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Money HSBC CALLS IT: Australia's housing boom is over

17:31  24 may  2018
17:31  24 may  2018 Source:   businessinsider.com.au

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HSBC ' s chief economist for Australia , Paul Bloxham, said house prices in Sydney and Melbourne had been growing at low double-digit annual rates over the "We do not see a significant local housing imbalance and view Australia as having had a housing boom rather than having a housing bubble."

A global investment bank has called the end of Australia ' s world record housing boom , saying the golden Going, going, gone: Australia ' s housing boom is "offically" over , UBS says. However, the latest figures show it may now be more lucrative investing on the sharemarket than in property

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Australian home prices are falling, lending restrictions are tightening, auction clearance rates are weak and foreign interest is drying up, a scenario in complete contrast to that seen in recent years.

To Paul Bloxham and Daniel Smith, Economists at HSBC Australia, the writing is now on the wall: Australia's housing boom is over.

"Australia’s housing boom appears to, finally, be over," the pair wrote in a note released this week.

"National housing prices have been flat over the past year, after having averaged growth of 8% a year over the five years to mid-2017."

Bloxham and Smith, as others have previously noted, say there has not been one sole factor to explain the recent moderation, but many.

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The Aussie property boom is nearing its end, with housing price growth to run in the low single-digits in 2018, a leading economist says. Skip to content. Call Support 1300 799 109. But it will be a soft landing rather than a property market crash. HSBC ’ s chief economist for Australia , Paul Bloxham

One of the world’ s greatest-ever real estate booms is ‘officially over ’. Analysts at Swiss banking giant UBS have called a top to the Australian housing market, signalling the end of 55 years of growth during which home values soared by more than 6500%.

"The cooling has been driven by a collection of factors including a boost to supply, particularly of apartments, a tightening of prudential settings that has progressively occurred from early 2015 until recently, and a pullback in foreign demand, partly due to stricter Chinese capital controls as well as increased local taxes and constraints on local access to credit for foreign buyers," they say.

And having led the national price upswing previously, Bloxham and Smith say these headwinds have been felt most acutely in Australia's largest and most expensive housing markets, Sydney and Melbourne.

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The Aussie property boom is nearing its end, with housing price growth to run in the low single-digits in 2018, a leading economist says. But it will be a soft landing rather than a property market crash. HSBC ' s chief economist for Australia

The Aussie property boom is nearing its end, with housing price growth to run in the low single-digits in 2018, a leading economist says. But it will be a soft landing rather than a property market crash. HSBC ' s chief economist for Australia

"Having had housing price booms, it is now Sydney and Melbourne that are seeing their housing markets cool, while other cities have generally continued to see subdued housing market conditions," they say.

"For Sydney, housing prices have fallen by 4% since their peak in mid-2017, although they are still 66% above the mid-2012 trough.

"For Melbourne, housing prices are up 4% over the past year, but this is a slowing from double-digit growth over the previous year."

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The scale of the recent downturn has surprised some analysts, including Bloxham and Smith, who admit both markets have cooled faster than what they previously anticipated.

So, a number of factors are acting to cool the housing market, with the most acute effects being felt in Sydney and Melbourne. But what will happen in the future?

Like others, Bloxham and Smith are now predicting that Sydney prices will continue to decline in the months ahead.

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Tim Lawless, Head of Research at CoreLogic, called it a “significant turn of events”, acknowledging that if historical patterns are repeated, there’s likely to be further declines to “ Australia ’ s world record housing boom is ‘officially’ over after a large ‘upswing’ of 6556% price growth in 55 years,” he says.

The Australian housing market is at the start of a boom and is not in a bubble, with any such concerns premature, HSBC ' s economists Paul Bloxham and Adam Richardson say. As we have said many times before, Australia does not currently have a housing bubble."

"We now forecast Sydney to see outright housing price falls in 2018 of around 3-5%, but we are expecting the market to stabilise somewhat in coming quarters and see a broadly flat market in 2019," they say.

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However, they feel Melbourne's market will fare better in comparison.

"For Melbourne, we are expecting low single digit housing price growth overall in 2018 and 2019, with the market better supported than Sydney, partly due to still very strong population growth," they say.

As seen in HSBC's updated price forecasts below, they expect minimal changes in Australia's remaining mainland state capitals over the next 18 months.

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So why, at a time when lending restrictions appear to be getting tighter, and potentially even more so following the conclusion of Australia's Banking Royal Commission later this year, do Bloxham and Smith think the housing market will experience a soft landing in the coming years?

They think many of the same factors that helped to support prices in recent years -- strong employment growth and low interest rates -- will continue to support demand.

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Melbourne and Sydney have reported sharp declines in the rate of house price growth, with most other capitals also reporting weakening market activity - according to the September quarter Domain.com.au House Price Report.

It ’s not exactly ideal given the complexity of the Australian economy that they already have to deal with. In an attempt to uncover what is going on, Paul Bloxham, chief economist at HSBC in Australia and New Zealand, has been running a ruler over the numbers offered by Australia ’ s four main house

"Housing prices are unlikely to fall sharply given continued low interest rates and strong employment growth," they say.

"Although household debt levels are high, any misallocation of lending does not appear to be widespread and the national housing market is not oversupplied."

They also dismiss the view presented by other analysts that the housing slowdown will weigh on household spending, and as a consequence economic growth.

"We doubt that the slowdown will weigh heavily on the consumer," Bloxham and Smith say.

"This is largely because households have become more cautious in their financial behaviour in the post-Global Financial Crisis period.

"We see few signs that there has been a positive wealth effect from the recent housing price booms in Sydney and Melbourne and therefore doubt that the cooling will lead to much of a negative wealth effect."

As for the biggest risk to their views for prices and spending, from a domestic perspective, they say household income growth will need to improve.

"The key to the outlook is whether household income growth picks up from here," they say.

"A lift in household income would help to support ongoing servicing of mortgages and help secure financial stability. A lift in household income growth would also drive further housing purchases, supporting housing price growth."

Westpac says Australian home prices will fall for an 'extended period' .
Westpac joins growing list of analysts forecasting an "extended period of falling house prices". Low rental yields and prospective tax changes over negative gearing and capital gains also killing investor demandLoad Error

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