Ditto on how much rents have risen; and the expectation that they will continue rising, and at the same pace, well into the future.
But several sub-measures of the rental market suggest that rental growth is already slowing down. Also, more renters are sharing accommodation in order to afford to live in preferred locations. Plus, renters are leaving sub-par, even average digs, and relocating to better properties. Renters are also staying longer in quality & well maintained homes & occupying lesser quality properties for increasingly shorter leases.
There are some 1,600 postcodes across Australia. Last year, 40% of these experienced a decline in their rental vacancy rate, whilst just over half (52%) saw an increase in the number of dwellings available to rent. Eight per cent saw no change in rental supply.
Nine out of ten postcodes across the ACT saw a lift in vacancy rates during 2012, as did seven out of ten in Tasmania & two out five postcodes across NSW also experienced an increase in rental supply. Western Australia & Queensland had the highest proportion of postcodes (55% & 50% respectively) experiencing a decrease in rental supply.
When looking closer to home, median house rents across Brisbane have increased by $70 per week over the last five years (2007 to 2012 calendar years) but the rate of growth has slowed significantly in recent times. Close to half of this rental growth occurred between 2007 & 2008, and whilst median house rents rose $15 between 2010 & 2011, they rose just $5 last year.
The same applies to Brisbane apartment rents, which rose $80 in total, on average, over the same time period. Yet, $40 of this increase was in 2007-08, with median rents also just rising $5 last year.
When it comes to rental demographics, more people are sharing. A consistent theme across Queensland rental agencies is the increase in the number of people per dwelling. Many have told us that there are around 30% more people living in each rental property when compared to a few years ago.
I assume this is taking place elsewhere across the country. Tenants are leading the ‘space for place’ charge, forgoing personal space in order to afford to live near the action. The 2011 Census doesn’t supply us with the number of people renting, but some quick maths suggests that 2.5 people live, on average, in the nation’s 2.3 million rental dwellings. Ten years ago, the average size of the rental occupancy across Australia, was closer to 2.
My experience – regardless of the stage in the property cycle – is that competition is fierce in rental markets. Prospective tenants always compare your property to whatever else is on offer. They just don’t blindly accept the asking rent without doing their homework. And these days, lots of it. Many parents wish they had studied that hard when at school or Uni!
Too much commentary is based around the total level of supply. Poor product doesn’t rent well, regardless of the lack (or otherwise) of supply. There can be, for example, 1,000 new apartments being developed in one postcode, much of which is likely to be pretty average in terms of liveability. As a result of this quantum of pending supply, the mortgage insurers, valuers & investment sellers all blacklist such an area regardless of knowing what stock is actually being supplied. The well-targeted & designed project(s) in the same area – which will most likely rent out well & resell for a premium – now get dragged down by this helicopter pigeonholing. The devil is in the detail. Sadly, detail takes time. Time costs money.
Developers often seek attractive forward rental estimates to help sell their new product – but in light of the above (and the compromised nature of much of the new stock currently on offer) – the anticipated weekly rents seem, to me, to be quite high & highly improbable. Investors should do their maths on a lower rental figure – something like 10% to 15% less – to be on the safe side.
Don’t expect rents to rise automatically every year. There are many things an investor can do to maximise rents, but again, my experience suggests that rents don’t rise every time a lease is up & keeping a good tenant, even for a bit less rent, is far better than getting more money & having tenant problems. Oh the tales I could tell!
An investor’s aim always should be to sign the best tenant for the highest possible rent in the lowest possible vacancy time. Never let your property sit – advertised for rent – vacant for too long. Properties should be rented out in weeks, not months. Waiting too long stuffs up your cash flow & often gets you less rent in the end. If you want to take longer, do not list it for the full time. It will look stale. Target your lease periods around maximum take-up periods. They vary according to local drivers – i.e. universities, hospitals, new construction projects etc. Ask the local rental agencies for their advice.
Finally, and we are starting to sound like a broken record, buy an investment property that can be shared. One-bedroom stock in an inner city location is fine, just make sure the apartment design/proportions can accommodate a couple if needed. Ditto when it comes to two-bedroom product – having separate bedrooms, with their own ensuites, allows two unrelated couples or singles to share.
In fact, the one ensuite per bedroom ratio is proving to be a good one, especially in regional markets, where resource workers often share accommodation once friendships are established. Four middle-aged men in a four-bedroom/four-bathroom house might not smell too crash hot, but I bet my bottom dollar it would show a great rental return.
Article originally published www.matusikmissive.com.au 26/2/2013
Queensland’s 100,000-property public housing shortfall revealed
Queensland has a severe shortage of social and affordable housing, an issue that is projected to get worse by 2036 according to new research.
