Early signs of a boost to property market confidence

May 30, 2019

 

Big economic and political changes in the past few weeks have contributed to early signs of a turnaround in property market confidence.

 

First, the Coalition’s unexpected victory in the federal election means there will be no changes to negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount. Labor’s proposed changes to these had weighed on prices, and were likely to see prices fall a bit further.

 

Second, the Reserve Bank has strongly hinted that it will be cutting rates on June 4, with a second cut in 2019 also very likely. If the RBA cuts rates twice, this will bring home loan rates below 3.5 per cent for many borrowers.

 

Third, the banking regulator, APRA,  is planning to remove the requirement for banks to assess a borrower’s ability to repay a loan at a mortgage rate of at least 7 per cent. Instead, banks will be required to use an assessment rate of 2.5 percentage points above the offered rate, which will effectively mean the maximum amount an applicant will be able to borrow will increase by about 10 per cent (and even more if the RBA cuts interest rates).

 

Another proposed change is the government’s first home loan deposit scheme, which will enable first-home buyers with a small deposit to buy a home earlier, should also provide a boost to the lower-end of the market.

 

There are some tentative signs of rising buyer interest
 

There is some early evidence that potential buyers have responded to these changes almost immediately.

 

According to data from Domain Group’s Homepass, an app which allows people attending open for inspections to check-in automatically, the average number of Homepass check-ins per listing Australia-wide jumped 11 per cent in the week beginning May 20 (the first week after the federal election) compared to the average of the previous four weeks (see table). The increases were most significant in NSW (up 18 per cent) and Western Australia (up 17 per cent).

 

Big economic and political changes in the past few weeks have contributed to early signs of a turnaround in property market confidence.

 

First, the Coalition’s unexpected victory in the federal election means there will be no changes to negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount. Labor’s proposed changes to these had weighed on prices, and were likely to see prices fall a bit further.

Second, the Reserve Bank has strongly hinted that it will be cutting rates on June 4, with a second cut in 2019 also very likely. If the RBA cuts rates twice, this will bring home loan rates below 3.5 per cent for many borrowers.

 

Third, the banking regulator, APRA,  is planning to remove the requirement for banks to assess a borrower’s ability to repay a loan at a mortgage rate of at least 7 per cent. Instead, banks will be required to use an assessment rate of 2.5 percentage points above the offered rate, which will effectively mean the maximum amount an applicant will be able to borrow will increase by about 10 per cent (and even more if the RBA cuts interest rates).

 

Another proposed change is the government’s first home loan deposit scheme, which will enable first-home buyers with a small deposit to buy a home earlier, should also provide a boost to the lower-end of the market.

 

There are some tentative signs of rising buyer interest
 

There is some early evidence that potential buyers have responded to these changes almost immediately.

 

According to data from Domain Group’s Homepass, an app which allows people attending open for inspections to check-in automatically, the average number of Homepass check-ins per listing Australia-wide jumped 11 per cent in the week beginning May 20 (the first week after the federal election) compared to the average of the previous four weeks (see table). The increases were most significant in NSW (up 18 per cent) and Western Australia (up 17 per cent).

 

 

Domain’s preliminary auction clearance rate figures for Saturday, May 25 also indicated signs of a turnaround. In Sydney, the preliminary clearance rate was 62 per cent. While this is likely to be revised down to 55-58 per cent as more auction results are collected, this will be around the highest result in 2019.

 

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