Stable growth forecast for 2019 property prices

Domain has forecast that the value of Australia’s home loans should grow at a modest pace in 2019 and 2020, though there are several potential risk factors that could influence these predictions.

The report from Domain economist Trent Wiltshire found that property prices trended downwards over 2018, due to a combination of:

  • investor caution;
  • tighter bank lending practices;
  • weak sentiment, and;
  • new housing supply.

Looking to the future, the value of Australian home loans is forecast to slowly pick back up again in 2019 and 2020 as banks and borrowers adjust to these conditions, backed up by:

  • projected strong (if slowing) population growth;
  • lower unemployment;
  • faster wage growth, and;
  • increasing first-home-buyer activity.

House price forecasts*

City 2018 (estimate) 2019 (forecast) 2020 (forecast)
Australia (combined capitals) -6% 1% 4%
Sydney -8% 0% 4%
Melbourne -9% -1% 4%
Brisbane 0% 4% 5%
Perth -5% 5% 3%
Adelaide 2% 2% 2%
Hobart 12% 2% 2%
Canberra 2% 4% 4%

Unit price forecasts*

City 2018 (estimate) 2019 (forecast) 2020 (forecast)
Australia (combined capitals) -3% 2% 3%
Sydney -3% 3% 5%
Melbourne -1% 1% 1%
Brisbane -6%% 3% 3%
Perth -6% 2% 2%
Adelaide -1% 2% 2%
Hobart 0% 0% 3%
Canberra -5% 2% 2%

*Annual change to December quarter. Darwin excluded due to small volumes and market volatility. Stratified median house/unit price forecasts.

While these predictions paint a picture of growth for Australia’s house prices, factors that could limit this growth include:

  • The RBA raising the nation’s cash rate earlier than expected
  • Further tightening of mortgage lending regulations
  • Investors being forced to switch from interest-only home loans to principal and interest home loans that they can’t afford
  • Lower population growth
  • Chinese economic slowdown

Factors that could lead to Australian house prices growing faster than the Domain predictions include:

  • Fast slowdowns in housing constriction
  • Government intervention to support the property market
  • Improving sentiment from economic growth

Mr Wiltshire said that a potential wild card in the deck would be the 2019 federal election. An ALP victory could lead to the introduction of new policies limiting negative gearing to new properties (with all existing negatively geared properties ‘grandfathered’) and slashing capital gains tax discounts on investments from 50% to 25%:

“Property prices will most likely fall in response to this policy change as fewer investors will be wanting to invest in established residential property.”

“But there is also the possibility that if the ALP proposes a start date of 1 July 2020, this may bring forward some investor demand to take advantage of the grandfathering proposal, and actually push up prices in 2019 and early 2020, with prices being pushed down by the new policy in 2020-21.”

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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 guarantor?

A guarantor is someone who provides a legally binding promise that they will pay off a mortgage if the principal borrower fails to do so.

Often, guarantors are parents in a solid financial position, while the principal borrower is a child in a weaker financial position who is struggling to enter the property market.

Lenders usually regard borrowers as less risky when they have a guarantor – and therefore may charge lower interest rates or even approve mortgages they would have otherwise rejected.

However, if the borrower falls behind on their repayments, the lender might chase the guarantor for payment. In some circumstances, the lender might even seize and sell the guarantor’s property to recoup their money.

How do I take out a low-deposit home loan?

If you want to take out a low-deposit home loan, it might be a good idea to consult a mortgage broker who can give you professional financial advice and organise the mortgage for you.

Another way to take out a low-deposit home loan is to do your own research with a comparison website like RateCity. Once you’ve identified your preferred mortgage, you can apply through RateCity or go direct to the lender.

What is breach of contract?

A failure to follow all or part of a contract or breaking the conditions of a contract without any legal excuse. A breach of contract can be material, minor, actual or anticipatory, depending on the severity of the breaches and their material impact.

What happens when you default on your mortgage?

A mortgage default occurs when you are 90 days or more behind on your mortgage repayments. Late repayments will often incur a late fee on top of the amount owed which will continue to gather interest along with the remaining principal amount.

If you do default on a mortgage repayment you should try and catch up in next month’s payment. If this isn’t possible, and missing payments is going to become a regular issue, you need to contact your lender as soon as possible to organise an alternative payment schedule and discuss further options.

You may also want to talk to a financial counsellor. 

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Why was Real Time Ratings developed?

Real Time RatingsTM was developed to save people time and money. A home loan is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make – and one of the most complicated. Real Time RatingsTM is designed to help you find the right loan. Until now, there has been no place borrowers can benchmark the latest rates and offers when they hit the market. Rates change all the time now and new offers hit the market almost daily, we saw the need for a way to compare these new deals against the rest of the market and make a more informed decision.

What is a debt service ratio?

A method of gauging a borrower’s home loan serviceability (ability to afford home loan repayments), the debt service ratio (DSR) is the fraction of an applicant’s income that will need to go towards paying back a loan. The DSR is typically expressed as a percentage, and lenders may decline loans to borrowers with too high a DSR (often over 30 per cent).

Why is it important to get the most up-to-date information?

The mortgage market changes constantly. Every week, new products get launched and existing products get tweaked. Yet many ratings and awards systems rank products annually or biannually.

We update our product data as soon as possible when lenders make changes, so if a bank hikes its interest rates or changes its product, the system will quickly re-evaluate it.

Nobody wants to read a weather forecast that is six months old, and the same is true for home loan comparisons.

What is a construction loan?

A construction loan is loan taken out for the purpose of building or substantially renovating a residential property. Under this type of loan, the funds are released in stages when certain milestones in the construction process are reached. Once the building is complete, the loan will revert to a standard principal and interest mortgage.

What is appraised value?

An estimation of a property’s value before beginning the mortgage approval process. An appraiser (or valuer) is an expert who estimates the value of a property. The lender generally selects the appraiser or valuer before sanctioning the loan.