COVID: To understand housing market’s recovery, investor group studies GFC

COVID: To understand housing market’s recovery, investor group studies GFC

Property prices went up by 30 per cent or more in the Australian suburbs that best recovered from the global financial crisis (GFC), research by an investment group found, offering some insight into how the property market may recover after the coronavirus pandemic.

The Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) and CoreLogic analysed three years of property sales data after the GFC sent ripples throughout the market. Their analysis found property prices surged in capital cities and neighbouring areas as people entering the market took up the federal government’s first time homeowners boost. 

“The recovery in the property market (in the three years after the GFC) was broad, varying from inner-city to outer-city suburbs,” Peter Koulizos said, chairman of PIPA.

“Certainly, first home buyers helped by boosting demand for new properties, whether
they were located in urban regeneration or greenfield sites.”

The report comes after the RBA, CBA and CoreLogic forecast a dip in property prices due to the economic disruption of COVID-19.

NSW suburbs dominate, but don’t take the top spot

Capital city houses and apartments increased in value by more than 30 per cent in the three years from December 2008 to 2011, the analysis found.

CoreLogic: Top 10 change in capital city dwelling values from 2008 to 2011

The top performing suburb was Rosebury in the Northern Territory, where property prices increased by 39 per cent to a median price of $418,735.

It was followed by Forde in the ACT, where median property prices recovered by 35 per cent to $490,813. 

Rebounding New South Wales suburbs then dominated the remaining top ten, taking out six spots with suburbs in the city, inner west and western Sydney predominantly recovering from 33 to 31 per cent.

But a wildcard factor could influence the recovery following the coronavirus: people working from home, Mr Koulizos said. 

“The way that people work will likely change significantly post-pandemic and this will have an impact on less traditional property investment locations,” he said.

“Lifestyles will undoubtedly change, which will make living outside the inner-city more appealing. 

“If you don’t have to go to the CBD every day for work, because you can work from home, then you don’t have to live near it.”

Regional properties rebounded driven by the mining boom: CoreLogic

Houses and apartments in regional areas increased by as much as 65 per cent in the three years following the GFC, but many of these areas were bolstered by a strong mining industry at the time, Tim Lawless said, head of research at CoreLogic.

CoreLogic: Change in regional dwelling values from 2008 to 2011

“Areas such as mining towns, where economic conditions are dependent on a single industry, are much more likely to experience bursts of price rises or falls because of the strength or weakness of their dominant industries,” he said.

“While many of these mining regions recorded spectacular capital gains post-GFC, a few years later many of these same regions recorded a crash in home values.”

Low interest rates, government subsidies

A suite of measures are meant to slow down the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, and help different markets recover. 

Interest rates on mortgages are at historically low levels after the Reserve Bank responded to the pandemic with an effective lower bound cash rate of 0.25 per cent. 

Hundreds of thousands of mortgage payers were able to defer their home loan repayments if they were out of work. Banks initially offered the measure for six months, but can now extend them for a further four following instructions from financial regulators.

The Federal Government also introduced the HomeBuilder scheme, a government grant intended to fuel home purchases and renovations, while acting as a safety net for workers in the construction industry.

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What are the pros and cons of no-deposit home loans?

It’s no longer possible to get a no-deposit home loan in Australia. In some circumstances, you might be able to take out a mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit – but before you do so, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.

The big advantage of borrowing 95 per cent (also known as a 95 per cent home loan) is that you get to buy your property sooner. That may be particularly important if you plan to purchase in a rising market, where prices are increasing faster than you can accumulate savings.

But 95 per cent home loans also have disadvantages. First, the 95 per cent home loan market is relatively small, so you’ll have fewer options to choose from. Second, you’ll probably have to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance). Third, you’ll probably be charged a higher interest rate. Fourth, the more you borrow, the more you’ll ultimately have to pay in interest. Fifth, if your property declines in value, your mortgage might end up being worth more than your home.

Does Australia have no-deposit home loans?

Australia no longer has no-deposit home loans – or 100 per cent home loans as they’re also known – because they’re regarded as too risky.

However, some lenders allow some borrowers to take out mortgages with a 5 per cent deposit.

Another option is to source a deposit from elsewhere – either by using a parental guarantee or by drawing out equity from another property.

What is a loan-to-value ratio (LVR)?

A loan-to-value ratio (otherwise known as a Loan to Valuation Ratio or LVR), is a calculation lenders make to work out the value of your loan versus the value of your property, expressed as a percentage.   Lenders use this calculation to help assess your suitability for a home loan, and whether you need to pay lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI). As a general rule, most banks will require you to pay LMI if your loan-to-value ratio is 80 per cent or more.   LVR is worked out by dividing the loan amount by the value of the property. If you are looking for a quick ball-park estimate of LVR, the size of your deposit is a good indicator as it is directly proportionate to your LVR. For instance, a loan with an LVR of 80 per cent requires a deposit of 20 per cent, while a 90 per cent LVR requires 10 per cent down payment. 

