Increased Brisbane and Canberra Housing Activity Demonstrates Effects of Changes to Australian Policies

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RP Data, one of the most prominent providers of property information, analytics and risk management services in New Zealand and Australia, recently released a report showing an increase in housing transactions in Brisbane and Canberra for the month of July. Research director Tim Lawless discusses the various factors that may have led to July’s surge in sales.

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The company’s report shows that monthly dwelling sales in Brisbane have surged by 52 per cent in July, while the number of homes sold in Canberra during the same time period is higher by 41 per cent.

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The number of July real estate sales in Brisbane and Canberra has increased substantially in comparison with June transactions, according to the latest report released by property information provider RP Data. The company’s report shows that monthly dwelling sales in Brisbane have surged by 52 per cent in July, while the number of homes sold in Canberra during the same time period is higher by 41 per cent.

According to Tim Lawless, director of research at RP Data, Brisbane and Canberra’s housing market has not been this active for the last couple of years. He shares, “The last time month-on-month transactions were that high in Brisbane was back in March 2010, and for Canberra the number of sales in July hasn’t been that high since March 2011.”

Mr. Lawless states that these numbers reflect the Australian housing market’s sensitivity to stimuli, particularly to changes in policies that have just been implemented earlier this year. An example of a new policy affecting property prices and housing activity is The Treasury (Cost of Living) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012, a bill which reinstates the Principal Place of Residence (PPR) stamp duty concession. These stamp duty concessions were removed in 2011 for property buyers who are not first home buyers.

The surge in July transactions in Brisbane and Canberra may also be due to slower sales in June, with prospective buyers postponing purchases to take advantage of the concessions to be implemented the following month: “The surge can be attributed to the changes in stamp duty rules in both Queensland and The Australian Capital Territory. The large jump in Queensland can also be attributed to the pre-concession slowdown where buyers put off their purchase until the savings became available on July 1,” Mr. Lawless explains.

The wait may be worth it, according to Mr. Lawless, since the new rules can help buyers save as much as $7,000 on a single home purchase: “Queensland brought back the ‘Transfer Duty Home Concession’, which provides a concessional stamp duty rate of 1 per cent, up to a value of $350,000 for owner occupier purchasers. This is separate from the first home buyer stamp duty concession, whereby first time buyers pay nil stamp duty on purchases up to $500,000. The changes can save buyers up to $7,000 when they purchase a home,” he shares.

In addition to the reinstatement of stamp duty concessions, other stimuli that have helped boost property value and jumpstart Brisbane and Canberra’s housing activity are interest rate cuts recently imposed by the Reserve Bank. Mr. Lawless states, “Of course, another example of a stimulus in the housing market is the recent interest rate cuts, which are a much broader based incentive. It is no coincidence that the housing market started to gain traction at the end of May, after the RBA cut rates by 50 basis points, and again in June, slicing a further 25 basis points off the cash rate.”

Mr. Lawless of RP Data believes that these changes in policy and rate cuts will lead to better housing activity in Australia in the future. “Since the end of May, capital city dwelling values have risen 3.1%; with the further rate cut in October, it is logical to presume that the effect will provide further momentum for dwelling values,” he shares.

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