Housing affordability is likely to worsen rather than improve this year, a senior economist from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has forecasted.
Economist Michael Workman said that last year’s rapid price growth isn’t likely to be replicated in 2016. Australian capital city house prices grew at their fastest pace in seven years in 2016, according to figures from CoreLogic. Thanks largely to immense gains in the Sydney and Melbourne property markets (15.5% and 13.7% respectively), CoreLogic’s home value index jumped by 1.4% in December. Moreover, prices across Australia’s eight capitals increased by 10.9% in weighted terms over the year.
Two interest-rate cuts by the Reserve Bank (delivered in May and August), along with an acceleration in investor lending and limited housing stock, proved to be a powerful impetus for house price growth last year.
The question many investors and homebuyers are now asking is: after such a strong and prolonged period of house price growth, what will happen next? Will house price growth stall or decline, or will house prices continue their dizzying ascent?
The ascent might not be quite as dizzying this year, according to Workman, but growth is still to be expected– largely due to favourable conditions in the Sydney and Melbourne property markets.
“We believe the headwinds for housing prices will strengthen through 2017,” Workman told Business Insider Australia. “On the supply side, there is record new construction underway. It will deliver significant new stock to property markets, mainly in the largest cities, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, which have recorded the highest price gains.”
Rising interest rates and household income should also help keep demand in check.
“With no interest rate cuts likely, we believe that modest household income growth, via weak wages growth, will limit demand pressures. Some demand conditions, like firm population and jobs growth will remain positive for housing demand, but not as positive as previously,” Workmansaid.
CBA expects capital city house prices to rise by a further 5% in 2017, led by gains in Sydney and Melbourne. Price gains, in turn, will worsen housing affordability, laying the platform for an even fiercer debate among the nation’s lawmakers.
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