Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What is now normal?

"But what if the world we’ve been living in for the past five years is the new normal? What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?"

What if low interest rates continue for a number of years.  What if there is little employment growth or wage growth for a number of years?  Rents will not increase. Capital growth will be less than past averages.

Those negatively gear and making losses will continue to make losses. And so housing prices will gradually decrease.  Is this possible?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Property Losses

Taking into account inflation, property has performed badly in recent times.  See article by RP Data.  Brisbane is down about 17%.  Taking into account transaction costs (e.g., duty) and holding costs (rates, body corporate fees, maintenance and repairs), the situation is very grim for property investors.  And I suspect that inflation is actually higher in Brisbane than the official figures show.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Buying of the Plan

At present, it seems that off-the-plan apartment developments are overpriced, and buying off the plan carries significant risks.  A series of commentaries in Property Observer discusses this issue.  See also this Kindle Book for more detail.  My recommendation is to look at existing apartments, rather than off-the-plan apartments.  The off-the-plan market appears to be fuelled by foreign investors, who are required to buy new properties under FIRB rules.

Will property growth come to Brisbane?

The release yesterday of the RP Data and Rismark International October housing market results confirmed a 1.3 per cent rise across the combined capital cities index over the month with the rolling 12 month combined capital cities index growth rate recording its fastest pace in three years.

Rismark CEO, Ben Skilbeck, added that while Sydney has eclipsed its previous cyclical high and Melbourne is near its peak, Brisbane remains 8.4% below its highs. “There is, however, evidence that growth conditions may be spreading to Brisbane."

Brisbane apartment prices (to 31 October 2013):
October 2013 - up 0.6%
Quarter - up 2.3%
Year on Year - up 1%
Year to Date - up 1.6%
Median price based on settled sales of Brisbane apartments over the quarter - $375,000.

Recent Brisbane City Apartment Sales

A list of some recent reported apartment sales in Brisbane CBD area, since June 2013.

Admiralty One
- Apt 93, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, direct river views, large 132 sqm - $880,000
- Apt 125, 2 bedrooms, side river views - $600,000

Admiralty Towers Two
- Apt 132 - 2 bedrooms, direct river views, 116 sqm - $760,000
- Apt 26 - 2 bedrooms, direct river views - $662,000
- Apt 124 - 2 bedrooms, direct river views - $705,000

Admiralty Quays
- Apt 104 - 3 bedrooms - $960,000

- Apt 146, 1 bedroom - $370,000
- Apt 82 - 2 bedrooms - $750,000
- Apt 165 - 1 bedroom - $500,000
- Apt 31 - 2 bedrooms - $650,000

Metro 21
- Apt 283, 1 bedroom on level 28, no carpark - $307,000
- Apt 301, 2 bedroom on level 30 - $553,500

- Apt 312, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms - $555,000
- Apt 294, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom - $485,000
- Apt 324, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom - $475,000

Quay West - construction starting next door, and disharmony in building
- Apt 86, 2 bedrooms - $655,000
- Apt 129, 3 bedrooms - $1M

Saville South Bank - reports of two bedroom apartments selling above $900,000.

It appears that pricing is picking up.  In some instances, apartments are selling for record highs.  In other instances, prices are still below the 2007/2008 peak.  Volumes of sales in the period June to September do not appear to be high, although in recent weeks, this may have changed.  The high end sales appear to be to owner occupiers.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Avoid Areas where Chinese Buyers are buying

"There’s only one aspect of this that’s in any way outrageous – and that is the way Australian developers and their marketers are peddling bad real estate at inflated prices to distant investors.  There’s nothing new in this. 

Developers have always targeted distant investors to, firstly, get rid of unsold dwellings for which there are no genuine local buyers – and, secondly, to go a step further and create new stock specifically to sell to distant investors, notwithstanding the local over-supply or depressed market.  In the past, the victims have been found interstate, out west or in New Zealand. Now Asia is being targeted, especially China.

Marketing teams are taking roadshows to China and using deception to induce investors there to buy highrise apartments or house and land packages in poorly-performing markets.  There’s no crisis here, but one might emerge if Australian investors follow the advice that’s starting to emerge – namely, that they should be buying where the Chinese are buying.

I would suggest Australian buyers do the opposite. Avoid like the plague any markets being pitched to the Chinese. They’re being sold product in oversupplied markets, usually at prices above true market value. They’re not markets a sensible investor would want to be in."

See article in Property Observer

Based on this advice, one would want to carefully consider buying in any Meriton or Metro Property off-the-plan development in Brisbane.