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Residential Property Investment: Caution Should Be Exercised

Australia's natural resources have provided prosperity over the years. Our nation's wealth has come from farming or mining the land, the current generation of investors has prospered from either buying it or building on it. There has been an over reliance on property as a wealth-building asset that householders, lenders and investors share a common interest in property performance.


The Facts

  • Mortgages make up for nearly 70% of our major lender’s balance sheets;

  • Real estate assets form over 40% of the total assets held by Australians; and

  • Residential property investment has delivered outsized returns of over the past 15 years.

It should come as no surprise that conversations with investors will start and finish in a dialogue over the outlook for property market.


Danger, Danger


There are some key issues that are weighing on housing conditions and why we are bearish on this investment asset class.

  • There is a significant unevenness between supply and demand in some markets. Historically, housing activity was supported by rising demand driven by population growth, but this trend has reversed, particularly in cities with a greater exposure to the mining investment boom. Similar concerns have been raised in the apartment markets of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. The risk may be more manageable as local and foreign demand remains relatively strong, though the sizeable amount of work in the pipeline and increased scrutiny on foreign investors are likely to contribute to a moderation in new investment in the two cities.

  • Rental conditions are restrained. Vacancy rates in Perth and many other small regional cities across our nation that have risen sharply and are now more than double the national average. Vacancy rates in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne have risen by only the smallest of amounts, but rent inflation remains around a decade low.

  • Housing affordability has been on a structural decline as house price growth has eclipsed household income growth over the past two decades.

  • Credit growth has tightened. Macro-prudential measures introduced in late 2015 were temporarily successful in slowing investor borrowing. But investor appetite has returned, raising the possibility of further tightening by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and lenders taking direct action by lifting interest rates for this class of borrowing.

  • This leaves only one factor that currently supports the status quo of housing market conditions: record low interest rates. But the extent to which low rates can continue to support the market is expected to be limited.


Time to Re-Calibrate


Fundamentals are weakening. This weakness is occurring at a varying pace in each of the cities around our great nation. Investors should re-calibrate their thinking that the housing boom will continue indefinitely. Now is the time to check that your portfolio has the right level of property exposure.



Disclaimer

This information is current as at 19/04/17 This article has been prepared by Heart1Stop, a social media brand owned by Heart Mortgage Services and Heart Financial Advisers. The information contained in this article is an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter nor relied upon as such. The views expressed here are not those of Heart1stop, Heart Mortgage Services, Heart Financial Advisers, shareholders, directors or staff and associated contractors and business associates. This article has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should, before acting on any information contained in this article, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Any taxation information contained in this article is a general statement and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute taxation advice and is based on current laws and their interpretation. Each individual’s situation may differ, and you should seek independent professional taxation advice on any taxation matters. While the information contained in this article may contain or be based on information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, it may not have been independently verified. Where information contained in this publication contains material provided directly by third parties it is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. It is not the intention of Heart1Stop or Heart Mortgage Services and Heart Financial Advisers that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. To the maximum extent permitted by law: no guarantee, representation or warranty is given that any information or advice in this publication is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for any purpose; and no party of Heart1Stop or associated entities as mentioned is in any way liable to you (including for negligence) in respect of any reliance upon such information. This article may also contain links to websites operated by third parties ("Third Parties") who are not related to Heart1Stop. These links are provided for convenience only and do not represent any endorsement or approval by us.

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