Cairns has been chosen as regional Australia’s hottest property investment destination for 2018.
Simon Pressley of Propertyology said investing in the Tropical North was a “no brainer”, citing our affordable housing market, tropical attractions and lifestyle as key factors in the city’s top ranking.
While the “affordability driver” is the top reason for the number one ranking, Pressley told Sky News Real Estate that our clean environment, food experiences, beautiful beaches, agriculture and major projects were also important drawcards.
Mr Pressley has already personally endorsed the regional city with his own investment property in Cairns, pointing out that you would be “flat-out getting a pantry in Sydney or a carport in Melbourne” for the median purchase price of a three-bedroom house in Cairns.
He also said you can expect a “big bang for your buck” in Cairns with 600-800 sq. m blocks, low maintenance homes with pools, and, with tight vacancy rates – a 5% yield on your investment.
Pressley says the trend of more people leaving capital cities is expected to continue, with 20,000-plus currently leaving Sydney each year for tree and sea changes.
He says the outlook for Cairns is strong, citing the city’s proximity on the map as the ideal gateway to Asia, the fifth largest international airport in Australia, and major tourism and business infrastructure.
An over-reliance on tourism is in the past Pressley points out, with the estimated $700 million worth of investment by Crystalbrook Collection, the expansion of two major universities, the port and naval hub and the Cairns Convention Centre upgrade, together with regional agriculture.
An added attraction is Cairns’ employment rates, growing at 11.2%, more than three times the national average of 3.7%.
Reflecting on the current state of the market, Rick Carr of Herron Todd White Cairns notes in CairnsWatch November 2017 that price movements for individual properties have been mixed and prices overall are relatively static.
But Mr Carr’s research found the median vendor discount – the difference between the asking price first advertised on a property and its ultimate selling price – has reduced for units and houses alike.
“The latest trend median prices, for properties sold in the month of October 2017, came in at $405,000 for a house, $205,000 for a unit, and $212,000 for a block of land,” Mr Carr wrote in the latest Cairns Watch report.
“Despite relatively flat market conditions in terms of volumes and prices, other market metrics have shown some improvement in the latest quarter.
“The median time taken for listed properties to reach a sale has decreased from 59 days for houses sold in the 12 months to May 2017, to 56 days for houses sold in the 12 months to August 2017.
“The median time taken to sell a unit remained unchanged at 74 days over the same period. Article from Tropic Now
The Government is going to make it easier for authorised deposit-taking institutions to call themselves banks, in the hope it will reduce the cost of loans.
Currently only ADIs with more than $50m in capital can call themselves a bank but Treasurer Scott Morrison says this prohibition will soon be removed.
“There are approximately 58 ADIs in Australia that will then be entitled to call themselves a bank, boosting their market appeal and their ability to secure cheaper funds,” Morrison noted. “The benefits to the customer are simple - cheaper loans.”
Morrison pointed to the UK, where easing usage of the word bank in 2013 encouraged the growth of new ‘digital banks’ such as Monzo and Starling. According to Morrison “it led to a flood of new online lenders into the market, forcing the major banks to slash their interest rates and product pricing.”.
Investor housing loans struggle to grow as APRA’s crackdown on higher risk lending continues. The latest figures released by APRA and RBAseparately yesterday show investor loans hardly grew in January.
APRA’s monthly banking data shows that investor loans increased weakly by 0.04% to $553.3bn in January from December, while owner-occupied loans went up 0.6% to $1.05tn.
RBA’s figures show slightly stronger growth – with investor lending going up by 0.2% over the previous month and by 3.2% from a year ago, both in seasonally adjusted terms. Owner-occupied lending rose by 0.6% in January and was up by 8% over the previous year.
Total housing loans stood at $1.6tn in January, up by $6.2bn from the previous month, according to APRA’s statistics. In RBA’s data, housing loans grew 0.5% in January after a gain of 0.4% the previous month, but annual growth eased from 6.4% in January 2017 to 6.2% last month.
Slower growth in mortgage lending does not come as a surprise amid tougher lending practices and lower investor demand. Besides added restrictions on lending, borrowers also face stricter loan serviceability criteria and approval process, limiting their access to mortgage products.
Zooming in on APRA’s January figures for major banks, Westpac’s investment loans went up 0.3% or by $473m from December to reach $151bn in January. It is the only major bank that saw an uptick in investor housing loans and remains the biggest player in this type of lending.
Second largest player CBA recorded the most month-on-month decline in investor housing loans in terms of value by $125m, while NAB posted the least decrease at $4m.
For owner-occupied loans, all four recorded increases over the previous month, but their growth rates seem to have moderated. ANZ made the biggest growth at 0.6% to $174bn.
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