The Experts

Charles Tarbey
Expert
+ About Charles Tarbey
Charles Tarbey is the owner of Century 21 Australia (www.century21.com.au) and Century 21 New Zealand (www.century21.co.nz).

Who are the winners from the property downturn?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

National dwelling values decreased again in September, marking 12 consecutive months of falling values. The result firmly marks the end of the boom in the Australian housing market and what may be a prolonged housing price correction.

The correction has largely been driven by Sydney and Melbourne, where the vast majority of Australia’s property value lies.

Once again, the extent of the correction has been overstated and is being continually exaggerated by certain media outlets. As an example, while values have dropped by 6.1% in Sydney over the last 12 months, they achieved remarkable double digit growth in many years preceding this period. While people who bought over the last year will certainly not be overly happy with where values are, a large pool of owners are still sitting on large capital gains.

On top of this, we’re still seeing a situation where there remains ‘markets within markets’ in Australia. Over the last 12 months, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra, achieved capital gains over the period in question.

The current price correction is a result of the low interest rate environment that the nation has experienced, and continues to do so.  When the RBA cut rates to encourage economic growth, the Australian market witnessed a buying frenzy, with house prices rising much more than they should have, in my opinion.

During this period, certain parties did everything they could to limit foreign investment, despite the fact that this inbound capital was driving the large construction booms we saw in many markets.  As I said at the time, the problem with this approach is that if you’re not accommodating to foreign investors, they may not be there when you really need them. This scenario appears to be playing out at present.

While I do not believe the correction is as bad as many parties are trying to make out, it is happening, and there will be some winners from this movement in prices.

First home buyers may now have many more opportunities to enter the market than they did in the past. Prices are more affordable in many markets and there is likely less competition for properties.

Property prices in many areas of Western Australia, South Australia and even Brisbane look quite attractive to me. Property investment is a long-term game and I suspect there could be many long-term winners from savvy investments into these markets.

Eventually, as typically happens with free markets, prices reach a low point, where they suddenly become extremely attractive to investors and buyers. Where that point lies is always difficult to tell but prices will eventually stabilize, and then recover.

In the end, I firmly believe that Australia is a wonderful investment destination with a strong economy and great prospects for the future. The housing price correction that we are seeing will present some great buying opportunities for those who believe in the future of Australia and the wealth that can be generated out of its property market

 

Is the property market fall a disaster for all?

Monday, September 10, 2018

National dwelling values were down for the 11th consecutive month in August and this result may leave many people wondering what the traditionally busy spring market will hold.

In the current market, downsizers, first home buyers and investors are seeing pockets of value across the market. However, tight credit conditions are making it tough for many to borrow.

Interest in real estate never seems to abate. The media is always able to find a good headline, whether it’s covering a boom or a falling market.

There is no doubt that a change in the market is happening but does this mean disaster for everyone?

Not so long ago, various state governments were very vocal on how they were focused on affordability issues. With prices falling in many markets, there seems to be less of this type of chatter at present.  This suggests to me that governments may be thinking about reining in some of the current first home buyer incentives.

Opportunities for first home buyers and downsizers are now in abundance however, first home buyers may face a new challenge in the form of the banks.

Interest rate hikes, which I believe the banks have started delivering now to avoid being seen as unfriendly around Christmas time, and the Royal Commission into banking, have had a very noticeable impact in the market. 

The biggest impact has come from the Royal Commission. The number of loans rejected has spiked significantly, leaving many first home buyers out of pocket and unable to secure a loan.

Many homeowners and investors are being encouraged to refinance their loans if their bank is independently raising rates but a recent survey from Digital Finance Analytics showed that this may be a lot harder than many people think. The survey suggested that around 40% of people who tried to refinance a property loan recently were unable to do so. 

In my view, tight lending conditions will negatively impact property values moving forward. If government intervention does not occur to rectify the imbalance, property values will be impacted even more in the future and negative equity, particularly for buyers who purchased within the last 24 months, may become a major issue.

If we see a situation where interest rates are rising and property values are declining, I fear that thousands of property owners will become financially stressed, which is not good news for the market.

It’s fantastic that many affordable buying opportunities are presenting in the current market but it’s also important that people can attain finance to take advantage of them.

 

Are we heading for a property crash?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Many Australians might have become quite nervous about the property market of late.

Sydney recently posted the largest annual fall in house prices since the GFC and in July, Melbourne led the country in terms of declining values - recording a near one per cent decline. 

