The cost of renting in Brisbane reaches record levels, outstrips Melbourne prices


For the first time in years, it now costs more to rent a home in Brisbane than Melbourne, with mass migration and a near two-decade low vacancy rate shooting median asking prices to record heights.

Amid tales of tenant bidding wars and rejected applicants reduced to tears, the latest Domain Rent Report, released Thursday, revealed the average weekly asking price for a house in the Queensland capital soared by almost 8 per cent to an unprecedented $440 per week over the past 12 months – and by 3.5 per cent over the past quarter alone.

The price hike means the average Brisbane tenant is now paying $10 more a week than their Melbourne counterpart for a house, and $25 more a week for a unit after prices for the latter rose by a slightly more modest 3.9 per cent over the year to a record-breaking $400 per week.

Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said the report marked a sharp turnaround for the city, with houses, in particular, marking the steepest annual increase in rent prices since 2008 following three strong consecutive quarters of rent gains.

“Melbourne house rents have been higher than Brisbane’s since about 2016 so what we’ve really seen in Brisbane since mid-2020 is an acceleration in asking rents and this really goes against what was happening in the lead up [to the pandemic],” Dr Powell said.

“They had relatively flatlined since 2013.”

Dr Powell said while Queensland had always been a hot destination for interstate migrants, the pandemic and the possibility of remote working had fuelled the trend with the annual number of Australians moving to the state hitting its highest level since 2006.

“Tenants will find less choice, with the pool of available rentals shrinking by one-third compared to last year, pushing Brisbane’s vacancy rate to a multi-year low,” she said.

“House and unit rents held steady or increased in all regions across Greater Brisbane over the March quarter, apart from unit rents in Ipswich sliding a mere $5 a week. Annually, the biggest jump in asking rent was recorded for houses in Brisbane’s north and Moreton Bay North, the steepest annual increase since 2008, up 6.8 per cent and 6.7 per cent annually.”

While rent prices indeed soared across most parts of the city it was the capital’s family-friendly pockets in the middle and even outer rings that shone brightest, with houses in Bald Hills and Everton Park enjoying the biggest annual price rise after surging 10.6 per cent to $520 per week.

Hot on their heels were Kenmore, Brookfield and Moggill, where median asking prices for houses shot up by 8.2 per cent over the same period to an unprecedented $595 per week – a rental price equal only to houses in the inner-city west region.

It’s a rare rental boom that Aurora Realty Brisbane leasing manager Abi Harrington said was reaching eye-watering levels – with their agency currently managing 100,000 tenants actively seeking a home.

“We’ve gone from houses taking three weeks to rent out, to three days and even down to three hours [in the past quarter],” Ms Harrington said.

“You wouldn’t believe the gifts I have received (from desperate tenants) from gin, to flowers to cheesecake and even a bottle of champagne.

“We used to have the policy that a tenant mustn’t apply before they’ve seen the property but now we say apply first if you like the photos … and if you get approved we’ll arrange a private inspection after [because rentals are being snapped up so quickly].”

As for the soaring rents in Everton Park and Bald Hills, Ms Harrington put the increase down to tenants being simply priced out of Brisbane’s more expensive inner pockets, with houses in quiet suburbs boasting a good school catchment the number one lure.

“I’ve just listed a property in Everton Park … and in less than 24 hours I have five inspections booked in … but sometimes we get up to 15 people in the first few hours,” she said.

“This is the height of it and it’s absolute chaos. On average tenants are offering $20 to $30 dollars over the asking price but some people are surpassing that. People from Sydney and Melbourne are cashed up and headed this way because buying a house is far cheaper here and Queensland is the obvious choice as the office doesn’t exist anymore.”

Ms Harrington said soaring interstate migration was a major contributor to rising rent prices, with some southern home hunters willing to fork out $90 per week more in a move that was causing much anxiety among Brisbane residents.

45_trsitania_rd_chapel_hill_2_bsylxb
Properties for rent in suburbs like Chapel Hill and Kenmore are sparking bidding wars.

“Locals feel like they’re being pushed out … and I see this getting worse. And it’s not fair on locals living here struggling to meet that price range … and we don’t encourage [bidding wars] because we’re trying to manage expectations,” she said.

Ray White Metro West property manager Stephanie Budrodeen said with rental wars now a common occurrence in hot spots such as Chapel Hill and Kenmore, median prices, in reality, had soared beyond eight per cent to as high as 30, creating a scene more akin to an auction, with the charge being led by Melbourne families particularly desperate to bag a house in a top school catchment.

She said the pandemonium was further fuelled by the “nuts” sales market with some tenants pushed out by owners desperate to sell in a booming market, while others were forced to rent purely because there was nothing to buy.

“Two weeks ago, we just had one property [a two-bedroom unit] left on our rental roll … and that’s never happened before. But the downfall to all of this is owners think their properties are worth more than they are and this is going to make problems for the future when prices are no longer inflated,” Ms Budrodeen said.

