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Market Report October 2021

By Ian Campbell

Market Update

At long last Sydney’s lockdown is coming to an end and home buyers are likely to be first in line to celebrate!

While the lockdown prompted some vendors to hold off listing their property, there was little hesitancy on the part of most purchasers.

They have been keen all through the lockdown – the only thing holding them back was the lack of listings.

But now the lockdown is lifting they are likely to be out in force as an increasing number of vendors finally gain the confidence to enter the market.

Interestingly, those vendors who braved the lockdown were generally rewarded with Sydney’s property prices rising 2% in July, 1.8% in August and 20.9% over the year.

Auction clearance rates were strong during lockdown and the expectation now is that they will remain so with chief economist at AMP Capital Shane Oliver predicting property prices nationally may rise another 5% for the remainder of the year.

ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett agrees the lockdowns are unlikely to derail the housing market’s overall strength with the bank predicting house prices across the capital cities will rise by 7% next year and a further 3 % in 2023.

Housing Finance Under Review

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is closely watching bank lending standards and household debt as property prices continue to climb.

RBA Assistant Governor Michelle Bullock recently told Reuters the RBA was “continually assessing” whether there was a need to consider macro-prudential tools. Regulators tightened rules in 2014 and 2017 to rein in borrowing, especially interest-only loans.

However, since the main area of concern is now highly indebted borrowers, the potential tools which might be needed focus on debt serviceability and how much could be borrowed.

Ms Bullock noted investor activity was nowhere near the levels it was in 2014. She also said there was no evidence lending standards had been weakened and she pointed out the housing boom had actually helped the economy recover.

“The strength in the housing market is positive for the economy, and indeed an important channel for monetary policy to support the economy through housing construction, home improvements and purchases of household items,” she said.

Minerva Theatre Revival
After years of being closed to the public, locals would no doubt rejoice at the reopening of the historic Minerva Theatre in Orwell Street Potts Point.

The NSW government is considering putting in an offer to purchase the landmark building and restore it to its former glory as one of a few remaining heritage theatres.

But it’s unclear whether the building’s new owner – who recently put in plans for a hotel and a smaller performance space and bars – is prepared to sell.

The developer claims the state heritage-listed property can’t be returned to a 1000 seat theatre due to current safety standards, but those fighting to restore the Theatre argue otherwise. Many will be watching this space.

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