Negative media headlines are likely concerning the public and leading to a type of self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to negative housing sentiment.  The reverse can also be true, with positive headlines during boom times often creating a ‘fear of missing out’ buying environment.

Common questions I hear at the moment are: “Is this the start of crash?” “Should I rush to sell now?” “How far will the market fall?”.

While it can be dangerous to try to predict the future, I thought it might be helpful to take a step back and look at the market in context.

Firstly, while the market posted a 1.6% decline in capital city values over the past twelve months, CoreLogic reports that values are still an incredible 31% higher than they were five years ago. So while the market has lost some momentum of late, in this context, recent falls may not be as dramatic for the market as many are saying.

The second interesting point worth noting about the market is that while Australia’s largest property markets of Sydney and Melbourne have been pulling the market down lately, many other regions are performing well or very well. 

On an annual basis, Brisbane (+1.2%), Adelaide (+0.7%) and Canberra (+2.4%) have all recorded price increases in their respective markets.

Some are arguing that the Perth property market may have hit the bottom and green shoots are starting to appear.

Hobart has recorded an incredible 11.4% increase in prices over the previous year and led the nation in terms of growth over the recent quarter.

While many are right to be concerned about the slowdown in the larger markets, there remains ‘markets within markets’ in Australia and to say that the entire market is experiencing dramatic price declines is inaccurate.  

Lastly, we are in a traditional slow winter real estate season. Auction clearance rates are falling in many markets and a lot buyers and sellers have chosen to sit on the sidelines until spring. 

While I do not expect that spring will deliver incredible growth statistics like it has in previous years, it still may provide us with a better understanding of how the market is truly travelling. 

I often say that real estate is a great place to be if you don’t have to sell and this may be especially true in this market. Long term investors often reap incredible rewards by riding out different market cycles and consistently building their portfolios with high quality assets.

Due to the ongoing health of the Australian economy and the low interest rate environment, I don’t believe that the current slowdown in the market is a precursor to a property market crash. In fact, a slight downturn in prices, or more moderate growth levels, could be a good thing for the market over the medium to long term.

My preference has always been for the market to achieve modest price growth. In my experience, this type of scenario often creates more sustainable markets which can benefit all property owners. 

 

Where to buy in a falling market

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

In June, the property market continued to slow with prices falling by 0.2%. This means that the market is down nearly 1% over the year.

Many agents are reporting challenging selling conditions and increasing days on market for much of their stock.

Australia’s largest property market – Sydney – is down 4.5% over the year and shows no immediate signs of picking up.

These conditions may have many property investors salivating and watching the market closely for buying opportunities.

While property is typically a great investment in most areas if one takes a long term view, at present I especially like the outer CBD areas around Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne for investment.

As has been widely reported, Brisbane has a great deal of apartment stock coming through the pipeline and this may create unique buying opportunities for investors and homeowners alike. In some instances, settlement prices are coming in lower than purchase prices. 

With falling clearance rates, investors may have less competition in many areas in Sydney and Melbourne. This environment often means investors have more power to negotiate and pick up bargains. 

That being said, the Victorian Coalition’s muted plans to create almost 300,000 new lots by 2020 is a story that investors should watch closely. Such a large influx of new supply could put further downward pressure on property prices and rents across that state. 

Melbourne is already experiencing falling property prices which will assist with housing affordability. The city recorded a larger quarterly decline in prices than any other capital in Australia and this trend, like Sydney, shows no immediate signs of reversing. 

I expect that housing affordability may improve naturally over the short to medium term as prices decline and less buyer interest empowers first home buyers to make purchasing decisions. 

Regardless, housing affordability remains a very real and ongoing issue in many markets across Australia. It has been widely reported that the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ has become one of the nation’s largest lenders and this statistic would be concerning for many parties. 

Parents that are looking to assist their children in this way may be wise to help children buy apartments not houses. This strategy will minimise their exposure to the market while still giving children a foot hold into property. While this strategy may not be popular with many children, paying off an apartment will help them build equity and over time, can provide an effective launch pad into a larger home.

Hobart’s incredible growth story continues with the market recording a 0.2% increase in prices in June. Dwelling values are up an incredible 12.7% over the previous year and since January 2015, rents are 20% higher. 

Despite these headline numbers, investors should remember that Hobart was coming off quite a low base in terms of prices and rents. Whether this means that the market has more growth in it is hard to tell. The market is clearly very hot right now so property investors may find better opportunities in markets like Perth where prices are subdued and there may not be as much competition for stock.

