Property boom only just beginning

Posted on 20/06/2014  
Property boom only just beginning

People who stare at graphs on computer screens and never get out of the office are lining up to declare that the national property boom is over.

I’d like to declare that we haven’t had a national property boom - but one is about to start.

Here’s what I mean. The only price boom so far has been in Sydney. A national property boom is when all the capital cities and many significant regional centres record double-digit annual price growth. We clearly did not have that in 2013: only Sydney among the major cities excelled last year. The last time we had a national property boom was a decade ago.

Those who think that we’ve had a significant national event – and one that has now ended – are making a series of mistakes ... 

  • They’re looking at national data and failing to understand that Sydney is elevating all the national figures.
  • They’re extrapolating the Sydney situation nationwide.
  • They’re being swayed by monthly aberrations with median prices and other statistics.
  • They’re over-analysing auction data.

In other words, they’re stupid and they’re lazy.

Meanwhile, significant momentum is building in real estate around Australia. Home-buyers remain busy and investors are becoming increasingly active. Building approvals are continuing their upward trend (ignoring the occasional monthly distortion). The latest survey shows a rise in consumer sentiment towards real estate.

Above all else, there is a rising tide of sales activity in most parts of Australia.

Many markets in Sydney and Melbourne still have upward momentum. But, more importantly, other capital cities are stirring. In Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart, which last year showed little in the way of price growth, have significantly rising sales volumes.

Darwin, which appeared to taper off in 2013, sparked back to life late in the year and early in 2014. Perth, which did well in late 2012 and early 2013, still has many markets with growing sales activity.

There is also a push happening in regional Australia. Sydney’s growth has rippled out to nearby regional cities, such as Gosford, Newcastle and Wollongong. There are also busy markets in Dubbo, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Goulburn, Albury, Tweed Heads, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.

Perhaps the greatest centre of strongly rising regional markets is Queensland. Cairns, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, Hervey Bay, Townsville and Toowoomba all have a major head of steam.

There are few major population centres in South Australia outside Adelaide, but two of them are ascendant markets: Mount Gambier and Port Lincoln. A number of markets in Western Australia, notably south of Perth, are sparking to life, including those in Mandurah, Bunbury and Busselton.

My conclusion is that rumours of the death of the Australian property boom have been greatly exaggerated. In many ways, it’s just in its infancy.


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