Happy Easter Newsletter

Four years on from when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic, CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless has revealed seven ways COVID changed housing trends.
 
Since that time economic trends, including housing metrics, have been on a roller coaster ride.  Although lockdowns and the uncertainty of vaccination programs are well behind us, the legacy of COVID will be with us for a long time yet.
 
This report provides a retrospective of seven housing and peripheral economic and demographic trends through the pandemic to-date.
 
1. Housing values have surged since the onset of COVID.  CoreLogic’s national Home Value Index (HVI) surged 32.5% between March 2020 and February 2024, adding approximately $188,000 to the median value of an Australian dwelling.
 
Despite the strength in the headline figures, the housing market has moved through distinct cycles punctuated by changes in policy, interest rates and demographic shifts. 
 
Housing values initially dipped by 1.7% between March 2020 and June 2020 before surging 30.8% higher, finding a cyclical high in April 2022.  The market slumped 7.5% as interest rates rose from their emergency lows, but as inventory dried up and migration boomed, housing values commenced a new growth cycle in February 2023, rising 9.5% through to the end of February this year.
 
2. Rental markets have tightened substantially with vacancy rates holding around 1% and rental growth surging.
 
Nationally, rents have jumped 32.4% since March 2020, adding approximately $150/week to the median dwelling rent.
 
3. Monetary policy has played a key role in both stimulating housing demand, but also temporarily quelling activity as interest rates rose from mid-2022.  A record portion of borrowers took advantage of fixed mortgage rates falling below 2% through the middle of 2022, fueling speculation of a ‘fixed rate cliff’ as the wave of fixed rate lending terms expired.  So far borrowers have navigated higher mortgage rates much better than expected with mortgage arrears holding below pre-pandemic levels.
 
4. Inflation surged on the back of unprecedented peacetime fiscal stimulus and low interest rates as well as global supply chain disruptions that were amplified by the war in Ukraine. As COVID-related restrictions eased global demand strengthened. Inflation is now beating forecasts, fueling speculation we could see rate cuts later this year.
 
5. Once lockdowns and social distancing measures eased, labour markets tightened significantly.  Although labour markets are now loosening, RBA forecasts have the unemployment rate holding below 4.5% through to at least mid-2026.
 
6. Demographic factors have influenced housing trends. Housing demand remained strong through the pandemic despite closed borders due to a diminishment in household size.  Internal migration trends favoured regional markets through the pandemic but have since largely normalised, and open international borders saw overseas migration spike to record highs.
 
7. Despite unprecedented housing demand, a supply response is yet to be seen.  Dwelling completions have held relatively flat through the pandemic to-date, with supply chain constraints, materials and labour shortages, and a surge in construction costs creating a challenging environment for delivering new housing supply.
 
In terms of the Melbourne market this has lagged the rest of Australia due primarily to its longer lockdowns. This suggests that the Melbourne market is likely to be further behind the other states on the property clock. That is, while other states may be approaching its peak, Melbourne is likely to be playing catch up. This bodes well for future growth.
 
So far this year clearance rates in Melbourne have been reasonably solid across the board, bouncing around the mid 60s most weekends, which is slightly stronger than what we were seeing towards the end of 2023. But what we are seeing on the ground is large numbers at open for inspections and some run away auctions, particularly for good quality property. There are still people that are choosing to sit on the sidelines and this is likely to be driven by interest rates. Once these start to reduce you can expect many of these people to enter the market which will place further pressure on prices.
 
This month we provide our normal property insights and some recent purchases and vendor advocacy.
 
We also provide a tip on what to look out for suburbs that are gentrifying.
 
We hope you have a great Easter!

Source: Corelogic 2024

“Housing values have been more than resilient in the face of high interest rates and cost of living pressures,” CoreLogic’s research director, Tim Lawless, said. “The ongoing rise in housing values reflects a persistent imbalance between supply and demand which varies in magnitude across our cities and regions.”