The aforementioned information paints a complex and dynamic picture where there are clearly markets within markets in Australia. Savvy investors would be wise to recognise and exploit this situation.

Australia has a robust economy and stable government. These characteristics along with the country’s beauty and safety bode well for the future of the nation. In turn, this outlook continues to make property investment an attractive long term proposition in my mind.  

 

Top tips for selecting a real estate agent

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

As expected, the housing market continues to weaken moving deeper into Winter with dwelling values falling 0.1 per cent in May. This decline was largely fuelled by softening conditions in Sydney and Melbourne where the majority of Australia’s housing value resides.

Hobart and regional areas continue to buck the trend, with Hobart up 3.7% for the quarter and regional areas up 1 per cent.  Also, Brisbane recorded a 0.2% increase in values in May and Adelaide a strong 0.5% increase.

With such a mixed bag of conditions, it’s understandable that many Australians may be confused as to whether or not now is a good time to sell. Those that are planning on selling this winter are probably trying to find the right agent to sell their property.

The right agent can be the difference between a lacklustre result and a fabulous one. The right agent can mean a hassle free sale compared to a stressful sale. Put frankly, selecting the right agent can often be the best decision one makes when selling their property.

Having known and worked with thousands of agents over four decades in real estate, here are three top tips to help you find a top real estate agent:

Performance vs Activity

Often, people will select a real estate agent because they see lots of ‘For Sale’ signs from the agent in their local area.

Instead of reviewing 'For Sale' signs look for the agent with the highest number of ‘SOLD’ signs. Focus on performance not activity.

Commission Rates

Many people select an agent because they are willing to reduce their commission or they have a low commission rate to begin with.

My view is that if an agent can’t negotiate with you to preserve their commission rate, it’s unlikely that they will be the best negotiator when it comes to getting the best price for your property.

I would carefully assess an agent’s negotiation, people and presentation skills during any listing presentation as this will be a window into how your property sale is managed.

Also, agents that have the lowest commission rate in a given market may have so because they are struggling to list and sell property. Keep in mind the old saying that – price is what you pay and value is what you get.

Research, Research, Research

Unlike days past, vendors now have a raft of agent related information online and at their fingertips.

Vendors should look to research agents and pay close attention to data such as: days on market, commission rates, number of successful sales, sale prices etc.

This information often paints a very clear picture as to which are the top agents in any given market. This in turn will help you narrow down your shortlist.

Agent section is critical to a successful property sale. I strongly believe that the more research you do into local agents, the better your chances of finding the right agent for your needs.

While research can be time consuming and complex at times, keep in mind how delighted you may be if you achieve a sale price beyond your wildest dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

How is winter shaping up for the Australian Property Market?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

 

How is winter shaping up for the Australian Property Market?

As winter approaches the property market is continuing to slowdown, with values falling 0.1 per cent in the month of April.

This number is even more significant when you look solely at combined capital cities. Corelogic data shows that on an annual basis, the combined capitals recorded the first decline in dwelling values since late 2012. Darwin has seen an -7.7 per cent decrease in values over the last twelve months which is followed by Sydney at -3.3 per cent.

In contrast, regional areas continue to be strong performers, with regional areas up 0.4 per cent in April and 7.7 per cent year-on-year.

While the country is experiencing ‘markets within markets’, with many areas still recording strong growth numbers, a slowdown is likely underway and may be compounded when winter hits.

Winter has traditionally not been an active real market for many reasons but in recent years, we have witnessed little seasonality in real estate with one season seemingly blending into the next. This situation often saw many agents busy all year round and many sellers happy to take the plunge in the cooler months.

I suspect this phenomenon will well and truly end this year with many sellers choosing not to brave the cold in the face of moderating prices but opt to showcase and sell during the typically busy spring selling season.

However, those people considering selling right now might be surprised by some potential benefits of selling in winter.

Here are my top three potential advantages of selling this winter:

Less Competition

One of the biggest challenges of selling a property is competing against rival properties in and around the market in question. This situation can often lead to price reductions and uncompleted sales.

In winter this year, less listings may mean your property has a chance to really stand out. There will still be buyers around but perhaps less competition working against you.

However, this shouldn’t mean you should immediately over price your property and expect that it will just sell yourself. And this is where another advantage may come into play – a focused agent.

Agent Selection

An environment which sees low listing levels (typical of winter) may see many agents actively compete for your business and also go the extra mile to help you attract the best price for your property. They may have a reduced client load this season which can equate to your sale having one hundred per cent of their attention.

