According to The Australian Financial Review, residential property sales transactions soared to a 17-year high with more than half a million homes changing hands across the country in the year ending August, as buyers rushed to take advantage of the ultra-low interest rates and vendors cashed in on the strong demand.
In the past 12 months, the number of houses and units sold had jumped 42 per cent to 598,000 nationwide – the highest number of annual sales since 2004.
In NSW, home sales climbed by 38.9 per cent to 191,090 from a year ago, while Victoria notched a 34 per cent increase to 129,933.
The previously weaker markets of WA and NT posted 62 per cent and 58.5 per cent growth in annual home sales respectively – the largest gains across the states and territories.
Sales transactions rose by 38.6 per cent in South Australia, 54 per cent in Queensland, 27.1 per cent in the ACT and by 10.6 per cent in Tasmania.
According to The Australian Financial Review, apartment price growth is starting to catch up with that of houses after lagging since the onset of the pandemic, as affordability deteriorates and investors return to the unit market in greater numbers.
Throughout the first quarter of the year, capital city house prices were rising about 1.1 percentage points faster than units each month. But by August, the gap had shrunk, on average, to 0.7 percentage points, analysis by CoreLogic shows.
According to The Australian Financial Review, the Green Building Council of Australia has launched a sustainability rating for the volume home building industry, which it hopes will be used to cut household energy costs significantly.
Under the Green Star Homes Standard, new housing will need to meet criteria for health – including ventilation, insulation, and using minimal toxins in carpets or paint – along with resilience, which includes water efficiency and climate change readiness. As well, “climate positive” measures will be applied, such as being fully electric, draught sealed, energy efficient, and powered by renewables.
“The residential sector accounts for 57 per cent of Australia’s building emissions. We spend 90 per cent of our time indoors with two-thirds of this being at home,” said GBCA chief executive Davina Rooney.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Cedar Woods, a Perth-based residential developer with a national portfolio, has warned extended lockdowns will put a brake on sales and construction of new homes, as it reported a 61 per cent jump in net profit for the 2021 financial year.
As the broader residential development market was buoyed by government stimulus, Cedar Woods booked a net profit of $32.8 million for the 2021 financial year – a 61 per cent jump on last year’s result and above the $32 million guidance it provided earlier in the year.
Total revenue rose 15 per cent to $299.75 million, while earnings per share rose by 60.2 per cent to 40.7¢.
According to The Australian Financial Review, home-owners are using rising property values and increased equity to top up their mortgages, by nearly $93 billion in the last year, spending up on renovations, cars, and real-estate investments, or to prop up struggling small businesses.
During June, mortgage top-ups soared to about $10 billion, or about 17 per cent, compared to the same month last year, with loans by owner-occupiers rising nearly 30 per cent, according to government statistics.
Mortgage brokers say top-ups have been booming as the nation’s major property markets posted double-digit percentage growth, interest rates are at record lows, and exuberant investors bid up prices.
According to The Australian Financial Review, buyers are returning to apartments, which are rising in price far more slowly than established houses, and developer Mirvac plans to release seven new high-rise projects over the next year to tap the growing demand.
While ASX-listed Mirvac expects residential revenue this year to be dominated by sales of homes in master-planned communities, the 1144 lots it is planning across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth would start to boost earnings from next year and into FY24, chief executive Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz said.
The company is looking to expand its current 2175-unit BTR portfolio to more than 5000 apartments over the medium term. It said construction at its LIV Munro project at Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market remained on track, it has development approval for its LIV Aston project also in Melbourne, has received development approval for LIV Anura in Brisbane’s Newstead and was planning its LIV Albert Fields project in Melbourne’s Brunswick.
According to The Australian Financial Review, house prices in Sydney’s coastal and middle-ring suburbs have defied the lockdown, rising by up to 5 per cent over July, but some areas in the city’s south-west and Parramatta have succumbed to the ballooning outbreak.
Ten out of the 17 worst-performing suburbs were in Sydney’s south-west, CoreLogic’s latest data shows, where a hard lockdown has banned residents from leaving unless they are essential workers.
By contrast, house prices in areas where virus cases remained low have risen strongly.
Rouse Hill in the Hills district racked up a 5 per cent jump in house values – the sharpest rise across Sydney – while Beaumont Hills notched a 4.7 per cent gain.
According to The Australian Financial Review, the gap between Sydney house and unit prices has blown out to an all-time high, and is poised to widen in the coming months as the current lockdown reignites buyers’ fears of living in high density housing amid surging virus cases.
The premium for Sydney houses over units had grown by 23.1 percentage points to 54.2 per cent since the onset of the pandemic in February last year. This was the widest gap ever recorded in CoreLogic’s books.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Brisbane house prices could more than double by the time the 2032 Olympic Games roll around, taking median home values above $1.4 million, an economist predicts.
PRD chief economist Diaswati Mardiasmo said this growth rate would be consistent with the market’s past performance during the G20 summit in 2014 in Brisbane, when dwelling prices surged 112.7 per cent over 12 years from when the event was announced in 2003 to 2015, a year after it was held.
“If we use the growth rate to project the next 12 years, we can expect to see the Brisbane median house price could soar to nearly $1.5 million. Even if we only get half of that growth, house prices would still surge to at least $1.2 million when the Olympics roll along.”
According to The Australian Financial Review, Sydney-based developer Ilya Melnikoff has followed through on his ambitions to acquire more trophy apartment sites in inner Melbourne, after his Luxcon Group snapped up the Beacon Cove Food Store site in Port Melbourne for $16.65 million.
It is Mr Melnikoff’s second Melbourne acquisition after Luxcon bought an old office building overlooking Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne in May last year that will make way for a $130 million development of 24 residences.
Unlike the residential skyscrapers developed by his uncle, Meriton boss Harry Triguboff, Mr Melnikoff favours smaller, boutique projects featuring larger apartments aimed at local downsizers.
He said there was a lot of demand for larger format residences and “true luxury apartments”.
“A lot of projects are marketed as luxury, but don’t deliver on that,” he said.
“Owner occupiers want larger apartment sizes and something with really luxurious finishes.”
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