Property market starts to pick up momentum

Property market starts to pick up momentum

The outlook for the residential property market is improving, so if you've been considering a refinance mortgage, now could be just the right time to make your move.

The ANZ/Property Council Survey for the December quarter points to some signs of positivity, as home sales have gathered pace across the nation and housing approvals have done the same.

Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed a pick-up in construction activity - something many key markets are likely to be glad about.

There was a growing concern over a lack of quality property coming to the market, but if ABS figures are to be believed, this should no longer be an issue.

ABS data shows 1.2 per cent more dwellings were approved during August this year when compared to the previous month, with Tasmania the only state or territory to have registered a fall.

Commenting on the statistics, the Housing Industry Association's Senior Economist Shane Garrett explained how home building may have reached a 20-year high, but there's still room for improvement.

"A number of factors continue to plague the capacity of the new home building sector. These include high taxation, stamp duties, planning restrictions, and delays in making residential land available," he noted.

The ANZ/Property Council Survey explained how housing construction is likely to expand further over the next 12 months, which will mainly be spurred by population gains and foreign investor activity.

High-density housing is expected to see especially strong demand and so building companies are likely to focus on this type of property moving forward.

House prices continue upward trend

Another sign of a healthy property market is strong property prices, which is something else the ANZ/Property Council Survey points towards at the moment.

Sydney witnessed the strongest gains, although similar activity was experienced across several other national capitals. The only exception is the Northern Territory, which is the only jurisdiction not predicted to see positive house price growth in the December quarter.

Whether you're looking to get onto the property ladder for the first time or refinance your existing home, strong house prices can give you reassurance the market isn't stagnant.

This is especially important if you're hoping to sell on your home, not least because you can be more hopeful there will be a buyer willing to take it off your hands.

Confidence levels on the up

Another factor that suggests strength in the property market is confidence, which the ANZ/Property Council Survey also suggests is likely to be in abundance over the next three months.

New South Wales emerged as the leader in terms of sentiment, registering a reading of 147 points over the quarter. A level of 100 usually points to neutral and the national average stands at 135.

This isn't the only location where sentiment is on the rise, as Victoria has also been highlighted as a standout performer.

Sentiment in the state has increased from 131 points in the September quarter to 135 for the remainder of the year, which is largely the result of foreign investor activity.

"The importance of foreign investment in driving residential, retail and office capital growth expectations should not be underestimated. The recent influx is boosting construction activity, job creation and government tax revenue," said Property Council Victorian Executive Director Jennifer Cunich.

South Australia isn't far behind, either, as its score improved nine points in the December quarter. This makes it the largest quarterly increase out of all Australian states.

However, there's still some way to go before it catches up with other states, as it ranks behind New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT in terms of sentiment.

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