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Today in property: new $500m debt guarantee for FHBs, auction numbers down, Brisbane buy call

Less than one week to go to the May 18 federal election, and the Coalition has actually released a new policy. Scott Morrison used yesterday's official campaign launch in Melbourne to unveil a $500 million deposit guarantee for first home buyers, allowing them to purchase their first home with a 5 per cent deposit. Under the scheme, the government will underwrite any shortfall in the 20 per cent required by lenders, and remove the cost of paying lenders mortgage insurance.

ScoMo used the campaign launch to reiterate the benefits of the Coalition's tax plan, and the removal of bracket creep for anyone earning between $45,000 and $200,000. He'll need that distinction to stand out given Labor quickly moved to match the deposit guarantee policy.

Speaking of Labor, this piece from the ABC offers detailed costings on the aspirant's policy proposals. On housing tax changes, it reiterates expected savings of $2.8 billion from removal of negative gearing from future existing housing investments post January 1 2020, and the reduction of the 50 per cent capital gains tax concession on property sold after being owned for at least 12 months, to 25 per cent.

Another excellent piece on the ABC News site today is this analysis of superannuation and how each major parties policies will hit retirees in the hip pocket.

Whatever happens after the election, it's pretty safe to say the election itself continues to hit the property market where it hurts. While CoreLogic and Domain Group both showed auction clearance rates holding firm over the weekend, the actual volume of houses on the block was ridiculously low: 962 nationally over the weekend, compared to 1,821 a year earlier.

You can be forgiven for missing the Reserve Bank's revised forecasts, released last Friday. It has slashed its economic outlook for growth to June from 2.5 to 1.7 per cent - down from its forecast of 3.25 from November. The metric to watch this week will be the release of the latest job figures this coming Thursday...if unemployment goes higher than 5 per cent (which Westpac and NAB expect will be the case) the RBA will be forced, they say, to act.

Whatever happens, the RBA is looking increasingly isolated. Its call to banks last week to cut rates and pass on the savings of lowering funding costs fell on deaf ears. Whichever party wins government this weekend will have its work cut out.

Meanwhile, life goes on. The Urban Developer's 2019 Residential Summit was held in Brisbane last Friday, and CoreLogic had a piece of advice for people bemoaning the cost and losses of Sydney and Melbourne property markets: buy in Brisbane instead.

Chinese-backed Sydney developer, Starryland is getting on with business, announcing acquisition of a 5150 sqm site in Granville for a new apartment project. And we're getting closer to the May 26 opening of the new Sydney Metro line which developers along Sydney's north-western corridor have been eagerly anticipating.

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