by
Property investors have largely been absent from Australia’s property rebound, which so far has been driven by owner-occupiers (including first home buyers): However, The AFR believes that property investor interest will reignite in 2021; although it will look far different to previous cycles: Many investors have had a tough year. Apartment rents in inner Sydney
From Fitch Ratings: Arrears to Rise in 2021 as Borrower Support Wanes Arrears Unaffected by Pandemic in Short Term: 30+ day arrears fell by 16bp qoq to 1.00% during 3Q20. Arrears have fallen in the third quarter of each of the last 12 years. Australia’s lenders have provided payment holidays to borrowers struggling with the
CoreLogic has released its final auction clearance results for last weekend, which reveals that the final national clearance rate retraced to 69.0% from 71.0% the prior week: Sydney’s auction clearance strengthened to 73.3% from 73.1% the prior week, whereas Melbourne’s fell to 68.0% from 70.1%. As noted by CoreLogic: There were 1,757 auctions held across
The Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA’s) indicator lending rates show that the average discount mortgage rate was only 3.65% in October and the average 3-year fixed rate was only 2.39%: The wide gap between variable and fixed rates, alongside the bevy of fixed mortgage deals below 2%, is projected to cause a mortgage refinancing boom
Eliza Owen, head of research at CoreLogic, has released a report explaining how owner-occupiers and first home buyers are driving Australia’s housing rebound: The volume of finance secured for the purchase of property experienced a strong rebound in the September quarter, following the initial shock to demand for housing in the first two months of
In the week ended 12 November 2020, the CoreLogic 5-city daily dwelling price index, which covers the five major capital city markets, rose another 0.15%: It was the fourth consecutive weekly rise. All major markets recorded value rises: So far in October, dwelling values have risen by 0.16%, with all major capitals rising: Quarterly value
Via the AFR comes Labor’s finance spokesman Stephen Jones has torpedoed the scrapping of responsible lending laws: “If there are serious issues about the flow of credit, we’re willing to look at it but rolling back consumer protection is a no-go zone.” …Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff said he would consider whether “additional safeguards” were
Associate Professor Salvatore Babones has released a new report at the Centre for Independent Studies entitled “A House Divided: The AFRB and China’s Subnational Diplomacy in Australia”, which explains how China uses subnational diplomacy to exert influence over Australia. Below is the Executive Summary: Australia is an open society awash in Chinese foreign influence operations,
At the beginning of this month, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) released data revealing that the number of mortgage deferrals had shrunk by around one-third, from a peak of 488,249 mortgages in May to 324,894 mortgages in September. Yesterday, CBA updated the market on its loan deferral program, which showed that the number of
The 2018 Federal Budget expanded the Pension Loan Scheme (PLS) allowing retirees to obtain a state-run reverse mortgage. This allows retirees to boost their retirement income by up to $17,800 for a couple without impacting on their eligibility for the pension or other benefits. The changes appear to have done the job, with thousands of