TIP: wages soft as butter, NSW building report addresses "horror", apartment projects taking off

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

House prices may be skyrocketing, but we've got less money in our skyrockets to pay for it.


(...and for those of you not familiar with cockney rhyming slang, "skyrocket" means "pocket". See what I did there?)


Another day, another report telling us to brace ourselves for impact. SQM Research's Housing Boom and Bust Report for 2020 reckons we're looking at Sydney house price increases of up to 14 per cent and Melbourne by 15 per cent next year.


The boffins at SQM Research reckon this will all slow down in 2021.


While these prices are going north, wage growth went south in the September quarter according to the ABS. Despite some lovely pay rises for public sector-types, overall wage growth slipped to 2.2 per cent. It's a grim sign for the Australian economy that has provided a platform for pundits to renew calls for more stimulus measures from Canberra.


The Reserve Bank is reaching its limits as far as stimulus is concerned; governor Philip Lowe is preparing to give a speech in a couple of weeks discussing the need for and benefits of quantitative easing measures - that is, in simple terms, printing more money.


Meanwhile, the Morrison government is preparing to offer tax incentives to attract foreign capital to prop up nation-building infrastructure projects. Tony Woodford would be proud.


"Horror stories" fuel NSW building sector recommendations


In a week where much of NSW is burning, it seems appropriate that the parliamentary committee investigating how to fix the state's building sector would hand down its recommendations yesterday.


It's calling for stronger warranties, increases to strata defect bonds and a financial package to help fund remedial works for structural defects and flammable cladding issues. The committee, responding to public hearings, has slammed the NSW government's building industry reform bill currently before the house, for not going nearly far enough to help victims of these issues.


These and other comments have been a red rag to a bull for the likes of Macquarie Radio's Alan Jones this morning, fielding the predictably angry calls from listeners. Little wonder, when it turns out flammable cladding is even being discovered on the MCG, that this is a problem that continues to rest heavy on state governments.


Apartment developers have been waiting for the right time to strike


Not that high-rise developers are letting the current troubles stop them pressing ahead. Despite the inevitable casualties of the downturn on some projects, others have clearly been working quietly in the background.


We've seen a bunch of new project announcements this week. For example, Toga has secured approval for the first stage of its Penway Place residential and retail project in Penrith, and Mirvac has just signed on chef, Kylie Kwong as the ambassador of its South Eveleigh work and lifestyle precinct.


The on-a-roll Chinese developer, Poly has snapped up The Mall site in Wentworthville for a 500-apartment project. Also in the Parramatta area, Malaysia's EcoWorld International has topped out its maiden project in the satellite CBD this week. And long-time development buddies, PAYCE and Sekisui House would have been cracking the bubbly this week after selling 83 of its initial 156 apartments in its joint 1050-unit Melrose Park North project.