Finance advice

RBA shows indifference towards house prices

By James Mitchell
RBA, house prices, property market

The RBA has claimed, much like APRA, that it does not have any targets for housing prices, despite warning about the rising levels of household debt in the current economic climate.

Addressing the Australian Business Economists Annual Conference & Dinner in Sydney on 21 November, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe said that, according to what he has observed, Australia’s most expensive real estate market has been “cooling”.

“This reflects a combination of factors, including increased supply of new dwellings, some tightening of credit conditions, higher interest rates on loans to investors and some reduction in offshore demand,” Mr Lowe said. “The increasing unaffordability of prices for many people has also probably played a role.”

After providing an overview of housing markets in other capital cities, Mr Lowe added: “It is important to be clear that the RBA does not have a target for housing prices.”

However, the RBA governor said that a return to more sustainable growth in housing prices does reduce the medium-term risks.

“These risks have not gone away, but the fact that they are not building at the rate they have been is a positive development.”

The central bank’s “hands off” approach to house prices is significant, given the level of macro-prudential intervention that has impacted the market in recent years.

Mr Lowe alluded to these in his speech, noting that the latest data suggests that Australian banks have more than succeeded in reducing interest-only lending to below the 30 per cent benchmark.

“These are all positive developments, but it is an area we, together with the Council of Financial Regulators, continue to watch closely,” the RBA governor said.

APRA is part of the Council of Financial Regulators and has also been quick to distance itself from any involvement in the housing market.

Earlier in the year, APRA chairman Wayne Byres told a Senate Economics Legislation Committee that housing prices are “not within the control, nor the mandate, of the prudential regulator”.

“Rather, our role in the current environment is to promote a higher-than-normal degree of prudence — by lenders and, ideally, also borrowers — in both credit decisions and balance sheet strength.”

The Reserve Bank has made repeated warnings about rising levels of household debt at a time when wage growth is slow and rates are at record lows.

“Our concern has not been the stability of the banking system; the banks are strong and they are well-capitalised,” Mr Lowe said on Tuesday. “Rather, the concern has been that as the household sector takes on ever more debt relative to its income, the risk of medium-term problems increases. This is especially so when this debt is taken on in an unusually low-interest rate environment.”

One scenario that the central bank has focused on is the possibility of a future shock, causing households to abruptly reassess their past borrowing decisions.

“In this scenario, consumption might be wound back sharply to put balance sheets on a sounder footing,” Mr Lowe said. “If this occurred, it could turn an otherwise manageable shock into something more serious.”

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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Dale, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

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Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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A softening market can be a difficult time for a property investor with finance approval tightening and property capital growth slowing, and while many real estate agents are also feeling the squeeze McGrath Brighton Le Sands' Bill Tsounias claims it is simply the market returning to normal.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Bill joins host Phil Tarrant to share his thoughts on the current Sydney property market, and to share the shifts that he has seen in house and unit sale prices following their worst quarter in the past decade.

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If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Gavin Kemp and his now-fiancé bought their first property together after only six months of dating. They weren’t even living together at the time. Now, two years on, the pair have bought five properties, sold two and have a solid plan in place for their ongoing property journey. 

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Gavin joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss how he chose the locations where he decided to invest and how, due to the initial lack of education (something that he now values highly), he lost money on his first two investments.

Gavin will share his thoughts on the current property market, reveal the people who he has leaned on throughout his property journey and discuss why his strategy employs a zero procrastination rule.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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A joint property portfolio before they were even living together

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