“Tenants are in panic mode right now … and in my opinion this a ripple effect from the housing market.”

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Sydney News: COVID-19 restrictions on public transport to ease, rental prices hit record high


COVID-19 restrictions will be eased on public transport from next Monday as the government continues to encourage more people to return to the office.

Capacity will jump to 75 per cent in Sydney, all caps will be lifted on regional public transport.and people will no longer have to allocate spare seats between themselves and others.

In December last year, capacity was lifted to 55 per cent on trains, 45 per cent on buses, 51 per cent on ferries and 25 per cent on light rail.

Last month, face masks became no longer mandatory on public transport and are now only recommended.

Sydney’s housing rental prices hit record highs in the March quarter along with most other capital cities.

In Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Sutherland, outer south-west, outer west and Blue Mountains regions, rental prices are still rising along with demand.

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Home prices are climbing alright, but not for the reason you might think


It’s tempting to think home prices are soaring because there aren’t enough homes.

But that can’t explain the sudden takeoff from about the year 2000, the sudden takeoff from about 2013, and again now – against expectations – the stratospheric takeoff in the wake of the COVID recession.

Broadly, we’ve enough homes. The 2016 census found we had 12 per cent more dwellings than households, up from 10 per cent in 2001.

That’s 12 per cent of our houses and apartments empty – used as holiday homes and second homes, or waiting for tenants.

If there really weren’t enough homes for people who wanted them, it would be more than property prices soaring; it would be rents.

Instead, overall rents have been barely moving – growing even more slowly than wages – for half a decade.


Rent price index versus wage price index

December 2009 = 100.
ABS Wage Price Index, Rent Price index from Consumer Price Index

For the half-decade from 2016, a half-decade in which Australia’s population grew by more than one million, Australian rents barely moved.

The supply of places to live in has kept pace with the demand for places to live in, but the supply of places to own has not.

More landlords, more tenants

If that sounds odd, remember people want to own houses for reasons other than living in.

Since about the year 2000, big numbers of Australians (and foreigners) have wanted to buy them to rent them out. They’ve wanted to become landlords.




Read more:
Rents, not prices, are best to assess housing supply and demand


Twenty years ago only one in 15 of us were landlords. It’s now one in ten – more than two million of us.

To get those properties (other than where they’ve built them) they’ve had to outbid at auction the people who would have bought them to live in.

They’ve been helping create their own tenants, while pushing up prices.

We’re chipping away at Menzies’ legacy

From when Robert Menzies stepped down as prime minister in 1966 until the end of the 20th century, about 71 per cent of Australian households owned the home they lived in – one of the highest rates in the world.

Since about 2000, owner-occupation has been sliding. The latest figures (themselves some years old) put it at 66 per cent.

Among those aged 35 to 44, it has fallen to 63 per cent.

Over that time the cost of buying a home has shot up from two to three years’ household after-tax income to three to four years’ income.


Housing prices as proportion of household disposable income

Household disposable income after tax, before the deduction of interest payments, including income of unincorporated enterprises.
Core Logic, ABS, RBA

What appeared to set things off was a decision by Prime Minister John Howard in 1999 to halve the headline rate of capital gains tax. Not that the committee he asked to investigate the idea recognised the possibility at the time.

The Ralph Review recommended that half, rather than all, of each capital gain be taxed, rather than the portion above inflation as had been the case since capital gains were taxed.

The rationale was that this would “encourage a greater level of investment, particularly in innovative, high growth companies”.

A rush into property rather than high-tech companies

The review was right about the change encouraging investment, but wrong about the sort of investment.

Rather than buy shares in innovative companies, Australians bought rental properties like they never had before.

If they bid enough, they could borrow enough to negatively gear; to make sure their interest charges exceeded their income from rent, giving them annual losses they could offset against wages that would otherwise be taxed at high rates.




Read more:
When houses earn more than jobs: how we lost control of Australian house prices and how to get it back


There was nothing new about negative gearing. It had been permitted from the beginning. What was new was the opportunity to later sell the property at a profit, knowing only half of the profit would be taxed.

Investors could offset all of their losses and be taxed only half their eventual gain.

Pretty soon, more than a third of the money lent for housing each month went to landlords. For several dizzying months during 2015 it was 45 per cent. First home buyers struggled to compete.

In 2016 then treasurer Scott Morrison raised the prospect of winding things back, saying negative gearing had led to “excesses”.

APRA cleared up what our leaders could not

Labor went to two elections promising to do just that and the Coalition came out in support of the practice in public.

Behind the scenes, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority was using its power over lenders to force lending to landlords down, getting it down ahead of COVID to 27 per cent of new housing loans.

APRA succeeded in taking the pressure off prices where politicians couldn’t.

But that’s far from the whole story. There are other more deep-seated reasons why house prices are climbing, and they too have little to do with demand for accommodation.