While most good agents do this already, in busier months they may be juggling many listings at the one time. This might not be the case this winter which has the potential to benefit a vendor enormously.

First Home Buyer activity is increasing

If you are contemplating a sale this winter, it might be worth noting that first home buyers are becoming increasingly active in the market.

ABS Data shows that the number of loans to first home buyers rose to a five-year high in November, 2017, to account for 18 per cent of total owner-occupied home borrowings.

In the last quarter of 2017, NAB analysis suggested that first home buyers accounted for almost two in five sales in new housing markets and around one in three in established markets.

If you intend to sell a property that may be perfect for first home buyers due to its price point, location or property type – consider marketing it as such, while working to ensure you property will be attractive to first home buyers. Consider installing modern technologies, such as Smart Home systems, and ensuring the property is safe for small children.

While it is often dangerous to look to ‘time’ the market, there may be some advantages to selling this winter depending in what market you are in. A good first step would be to review your local market (including listing and sales numbers) and speak to your local Century 21 agent to help decide whether selling this winter may hold more pros than cons for your sale.

 

 

Is now a good time to sell?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Selling a home can be a stressful process, from choosing an agent to negotiating offers and everything in between. However, before all this begins, one of the most contentious questions for many is choosing the best time to sell.

The reality is that there is no definitive ‘right time’ to sell property as the process is dependent on so many different factors and individual circumstances.

The current market appears to be cooling and week on week, stock levels continue to increase in many parts of the country. CoreLogic recorded a 0.1% decline in national dwelling values in February 2018, however as of the first week of March, we saw 8.39% more stock compared to the same time this year.

The conversations I am having with agents on the ground suggest that this trend is affecting the different markets. For those looking at selling in the coming months, here are a number of important considerations:

Increased competition

Firstly, the level of competition for a vendor’s property is important to consider if looking to sell in the current market.

Both sellers and agents need to carefully determine their pricing strategies as there may be more properties to compete with in certain markets.

An expert real estate agent may be able to advise on the most suitable pricing strategy for your property based on their knowledge of the area and market. However, I encourage vendors to be cautious of agents who may have entered the market in recent years when many properties sold themselves. A good agent will have a strong appreciation of the local market conditions and will be able to advise on an appropriate pricing strategy.  

Prospective vendors should also note that a benefit of an increasingly competitive market is the enhanced ability to sell then buy in the same market. Those wishing to do so may not find it as difficult compared to the past few years, and may also be placed in a better position to negotiate a good price.

Buyer activity

Some prospective vendors may be listening to negative comments about the real estate market and may be sitting on the fence about the decision to sell. It is important to note here that buyer activity is still very strong in many markets. This remains the case even in light of tougher regulations on foreign investors.  

Supply

Despite the fact that buyer interest remains quite strong in many markets, thousands of off the plan sales are reaching settlement stage and are due to complete over the next 12 months.

In the Reserve Bank of Australia’s minutes of the March monetary policy meeting, Governor Philip Lowe once again highlighted the considerable additional supply of apartments that is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years in in the eastern capital cities.

Vendors will need to pay close attention to this in the coming months, particularly when coupled with already rising levels of supply. Too much supply can drive down prices and make a listing harder to sell.

Regional areas

In recent months, Century 21 noted the growth potential of regional areas and the likelihood of the halo effect continuing to spread out from capital cities. It appears this prediction is ringing true and will likely continue.

Regional dwelling values saw a 0.9 per cent increase over the past three months to February according to CoreLogic, whilst most capital cities have seen moderate declines. Values were higher in the regional areas of all states except for Western Australia. 

Of note, data from the December 2017 quarter reported that the Geelong region recorded the largest annual increase in house values, up 14.6 per cent, while the largest annual increase in unit values was seen across the Illawarra region (12.8 per cent).

Agent choice

Finally, choosing the right agent to manage your transaction is essential and it may be worthwhile to steer away from social media when looking to do so.

It is important to consider the difference between ‘activity’ and ‘action’, as agents who display a strong social media presence and appearance of success online may not necessarily be the most successful agent in reality.

Referring to the credentials and actual results of a prospective agent should play a significant part in your decision making processes around which agent to select should you believe that now is the right time to list your property.

 

Emerging trends in Australian real estate

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Most people can no longer expect that a property will simply sell itself like it has in many markets in the past three years. Some may need to re-evaluate expectations for elements such as price, how quickly a property will sell, and how an agent will manage your transaction.

