Real-time thoughts & analysis of the markets, economy & more...
Co-founder & CEO of AllenWargent property advisory.
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Pete Wargent blogspot
Co-founder & CEO of AllenWargent property advisory, offices in Brisbane (Riverside) & Sydney (Martin Place) - clients include hedge funds, resi funds, & private investors.
4 x finance/investment author - 'Get a Financial Grip: a simple plan for financial freedom’ (2012) rated Top 10 finance books by Money Magazine & Dymocks.
"Unfortunately so much commentary is self-serving or sensationalist. Pete Wargent shines through with his clear, sober & dispassionate analysis of the housing market, which is so valuable. Pete drills into the facts & unlocks the details that others gloss over in their rush to get a headline. On housing Pete is a must read, must follow - he is one of the better property analysts in Australia" - Stephen Koukoulas, MD of Market Economics, former Senior Economics Adviser to Prime Minister Gillard.
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Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Guest Blogger, Iggy Damiani: "The RBA is doing nothing for the 5%...Boo Hoo!"
Iggy is the MD of Equilibrium Property and today serves it up for the RBA in his characteristic straight-talking style.
Oh, and happy birthday today mate! Here's Iggy:
The RBA is doing nothing for the 5%...Boo Hoo!
Over the past few months there has been so much talk about what the RBA should do, how they should move, over what period of time and…the banks being b*stards!!
Today I would rather focus on what the RBA has or hasn’t done and the way things are playing out for the 95% of the property buying market in Australia.
The RBA decided to leave interest rates on hold this November, and this was the first time in six years on Melbourne Cup Day that the RBA decided to not move the official cash rate.
The official cash rate currently sits at 3.25%, just 25 basis points for the historic lows during the financial crisis (GFC) of 3.00%.
There are many commentators that say we should not be looking at the current cash rate of 3.25% and comparing the “emergency lows” of the 3.00% cash rate at that time - it's simply nonsense.
In fact Stephen Koukoulas, the Managing Director of Market Economics and Senior Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard had this to say: “People talk of near 3% emergency cash rate now with no idea: during the GFC, AUD 65c, fiscal stimulus, 5% GDP; now AUD 104 cents, fiscal cuts 4% of GDP”.
Those figures are not at all disputed from my point of view. However, I’m sorry, but I do look at the current cash rate and ask questions. I also look at the figures during the GFC but I am more focused on what we are experiencing today.
I personally use a very basic principle when investing (predominantly) in property. I use the principle of Sir Isaac Newton's 3rd law – every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
So it brings me to this point.Notwithstanding the fact that we are at or close to historically low interest rates, we see articles that highlight matters of concern and I quote:
“Almost 16 per cent of the nation's first-home buyers are in severe mortgage stress.
Those in Tasmania are leading the crisis with 17.2 per cent falling behind in repayments, being driven to refinance or pressured by banks to sell. This was closely followed by Northern Territory (17%), New South Wales and South Australia (both 16.4%), Victoria and Queensland (both 16%), ACT (15.2%), and Western Australia (14.4%).”
Now, reading that comment, one would have to ask: “Why are these people in severe mortgage stress”?
We are just 25 basis points from the historically low interest rates since the GFC. This week on the Property Observer website, John McGrath has gone on to say and I quote:
“The real recovery has been limited to the first-home buyer markets. Above $1 million there is no real depth.”
Now, this is where my issues begin.
The very fact that a high profile agent/entrepreneur/celebrity agent is willing to identify the fact that the property market has been recovering thanks to the first time buyers in the market, is a real concern to me, in particular when you take in to account the article that was released by the Herald Sun, even if we assume there may be 10% margin for error, the figures remain extremely high in terms of mortgage stress for the first home buyers.
Now, let’s be real for a moment. How many of you reading this article is out in the market place looking for a $1,000,000 plus property to purchase? According to statistics, only 5% of property transactions per annum are sold above the $1,000,000 price range in Australia. Yep, just 5%!
“The problem was that these folks, who were typically punters from the financial services industry, were looking at house price falls in, say, Bondi, Bellevue Hill, and Vaucluse, and using these suburbs as a benchmark for the rest of the country. Yet with a median price of more than $1 million, these areas are representative of only around 5% of the national housing stock. They therefore tell us little about the remaining 95% of homes”.
I spoke with Christopher Joye a few days ago regarding the comments he made in May 2012 and he informed me that the numbers remain the same. Only 5% of property transactions are above the $1,000,000 mark per annum.
Why there is so much focus on this million plus market is beyond me. The affluent markets typically see auction campaigns and not private treaty sales. When we look at the sub-$600,000 property market, the potential purchasers usually have a pre-approved loan based on their borrowing capacity subject to the size of deposit they have available for the property transaction.
Purchasers looking at $1,000,000 plus properties cannot borrow 90% of the value of the property as the LMI (lenders mortgage insurance) providers will not assist and they typically draw the line at $750,000 in borrowings - and if you have experienced trying to deal with LMI of late, we are pretty close to having to provide a DNA sample to get the loan over the line.