14 Feb 2018
Sydney's housing market slows
Many analysts are expecting a 3 to 10 per cent drop for Sydney's market; while national prices remain high. Sydney's housing market has become the most significant drag on the headline growth figures; according to CoreLogic's Mr Tim Lawless. Sydney and Melbourne's unaffordable housing prices are widely considered to be among the top 10 in the world. Melbourne's prices have seen a 59 per cent increase since 2013. However; the rapid growth has slowed down significantly to merely 0.9 per cent last quarter. While most predict an imminent downturn; it is not clear whether it will be a fall or correction. However; an abrupt downturn can prove damaging to Australia's economy. Saul Eslake from the University of Tasmania believes that the Sydney market has reached its peak but does not foresee a large dip. He explains that many Australians have the means to withstand a drop in housing prices. It is not a surprise that there are now signs that the market has passed a turning point; he said. Australians have devoted $6.8 trillion to property; and have over $1.7 trillion bound in home loans. As such; Australia's debt-to-income ratio of 200 per cent is undoubtedly one of the highest globally. The increasing prices can be attributed to low interest and low unemployment rates; high immigration; shortages in housing; and overseas investors. Federal regulators recently implemented policies to prevent risky lending; which are proving to be effective. Mr Kevin Young; investor and owner of 200 properties; explained that the new circumstances made him sell a few of his properties. He reported that his bank changed his loan repayments from interest-only to traditional principal-plus-interest. How would you manage if your bank told you, you had to pay 45 per cent more per month on your mortgage? he exclaimed. Last month; Scott Morrison observed that the curb has slowed Sydney and Melbourne's property investment; and suggests that their markets are fickle. With the slightest change to interest-only lending; we have seen Sydney house prices fall from double digits; from 15 per cent growth to 5 per cent in six months; said, Morrison. That is with the slightest; scalpel-like change housing borrowing. More curbs will be introduced in the year; such as mandatory bank loans and detailed reporting of living expenses.