Read more:
Zoning isn’t to blame for Australia’s soaring house prices


Prices took off again from about 2014, shifting up from three to four years’ household income to between four and five years. That time it was Australians getting richer after years of mining booms and being able to borrow more cheaply.

Houses in general mightn’t be a good investment (there being a regularly increasing supply) but houses in prime positions were in fixed supply, there being only so many good locations.

And then it fed on itself. The father of modern economics John Maynard Keynes described investing as a game in which the best strategy is not to put money into what you think is worthwhile, but to put money into what you think other people will think is worthwhile.

It’s happening again

He spoke of a third degree, where “we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be”, and added there might be fourth, fifth and higher degrees.

It’s happening again. With mortgage rates at new extreme lows and wealthier Australians having come out of the crisis with their wealth intact, it makes sense to do what others are doing and push up prices to buy before others push them up further.

It’s nothing to do with a shortage of housing, but for many it will push home prices further out of reach. That’s because in Australia housing is two things: accommodation and a form of speculation.The Conversation

Peter Martin, Visiting Fellow, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Gold prices: Gold rebounds on strong US inflation data, weaker dollar


Gold prices rebounded on Tuesday from their lowest levels in more than a week after data showing a sharp rise in US inflation bolstered bullion’s appeal as an inflation hedge and weighed on the .

Spot gold was 0.7% higher at $1,744.33 per ounce by 12:20 p.m. EDT (1620 GMT), after earlier dipping to $1,722.67, its lowest mark since April 5. US gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,743.90.

“We needed to see some inflation to get gold moving and we saw it this morning with that CPI number,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures, adding that a weaker dollar and retreating yields supported prices further.

US consumer prices rose by the most in more than 8-1/2 years in March, kicking off what most economists expect will be a brief period of higher inflation.

The US dollar slipped to three-week lows after the data, making gold cheaper for holders of other currencies, while benchmark 10-year Treasury yields also drifted lower.

Further supporting safe-haven gold were concerns raised by US health officials’ decision to recommend a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, analysts said.

“At the moment, we need to see a decisive breakout above $1,765 in order to spark another wave of buying up to $1,800,” said Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago.

“The $1,750 level has been a strong resistance, so we’re getting up near that level,” he said, adding that geopolitical risk tied to news of Iran stepping up its nuclear enrichment had also sparked a lot of buying of gold and silver.

Silver rose 2.1% to $25.36 per ounce, while palladium gained 0.5% to $2,689.67 after climbing to its highest level since March 18 at $2,710.

Platinum fell 1.1% to $1,157.31 per ounce, having earlier dipped to its lowest price in about two weeks at $1,155.

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IPL 2021, Cricket Australia, fixtures, squads, preview, auction prices: Glenn Maxwell leads Indian Premier League Aussies


A group of 16 Australians valued at almost A$18 million are set to take the Indian Premier League by storm when the lucrative cricket franchise starts again on Saturday (AEST).

Some enter the competition with the burden of justifying hefty price tags weighing on their shoulders, others have a point to prove after being snapped up at comparatively dirt cheap prices.

Meanwhile, the T20 World Cup, being held in India from October, is just on the horizon.

There could be no better audition for selection than this year’s IPL.

These are the 16 Australians participating in the IPL, including the five players to look out for.

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House prices rising at fastest pace in 32 years as listings can’t keep up with demand: CoreLogic


CoreLogic’s monthly home value index rose 2.8 per cent in March — the biggest monthly growth since October 1988.

“It’s just quite remarkable to see this rate of increase across Australia,” CoreLogic’s head of Australian research Eliza Owen said.

Sydney prices had the most rapid rise, up 3.7 per cent in the month and 6.7 per cent over the first quarter of the year — the strongest quarterly growth since mid-2015.

“That was a time when the property market was rising very rapidly off the back of a boom in investor lending,” Ms Owen said.

Prices in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra and Brisbane are all at record highs.

For the first time in the year, growth in capital city markets outpaced regional areas, which performed strongly as people moved outside the major cities during the pandemic.

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Oil prices fall as focus switches from Suez Canal blockage to OPEC+ supply policy


Oil prices fell on Tuesday as shipping traffic resumed through the Suez Canal after days on hold and attention switched to an OPEC+ meeting this week where the extension of supply curbs may be on the table amid new coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.

Brent crude was down 15 cents, or 0.2 per cent, at $64.83 a barrel by 0115 GMT, after gaining 0.6 per cent on Monday. US oil was down 1 cent at $61.55 a barrel, having fallen 1 per cent in the previous session.

Ships were moving through the Suez Canal again on Tuesday after tugs refloated the giant Ever Given container carrier,which had been blocking a narrow section of the passage for almost a week, causing a huge build-up of vessels around the waterway.

With the likelihood that the disruption will prove minimal,the market is turning its focus to Thursday’s meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia in Vienna, collectively known as OPEC+.

