This Week in Real Estate – 2nd July 2022

Councils Seek to Fill Empty Homes

New figures show more than 87,000 Queensland homes are empty, despite the state facing a massive rental crisis.

ABS figures show nationally there are 577,000 properties owned by investors which are not occupied.

According to water provider Urban Utilities’ figures, 19,500 houses in lower South-East Queensland have a water connection but it appears no one has been living there for months.

Unitywater’s Katherine Gee says their figures show 2,104 houses used only 1,000 litres or less of water over a 90-day period.

A number of Queensland councils are pushing for the power to seize unused, abandoned and empty homes to help ease the rental crisis.

It would be modelled on a UK-style system where a sliding scale of enforcement would be put on owners of vacant properties.

Townsville City Councillor Kurt Rehbein says someone needs to have the power to ascertain if properties are vacant and then figure out how to move people into those homes.

Growth Future Looms For Gold Coast

The Gold Coast continues to go from strength to strength with $20 billion being spent on infrastructure ahead of the 2032 Olympics.

According to Colliers International figures the Gold Coast has an “enormously bright future” as a result of healthy population growth, infrastructure investment and a rebounding tourism sector.

Its population is forecast to grow by 145,000 before the 2032 Olympics, 77% of which will come through domestic migration.

The Regional Australia Institute says the Gold Coast is still the most popular destination for people relocating from capital cities.

As a result, its housing market has been growing and its vacancy rate is just 0.4%.

While the Gold Coast may be popular with buyers, rising construction costs mean it may be harder to find new properties in the short term.

Colliers’ Gold Coast director Steven King says people cannot be stopped from moving to the region, so the city needs to find a way to house an additional 14,500 people every year.

Census Reveals Nation’s Changing Face

Australians are living closer together than ever before, with 2021 Census data revealing more than one in ten now live in apartments.

The figures show Australia’s population is growing fast, more than doubling since 1971 to almost 25.5 million people.

The number of Millennials (aged 25 to 39) is now at a similar level to Baby Boomers (aged 55 to 74) with 5.4 million in each group.

Statistician Dr David Gruen says the data shows who we are as a nation and how we have changed.

More than one million new residents arrived in Australia between 2017 and 2021 and now the proportion of Australian residents born overseas or have a parent born overseas is more than half.

The largest increase in country of birth outside of Australia is India with 217,963 additional people counted.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has also increased by a quarter since 2016 to 812,728 making up 3.2% of the total people counted.

Property Prices Lift Household Wealth

Household wealth figures are rising, thanks mostly to growing property prices.

According to ABS figures, total household wealth rose by 1.2% to a record $14.9 trillion in the March 2022 Quarter.

Residential property assets contributed 1.4 percentage points to that growth.

ABS head of finance and wealth Katherine Keenan says even though the pace of property price growth has started to moderate in Sydney and Melbourne, increases in other capital cities and regional areas resulted in an overall rise in house prices during the quarter.

The figures show wealth per capita is now a record high of $574,807, which is 0.6% higher than the previous quarter.

Although household wealth has increased, the report found superannuation balances are down by 1.3% as a result of the poor performance of overseas share markets.

Keenan says since the start of the pandemic in 2020, appreciating asset prices have boosted household wealth by 35.3%, and residential property accounts for most of this growth.

Cheaper To Buy vs Rent In 3300 Places

The rental crisis means one in four homes will be cheaper to buy than rent over the next ten years.

PropTrack’s Buy or Rent Report reveals 3,300 suburbs where it is cheaper to buy than rent.

Nationally 27% of all dwellings are cheaper to buy than rent, down from more than 50% at the same time last year. More than half the dwellings in Queensland, WA and the Northern Territory are estimated to be cheaper to buy rather than rent.

In the Northern Territory 98% of properties fall into this category, followed by Western Australia 62% and Queensland 51%.

High prices in Victoria mean only 7% of properties are cheaper to buy than rent, while only 10% in NSW are in this category.

The figures are calculated by comparing mortgage repayments on the median dwelling price with the median rent.

The biggest difference in payments is in Fly Creek in the Northern Territory where buying is $1,620 cheaper per month than renting.

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