Today in property: weekend auction sales up, new housing minister, new apartment sales drop further

Want a new idea for an investment you can negatively gear? Try caravans...


A 62.6 per cent clearance rate of more than 2,000 homes going under the hammer over the weekend added some truth to the predictions of a post-election property market recovery. AMP Capital's Shane Oliver called it a "quadruple whammy" of "the Coalition’s first-home buyer deposit scheme policy, the end of threats to negative gearing and capital gains tax, APRA’s move to lower hurdles to getting first-home loans, and an indication that the official interest rate could be cut" boosting consumer confidence.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled his new Cabinet, and named Michael Sukkar - who retains his job as Assistant Treasurer - as Minister for Housing. This is consistent with what the PM's department was telling insiders last week, that any housing ministry will remain attached to Treasury.


It appears to be a smart move considering how closely the housing market's condition is tied to Australia's economic fortunes. Reading this analysis by ABC business reporter Stephen Letts will leave you thinking we're on a knife's edge, and that the various measures described by Mr Oliver may not be enough to keep it from slipping the wrong way.


Developers across the country are praying it doesn't. The latest new apartment sales report by Urbis showed a dismal last quarter for new apartment sales and project starts, even worse than we saw in the December 2018 quarter. And research by Red23 has showed that a third of housing estates in Melbourne did not record a single sale in April.


A class action being brought by law firm Maurice Blackburn against Westpac Banking Corp is raising the subject of irresponsible lending again this week.


And if you're looking for an alternative investment to property, today's AFR reckons you should look at caravans and other types of recreational vehicles. According to the Fin, they "benefit from a tax ruling that allows owners using them commercially to offset costs against other income".