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Today in property: loan numbers up, rate cut probability at 45pc, the South Park guide to voting

Property loan numbers were up in March, following a pretty similar increase in February. What we don't know is how many of these loans were taking advantage of the decrease in existing dwelling prices; according to CoreLogic figures being released today, Australia's capital city house prices fell another 0.7 in April - putting the peak-to-trough drop in Sydney at 14 per cent and Melbourne at 10 per cent.

A big drop in personal loan numbers however, has led pundits to suggest we're heading toward a credit crunch, citing drops in household expenditure as evidence. UBS reckons we'll see less than 2 per cent credit growth in 2020, and that unemployment is likely to rise as a result.

...which of course, puts more pressure on the Reserve Bank whether warranted or not. The probability rate of a May cut is currently sitting at 45 per cent, Macquarie, which has been holding its annual investor love-in this week, is predicting sluggish economic growth due to the housing correction and the May 18 election stymie immediate-term investor confidence; it came out earlier this week to call for the RBA to cut.

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia also met for lunch yesterday, discussing the impact of property market volatility on future housing supply and the increase in rents that will result. UTS professor of build environment Healther MacDonald called renting the new normal for "a significant portion of the population, but went on to say that the market drop was attracting more first home buyers back to the market.

Meanwhile, the financial advice sector is calling out developers for taking advantage of a loophole allowing them to offer lucrative commissions to mortgage brokers, accountants and advisers to recommend real estate to their clients. Hayne didn't cover these commissions, which are being offered at lucrative levels; one West Melbourne project was offering 8 per cent plus GST.

Reporting season has elicited a grab-bag of differing opinions on the market's prospects today. Domain reckons the residential property market will start to firm up after the election; Stockland has had a worse-than-expected year-to-date and is saying there's little sign of improvement for the rest of 2019; while Mirvac is doing fine thanks to a strong office rental sector taking the heat of squidgy resi sales.

..and in the background, the election race continues. Lastly, this morning I was reminded that the choice presented in the upcoming May 18 election was actually clearly outlined close to 20 years ago, on South Park.

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