In January, CoreLogic reported that national dwelling values fell 0.3% over the month, taking dwelling values 0.7% lower since their recent peak in September last year. Across the capital cities, the softer month-on-month housing market conditions were led by Sydney (-0.9%), with declines also reported in Melbourne (-0.2%), Adelaide (-0.2%), Perth (-0.4%), Darwin (-0.2%) and Canberra (-0.1%) while values in Brisbane were unchanged.

According to CoreLogic, a preliminary auction clearance rate of 69.1%t was recorded across the combined capital cities over the week ending 18th February. Auctions clearance rates are lower across all capital cities (except Perth and Adelaide) when compared to the same period last year.

In light of these changing conditions, here are three trends to watch for over the coming year:

Opportunities that exist outside property hotspots

By the time a real estate hotspot is found and presented, often they are no longer hotspots. All the information communicated about the area may have occurred by the time the hotspot is publicised and all the buying activity has often taken place.

Sometimes markets that have attracted negative attention may hold good prospects for savvy investors.

For example, minutes of the Monetary Policy Meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia have noted that in the eastern capital cities, a considerable additional supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years.

Oversupply can drive prices lower which in turn, may create enticing investment opportunities. Savvy investors may wish to build their cash reserves and be ready to act in falling markets that they believe still hold strong long-term prospects.   

However, in the short to medium terms, it will also be particularly important for investors to consider the prospect of higher vacancies and lower rents. Investors should not be put off by this but should ensure they are well prepared financially for lower rental income in the midst of a potential rental oversupply.

Equity markets impacting property

Recent volatility in the equity market may start to influence certain types of property. Discretionary spending areas tend to be the first affected by such volatility. If you are considering buying properties such as holiday homes, it will be as important as ever to define the reasons why you are making the investment and ensure that any investment works for your personal finances.  

An agent who drops their commission too quickly

When searching for a real estate agent to sell your property in the coming months, it will be important to pay close attention to their negotiation style.

Whilst negotiation has long been the basis of a successful real estate transaction, it will be a skill that is increasingly important in a softer growth phase as the negotiation process may take a little bit more time, and a little bit more back and forth between parties.

An agent’s negotiation skills will be on display during your initial consultations, and you may be able to assess their capabilities based on how they negotiate their commission. You should be wary if an agent offers to drop their commission with you too quickly. This could be a potential sign that they may do the same when negotiating your property’s sale price.

By meeting with a few different agents, you can assess who presents a strong, reasonable argument for a fair price for their services, and in turn, choose the agent who you feel is the right fit for your property.

By Charles Tarbey, Chairman and Owner of Century 21 Australasia

 

What this year has in store for property

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Across the country, property value growth is continuing to level out and although this may seem like a negative thing for homeowners, it may be a positive thing for the Australian market. A market experiencing moderate growth can often result in a healthier long-term market.

Looking back on 2017, national dwelling values were 4.2% higher over the calendar year according to CoreLogic – which is a slower pace of growth relative to 2016 when national dwelling values rose 5.8% and in 2015, when values nationally were 9.2% higher.

The CoreLogic December Hedonic Home Value Index results reported that national dwelling values slipped lower over the month, led by falls across Sydney, Darwin, Melbourne and Perth.

The most significant declines were seen in Sydney and Darwin where dwelling values were down 0.9% in both markets. 

International market conditions will likely continue to influence Australian market conditions, particularly the US and Asian markets. As the US property market is on the move, it may help support the Australian market and keep it balanced.

Vendors should ensure their expectations are realistic this year, and their property goals are in line with cooler conditions. Vendor discounting is a likely prospect for those selling property in Sydney and Melbourne markets, however, this may level out in the second half of the year. 

Engaging with an experienced real estate agent can help vendors set a realistic market price of their property as they can take advantage of an agent’s on-ground knowledge of the area and involvement in recent transactions. Not only this, a good agent may prove invaluable should the need for discounting arise, helping to navigate the negotiation process between buyer and seller which is often emotional and taxing.

Vendor discounting may help to improve housing affordability in some parts. Buyers may be placed in a better position to negotiate a favourable price compared to previous years. 

Apartment settlements may be placed under valuation pressure in markets across the country, with the Brisbane apartment market and outlying areas of Sydney and Melbourne especially affected.

The Brisbane apartment market may be a key market to watch for first home buyers. New supply combined with first home buyer’s incentives may see unique and affordable buying opportunities present. 

