Confidence Boost for the Australian Market

September 6th, 2013
Australian property listings increased in August, with some analysts suggesting a boost in market confidence. While the overall market is still largely subdued when viewe d on a long term basis, stock levels are up from July and vendors seem more willing to enter the marketplace. With the busy spring period already under way and the federal election done and dusted, hopes are high for a more confident finish to 2013.
According to SQM Research, national property stock levels grew by 2.6 percent during August to a total of 360,414. ; Sydney experienced the most growth with a 9.1 percent rise, with both Brisbane and Darwin recording year on year growth. ; "With the election out of the way..., that should help, spring should help… so you’d hope that there would be more properties on the market.” said Louis Christopher from SQM Research, adding “The more property that comes on, more buyers will be around as well and there’ll be more capital growth and I think it will just kind of spiral and then hopefully just keep pumping the market.”

Other analysts also forecast a return to confidence after the election, including Aussie Home Loans entrepreneur John Symond during a national real estate conference earlier this year. ; According to Mr Symond, the combination of low property prices and historically low interest rates will inevitably lead to market growth, with traditionally busy spring conditions and post-election optimism acting as the market catalyst everyone's been waiting for.

While conditions have been ripe for a market recovery for a while now, confidence has been the missing ingredient. ; According to Mr Christopher, the recent rise in national stock levels is a sign of better things to come, with that ever-illusive but necessary ingredient finally starting to reveal itself. ; If an increase in listings is a sign of renewed vendor confidence, improved housing affordability is a good sign for buyers. ; In a recent study, research firm RP Data showed 796 suburbs around Australia where it is cheaper to buy a home under $500,000 than rent. ; ;

According to the Property Council of Australia-ANZ Property Industry Confidence Survey for the September quarter, sentiment was slightly down in the pre-election period but hopes were high for the future. ; While the national property confidence index went from 124 in June to 121 in September, expectations for the year ahead were upbeat. ; According to the survey, buyer confidence was up for the quarter, thanks to "Sharply improved housing affordability combined with an increased recognition that interest rates will remain at low levels for an extended period."

With positive buyer sentiment and improved market fundamentals, the survey reported "a solid outlook for home price growth in the year ahead, particularly in Sydney and Perth." ; It is important to note, however, that conditions remain subdued despite high hopes and strong fundamentals, and that any return to confidence will only bring slow and steady price growth as the market gathers momentum.