The changing face of the property market

The Australian property market is shifting and changing thanks to a multitude of forces. Sam Khalil, managing director at DPN, provides his thoughts on the current market and reveals property investment opportunities in the Wollongong, Newcastle and Brisbane areas.

Sam Khalil

The last five years have seen a phenomenal surge in the demand for property. It’s been a perfect storm of consistently low interest rates; an endless, thirsty demand for stock and foreign investment at record high levels. This in turn pushed up construction and new builds, and kept up supply.

However, like all good things it has to come to an end. This is not to say the market is in trouble by any means. More that it’s no longer like 2012 or 2013, where property investment has been like shooting fish in a barrel. Almost anyone with a little knowledge and a lot of luck could do well in the prosperous conditions.

But things have changed in the last 12 months, and so 2017 and beyond will still present golden opportunities, but only for the canny and well-researched investor.

How property investment is changing in the capital cities


Despite gloom and doom predictions - remember there were lots of experts claiming Melbourne would slump in 2016 and that Sydney would stagnate - both cities outperformed expectations. In fact, dwelling prices rose 15.5 per cent in Sydney while Melbourne had a rise of 13.7 per cent for the year.

Perth had experienced seven quarters of negative growth, and is in major recovery mode after its boom and bust. However, it may well have reached the bottom and signs are that it’s slowly starting to ascend.

In the last three months, there has been a small increase in property prices for the first time in a long time. It’s still a long way back, but investors who can’t afford the big capital cities may start looking in this direction.

Brisbane started a gentle ascent and should continue to find value in housing and land appreciation, while inner city apartments may experience price correction as I detail in part two.

So how will 2017 and 2018 play out? I’m confident we’ll see rises in Sydney and Melbourne as demand and sentiment still remain positive. Brisbane investment property will continue to follow closely behind. The lending measures that may impact the market and sentiment are the move in interest rates from lenders separate to the Reserve Bank.

Look to the regions

Land in south-western Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle remains very tight with strong local and investment demand helping sustain and increase prices of land. These areas will only continue to grow in 2017.

It’s not just investors but we’re seeing many Sydney “refugees” – younger owner-occupiers - who are moving to these areas in search of houses they can afford.

Because all three areas are within coo-ee of Sydney and they all have their own strong infrastructure and local economy, they are highly desirable and will continue to rise.

It’s worth noting that Brisbane is also showing signs of upward movement in land values in the metro area, and not just Brisbane itself, but even further out, there are some very strong opportunities as we recently noted in the case of Springfield.

Overall forecast

So what does all this tell us? My outlook is positive; there are a myriad of opportunities in the market. Which, as we know, are really many different markets.

The caveat being that one has to be more selective as market forces could change due to macroeconomic factors and policy changes by the regulators as well as the oversupply of apartments. This apartment oversupply poses the greatest risk for investors. It’s a cautionary reminder of not buying through emotion, or buying the wrong product at the wrong time.

There are some excellent prospects for property investment in the right areas that may not fit investors’ usual comfort zones. Investors in 2017 and 2018 will definitely be about hunting in different fields, certainly not in the usual areas that investors have been doing.

So there won’t be any quick rewards from backing the same winners of the past five years. The investors that will do well in the next 12 months will be those who put in the solid research and are prepared to look in other areas off their normal radar. As always if you put in the work, the research and don’t automatically follow the herd, you can reap great rewards.

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