Biggest boom winners and what's the next cycle? John McGrath

Joel RobinsonOctober 29, 20170 min read

Guest Observer

Sydney and Melbourne have recorded phenomenal price growth over the past five years, with house prices rising 66.9 percent and 39.8 percent respectively since the growth cycle commenced in mid-2012.

The median house price in Sydney is now $960,000, representing a capital gain of $385,000 in just five years. The median house price in Melbourne is $675,000, with the boom putting on average about $192,500 of new equity into the pockets of home owners.

A strong economy, population growth, new infrastructure, a chronic shortage of housing, a spike in investor activity and interest rates falling to record lows have all contributed to this surge in property values.

Some suburbs have fared better than others, with local factors substantially propelling prices forward in parallel with citywide trends that caused a frenzy of buying in our two big capitals.

Figures compiled by CoreLogic have identified the Sydney and Melbourne suburbs with the strongest house price growth in the five years to June 2017. 

The biggest boom winners in Sydney were Bringelly (170.1% growth) and Kemps Creek (166%) in the west and Clareville (125%) on the northern beaches. 

Melbourne’s biggest boom winners were Huntingdale (103% growth), Ashwood (91.2%) and Ashburton (90.6%) in the south east.

In Bringelly and Kemps Creek, land sales have been the key drivers of house price growth. While the two precincts are still largely farming areas, rezoning is expected to change the face of these neighbourhoods in the years to come. Zoning for Bringelly is currently mixed while the majority of Kemps Creek will be industrial to service the new Western Sydney Airport.

The airport is already bringing jobs and businesses to the area, with initial roadworks underway generating about 4,000 jobs. The Federal Government plans to have the airport operational by 2026 with close to 9,000 jobs in place by the early 2030s.

Over on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the affluent beachside suburb of Clareville has seen prices surge over the past five years, with an increase in the number of $4M+ sales over the past 12 months largely behind its incredible growth.

While the precinct has always been desirable to buyers, its recovery post-GFC was slower than other prestige areas. Buyers have since come to recognise the disparity in value between Clareville and the premium suburbs of the lower north shore, upper north shore and eastern suburbs, which has also been a significant factor fuelling increased demand in recent years.

The Clareville market has been driven by downsizers, local families upgrading and buyers seeking a holiday home. The appeal of a relaxed beachside lifestyle within an hour of the CBD has made it a sought-after seachange destination.

The suburb has also benefited from new restaurants, the new Avalon Beach Surf Club and the promise of better transportation to the city with the new B-Line bus service.

In Melbourne’s south east, the ripple e ect has sent prices soaring in our top three suburbs.

In Huntingdale, the small yet attractive enclave is tightly held with just 19 house sales in FY17 out of only 469 houses in total. Home to just 1,900 residents, its collection of about 20 streets is attracting buyers priced out of nearby Oakleigh, Carnegie, Murrumbeena and Hughesdale.

Among its amenities is Huntingdale Primary School – one of just 12 bilingual schools in Victoria, and the internationally recognised ‘Home of the Australian Masters’, Huntingdale Golf Club, both located just across the border in Oakleigh South. Huntingdale also has its own train station.

Just 5km away, neighbouring Ashwood and Ashburton were once considered hidden gems but are now in high demand from buyers priced out of Camberwell, Malvern and Mount Waverley.

These two leafy suburbs offer an abundance of green space and their large blocks are popular with families. Ashburton has seen an increase in new builds as home owners knock down existing properties to create modern family homes.

Both suburbs offer good public transport links and easy access to the Monash Freeway, with nearby Chadstone shopping centre and Monash and Deakin universities also major drawcards.

After a five year upwards trajectory, we are now seeing affordability constraints and tighter lending conditions softening demand in both the Sydney and Melbourne markets.

Affordability is always a factor at the end of booms. The market cycle eventually reaches a critical price point where buyers begin to exit the marketplace. Some owner occupier buyers renovate instead of trading up while others leave the city altogether.

Investor buyers begin to lose interest as capital growth prospects wane and yields become too small to service the loan. New restrictions on lending to investors have been a major factor reducing demand as well.

Typical post-boom market trends we expect to see over the next year include an increase in stock, as more vendors come to market with hopes of achieving a final boom price and thousands of new apartments are completed following the construction boom.

Apart from first home buyers, we will see a gradual reduction in demand as investors exit and owner occupiers struggle with affordability. The buyers remaining in the market will be choosier given improved supply, leading to an increase in average days on market.

Auction clearance rates will fall back to the more normal rate of sale around 60%. After several months of post-boom activity, vendor discounting will increase as sellers finally adjust their expectations and accept that boom level prices are no longer achievable.

Price growth will continue – albeit at a slower pace, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne’s best suburbs. The citywide medians will rise and fall over many months as the market rebalances.

Overall, there is a possibility of a minor price correction and this would be healthy for the long term sustainability of our major city markets following such a prolonged period of rapid growth. 

John McGrath is the founder of the national agency, McGrath Estate Agents with the full report here.

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and the economics and finance behind buying and selling real estate.
John Mcgrath
Property Boom
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