MONDAY MORNING MUSINGS FOR SATURDAY 20TH OCTOBER
As always, the following in no way constitutes financial advice and no warranty is offered as to its accuracy or validity. The reader is to make their own inquiries prior to making any decisions.
Saturday 20th October’s clearance rates have held stable in the lead up to next week’s super Saturday. The published clearance rates (PCR) for the weekend were 50%.
With 384 reported as sold, 385 passed in, and 51 either withdrawn or postponed. Of those reported, 523 were houses (47% sold), 233 apartments (58% sold) and 13 being registered as land sales. Looking deeper into the numbers over the weekend there were 1,094 Auctions scheduled (109 more than the previous week) with results for 769 or 70% reported. Without counting any unreported results as sold, that would show a clearance rate of 35%. Fundamentally on a par with the previous week and the week before Grand Final.
Several of the properties in Port Phillip were passed in but sold quickly after. The Port Phillip area had an 86% clearance rate, nearly double last week’s outcome. This is a good indication that Vendors and Buyers are both understanding where the market is and may signal the lower points of any market adjustment for the time being as, if this is sustained, other buyers will start to miss out due to being too cautious and by extension put heat back into the market on the next property they go after.
The minutes of the meeting came out and the tone was very upbeat. “Housing” was mentioned 23 times and is clearly being watched very closely in relation to policy. While the RBA raised concerns about liquidity, many comments showed good stability if not straight up improvement and while some serviceability issues had been noted, they mentioned that they were mostly constrained to Western Australia. Some highlights;
- “GDP growth in many of Australia’s trading partners had continued at an above-trend pace in the first half of 2018.”
- “Above-trend growth in the major advanced economies had led to further absorption of spare capacity in their labour markets. As a result, wages growth had increased noticeably. Members observed that minimum wages had been increasing faster than average wages across a number of economies.”
- “Real GDP had increased by 0.9 percent in the quarter, and upward revisions to growth in earlier quarters had taken GDP growth over the year to the June quarter to 3.4 percent, which was the strongest year-ended rate of growth since 2012.”
- “Dwelling investment had increased in the June quarter and over the year. The increase had been concentrated in New South Wales and Victoria, where capacity constraints in the construction industry were apparent. Looking forward, members noted that the decline in residential building approvals since mid-2016 suggested dwelling investment was likely to be close to its peak in the current cycle.”
- “In the established housing market, overall conditions had continued to ease gradually. Housing prices had fallen a little further in Sydney and Melbourne in recent months and price declines had become more widespread in both cities. Housing prices had also declined further in Perth, but had been little changed in other mainland capital cities. Rental vacancy rates had declined over the preceding couple of years in all capital cities except Sydney”
- “Public sector spending had continued to grow relatively strongly”
- “Mining investment had risen strongly in the June quarter, partly reflecting higher expenditure on machinery and equipment as well as a sharp increase in exploration activity. Non-mining investment had declined somewhat in the June quarter, but had increased strongly over the preceding year. Overall conditions in the business sector had remained positive.”
- “Members noted that employment had risen strongly in August……….. Employment in the manufacturing sector had picked up recently.”
Directly in reference to housing and borrowers
- “Growth in housing credit had continued to ease, driven largely by investors, while growth in lending to owner-occupiers had remained relatively strong at 7 percent”
- “…..most borrowers took out a loan that was substantially smaller than the maximum loan that lenders were prepared to offer; three-quarters of borrowers had taken out loans that were less than 80 percent of their maximum borrowing capacity based on serviceability considerations. This suggested that relatively few borrowers would have been constrained by the tightening in lending standards”
Heading into last Saturday, the number of open for inspections jumped in Port Phillip from 109 to 140 scheduled opens. Boroondara and Wyndham still sat around 200 (maximum displayable) in each zone and the Hobsons Bay areas of Newport, Seaholme and Williamstown were stable at opened 85.
The reported outcomes for the areas are as follows;
- Albert Park – Middle Park – Port Melbourne – St Kilda West – South Melbourne; 86% PCR (+95%)
- Southbank – Melbourne; 67% PCR (+17%)
- Werribee – Werribee South – Wyndham Vale – Hoppers Crossing; 75% PCR (+11%)
- Glen Iris – Armadale – Hawthorn – Hawthorn East; 54% PCR (-5%)
- Seaholme – Williamstown – Newport; 46% PCR (nearly 4 times higher than last week’s 12% but consistent with the week before Grand Final which was 44%)
60 Danks St Albert Park
With basically 63 days to Christmas, buyers and sellers will start to get squeezed for breathing space to either buy or sell. The Auction market generally does not restart until after the Australia Day long weekend. At which time a new batch of buyers will also come into the market on top of the already searching group. In previous years, coming out of a quiet November/December market, the New Year reset has seen prices jump in early February Auctions. In December of 2014 which was also a flat pocket, an owner had several Agents appraise a home at around $750,000 to $850,000 with 6 comparable sales in that range close by. Released to the market in January, it was sold for over $1,050,000. The weekend before that sale an Auction in Bridge St had a $100,000 single final bid (10% of the current bid) put over the top of the underbidder to secure the property.
Albert Park and Middle Park are still well and truly embedded in Victoria’s top 10 suburbs for buyers as reported by realestate.com.au and it is not hard to see why when looking at the sales over time for properties in the area;
House in Page Street – Middle Park (280sqm)
10th April 2018 – $3,200,000
2nd July 2016 – $2,650,000
30th July 2014 – $1,500,000
5th April 2007 – $1,100,000
20th January 1990 – $315,000
30th November 1984 – $96,000
House in Danks Street – Albert Park (256sqm)
18th February 2017 – $3,780,000
20th May 2011 – $2,600,000
7th December 2002 – $1,670,000
30th November 1996 – $590,000
9th December 1977 – $63,500
Added to this is that fact that people like Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee indicating that buyers might not have long to take advantage of the current conditions with sellers expected to be in a better position once the financial services Royal Commission released its final report early next year.
A Sydney-like wipe-out of up to 10 percent was not on the cards, with Melbourne still in high demand from tenants, and having seen an 11 percent increase in China-based searches for our property — potentially hinting at a return of international investors. “Melbourne has a tendency to surprise on the upside,” Ms. Conisbee said.
This sentiment is in line with the Reserve Bank of Australia’s statement that vacancy rates are declining in Melbourne.
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