And just like that, real estate agents are popular again.
The phones are ringing again in real estate agencies across the land following last Saturday's election result, according to today's AFR. This piece quotes several agents from different parts of Sydney, claiming the Coalition's unexpected win immediately resulted in a renewed wave of requests for assessments from vendors and inquiries from prospective property buyers.
AMP Capital's Shane Oliver shares the sentiment. After earlier predicting an average top-to-bottom fall of 15 per cent in capital city residential property prices, he's revised that figure to 12 per cent following the Morrison government's return.
According to Mr Oliver, with the country voting over the weekend not to remove tax concessions on Australia's $7 trillion housing sector, combined with events of this week including APRA's decision to remove the 7 per cent serviceability buffer and the Reserve Bank signalling a June rate cut, potential for an earlier turnaround in the sector is high. Mr Oliver also singled out planned measures to assist first home buyers into the market as significant.
This week's release of the latest ANZ Roy-Morgan consumer confidence survey reinforced this position, showing a strong bounce attributed to the election by ANZ economist David Plank: “The surprise election result, which people surveyed on Sunday would have known, most likely had a significant impact on sentiment."
The importance of a stronger housing sector to Australia's economic fortunes is high. John Alexander recognised this when the re-elected member for Bennelong yesterday put his hand up to become federal housing minister should such a role be created by the Morrison government.
The Herald's Jessica Irvine was nowhere near as upbeat in her column today. Ms Irvine has laid out a compelling case for why this is a missed opportunity to reform the housing sector, laying out the risks of events of this past week to once again, inflate property prices in Australia's capital cities and make housing unaffordable.
These concerns are shared by the soon-to-be leader of federal Labor, Anthony Albanese, now running for the leadership unopposed and likely to be crowned within days. He said Labor will be arguing against signing off the full three-phase tax package the government intends to put to Parliament when it resumes; according to his comments yesterday, it's one thing to get the first wave of changes through (which Labor will likely support), it's another to be passing tax breaks now for an economic future we cannot predict.
While consumer sentiment may have been buoyed this week, today's economic reality remains. Signals of belt-tightening across the country can be seen wherever we look; less Australians are flying overseas, the huge boosts seen on the bourse earlier this week have quickly turned returned to drops on the ASX yesterday, and the issue of negative equity and likelihood of mortgage possessions is still hanging over the sector.
Reporting on bank lending behaviours this week has had a universal grinch-like theme at-odds with the mood in business and the electorate. The latest comes from Westpac, which is tightening the lending rules for self-employed applicants...this piece from Duncan Hughes in the AFR lays out some of the new hoops these would-be borrowers will need to jump through.