I believe Perth will also remain a market to keep an eye on this year. The market is showing signs that it has moved through its worst, as vacancy rates have fallen and there are lower levels of stock compared to previous years. 

At the end of last year, Perth saw its first rolling quarterly capital gain since late 2014 with CoreLogic reporting a 0.3% lift in dwelling values over the three months to November 2017. They also reported that settled sales are rising (+3.8% year on year) and homes are selling faster (59 days compared with 68 days a year ago).

There may be many good opportunities to purchase Perth property in the coming months and to benefit of any upside in prices.

Lastly, amidst some of the ‘doom and gloom’ talk surrounding a levelling market, I encourage Australians to consider the demonstrated value of property as a safe and profitable investment over the long term.

CoreLogic’s latest Pain & Gain Report showed the total gross value of properties resold at a profit over the September 2017 quarter was $17.7 billion, far outweighing resales losses which amounted to $453.8 million.

This also attests to the underlying demand for property that is still there in many markets and that will likely remain over the course of the year despite signs of moderating price growth.   

 

Investor forecast for 2018

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

By Charles Tarbey

Property investors play a significant role in the Australian housing market, and over the past few years, they have been further enticed into the market by access to cheap finance and strong value growth in many markets. 

Over the past five years, the value of investor housing finance commitments has totalled $695.6 billion, and according to CoreLogic, at their peak in May 2015, investors accounted for 54.8% of new (excluding refinances) mortgage demand – which was an historic high.   

However, in recent times, property investors have been the target of Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). 

The impact of the levers put in place by regulatory bodies and financial institutions have certainly influenced the marketplace. Property investors may no longer be in a position to borrow what they like just because they have equity, as investor interest rates and loan value ratios are changing. 

We are seeing signs of the true impact of these actions, as the percentage of investor mortgage demand fell a further -6.2% in September 2017. CoreLogic reports that as mortgage demand from investors, particularly in New South Wales, has slowed, so too has the rate of value growth. 

Their data shows that investor mortgage demand in New South Wales has fallen from a peak of 63.6% in May 2015, to 50.3% in September 2017. Over the same month, Sydney capital city dwelling values were down 0.1%. This was the first month-on-month decline after 17 months of consistent capital gains.

I still believe there will be good opportunities to transact property in 2018, so here are some key considerations for investors for the coming year:

Changing investment opportunities 

Investor opportunities may become stronger, even though the capacity to borrow may be weaker. 

Over the coming year, there may be marketplaces across the country where investors are going to be needed to maintain value in property, particularly in areas where there are high levels of off the plan stock.  The Brisbane market is one where there has been talk of apartment oversupply in some parts. 

Some of these off the plan sales may struggle to reach completion in changing market conditions, and investors may be increasingly needed to act as secondary supporting buyers if the original buyers are not able to complete. 

Foreign investment slowing  

Australia has long been one of the most appealing destinations in the world for foreign property investment, however, these dynamics also appear to be changing due to tightened investment policy overseas. 

Some countries (such as China) are restricting the way money leaves their countries and in particular, are regulating the use of money for outbound investments, such as property.

Whilst it may be increasingly difficult for overseas buyers in Australia, investment opportunities may be presented to domestic investors by this slowdown. This may also be good news for first home buyers, as less foreign interest may lead to an oversupply of properties and increased vendor discounting. 

Factoring in the prospect of rate rises 

Many property investors have been embracing an extended period of record-low interest rates and cheap debt. The last cut made to the official cash rate was over a year ago in August 2016, however investors should remain wary of the potential for change in the year ahead. 

The RBA has been talking up the economy of late and this can indicate the potential that rates may start to come up. 

I believe property investors should be paying close to attention to ensuring their financial situation can cope with higher interest rates, and the effects that even a small shift upwards could have on repayments. 

It may be worthwhile considering a component of fixed and a component of variable interest rates, and to make debt reductions through the variable components of the loan. 

The coming year will likely continue to be a balancing act for the RBA. Whilst rate rises might slow some areas, it will be important to consider the impact upon other markets such as Perth and Darwin that are coming through the other side of the real estate cycle. 

Overall, it appears many seasoned investors may be sitting on the fence at this point in time, knowing there may be good opportunities arising in months to come. 

In preparation, investors may benefit from consulting professionals to solidify their New Year investment strategies. Working with expert financial and real estate practitioners will be invaluable to determine the best approach to any property transactions in light of personal circumstances 

 

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