Now’s a great time to buy property. Here’s why…
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Investopoly
Now’s a great time to buy property. Here’s why…
Jul 27, 2022 Episode 218
Stuart Wemyss

In mid-2021, I wrote this blog: “Don’t buy a property in this market…” because, at that time, many property buyers were over-paying for property just to get into the market. I call it the FOMO premium, for lack of a better term (more about this below). My thesis was that since it’s never wise to allow fear (e.g., FOMO) to influence financial decision making, it was better to not buy property in 2021 if it meant having to overpay.  

We all know that the market has cooled somewhat this year. It is now my view that this is a much better market to buy in, if you can find the right asset, of course.  

What drove the property boom in 2020 and 2021? 

The median house price in the eastern capital cities grew by between 12% and 16% p.a. compounding over the 3 years ended March 2021. I believe this growth was driven by two predominant factors: 

1.     Long-horizon mean reversion; and 

2.     FOMO premium.  

The market was mostly making up for lost ground 

The chart below illustrates the historic compounding capital growth of the median house price in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane for the periods ending March 2022. The “long-term” figures reflect growth over the past 42 years i.e., 1980 to 2022. 

 <<CHART>> 

Whilst recent growth in property prices was well above the long-term average and therefore unsustainable, longer-term growth rates are still below the long-term averages with only two exceptions: 

1.     Sydney’s growth rate over the past 10 years exceeds the long-term average by 1.60% p.a. However, growth over 15 years is in line with the long-term average. Therefore, it’s possible that Sydney prices have over-corrected over recent years and could enter into a flatter cycle for the few years; and 

2.     Brisbane’s growth rate over the past 5 years has exceeded its long-term average. It is noteworthy however that growth over 10 and 15 years is still below average, so this market is probably still undervalued and could continue to grow strongly to revert to its mean.   

This updated chart demonstrates that property markets tend to move in two distinct cycles: a flat cycle followed by a growth cycle. To a large extent, this is what hap

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