Join Australia's most dynamic and respected property investment community

Roger Montgomery on the upcoming apartment crash.......

Discussion in 'General Property Chat' started by johnpendlebury, 21st Dec, 2015.

Tags:
  1. johnpendlebury

    johnpendlebury Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Dec, 2015
    Posts:
    98
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Cash is not so bad


    If you are of a certain vintage, you may have enjoyed watching the antics of Wylie.E.Coyote and his attempts to catch and eat Road Runner. In almost every episode there was a moment, commonly referred to the W.E Coyote moment, where the disingenuous coyote found himself momentarily suspended in thin air, invariably above a canyon, held up only by an initial failure to realize there was nothing underneath him.

    Yield hungry, bank share investors found themselves in such a situation earlier this year. With term deposits yielding little and forced to move up the risk spectrum, investors purchased bank shares pushing them up while failing to realize that rising share prices need to be supported by earnings growth in order to be sustained. Without commensurate earnings growth, shares chased for yield would give up gains supported by nothing but thin air.

    Banks need to retain profits in order to build capital against which they might lend. High dividend payout ratios must come at the expense of retained profits and when combined with the higher capital requirements and mortgage risk weighting ratios recommended by the Financial System Inquiry and imposed by APRA, growth for bank earnings was always going to be a little harder to come by in the future than in the past.

    But while banks are part of, and related to, todays discussion, they aren’t the primary objective.

    Banks have extended significant credit to buyers of residential real estate in Australia such that housing lending now accounts for around 40 per cent of banking industry assets and the proportion of total bank loans concentrated in mortgages is 60 per cent. This is double the aggregate value for US banks and triple that of UK banks.

    To be fair, it is possible that the worst of a real estate bubble may have been avoided through APRA’s restriction of investor loan books to 10 per cent per annum, a rise in mortgage rates and requirements for more substantial deposits. But mitigating the worst of the excesses does not mean excesses don’t remain.

    Lending for residential real estate investment has exploded higher in recent years. According to the ABS, investor lending in 2015 grew by double digits over the previous year, surpassing $13 billion, to a record high.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not think that any bursting of the property market will cause the economy to crash or that it will threaten the banking system. Nevertheless, a real estate correction, if it transpires, will see bank shares de-rated. In turn that might provide an opportunity to establish positions to produce excellent long term returns.

    SO the question is whether the real estate market could be in any trouble. Anecdotal evidence and experience suggests the experience of 2015 is not sustainable. When full page ads for apartment developments number 36 in the weekend real estate lift-out, one needs to pause and reflect. When 80,000 apartments are under construction – and a high concentration being completed mid 2016 – and another 117,000 in the pipeline, at the same time that population growth is slowing (and going backwards in Perth along with already high vacancy rates), investors need to be careful about how and when they deploy any low yielding cash.

    The last time I saw excess supply over already rising vacancy rates and falling rents was in 2010’s Chinese commercial property market. Fast-forward to 2015 and that market has fallen 50 per cent in just the last twelve months.

    I am not suggesting falls of that magnitude are likely but irrespective of whether you are a share market or property market investor you need to be mindful of the risks.

    Cash seems like a terrible investment right now and I can understand the pain it must cause those who rely on investment returns for their living expenses or to supplement their social security. But low positive returns might not look so bad when compared to the negative returns that might ensue if the apartment market corrects.

    And one final thought; if an apartment correction transpires it is virtually impossible to imagine it could be contained to one dwelling type. For a significant proportion of home formers, they are indifferent to three bedroom houses or three bedroom apartments. If apartments are available at 10 or 15 per cent lower than hitherto prices, there will be less demand for the equivalent houses that have not fallen. Houses would then have to fall too.

    Cash in 2016 may not be so bad after all.
     
    Ted Varrick, Heinz57 and Ian Macleod like this.
  2. Gockie

    Gockie I'm an ISTP-A female, so I might be a bit quirky! Premium Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    4,959
    Location:
    Sydney
    Good point John. I hadn't thought of that. It sounds reasonable that house prices could fall a bit if the price differential to units got too wide so people who would have bought a house then instead choose to buy a unit.

    However there will always be a demographic keen on getting a slice of land and not deal with strata living, including families and people with larger pets. (Maybe people will decide to give up larger pets?) I suppose a government policy like deciding to remove stamp duty and instead jacking up land taxes (which applies to land value only) would also encourage people to "embrace" unit living.
     
  3. melbournian

    melbournian Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2nd Sep, 2015
    Posts:
    1,332
    Location:
    melbourne
    In Melbourne already seeing this not apartments but villas or townhouse units. Where the cost of houses in certain suburbs are already just too expensive in millions residents who want to be in an area or suburb are going for units or villas. Camberwell, balywn that once had units for 400-500k are now 700-900k.
     
  4. albanga

    albanga Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,118
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Not sure I entirely agree with the cheaper apartments meaning cheaper homes theory. I mean at a basic level it seems straight forward, why pay more when you can pay less and still get the same amount of rooms and space, right?

    But ultimately scarcity is the biggest driver for capital growth and as old homes get knocked down for more apartments those still standing become more scarce and will begin to attract a higher price. When it comes to a home as well people are prepared to pay top dollar for different. Apartments are an endless clone of the same thing, no soul, no character, hundreds of people living on top of each other. A house has its own personality, even a horrid 70s no shape home has character that someone will love and be prepared to pay for. I'm yet to see a single apartment with character and I know even if 150k cheaper in my suburb of choice I would NEVER live in an apartment. Give me a higher mortgage for character and Ofcourse a backyard for my 40kilo retriever :)
     
    marty998 likes this.
  5. johnpendlebury

    johnpendlebury Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Dec, 2015
    Posts:
    98
    Location:
    Adelaide
    yeh i agree with you.

    just to be clear, i didnt write that, copy and pasted from Montgomery