TIP: more rate cuts almost certain, apartments the sector's Achilles Heel, regulatory crackdown

Australia's economic growth the slowest its been since 2009


If it weren't for higher-than-expected exports, the mining sector and increased government spending, the Australian economy would have contracted in the June quarter. As it was, it grew 0.5 per cent - the lowest in a decade. In light of this, we're being told to expect at least one more official rate cut before the end of 2019.


PM Scott Morrison was spruiking budget surplus yesterday despite low business investment and household spending dragging the economy down. We've been teetering on the edge of recession conditions for the last four consecutive quarters.


Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has been on the hustings for the past couple weeks imploring business to start investing again. The metaphor used by the AFR today however, compared Australia's tax system with a faulty engine; if you want it to work better, you don't just keep injecting fuel (economic stimulus) - you fix the bloody engine.


On the markets yesterday, stocks across nearly all Australia's economic staple industries had contracted at the close. Real estate stocks had dropped en masse 0.3 per cent and industrials 0.36 per cent.


Agents making hay while builders, developers brace for impact


It's a good time to be in the market to buy off-the-plan or build a new home if your prime motivation is getting a good deal. It's even better if you're in a position to advise potential buyers; the amount of lucrative buyer incentives and commissions for leads floating around at the moment is incredible.


Some developers are offering up to $90,000 commissions to financial advisers and accountants who send buyers their way. And buyers don't have to look far to get access to deferred deposit deals and five-figure incentives to purchase OTP or house-and-land packages.


The recovery appears to be in full swing, however Digital Finance Analytics reckons the one thing standing in its way is the apartment sector. Cladding and defects are two of the big issues that DFA says is going to slow interest in OTP apartments for a long time to come. Just ask residents of the Sugarcube in Erskineville in Sydney's inner west, who are unlikely to be able to move in before the end of 2020 because of ground contamination concerns.


Mirvac is taking the solution to these problems into its own hands, and is voluntarily removing questionable cladding from some buildings - such as 1 Darling Island Road in Pyrmont, which just happens to be home to the AFR and SMH - ahead of any government ruling on action that needs to be taken by industry.


Mirvac was actually name-checked by the new NSW Building Commissioner, David Chandler when he fronted the NSW Parliament's Public Accountability Committee, as an example of a builder that doesn't need extra regulation. Mr Chandler is looking at how to make builders more accountable for their work, and will be apparently introducing a framework that differentiates between "good and bad" builders.


A similar thing is happening in our nation's capital. the Minister for Building Quality Improvement, Gordon Ramsay (not the sweary one) has announced a crackdown on phoenixing by builders in Canberra and plans to introduce a licencing regime for developers.