They will discuss whether to keep in place curbs on output that have kept millions of barrels a day off the market to support prices, a strategy that has largely worked in recent months.

Saudi Arabia is prepared to accept an extension of the production cuts through June, and is also ready to prolong voluntary unilateral curbs amid the latest wave of coronavirus lockdowns, a source briefed on the matter said on Monday.

“Market expectations for no change to output are largely priced in,” said Howie Lee, economist at OCBC Bank in Singapore. The revival of heavy coronavirus case loads in Europe “has put a brake on oil’s resurgence”.

More than 127.43 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally, and the death toll is approaching 3 million, according to a Reuters tally.

In Europe, rising numbers in a third wave of infections are alarming authorities, with France’s Finance Minister Bruno LeMaire saying “all options are on the table” to protect the public.

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Floods a blow to some NSW farmers, with shortages and higher prices to consumers expected in short-term


As Prime Minister Scott Morrison flew over flooded communities in Northern NSW this week, locals could be forgiven for hoping he had brought some bread and milk with him.

In flooded areas along the Hawkesbury on the edge of Sydney, many people are cut off and relying on boats and helicopters for their supplies.

Local supermarkets have been stripped bare as freight companies struggle with the closure of major routes like the Bells Line of Road and the Pacific Highway on the north coast.

Shelves bare in some supermarkets

About 30,000 people are affected by the floods around Sydney, and John Robertson, CEO Foodbank NSW ACT, said the shelves were bare in the local supermarkets.

But for most of us, life continues as normal and the flooding rains will not cause much more than a blip on our financial radars.

Supermarket shelves have been stripped bare in many flooded areas as road closures have made restocking difficult.(

Supplied: Tiffany Sullivan

)

Some key food sources affected

The rain has damaged vegetable crops in NSW.

Sean McInerney, a wholesaler at the Sydney Markets who buys fruit and vegetables from across the east coast, said individual growers had been hit hard.

He said some things such as bunched vegetables, herbs, zucchinis and locally grown tomatoes would be in short supply for a little while.

Wholesaler Shaun McInerney holds an apple in the Sydney Markets.
Wholesaler Shaun McInerney said some growers will be hit by the floods and some fresh herbs will be short supply in Sydney.(

Supplied: Shaun McInerney

)

“But we could pull those out of Victoria and we might have to pay a bit more for a couple of weeks,” he said.

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And if you like mung beans in your curries, salads and soups, spare a thought for growers like Sam Heagney in the north-west of NSW.

He has been flat out trying to get the water off his crop after 160mm fell on his farm this week.

Milk supply tricky

Dairy farmers have been badly affected on the NSW Mid North Coast.

At the Clarence Valley Dairy operations manager, Barry Pass said his herd of 200 cows was safe but had been struggling to get milk off the farm.

“We’re a bit of an island at our farm at present.”

That is the same for 150 dairy farmers who have been affected across the region.

Many have lost cows in the flood, fences are down, dairies flooded and milk transport cancelled.

Sorghum harvest impacted

The rain comes at a bad time for farmers harvesting sorghum in the state’s north-west.

Sorghum is used in pet food, pharmaceuticals and by farmers as stock feed.

Rebecca Riordan from east of Moree expects her crop to be affected.

“We have about 100 hectares of sorghum that hasn’t been harvested and we haven’t been able to get onto it because of rain delaying the harvest.”

And she is worried about her sheep, which she moved to higher ground but can’t see at the moment.

“We hope they’re reasonably safe and were able to get through it all, but it’ll be a while till we can get out there and see how they fared.”

Meat prices going sky high

Sheep and cattle prices are at record levels right now.

They started going up in the drought and this rain has pushed cattle prices to record levels yet again.

Now they are worth twice as much in the saleyard as they were two years ago, based on the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator.

Globally, food prices are trending up as well.

The price of agricultural commodities traded on the global stage has shot up by 50 per cent since the middle of 2020, according to economists at Rabobank.

Wheat, corn, soy and sugar have all gone up due to rising demand and supply problems, so expect to pay more for staples like cereals, vegetable oils and dairy products for quite a while.

So what is the good news?

The widespread rain has come at the perfect time for farmers who are about to sow their winter crops.

If all goes well, NSW will enjoy another bumper season, and there will be plenty of wheat, rice, canola and chickpeas to supply Australia and export markets.

That is good news for bakers and brewers who rely on them for wheat and barley.

The tricky part for growers right now is just getting their tractors onto their paddocks to sow the seeds, according to the Department of Primary Industry’s technical grains specialist Peter Matthews.

Rice and corn are safe

Sunrice, the Australian company that holds a monopoly licence to export rice, is also celebrating.

It had to import product from Thailand during the drought to supply Australian supermarkets but that will not happen this year as growers look like harvesting a crop a big crop despite the rain late in the growing season.

