Australian property to bounce back in 2021: survey

Australian property to bounce back in 2021: survey
Staff reporterDecember 7, 2020

Experts are positive that Australia is on track to exit a recession, and that property prices will return to 2019 levels next year, according to this month's Finder RBA Cash Rate Survey.

Of the 40 experts and economists who weighed in on future cash rate moves and shared their key economic and financial predictions for 2021; all 40 correctly predicted that the cash rate would remain at 0.10%.

From the closure of major bricks-and-mortar retail stores to the national uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine, experts were asked to rate the likelihood of various economic scenarios unfolding in the year ahead.

Australia will exit recession

When asked about the likelihood of Australia exiting and staying out of a recession in 2021, all 28 experts who weighed in agree that this is either “likely” (54%, 15) or “very likely” (46%, 13).

Economists are also optimistic about the nation’s GDP growth, with 79% (22) expecting the economy to see its first quarter of growth before the end of 2020.

Graham Cooke, insights manager at Finder, said that the nation’s economy may have already recovered.

“Official GDP figures for the September quarter will be released this Wednesday, with the general consensus being that Australia may have already exited a recession.

“This can largely be attributed to almost $500 billion in government and central bank stimulus and effective COVID-19 control measures alongside news of a vaccine, strong consumer spending, and a resilient property market.

“It remains to be seen if our economy can keep moving uphill once the training wheels come off.

“The December quarter is likely to be robust as well, meaning it’s highly probable that we may see a gradual recovery of GDP through 2021,” Cooke said.

Property prices and sales volume to return to 2019 levels

Australia’s property price recovery looks set to continue.

More than 4 in 5 experts (85%, 24/28) predict that house prices will increase above 2019 levels next year, and 79% (22/28) think that sales volumes will recover to match or exceed 2019 levels.

CoreLogic data shows that, despite predictions of up to 15% drops in value earlier in the year, house prices in Australia have proved resilient.

Prices increased in all capitals bar Melbourne in October and were significantly higher compared to October 2019 in all cities bar Perth, which saw a marginal price increase of only 0.04%.

According to Matthew Tiller of LJ Hooker, record-low interest rates have been a key driver of market stability.

“One of the main beneficiaries of the ongoing record low rates has been property markets, with LJ Hooker agents reporting a significant increase in enquiries and strong levels of sales transaction volumes,” he said.

Closure of major bricks-and-mortar stores due to increase in online shopping

E-commerce surged during the pandemic, with more than 8.5 million households shopping online between March and October in 2020 according to Australia Post figures.

Yet over half of the experts (56%, 15/27) believe that the recent uptick in online shopping could be the death knell for major bricks-and-mortar department stores like Myer and David Jones.

Cooke said that Aussie shoppers are becoming increasingly wise to the outdated retail model used by department stores.

“Department stores operate on an old-fashioned regular discounting model, where an item is advertised at an inflated price for several weeks, only then be ‘on sale’ for several more weeks.

“Consumers are becoming annoyed by this false discounting, and they prefer the flat low-cost pricing offered online,” Cooke said.

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