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TIP: housing shortage looming, investor lending competition ramping up, new SYD metro line unveiled

By mid 2020, there won't be enough homes in Australia to meet demand

That's the view of Stockland, which released its latest financial results yesterday. Chief exec Mark Steinert (pictured) reckons by mid next year, we'll be facing housing shortages across Australia, and in Melbourne and Sydney in particular, due to nearly a year and a half of month-on-month slowdowns in residential construction rates.

This is true of both new-build detached homes and off-the-plan apartments, although as we heard yesterday, the latter sector is taking it particularly hard at the moment. CoreLogic says of OTP Sydney apartments moved into in August, 60 per cent were worth less than their owners paid for them.

Big news today is Credit Suisse's 2019 global wealth report. Approximately 124,000 Australians fell off the list of millionaires this year due to the impact of falling property prices and the declining value of the Australian dollar. It shows how important property is in terms of wealth creation in Australia.

(Fun fact: there are currently 46.8 million millionaires in the world. Australia is fourth on the list of countries based on volume of millionaires per capita.)

If the market's recovery over the past few months is anything to go by, those poor souls won't be bereft of their membership for long. The downturn may have wiped $645bn off Australia's total wealth, but that's surely only a temporary setback in a world where someone is prepared to pay $140 million for an off-the-plan Sydney Harbour penthouse.

In that context, it seems crazy to think that the Reserve Bank is seriously considering quantitative easing measures to stimulate the economy, let alone bringing the official cash rate down to 0.5 per cent in the near future.

The banks know that while many Australians are keeping their financial powder dry at the moment, there are plenty out there willing to jump back into property with both feet. Westpac is responding to the resurging Sydney and Melbourne property markets by loosening restrictions on interest-only loans for investors; it's raising the maximum loan-to-valuation ratio (LVR) to 90 per cent from 80 per cent.

This is the latest in a series of moves by the big banks to entice investors back into the fold. Meanwhile, competition for their customers is getting stronger; challenger home lender Athena Home Loans has just completed the largest capital raise ever led by local venture funds, securing $70 million to fuel its move beyond refinancing into new home loans.

New Sydney metro line route unveiled

The SMH is reporting today that 116 properties along the route of the new Sydney Metro West rail line will be acquired by the NSW government, prior to work commencing in 2020.

Stations have been announced for The Bays precinct, Five Dock, Burwood North, North Strathfield, Sydney Olympic Park and Parramatta for the line connecting the Sydney CBD with Westmead. The line is expected to be opened by 2030.

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