Unless you have a reliable crystal ball, predicting how the property market will shape up in 2013 is a tough call to make.
Uncertainties include how the global economy will play out and impact on Australia, the extent of the slowdown in the mining investment boom and how quickly non-mining sectors like retailing, housing, manufacturing and tourism can pick-up the slack.
Economists are tipping interest rates to fall further in 2013 and reach record lows, which will be good news for mortgage holders, but astute buyers and investors will recognise the economic warning signs.
Lower interest rates are having less of an impact on buying intentions, with confidence seeming to be the major stumbling block.
Still, many property market players are tipping modest property gains in 2013 for some markets, while others are set to tread water or fall further.
Property Observer has spoken to a wide range of industry players and pundits to get their thoughts on what might happen next year.
Here are 10 tips from property market analysts about what to expect in 2013:
1. Sydney to do better, but best NSW prospects still in the regions: Terry Ryder
Hotspotting.com.au’s Terry Ryder expects the Sydney market to do better in 2013 but still tips a number of NSW regional towns to outperform the capital city. Regional towns, he says, are more affordable and have provided much better capital growth over recent years. He expects the following regional market to continue to outperform Sydney in 2013: Dubbo, Tamworth, Gunnedah, Mudgee, Orange, Goulburn, Albury and Wagga Wagga. For more on capital city vs regional prospects in 2013 watch the full webinar with Terry Ryder.
2. Luxury market to recover first: Janusz Hooker
LJ Hooker deputy chairman Janusz Hooker says a recovery in the housing market is “inevitable”, with the luxury high-end market expected to be the first to enjoy price recovery having been hit the hardest by the downturn. His advice to property investors is to “look for places that went down the most and also watch the big cities – when they move it fans out to the regions usually within six to 12 months”.
3. Sydney sub-$750,000 market the strongest in Australia’s “BHP of real estate”: John McGrath
McGrath Estate Agents CEO John McGrath says recent weekend clearance rates indicate clearly that the under-$750,000 market is still strongest in Sydney, with McGrath averaging a 69% clearance rate in this bracket, followed by 65% for the $750,000 to $1.5 million sector. "Sydney remains the BHP of Australian real estate – the big blue-chip market that generally outperforms the rest, says McGrath, who predicts a 2% to 5% price rise in the under-$750,000 market and a 5 to 8% rise in the $750,000 to $1.5 million bracket.
4. Consider the outer suburbs of Adelaide and Brisbane: Margaret Lomas
Destiny Financial’s Margaret Lomas says property investors are starting to take a look at the outer suburbs of Adelaide and Brisbane, with activity picking up towards the end of 2012. These were areas were house prices started to move up a little bit in contrast to the rest of the market, which mostly stagnated, she told realestatetalk.com.au.
5. Rent vs buy equation to sway more first-home buyers and renters into the market: Tim Gurner
Tim Gurner, director at Melbourne-based property development company Urban Inc, says the buy versus rent equation will sway strongly towards buying in 2013, “so we’re expecting to see a lot of first home buyers and renters return to the market”. Urban Inc is currently developing Alessi in West Melbourne.
6. Perth and Sydney to perform, Brisbane held back by unemployment: Aaron Maskrey
Aaron Maskrey, research director at PRDnationwide, expects Sydney to experience steady, but modest growth of around 5% throughout the upcoming year. He says Perth should also be a stronger performer in 2013, with a combination of mining investment and low interest rates helping to shift this market off the bottom of its property cycle. “A conservative estimate of price growth during 2013 would see Perth increase in value by 2%, but such is the swing with this resource affected region, greater market sentiment could give rise to 6% growth." Maskrey says Brisbane finds itself in a similar situation to Perth and would have been included with Perth’s forecasted growth but for the sharp rise in unemployment. “With a rising rate of jobless residents, any potential growth that was initially forecasted for Brisbane is now expected to be temporarily suppressed in early 2013,” he says.