HOUSES in southeast Queensland are enjoying higher demand and improved capital growth as buyer confidence rises.
According to the latest RiskWise Property Research Risks & Opportunities Report, housing finance in Queensland is showing signs of improvement with an increase of 16.9 percent since February 2019 after a reduction of 7.7 percent relative to August 2018.
However, according to RiskWise CEO Doron Peleg, at this stage only modest (i.e. 3-5%) price growth is expected with the likelihood for strong (i.e. double digits) price increase low.
Mr Peleg said while the Sydney and Melbourne markets were experiencing continued (while improving) issues in relation to housing unaffordability, southeast Queensland enjoyed a more stable market, good population growth and healthy rental returns, making it attractive to both home buyers and property investors.
However, he said while houses were enjoying a resurgence in demand, this was not the case for units.
“Units in Queensland, particularly in high-supply areas and other places where the demand for units is consistently low (and houses enjoy strong popularity as a dwelling alternative), also carry a higher level of risk,” he said.
“One of the reasons for this is because the demand for units among owner-occupiers is low.
“Also, in addition to APRA’s lending restrictions, units in some suburbs are also subject to voluntary lending restrictions by major lenders, such as lower loan-to-value ratio due to oversupply.
“Units in inner-city Brisbane have the highest level of risk with a very large number of properties in the pipeline and increased rates of defaults for those bought off-the-plan. In fact, many areas with oversupply have been labelled 'danger zones' by lenders and also have low sales volumes.”
Mr Peleg said with many of these over-supply areas also presenting a major financing barrier due to requirements for large deposits, in particular off-the-plan units, there was a high level of risk that should be further assessed based on the absorption of the current supply into the market in the next two years and the reduction in commencements.
He said the impact in the short to medium term would be gradually mitigated by a reduction in these dwelling commencements alongside strong population growth.
Mr Peleg noted that the Queensland market greatly varied between high and low-performing areas and special attention should be given to the different job markets across the state, particularly since the unemployment rate had risen from 5.9 percent in April to 6.5 percent in October.
“This is especially the case in the mining towns in Central and North Queensland, that generally experience low demand, versus houses in popular beachside suburbs on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast that have delivered strong capital growth,” he said.
“It is important to remember that a softer employment market is well connected with low population growth, lower demand for dwellings and price reductions.
“The risk associated with the Queensland market should be monitored closely at the SA4 level, as deteriorating employment conditions are likely to have a significant negative impact on dwelling prices.
“The mining towns still present a relatively higher investment risk due to a very large proportion of investors with negative equity and insufficient growth drivers since the end of the boom.”