LOAN AMOUNT / PROPERTY VALUE = LVR%

While this all sounds simple enough, it is worth doing a more accurate calculation of LVR before you commit to buying a place as there are some traps to be aware of. Firstly, the ‘loan amount’ is the price you paid for the property plus additional costs such as stamp duty and legal fees, minus your deposit amount. Secondly, the ‘property value’ is determined by your lender’s valuation of the property, not the price you paid for it, and sometimes these can differ so where possible, try and get your bank to evaluate the property before you put in an offer.

What is an investment loan?

An investment loan is a home loan that is taken out to purchase a property purely for investment purposes. This means that the purchaser will not be living in the property but will instead rent it out or simply retain it for purposes of capital growth.

How much can I borrow with a guaranteed home loan?

Some lenders will allow you to borrow 100 per cent of the value of the property with a guaranteed home loan. For that to happen, the lender would have to feel confident in your ability to pay off the mortgage and in the security provided by your guarantor.

What is a low-deposit home loan?

A low-deposit home loan is a mortgage where you need to borrow more than 80 per cent of the purchase price – in other words, your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the purchase price.

For example, if you want to buy a $500,000 property, you’ll need a low-deposit home loan if your deposit is less than $100,000 and therefore you need to borrow more than $400,000.

As a general rule, you’ll need to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance) if you take out a low-deposit home loan. You can use this LMI calculator to estimate your LMI payment.

Will I have to pay lenders' mortgage insurance twice if I refinance?

If your deposit was less than 20 per cent of your property’s value when you took out your original loan, you may have paid lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI) to cover the lender against the risk that you may default on your repayments. 

If you refinance to a new home loan, but still don’t have enough deposit and/or equity to provide 20 per cent security, you’ll need to pay for the lender’s LMI a second time. This could potentially add thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in upfront costs to your mortgage, so it’s important to consider whether the financial benefits of refinancing may be worth these costs.

How much debt is too much?

A home loan is considered to be too large when the monthly repayments exceed 30 per cent of your pre-tax income. Anything over this threshold is officially known as ‘mortgage stress’ – and for good reason – it can seriously affect your lifestyle and your actual stress levels.

The best way to avoid mortgage stress is by factoring in a sizeable buffer of at least 2 – 3 per cent. If this then tips you over into the mortgage stress category, then it’s likely you’re taking on too much debt.

If you’re wondering if this kind of buffer is really necessary, consider this: historically, the average interest rate is around 7 per cent, so the chances of your 30 year loan spending half of its time above this rate is entirely plausible – and that’s before you’ve even factored in any of life’s emergencies such as the loss of one income or the arrival of a new family member.

Mortgage Calculator, Property Value

An estimate of how much your desired property is worth. 

Does Australia have no cost refinancing?

No Cost Refinancing is an option available in the US where the lender or broker covers your switching costs, such as appraisal fees and settlement costs. Unfortunately, no cost refinancing isn’t available in Australia.

Can I change jobs while I am applying for a home loan?

Whether you’re a new borrower or you’re refinancing your home loan, many lenders require you to be in a permanent job with the same employer for at least 6 months before applying for a home loan. Different lenders have different requirements. 

If your work situation changes for any reason while you’re applying for a mortgage, this could reduce your chances of successfully completing the process. Contacting the lender as soon as you know your employment situation is changing may allow you to work something out. 

Can I get a home loan if I am on an employment contract?

Some lenders will allow you to apply for a mortgage if you are a contractor or freelancer. However, many lenders prefer you to be in a permanent, ongoing role, because a more stable income means you’re more likely to keep up with your repayments.

If you’re a contractor, freelancer, or are otherwise self-employed, it may still be possible to apply for a low-doc home loan, as these mortgages require less specific proof of income.

Is there a limit to how many times I can refinance?

There is no set limit to how many times you are allowed to refinance. Some surveyed RateCity users have refinanced up to three times.

However, if you refinance several times in short succession, it could affect your credit score. Lenders assess your credit score when you apply for new loans, so if you end up with bad credit, you may not be able to refinance if and when you really need to.

Before refinancing multiple times, consider getting a copy of your credit report and ensure your credit history is in good shape for future refinances.

I have a poor credit rating. Am I still able to get a mortgage?

Some lenders still allow you to apply for a home loan if you have impaired credit. However, you may pay a slightly higher interest rate and/or higher fees. This is to help offset the higher risk that you may default on your repayments.