Confidence in Australia’s property sector has hit its highest point since March 2018, with the industry gearing up for a strong economic recovery in 2022, according to the ANZ/Property Council latest survey.
The Confidence Index rose 12 points nationally in the December quarter, off the back of substantial confidence boosts in the ACT (33 point increase), Victoria (25 point increase) and NSW (9 point increase) as the jurisdictions reopened.
Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the results painted a positive picture for a strong economic rebound for Australia next year.
“The sentiment in this survey is clear: The property industry – which employs more Australians than any other sector – is set and ready for recovery,” Mr Morrison said.
“These results show the industry is clearly optimistic about the state of the economy and commercial and residential property markets in the year ahead, having emerged from the challenges COVID-impacted last two years.
“It’s very clear that our members’ forward work expectations have lifted, and as a result they’re also expecting to hire more people to deliver that work.”
The survey, undertaken before the emergence of Omicron, showed future work expectations lifted in every state and territory bar WA, with the biggest jumps recorded in the ACT (27 to 67 index points) and Victoria (26 to 47 index points).
Job creation expectations also increased substantially in the ACT (20 to 35), Victoria (19 to 35), NSW (23 to 31) and SA (26 to 30).
“Our members are particularly bullish about our country’s economic growth outlook, with the index more than doubling nationally off sizeable boosts in all states and territories,” Mr Morrison said.
“Despite the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) indications of static interest rates, our members expect they will rise over the next 12 months, and in turn, expectations for continued house price growth have eased.”
Heading into a Federal Election in 2022, the survey also signalled the sector’s critical issues requiring Federal Government attention.
“Our industry’s key leaders are clearly saying housing supply and affordability is their number one issue, followed closely by emissions, environment and energy,” Mr Morrison said.
“Planned population growth is also of concern, given the industry clearly expects to be requiring more skilled workers.”
ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said while the lift in commercial property sentiment was broadly based, the largest gains were in the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.
“The reopening of state borders and easing of quarantine restrictions is clearly boosting confidence in the tourism property sector, while the rise in office occupancy has boosted sentiment in the office sector,” Ms Emmett said.
“Industrial property remains a clear winner through the pandemic though, with the shift to e-commerce lifting demand for warehousing and logistics property.”
Mr Morrison said it was particularly pleasing to see that capital rate expectations for hotels returned to positive territory for the first time since December 2019, off the back of Australia’s world-leading vaccination rates and expected opening of borders.