It is a crucial time, though, and wet conditions can damage the crop and the wet ground can make it difficult to harvest, according to Deniliquin agronomist Adam Dellwo.

“We were a little bit concerned about heavy rainfall causing grains to drop out of the head and shed.”

Mr Dellwo said the maize crop was about to come off as well, but damage should be minimal.

Maize is grown as feed for livestock as well as for human consumption.

“Maize for silage has mostly been chopped and is off, [while] the grain harvest for maize hasn’t started yet either,” he said.

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How much more will it cost to buy a house if prices rise as much as economists forecast?


House hunters could be forced to add hundreds of thousands of dollars to their budget by the end of the year or else make compromises, after new economist forecasts tipped home prices to reach staggering heights.

Auction floors around the country have sustained a stunning streak of results and high clearance rates, prompting ANZ to lift its national house price forecast to a 17 per cent annual gain across the capital cities.

The national median house price was $852,940 in the December quarter on Domain data, meaning if house prices did move in that order they would rise $145,000 by the end of the year to $997,940.

Economists’ predictions vary and forecasting is an inexact science — with the best available information experts tipped a 10 to 20 per cent property price drop at the height of the pandemic that never eventuated — but the prediction offers insight into the magnitude of the possible jump as interest rates stay low and buyers feel fear of missing out.

Possible rise in house prices under ANZ forecasts

Capital CityDec 2020 median price2021 growth (f)Dec 2021 median price (f)Dec 2021 20% deposit (f)
Sydney$1,211,48819%$1,441,671$288,334
Melbourne$936,07316%$1,085,845$217,619
Brisbane$616,38716%$715,009$143,002
Adelaide$574,26413%$648,918$129,784
Perth$563,21419%$670,225$134,045
Hobart$564,09118%$665,627$133,125
National$852,94017%$997,940$199,588
Source: Domain and ANZ. (f) = forecast.

Sydney

Sydney is expected to jump 19 per cent in 2021, which would cost house-buyers an extra $230,183 and take the median house price to $1,441,671.

It would leave buyers needing to save $288,334 for a 20 per cent deposit.

BresicWhitney head of sales and chief auctioneer Thomas McGlynn said these figures were not surprising given Sydney has recorded almost a three-month stretch of strong clearance rates and properties routinely smashing their reserves.

This unflappable demand for houses has left units out of favour seeing much smaller gains, which was likely to continue until buyers recognised the value in them, Mr McGlynn said.

“The difference between what an apartment would sell for compared to a house has widened. The value proposition is far greater than potentially stretching to buy a home,” he said.

“The farther away houses prices will get to apartments people will turn back to apartments simply because of the value that’s on offer.”

He expected many pockets of Sydney to rise beyond the projected 19 per cent with expensive lifestyle locations and properties in hot demand.

“Locations anywhere from Coogee to Bondi buyers are applying the same value that were attributed to harbour front properties,” he said.

“Buyers that would stereotypically look at the eastern suburbs — Vaucluse, Rose Bay, Bellevue Hill, Woollahra those affluent suburbs that are closer to the city than the beach — we’re seeing buyers there shift to the beach.”

The city has recorded massive price increases as fierce competition for lifestyle locations are playing out north of the bridge as well. North shore buyers cashing out of their properties and moving to the northern beaches to buy larger homes on larger blocks amid a backdrop of tight supply, he said.

The only factor that could put a dampener on price rises would be interest rates.

Melbourne

Melburnians will need to fork out an extra $149,772 under the predicted 16 per cent jump with the median house price reaching $1,085,845.

It will cost house buyers $217,619 to put together a 20 per cent deposit alone.

Buyers were reminded that forecasts were not always bang-on and that much of that growth had already been recorded in the first quarter of the year, according to Barry Plant chief executive Mike McCarthy.

“At best they’re an indication of where they’re heading. On that basis you have to take it with a grain of salt,” Mr McCarthy said. “Some of that 16 per cent over the year has already occurred.”

In January, the Barry Plant Group recorded an average property price of $663,000. By February, that had risen 8.6 per cent to $720,000, according to Mr McCarthy, who said more expensive homes traditionally sell at the start of the year.

“It underscores that prices are going up and we’ve already seen 8 percentage points — that’s a fair chunk of it already.”

He said a rise in prices would affect anyone hoping to stretch themselves to buy, prompting them to compromise.

“If someone is looking at a property that is about $700,000 now and that is their full capacity and their property goes up to $800,000 they’re still stuck at $700,000, that means yes they have to lower their expectation, look at a different suburb,” he said.

He said more homes were already being listed, which would not only give buyers more to choose from but also slow down the expected price growth for the remainder of the year.

Hobart

In Tasmania, house prices are expected to rise 18 per cent, which would add $101,536 to the median price costing buyers $665,627 by year’s end.

Buyers would need to save a 20 per cent deposit worth $133,125.