More than 102,000 additional social houses are currently needed across the state, and 54,700 affordable houses are also needed with nearly 13 per cent of Queenslanders spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.
By 2036, Queensland is projected to need 254,300 more social and affordable houses – the second-highest unmet need behind NSW, the report found.
The new figures come from a UNSW City Futures Research Centre report on social housing shortfall across Australia.
Regional social housing shortfalls are higher than in Brisbane, the data shows, but Brisbane residents are slightly more likely to be spending more of their income on rent.
Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said housing affordability was a “big issue” for Queensland.
“Through the Palaszczuk government’s $1.8 billion Queensland Housing Strategy, Labor is driving key reforms and targeted investment across the housing continuum,” he said.
“The Strategy commits us to build more than 1000 affordable homes for Queenslanders, as well as a further 4522 new social homes to help ensure everyone has a safe, secure and stable place to live.”
Lead researcher Laurence Troy said 22.5 per cent of Australia’s entire housing growth must go to social housing to meet demand into the future.
“Our analysis shows that the sheer number of households in rental stress across the country means that if we’re going to meet the need, at least 12 per cent of all our housing by 2036 will need to be social and affordable housing – which is a very reasonable ambition in global terms,” Mr Troy said.
“To cover the backlog of unmet need and future need in Australia two in 10 new homes will need to be for social housing over the next 20 years, and a further one in ten for below-market affordable rental housing.”
Mr Troy said the research’s financial modelling found the “best and cheapest way” for governments to meet the need for social housing was to fund it through upfront grants and low-interest government financing.
“Delivering below market rental housing through the not-for-profit sector, as opposed to the private equity model, will save $3 billion a year by removing developer mark-ups and shareholder returns,” he said.
The financial modelling was commissioned by the NSW community housing sector.
Mr de Brenni said the state government was “listening” through its recent public consultation on rental reform and was committed to investing in affordable housing in partnership with community housing, to provide more subsidied homes for low income earners.
“We heard Queenslanders are struggling to afford rental properties in the suburbs close to where they work,” he said.
“Through our Build-to-Rent pilot project, we are seeking to work with the private sector to increase the number of long-term, affordable rental properties for low to moderate income earners, including key workers in health, early childhood and hospitality.
“Internationally, the Build-to-Rent model is delivering fantastic outcomes and facilities for tenants and we’re looking to see what the market is open to delivering here.
“The pilot, if it proceeds, will see $70 million invested towards delivery of hundreds of affordable rental properties for key workers in inner-city areas where affordability has been identified.”
Mr de Brenni said the registrations of interest for that pilot had seen strong market interest, and the department was considering the responses before calling for expressions of interest.
Moreton Bay region emerges as top performer in Brisbane market
While Brisbane has yet to see the property boom previously experienced by Sydney and Melbourne, experts said that some suburbs have been performing spectacularly. Find out how investors can capitalise on the Brisbane property market this 2019.
As the property markets of Sydney and Melbourne continue to decline, the stability in Brisbane comes as a welcome change for investors. investors start to flock into Brisbane hoping that the Queensland capital will follow in the footsteps of the two major markets.
Is it really a good time to buy properties in Brisbane right now?
According to Brisbane-based buyer’s agent Melinda Jennison, it depends largely on what the investor wants to buy.
The apartment and unit markets are generally thriving, with some softening expected through the year.
For example, in the apartment market, we are still seeing some of the oversupply being absorbed, which is good news moving forward. We do have a steady increase in population growth which is driven by both overseas migration and interstate migration, so we certainly haven’t seen the slump that was predicted.”
“However, we see some softening continuing in the unit market, perhaps for the next six to 12 months, and then we’ll see that steady out and increase into the future. Even the large research groups such as ABS have predicted slumps for 2019 but improvements in the years that follow.”
On the other hand, the house-and-land market has been fairly flat, with a few good performers across regions.
“In the single house and land market, we certainly don’t see the same. It’s been fairly flat across Brisbane if you’re looking at median values, but there’s certainly been pockets within Brisbane that are outperforming. The latest CoreLogic data in January actually showed Brisbane had four of the top 10 sub-regions.”
“These are markets with properties worth sub-$500,000, so it’s showing good promise,” Ms Jennison highlighted.
Opportunities in Moreton Bay
One of these top-performing regions in Brisbane is Moreton Bay, particularly the northern and southern sides, according to the buyer’s agent.
In fact, Moreton Bay has been deemed as one of the highest-growing shires across Australia, spurred largely by the high level of infrastructure spending across the area.
“There’s a new university being built at Petrie, for example. It’s a priority development area that’s been declared by the state government, and there’s a lot more infrastructure going in,” according to the buyer’s agent.
