Rent crisis, property prices, borrowing capacity and fundamentals – how will it affect you?
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Rent crisis, property prices, borrowing capacity and fundamentals – how will it affect you?
Mar 01, 2023 Episode 246
Stuart Wemyss

It has certainly been a wild ride for property investors over the past 6 years. 

In 2017 and 2018, the banking regulator demanded banks reduce the volume of interest only loans, particularly to investors. The media called this the “interest only cliff” and predicted that many borrowers would face financial stress when loan repayments switched to principal and interest resulting is higher arrears and default rates. It didn’t. 

Then in 2018-2019, Bill Shorten (you will recall that everyone was expecting him to win the 2019 federal election) promised to ban negative gearing and increase capital gains tax which unsettled property investors. Of course, he didn’t win, and the ALP abandoned this policy. 

Of course, the Covid years (2020 and 2021) were very kind to property owners. But aggressive interest rate hikes over the second half of 2022 have ruined the party and property prices have retreated to pre-Covid levels in many locations

Despite a relatively volatile period, it is important to note that property fundamentals remain very robust. In fact, it is vital that investors remain solely focused on these long-term fundamentals and not get distracted by these temporary volatility events. 

Rental crisis will only get worse 

There is a shortage of rental properties in Australia and as a result, rents are rising quickly. According to Domain, the national vacancy rate was a mere 0.8% with Perth, Adelaide and Hobart essentially reporting close to zero vacancy. Melbourne and Sydney’s vacancy rate has fallen from 2.7% and 1.9% respective to only 1.0% over the year to January 2023. 

Over the 2022 calendar year, rents have risen by almost 20% nationally. Of course, these rises are coming off a lower base, due to rental reductions during Covid, but the trend is strong and doesn’t look like it will abate anytime soon. The chronic shortage of rental properties will continue to put upward pressure on rents. You should expect to see a lot of media coverage this year about the growing rental crisis. 

Tighter rental laws could be to blame… 

Tighter rental laws certainly do dissuade people from investing in property. One of the most attractive advantages of being a property investor is control – you have full control over how you use and improve the asset. Tighter rental laws (that favour tenants) reduces t


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