AuthorLukasz de Pourbaix
TitleChief Investment Officer, Lonsec Investment Solutions
DateJanuary 8, 2019
The housing market continues to dominate the headlines in Australia. Housing prices fell 4.8% in 2018 according to CoreLogic, driven by sharp falls in the Sydney (-8.9%) and Melbourne (-7.0%) markets. Price falls are now also evident in the middle and lower segments of the market, while auction clearance rates and volumes are trending lower. Lending to investors and ‘upgraders’ has slumped as banks tighten lending criteria. Suggestions that a potential credit crunch will lead to further significant declines in house prices has some commentators projecting that Australia’s record 27-year run without a recession is coming to an end.
Monthly % falls in Sydney and Melbourne house prices
The RBA sees the correction in house prices and the tightening of lending conditions as a healthy development, reducing financial stability risks and potentially prolonging the cycle. Investor loans have decreased, interest only loans have declined, and loan-to-value ratios are lower. The RBA recognises, however, that the high levels of household debt and falling house prices could amplify a downturn in the case of an external shock to growth.
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