“A lot of the land has also recently been rezoned for higher density development. Further, there’s obviously different exit strategies that the investor can implement, particularly if they’re buying a site that has potential for future development.”
As South East Queensland benefit from the increasing level of interstate migration and population growth, Moreton Bay has secured a strong housing demand despite the increasing values of property across the region.
The new campus of the University of Sunshine Coast in Moreton is expected to improve the housing market conditions across The Mill at Moreton Bay, the new destination with the University at its core, and, ultimately, the entire Moreton Bay region.
Stage 1 of the campus, which be located adjacent to the Petrie railway station, is set to be completed in time for the first semester of 2020.
Ms Jennison said: “A lot of the area (The Mill at Moreton Bay) is actually flood-impacted land, so I guess it wasn’t ever earmarked for development, but the way they’ve developed the university around the non-flood impacted parts of the site, there’s a lot of ecological land that has been saved because it’s the squalor habitats that was associated with the sites.”
“With clever design, they’ve been able to design the University between Galangal and Petrie, and I think there’s going to be an exit from Dohles Rocks Road in Galangal—it flows through that whole area.”
At the end of the day, identifying a good investment area comes down to supply and demand, population and jobs growth as well good infrastructure, according to the buyer’s agent.
“In property investment, it comes down to supply and demand, but on top of that, it also comes down to having locations where people can secure good jobs, high-paying jobs.”
“We feel that Moreton Bay will gentrify quite quickly with young university students moving in, so we’ll see the types of accommodation gradually change over time to suit their preferences. There’s lots of opportunities within the area and the region as a whole because of this gentrification,” Ms Jennison highlighted.
Apart from noting the level of supply and demand as well as the existing and upcoming infrastructure, the buyer’s agent also encouraged investors to research any possible rezoning around the area as the zoning of land can significantly affect the investability of their properties.
In Moreton Bay, for instance, a lot of land throughout the major transport corridors have been rezoned around three years ago, meaning, the local council decided that the land be put to a different use.
“Where there existed single homes on single blocks of land, council rezoned that land for a higher and better use. It allows that land to be used for something more than just a single dwelling. It might just be a house at the moment, but in the future, it may be able to carry the capacity for 10 homes or units,” Ms Jennison explained.
Local councils often rezone land to help them plan for future growth, thus, rezoning usually happens around growth corridors or areas where the population and infrastructure spending has been rapidly increasing.
“Rezoning land allows developers to move in and build sufficient housing to accommodate the new demand that’s coming into the market.”
Whether the investor buys a property prior to rezoning to enjoy yield and some capital growth or they buy a block of land for multiple units after the rezoning for long-term growth as well as their exit strategies will be largely dependent on the investor’s personal goals, timelines and financial capabilities, according to Ms Jennison.
Treasury: Negative Gearing Reforms Will Have ‘Little to No Effect’ on House Prices
Federal Treasury has delivered a serious rebuke to the Coalition for exaggerating the impact of Labor’s negative gearing and capital gains changes.
In emails released under freedom of information, acting treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer requested the department fact check the Coalition’s claims that Labor’s policies would cause house prices to fall.
In response, Treasury issued a correction: “The [s]tatement is not consistent with our advice.”
“We did not say that the proposed policies ‘will’ reduce house prices,” the email reads.
“We said that they ‘could’ put downward pressure on house prices in the short-term depending on what else was going on in the market at the time.
“But in the long-term they were unlikely to have much impact.”
Labor has jumped on the release, with shadow treasurer Chris Bowen saying that the government had been “caught red-handed” misrepresenting Treasury’s advice.
For his part, treasurer Josh Frydenberg denied that the government was misrepresenting Treasury, pointing to the Financial Review’s take on the release that changes “could” put downward pressure on house prices in the short term.
Frydenberg quoted building industry group the Masters Builders Association figures.
“If Labor’s policy is in place you’ll see 32,000 fewer jobs and 42,000 fewer homes being built.”
House prices hit spending
It has been a difficult week in economic policy, with GDP figures released on Wednesday revealing that the economy has slowed significantly, entering a “per capita recession” for the first time in 13 years.
Retail trade figures for the March quarter were also sluggish, with falling house prices impacting wealth and spending.
RBA governor Philip Lowe highlighted the link between the two at the AFR annual business summit on Wednesday.
“The evidence is that a tightening in credit supply has contributed to the slowdown in credit growth,” Lowe said.
“The main story, though, is one of reduced demand for credit, rather than reduced supply.
“When housing prices are falling, investors are less likely to enter the market and to borrow. So too are owner-occupiers for a while.”
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