The market was already well on its way of recording double-digit price growth, according to Ray White Victoria and Tasmania chief executive Stephen Dullens.

“We’ve seen more investors come back to the market, which again is a category of buyers where 12 months ago they weren’t there,” Mr Dullens said.

“When you add back in first-home buyers and other buyers who weren’t on the radar, there is a lot of demand.”

With such limited supply to satisfy demand in Hobart, Mr Dullens said he saw little evidence of price growth slowing down by the end of the year.

Brisbane

Brisbane has also recorded strong growth in the first few months of 2021 and that is only expected to continue, with ANZ forecasting a 16 per cent rise by the end of the year, adding $98,623 to the median house price.

It would cost buyers $143,002 to save a 20 per cent deposit on the expected median house price of $715,009.

Perth

House prices in Perth are expected to rise 19 per cent, taking the median to $670,225.

Buyers would need to save $134,045 to put together a 20 per cent deposit by year’s end.

Adelaide

Adelaide’s housing market is usually steady and it offers an affordable alternative to some of the larger capitals, with a December 2020 median house price of $574,264.

But prices are forecast to rise a strong 13 per cent this year, which would take the median house price to $648,918.

To put together a 20 per cent deposit, buyers would need to save $129,784.

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How has the pandemic affected prices?


For most homeowners, housing is the single largest component of total wealth. So any change in prices can have huge flow-on effects, often referred to as the wealth effect.

Whether upsizing, downsizing, taking the first leap on to the property ladder or hunting for an investment, understanding price growth is an important part of the property journey.

Prices across the country have hit record highs this year, but often the discussion about prices is at a city level. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane house prices reached record highs in the December house price report. Median house prices rose annually 6.7 per cent across Sydney houses, 3.9 per cent in Melbourne houses and 5.6 per cent in Brisbane houses.

A property cycle depicts the movement of house prices through different stages, essentially describing the peak, decline, trough and recovery phase. 

We have found, by mapping price movements at a suburb level over the past two years, suburbs with the highest prices tend to lead these cycles.

In Sydney, Alexandria house prices soared 30.6 per cent, while Marsfield fell as far as 10.1 per cent. In Melbourne, Blairgowrie house prices increased 24.8 per cent during the same period, while Clayton had the steepest decline of 11.1 per cent. In greater Brisbane, house prices escalated a whopping 28.5 per cent in Thorneside – at the other end of the scale in Burpengary East house prices declined 8.4 per cent over the same period.

By looking at the performance of individual suburbs, we can identify how these smaller markets relate to each other. Mapping the annual change in median house price across each individual suburb identifies a pattern.

Sydney

March 2019: The trough

Sydney house prices tumbled 13.8 per cent from the mid-2017 peak to a trough in March 2019. During this time, almost $165,000 was shaved from the median house price, bottoming out at $1,033,160. 

Across Sydney, 86 per cent of suburbs recorded a decline in the median house price at this time. About 30 per cent of the suburbs mapped experienced double-digit percentage declines, with the steepest declines recorded in Kogarah, Abbotsford, Belfield and Lidcombe. The downturn was widely dispersed across Greater Sydney. In fact, at this time very few suburbs had a rising median price, only 12 per cent grew annually and 2 per cent flatlined. Price rises were concentrated on the Central Coast, with 35 per cent of mapped suburbs still rising, and double-digit increases achieved in North Avoca.

All suburbs mapped in Canterbury Bankstown declined, as did 98 per cent of suburbs in the Upper North Shore, and 93 per cent of suburbs in the Inner West, South and South West.

June 2019: The recovery

By mid-2019 Sydney house prices started to recover, although price cycles across the suburbs moved with slightly different timing. The more expensive suburbs led the downturn and hit a trough sooner than those in more affordable locations. Asquith, Bilgola Plateau, Birchgrove, Hunters Hill, Rose Bay and Summer Hill started to rise annually by the June quarter. More suburbs started to record positive growth in the City and East, Inner West, Lower North Shore, Northern Beaches and Upper North Shore.

But price falls spread further and the rate of price decline gathered momentum in the city’s middle and outer suburbs. In the west, 100 per cent of suburbs mapped had annual median house prices falls,  as did 98 per cent in the South West and in the South – house prices in Sans Souci and Elderslie bucked the trend and grew annually. On the Central Coast, prices in 78 per cent of suburbs mapped declined annually. 

The rebound in prices gained significant momentum as 2019 unfolded. By December 2019, 47 per cent of Lower North Shore suburbs experienced growth, which spread across the Northern Beaches (42 per cent), City and East (36 per cent) and Inner West (34 per cent).

By March 2020, 51 per cent of Sydney suburbs mapped recorded annual price growth, concentrated in the Inner West, the Northern Beaches, the Upper North Shore, the Lower North Shore and the City and East. 

