Demand has started to increase in the property market on the back of the recent federal election results and interest rate cuts, with Brisbane and Mackay in Queensland leading the road to recovery.
REA’s Property Outlook for July has revealed the “ScoMo bounce” and two interest rate cuts were breathing new life into Australian property, with demand starting to increase and slowly flowing through to many indicators.
Search activity has seen a bump, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney’s hard hit markets, clearance rates in premium suburbs are getting back to high levels, and many mining towns are returning to growth after five years of negative conditions, according to the report.
realestate.com.au’s Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee said rental growth in these areas started some time ago, but a recovery is now following suit.
“Queensland is leading the way in the recovery,” Ms Conisbee said in the report. “Brisbane has been the first capital city off the block in terms of price growth, and Mackay is right now the top regional growth area in Australia.”
She added that jobs growth is also driving rental demand, which continues to be highest in Hobart, Gold Coast and Melbourne, and while the extreme price growth in Hobart now seems to be over, Launceston is taking over. Regional Victoria was also doing well, with many suburbs in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong experiencing never before seen property demand.
But according to the report, any real uplift in the number of people listing properties for sale is yet to be seen and pricing data is yet to reflect a change in conditions, and Ms Conisbee warned that while much of this sounds promising, there are some dark clouds looming on the horizon.
“Although buyers love an interest rate cut (we see an increase in search activity onrealestate.com.au almost as soon as it is announced), the Australian economy isn’t looking particularly healthy,” she said in the report.
“While many economic indicators have been poor for some time now, the bright spark has always been low unemployment. With this creeping up and the Reserve Bank pushing through two interest rate cuts very quickly, the positive effect of cheaper finance may not be enough to offset the fact that people are beginning to lose their job. Could it be that the worst for property is still be to come?”
Ms Conisbee said if the interest rate cuts were enough to stimulate the economy and property prices continued to see a rebound, we were still looking at a very different property market to what it was like during the boom, with investor lending down 45 per cent from peak and unlikely to make a full recovery any time soon.
“Buyers from Asia, a key market for new development, have dropped dramatically,” she reported. “Over the past 12 months alone, property seekers from China have dropped by over 60 per cent to the lowest level we have ever recorded, and confidence in the new apartment sector is low following some high-profile structural issues.”