The moderation in the rate of growth across our combined capital cities index in September is likely to be a positive development for Australian regulators such as the Reserve Bank and APRA who have been highlighting concerns about the strong rate of value growth in Sydney and Melbourne. Of course it is only one month and it will be interesting to see whether the slowing trend will persist, particularly as we head into the busy Spring Selling Season.
The annual expansion in investor-related housing credit has continued at a pace that is higher than APRA’s mandated 10% growth per annum however, July figures from the Reserve Bank show credit for investment housing has increased by 10.8% over the year, down from growth of 11.1% the previous month. Furthermore, in June investor housing credit rose by 0.6% which was its slowest monthly increase since October 2013. With many banks now placing a premium on investment mortgage interest rates and also increasing serviceability limits on all mortgages we may be starting to see the first evidence of a cooling in investment housing demand.
The cumulative effect of tighter lending conditions, more expensive mortgage rates for investors and lower yields, as well as natural affordability constraints and higher levels of new housing supply, is likely to dampen some of the exuberance we have seen across the Sydney and Melbourne housing market. Listing numbers are already showing their seasonal spring climb which will provide a timely test of the housing markets strength through spring. Furthermore auction clearance rates have been trending lower in both Sydney and Melbourne over the past couple of months potentially highlighting a moderation in the rate of home value growth in these cities.