Perth continues to stand out with a substantially higher rate of growth compared to any other region, up 1.8% over the month. Adelaide (+1.1%), Brisbane (+0.9%) and the regional areas of SA (+1.1%), WA and Queensland (both +1.0%) also show a consistently high rate of capital growth month-to-month.

Other highlights from the CoreLogic Monthly Housing Chart Pack include:

  • The value of residential real estate increased to an estimated $10.4 trillion at the end of February – a new record high, up from $10.3 trillion in the previous month.
     
  • The pace of quarterly national home value growth accelerated to 1.3% over the three months to February, up from 1.0% over the three months to January.
     
  • The annual growth trend also ticked higher in February, with national values up 8.9% over the past 12 months. This is the highest annual increase since the FY 2021-22 when values rose 10.8%
     
  • Values across the country’s most affordable 25% of the market are now rising the fastest, up 2.4% over the three months to February. Values across the broad middle of the market rose 1.7% over the rolling quarter, while the upper quartile recorded a milder 0.6% increase.
     
  • Perth continues to lead capital growth performance in the greater capital city markets, with values up 5.2% in the three months to February and up 18.3% over the past year.
     
  • The rolling annual count of national sales exceeded 500,000 for the first time since Dec 22, with an estimated 500,580 sales recorded over the year to February.
     
  • Annual sales activity across the combined capitals was up 6.0% compared to the year to Feb 23 and 8.2% higher than the previous 5-year average, while sales across regional markets were down -2.1% and -3.7%, respectively.
     
  • The median time on market continued to track higher in February, with properties taking an average of 38 days to sell in the three months to February. Capital city homes took approximately 38 days to sell, up from 24 days in November, while regional homes are selling in 50 days on average, up from 36 days.
     
  • Vendor discounting rates remained relatively steady in February at -3.8%. Although up slightly from the -3.6% discounts offered over the three months to November, the median vendor discount is still well below the -4.3% discounts that were being offered this time last year.
     
  • Although up from last year, the weekly final clearance rate has been easing since the second week of February, with just 67.5% of auctions in the week ending 3rd March recording a successful result.
     
  • Monthly dwelling approvals fell a further -1.0% in January, led by a -9.6% decline in house approvals, while the more volatile unit sector saw approvals rise 14.5% month-on-month. With just 7,565 detached dwellings approved, the January result was the lowest monthly count of house approvals since June 2012 (7,411).

Source: Core Logic

The monthly rate of national rental growth ticked higher in February (0.9%), driven by seasonal factors, including the start of the tertiary academic year, which has historically seen rental trends accelerate through the first quarter. However, a re-acceleration in house rents has also seen the annual growth trend accelerate, from a recent low of 8.1% in October to 8.5% over the year to February.

At 3.73%, national gross rent yields are now roughly in line with pre-COVID levels (3.71%) and are 57 basis points above the recent lows recorded in January 2022(3.16%). Compared to last year, rental yields rose across Darwin and Melbourne, held steady in Sydney and fell in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and Canberra.

Buyers Advocate Property Management 

Well the year started off with a bang and it has not slowed down for the Property Management team at Buyers Advocate.

We are finding that a few renters are vacating, namely because they have purchased a property, or they are moving in with family / friends to try to ease the financial strain that so many are dealing with.

That being said, we are still finding that properties are leasing before our vacating renter has returned keys.  This helps explain why the national vacancy rate is at a record low.

Properties that sit in the median price range are seeing many people attend and apply whilst properties on the higher end of the price range are a little slower to secure renters for.

TIP FOR RENTAL PROVIDERS

If your property is on a shared block and there is no active Owners Corporation, it is up to you to ensure that you have public liability insurance for the common areas.

TIP FOR RENTERS

When renting a property, it is the renter’s responsibility to ensure that they have contents insurance as this is not something that is covered by the rental providers policy.

ABOUT OUR SERVICE

Buyers Advocate Property Management provide a boutique service which translates to the highest possible standards of customer service and support.

We invest heavily in our relationships with our rental providers, renters and external trades. This level of care and attention allows us to attract and retain the best quality renters to look after each investment property and to maximize the rental return.

