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Today in property: housing affordability up, clinging to The Great Aussie Dream, Opal Tower looms

Updated: Apr 17, 2019

It may be only Tuesday, but the award for headline-grabber of the week goes to EY. Its analysis of the stockmarket and Sydney property prices across the city’s 43 LGAs between 1994 and today, found that 60 per cent of Sydneysiders who bought properties in the past 25 years would’ve been better off renting and investing in stocks. Which may hit you where it hurts if you’re an investor in those LGAs, but doesn’t account for what will happen when the market turns again. Either way, today’s debate will be around whether home ownership should still be the great Australian dream.

NAB has taken a hit as a result of the desertion of brokers working for Australian Finance Group – the country’s largest collection of mortgage brokers – which has resulted in the bank’s share of borrower refinancing gigs dropping by more than 50 per cent. Some great deals going at NAB as it tries to claw back the business.

Second-tier lenders are certainly finding some time in the sun, but that also means their visibility to regulators is increasing as well. Both Judo Capital and SocietyOne are eyeing listings, but are finding ASIC and the Productivity Commission are starting to pay more attention – leading to renewed complaints of over-active scrutiny exacerbating the credit crunch.

One man’s loss is another’s gain according to Moody’s this week, which has found housing affordability in Sydney in particular is well up. The proportion of household income needed to meet mortgage repayments dropped by nearly five points to 33.2 per cent over the past year in Sydney; nationally, it’s decreased by more than two points to 26.5 per cent.

In the great battle of the think tanks, The Grattan Institute as fired return salvo against the Morrison government budget today. It’s run the sums and determined that $40 billion a year of spending cuts would be required to deliver on its budget surplus forecasts. David Koch has also planted his flag on the side of Labor’s proposed tax changes, saying in today’s News Corp mastheads that negative gearing rules in particular need to change. We can expect to see a similar line trotted out on Sunrise.

Also across the News Corp digital tabloids today, this calculator that assesses whether you’ll be better or worse off come 2022/23 under each taxation regime.

Whatever happens, the IMF is calling on Australia (and other countries) to prop up the economy – stating that as one of the world’s richest nations, Australia has the capacity to stimulate its economy, but is choosing not to.

Opal Tower is back in the news this week, with news that almost half the building remains vacant four months after the initial evacuation. It has reopened old wounds around everything from skilled immigration restrictions to the need for longer warranties for landlords on major apartment projects.

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