Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Friday, 27 July 2018

Australia: seasonally adjusted

People boom

Temporary entrant visa holders in Australia increased to a record high 2,229,838 in the first quarter of calendar year 2018.

This represents a year-on-year increase of more than 150,000, comfortably overwhelmingly any tinkering at the margin on permanent resident intake. 

The main driver of the increase over the past five years has been student temporary visa holders, soaring from 332,000 in March 2013 to a record 536,000 in March 2018, thanks to a lower dollar and a voracious appetite both from and for Asian students.

Australia is becoming seasonal

It's notable just how vast some of the seasonal quarterly swings in temporary residents are becoming these days.

For example, visitor visas exploded from 317,000 to 610,000 in the December 2017 quarter as a swag of tourists arrived for the Christmas period, massively spiking demand for hotels and short-stay lets for a month or two.

Student visas, on the other hand dropped very sharply to 384,000 in the December quarter, before jumping again by 152,000 to a record high 536,000 in the March quarter.

Building bridges...

There was a surge in bridging visas to 195,000 in March 2018 from 154,000 a year earlier, perhaps driven by a blowout in visa processing times. 


Some reporters inferred that this was related to asylum intake - however...


Rental indigestion

These massive seasonal swings may imply that we are just about to emerge from an unusually weak period for the capital city rental markets. 

Seasonality has always been in evidence in rental markets and short-stay lets, of course, but this trend is seemingly becoming more entrenched by the year. 

Last June the total number of temporary visas dropped by 137,000 in the second quarter of the calendar year, before rebounding hugely higher by 287,000 over the following few quarters. 

Sydney's rental market is currently struggling to absorb a record high number of apartment completions leading to a jump in reported vacancies last month, especially in the crane-laden middle-ring suburbs. 

However, Sydney is also the capital city which benefits most materially from the dynamic combination of tourism and international students.

Therefore it will be interesting to see whether the Sydney rental market experiences any pullback in vacancies over the next 6 months or so, since recent history suggests that there will be a tremendous surge in temporary residents between now and New Year.

Or maybe vacancies will just keep on rising...

Internal migration: Queensland's time in the sun

The ABS also released its migration statistics for the 2017 financial year today.

Old news, to some extent, but the statistics confirmed that Queensland saw a very large 48 per cent year-on-year increase in net interstate migration to the highest level in a deace. 

Brisbane is attracting more internal migrants on a net basis than any other capital city (rising from +10,000 to +12,000 in FY2017), while there was also strong internal net migration to the adjacent Gold Coast (+7,100) and Sunshine Coast (+6,100) regions. 

Of the other regional markets, Geelong (+4,300) was by far and way the standout as it captured the spillover from Melbourne. 

Melbourne continued to attract internal migrants at the expense of Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, and even Sydney.