The facts about supply and demand – exclusive reports – Andrew Wilson

The facts about supply and demand – exclusive reports – Andrew Wilson

We know that there is no one market anywhere.  Every city, suburb and street in the world operates differently.  That is also the case with construction.  Developers are known to be ahead of the market.  Dr Andrew Wilson has produced a series of graphs exclusively for Real Estate Talk that looks at approvals in all the capital cities and even the major areas within the capitals and each one tells a different story.  You will see and hear Dr Wilson’s summary on those findings in his report for us.


Kevin:  We’ve certainly had a surge in development right around Australia in recent times, and a lot of talk, of course, about over-supply. Dr. Andrew Wilson from My Housing Market has done a brilliant analysis of what’s happened and what’s likely to happen with supply coming through. We have a number of graphs below that we’d like you to follow through – if you want – as I talk to Dr. Andrew Wilson.

Andrew, thank you very much for doing this. I know there’s been a lot of work put into this. Let’s firstly have a look at our first graph, which is just a bit of a summary of the unit developments over the last five months.

Andrew:  That’s right, Kevin. We’ve certainly had a lot of debate about the nature of supply in our capital city markets. With lower interest rates and higher demand, we’ve had a surge – as you mentioned – in particularly inner-city high-rise development. There were perhaps concerns of supply moving ahead of demand.

Of course, this is a natural outcome. Developers always move ahead of the curve; that’s all about the risk-and-reward scenario they work under. But we have seen – following record surges in large capital city markets – an easing in development as demand soaked up that supply.

And a lot of it, of course, was with that higher interest-rate policy introduced by APRA over the last couple of years that targeted investors. That was another factor that pushed down demand in the shorter term, and of course, that’s translated into fewer approvals coming through.

But the latest data is quite interesting, Kevin. We can see that, perhaps predictably, some of the capital city markets have eased when we look at the number of building approvals – and this is ABS data, of course – the number of building approvals for units in the capital city this year so far. That’s the five months to May. And then we look at the same period last year, the five months to May of 2017, just to see what the growth has been.

And we see that Sydney, Brisbane and Perth are down in terms of the number of building approvals for units. Sydney, 6.9% fewer, Brisbane, 5.4%, and Perth, 24.4%. But quite interestingly, we see perhaps some surprising results with Melbourne surging ahead, up 24%. More units have been approved in that Melbourne market over the five months of this year compared to the same period last year.

And Canberra is surging ahead, 54% more units in that Canberra market this year so far compared to last. Now, Canberra is a smaller market in terms of volumes than the large capital cities, of course, and that Canberra number has been affected by what’s been a very large development by the Geocon group this year, which has skewed those numbers upwards. Over a thousand apartments, I believe, were approved in that single development.

But it’s still interesting to see that Adelaide, and particularly Melbourne, have surged ahead this year. So that really puts paid to any sense that there’s not enough demand for supply, particularly in that Melbourne market. But other markets: as we’ve seen, Sydney and Brisbane and Perth are down.

Kevin:  We’ll have a look at the cap cities themselves. We’ll start with Sydney, which is the second graph down. Interesting, Ryde and the Hills Shire, but I guess, Ryde still very close to the city.

Andrew:  I think it is interesting, