Stockland says renter inquires to buy have doubled in two years
Renters ‘tired of renting’ and increasing inquiry about house-and-land purchases: Stockland
Buying inquiries from renters for Stockland house-and-land packages have doubled over the past two years.
“Renters are tired of renting – they want to own their home,” Stockland managing director Matthew Quinn says.
“Incomes are growing faster than house prices.
“The cost differential between renting and owning has narrowed,” he notes.
“We have moved from a housing crisis to a rental crisis,” Quinn says.
"They are literally sick of renting. These renters are paying a high price for a second-rate product,” he says.
“Buyers will take what they need, rather than buying the dream.”
He says April house-and-land package sales jumped back to 400 plus, up from the 300-plus figure in March that had prompted its recent outlook update.
But hollowing any sustained interest rate reductions, he says a big swing factor was possible in the renter-turned-first-home buyer market.
“They are very interest rate sensitive.”
Stripping out the GST and GFC, Quinn notes that new home sales are at 18-year lows, based on the HIA data.Click to enlarge
He notes the mid-1990s downturn came from over building and rising interest rates.
“We don’t expect any government stimulus, nor do we think there should be any,” he says.
“We expect a steady recover rather than a V-shaped recovery.”
He says Stockland would see the major benefit in 2014 rather than 2013.
“We can’t be a slave to monetary policy.
“We have to take control of the situation ourselves by driving affordability, and that strategy is working well for us.”
“The mood and the market can turn quite quickly particularly when we have a high pent up demand, with house prices stable and rents going up.
The comments were part of an investor briefing where Stockland confirmed it was on track to achieve its recent guidance for the 2012 financial year.Click to enlarge
Quinn says although the new housing market is at a cyclical low point, Stockland is on track to settle around 5,000 lots for the year.
This is about the same as in the 2011 financial year.
Having completed a review of carrying values, Stockland identified impairments on five projects totalling $48 million, or 2% of total book value.
The impairments are primarily at lifestyle projects, reflecting price pressure at the top end of the market, Quinn says.
Quinn says Stockland carries its residential inventory at the lower of cost or net realisable value.
“Overall our land bank is in very good shape,” he says.
Quinn notes signs that the residential market is nearing the bottom of the cycle, with building approvals close to a cyclical low.
“Sentiment towards home buying follows interest rates, and we expect to see an increase in demand in our residential business if interest rates come down sufficiently.
“It will take a fall of at least 50 basis points to make a real difference to buyer sentiment,” Quinn says.
“Even with no improvement in market conditions, however, we are well placed to deliver 6,500 lots in financial year 2015 based on our strong existing pipeline of affordable communities.
“And there is significant further potential upside as market conditions improve.”
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