June 2020: The COVID hit

Sydney’s price upswing was abruptly halted in June, the first quarter to show the impact of COVID-19 on housing values. House prices declined 2.2 per cent, or just over $25,000 – the first fall since early 2019. Prior to the pandemic, Sydney was on track to hit a new record house price mid-2020.

At a suburb level, the improvement in price had started to ripple more broadly across Sydney. Price rises continued across many middle and outer suburbs, still recovering from the previous downturn. By June 2020, 80 per cent of Sydney suburbs mapped recorded annual price growth.

Some suburbs that were previously growing annually declined, namely Norwest, Summer Hill and Clontarf. Other suburbs already declining began steeper annual price falls , such as Campsie, Cobbitty, Colebee, Pemulwry and Pymble. On the flip side, many suburbs had an acceleration in annual house price growth.

December 2020: The new peak

The fall in Sydney house prices was short lived. By the end of 2020, the median hit a new record high of $1,211,488. This is just over $13,000 above the previous peak mid-2017.

House prices rose across almost all of Sydney suburbs, with 94 per cent having growth. Remarkably, 43 per cent of the suburbs mapped had double-digit annual growth. House prices increased annually across all Blue Mountains suburbs over 2020. Over 90 per cent of the suburbs mapped in all other regions saw positive growth, apart from the Lower North Shore at 89 per cent. 

From the trough of early 2019 through to the end of 2020, prices fell in almost every Sydney suburb. Very few experienced constant annual growth over the past two years: Blackheath in the Blue Mountains and Palm Beach on the Northern Beaches. Other suburbs have shown very minor annual price falls, largely Central Coast suburbs such as Charmhaven, Hamlyn Terrace and Wadalba.

Melbourne

March 2019: The trough

Melbourne house prices reached a trough in March 2019, down 9.5 per cent year-on-year to $816,252. From a peak in December 2017, house prices tumbled 10 per cent, shaving just over $90,000 from the median house price. 

Across Melbourne, 65 per cent of suburbs recorded a fall in the median house price, and almost 21 per cent of the suburbs mapped experienced double-digit percentage declines. All suburbs mapped in Melbourne’s inner urban and inner south declined, as did 96 per cent of suburbs in the inner east. Significant declines of more than 25 per cent were recorded in inner ring suburbs such as South Yarra and Toorak.

The further distance from inner Melbourne, fewer suburbs recorded price declines. In the west, 58 per cent of suburbs had price growth, as did 62 per cent on the Mornington Peninsula.

June 2019: The recovery

The more expensive suburbs in the inner regions of Melbourne led the downturn and hit a trough sooner than those in outer suburbs. Inner Melbourne suburbs also led the recovery, with the rate of decline easing and some even starting to increase. Armadale led the price recovery, becoming the first inner suburb to record annual growth. Caulfield North followed by the September quarter.

Price falls spread and began to accelerate in middle and outer suburbs. A weak point was hit by September 2019 when prices fell in 91 per cent of suburbs mapped in the outer east, 95 per cent in the south east and 86 per cent in the north east. From this point, fewer suburbs recorded price falls and more started to creep into price growth.

The rebound in prices gained significant momentum as 2019 unfolded. By December 2019, 70 per cent of inner urban suburbs experienced growth. This growth spread across the inner east and inner south with 38 per cent and 42 per cent of suburbs growing annually in median price by the end of 2019.

March 2020: The peak

By the first quarter of 2020 Melbourne house prices hit a new record high, at $907,643, up 11.2 per cent year-on-year.

Across Melbourne, two-thirds of suburbs experienced growth in the median house price, and one-tenth of the suburbs mapped recorded double-digit annual growth. All of the inner urban suburbs mapped recorded price growth, and 79 per cent in the inner east and 88 per cent in the inner south, highlighting how the premium end of the market leads the price recovery. South Yarra, Toorak and Hawthorn recorded some of the largest price gains, they led the downturn and therefore had more to recover.

June 2020: The COVID hit

Melbourne’s price upswing was abruptly halted in June, the first quarter to show the impact of COVID-19 on housing values. House prices declined 3.2 per cent or $29,000, the first fall since early 2019. Prior to this, Melbourne house prices had made a full recovery from the 2017-19 slump. 

At a suburb level the improvement in price started to ripple more broadly across Melbourne. Many middle and outer suburbs continued to experience price rises, still recovering from the previous downturn.

December 2020: The new peak

The fall in Melbourne house prices was short lived. By the end of 2020, the median hit a new record high of $936,073 – $28,000 above the previous record in early 2020.

Despite the economic shock of COVID-19, Melbourne’s housing market defied the odds. First-home buyers became active, utilising incentives, low mortgage rates and a deeper savings pot as COVID restrictions reduced discretionary spending. Upsizing buyers were enticed by cheaper credit and altered their wish-lists post-lockdown.