All our properties rent within a short period of time, have zero arrears, an average rental period of over 2 years and a high satisfaction rating from both rental providers and renters.

We are able to provide this level of service as we have a very neat, high-quality portfolio. This is managed by 2 full time property managers and a staff member supporting them with open homes and trust accounting.  

All staff have significant industry experience and have been with Buyers Advocate for many years. So all our clients benefit from the low turnover and consistency of communication.

If you are unhappy with the level of service you are receiving from your current Property Manager, have a chat to Rachel or Liz. It may be time for a change. If you would like a confidential chat, please contact us (03) 9818 4499.

We have had some great results for our clients in 2024.

Here are a couple of purchases below:

Home Buyer -Camberwell

This client came on board with us on the Friday afternoon prior to inspecting the property the following day.  This deal was one, where agent relationships were the key. With the first open house of the campaign scheduled for 11.00am that Saturday, BA organised their client to see the property at 8.30am, getting the jump on other buyers in the market. Once inspected, further due diligence was carried out with an offer to purchase submitted that day with a cut off time. After a small amount of back and forth on the price and terms, BA had this deal wrapped up by the end of the day.

Home Buyer – Thornbury

With an opening bid of $1,400,000 below the quoted selling range, ($1,500,000-$1,550,000) that was followed by a Vendor bid of $1,500,000, BA knew they were up against a novice bidder, when the bidder asked the question, “ is it on the market” directly after the Vendor bid. BA bid $10k more, that was rejected by the Auctioneer calling for $20 thousand rises. It was then that the original bidder bid the $20,000 rise with BA swiftly returning the bid. Bidder one went $10,000 where it was placed “one the market”. Further bidding and counters, BA secured the property well below the appraised price we saw value, securing the home for $1,600,000.

Did you know we offer a vendor advocacy service to assist clients achieve the best result in selling their home. The service facilitates the sale of your property in conjunction with a sales agency. All fees, sales methods, and campaign are negotiated in consultation with you.

Starting with independent advice on the property value, we will also;

  • Help select only the most competent, senior and professional agency team to represent you
  • Advise on the different methods of sale and marketing campaign
  • Advise on any offers that are received and also attend the auction whilst the selling agent conducts the auction
  • At all times provide you with complete independent advice and manage the campaign with the upmost professionalism

Once the campaign is underway Buyers Advocate will assist with the communications with the agent and provide a sounding board for any questions or issues you may have during the campaign.

What are the signs of gentrification

Source: Caroline Riches – Realestate.com.au 11th March 2024

With many inner city suburbs already gentrified, the transformation wave is moving elsewhere.

Alcohol, Bikes and Coffee. That’s the ABC of gentrification according to Master of Property at the University of Adelaide Peter Koulizos.

More specifically, this means small bars selling craft beers and Aperol Spritz, vintage bikes with carry baskets on the streets, and cafes selling a range of milk with their coffees. There may even be gin distilleries, or hot yoga studios popping up.

“These things are a sign that younger, wealthier people are moving in,” Mr Koulizos said.
Gentrification is typically when a ‘blue-collar’ low-income area with older housing and a tired streetscape transforms into a predominantly ‘white-collar’ middle- to high-income area with renovated and extended period-style homes in upgraded streets.
“It’s a broad social trend that changes a community,” explained PropTrack economist Angus Moore.

The key elements required are affordable character or period-style buildings and a location close to a city or water. “Young city workers love those timber floors, high ceilings, fireplaces and stone fronts and they’re on good incomes, often dual incomes,” said Koulizos.

“So they buy a home, fix it up or extend it. You multiply that by 100 or 1,000 times and you have a gentrified area.”

Because gentrification tends to occur in more affordable areas, prices can increase quicker than the average for the city or region, explained Mr Moore.

To ride a wave from the beginning, you need to tune into early indicators, said Mr Koulizos.
These usually include a decrease in teenagers and children in the area, an increase in couples without children, and more people moving in from elsewhere.

If you need help to identify these areas, give us a call.