House prices rose across 91 per cent of the suburbs mapped. More buyers are attracted by affordability, with price growth spread across outer areas. All suburbs mapped in the North East rose annually, 97 per cent in the West (Niddrie and Maddingley the exceptions) and 95 per cent in the South East (apart from Sandhurst and Dandenong).

By December, substantial price rises were recorded in Portsea, Flinders, Ventnor, Blairgowrie, McCrae and San Remo on the Mornington Peninsula. Lifestyle and holiday locations are beginning to accelerate in price as working remotely becomes normalised and international borders remain closed.

From the trough of early 2019 through to the end of 2020, prices have fallen in almost every Melbourne suburb. Very few have shown sustained and constant annual growth over the past two years: Bacchus Marsh, Capel Sound, Darley, Diggers Rest, Manor Lakes, Mickleham, The Basin, Werribee, Wollert and Yarra Glen.

Greater Brisbane 

March 2019: The slowdown

Brisbane house prices were close to a peak in March 2019, up 1.1 per cent year-on year to $571,738, a fraction lower than the high reached mid-2018. Up to this point, house prices had roughly six years of continuous annual growth.

Across Brisbane, 62 per cent of houses recorded positive growth at this time, and 7 per cent of suburbs mapped recorded double digit price growth. The biggest growth in suburbs came from suburbs of Hamilton, Burpengary East, Robertson and North Ipswich. Growth patterns were widely dispersed across Greater Brisbane. 

June 2019: The first annual decline since 2012

By June 2019, Brisbane had recorded its first annual decline in house prices since mid-2012, contracting 0.2 per cent to $568,558. More suburbs began to record an annual decline in median house price. At this time 40 per cent of suburbs recorded a price drop, a rise from last quarter.

Despite falling house prices in Greater Brisbane, 58 per cent of mapped suburbs recorded a price rise. Brisbane suburbs leading the way in price growth included Chelmer, Balmoral, Gundale and Windaroo. Of the suburbs with negative price growth, Teneriffe, Fig Tree Pocket and Chuwar recorded price falls of more than 15 per cent. Once again growth patterns were widely dispersed across Greater Brisbane. 

June 2020: The COVID hit

Brisbane largely avoided price falls seen in Melbourne and Sydney. The prosperity in suburb house prices is highlighted by the fact that 67 per cent of suburbs mapped in our analysis had increased, a slight rise from the previous quarter. Of these, 10 per cent had double-digit house price growth. Suburbs such as Fig Tree Pocket, Samford Valley and Grange had begun to shift from declines to growth. 

December 2020: The new peak 

By the end of 2020, Greater Brisbane’s median hit a new record high of $616,387. This is $28,000 above the previous record early 2020. House prices have risen modestly over each quarter of the 2020 calendar year, rising a further 0.8 per cent over the December quarter to end the year 5.6 per cent higher than last.

Despite the economic shock of COVID-19, Brisbane’s housing market shone through and came out relatively unscathed. First-home buyers became active utilising incentives and low mortgage rates became the norm. Upsizing buyers were enticed by cheaper credit and altered their wish-lists to think more about property characteristics such as space and lifestyle, rather than commute time and distance to the CBD. The rising interest from interstate buyers and the movement of residents from regional Queensland into Greater Brisbane will continue to support demand. Outer suburban and lifestyle areas will be the main beneficiaries. 

By December 2020, 85 per cent of Brisbane suburbs mapped recorded annual growth. Double-digit percentage price rises were notched across 17 per cent of the mapped suburbs. In Brisbane’s north 88 per cent of suburbs increased in price, 86 per cent in Brisbane’s west and 85 per cent in Bayside South. In Bayside North and Brisbane East it was about 80 per cent. 

Some of the strongest rates of growth were recorded in Thorneside, Virginia, Highgate Hill, Carina Heights and Yeronga, with house prices surging more than 20 per cent annually.

Despite most suburbs prospering across Brisbane, 15 per cent of suburbs recorded a fall in the median house price by December 2020. The deepest fall of 8 per cent was in Ormiston and Burpengary East.

How we mapped it

The maps reflect the annual change in the median house sale prices across Greater Sydney, Greater Melbourne and Greater Brisbane suburbs. The median price is based on 12 months of transactions, with a minimum of 30 transactions recorded within each suburb.

Each quarter, the colour of the suburb on the map represents where it landed on the growth scale – whether suburb prices were up (green), down (red), or somewhere in between. The darker the colour the bigger the respective fall or rise.

Maps were created at each quarter starting from 2019. When the maps are weaved together one after the other it visually allows you to see the bottom of the market hit in 2019 through to the recovery and how the impact of COVID-19 pandemic plays out across each city.

Only house data is included. This means some inner-city suburbs are not featured in the maps because their housing stock is dominated by units.

Thank you for stopping by to visit My Local Pages and seeing this article about “What’s On in the City of Brisbane” called “How has the pandemic affected prices?”. This post was presented by My Local Pages Australia as part of our local and national events & news stories services.

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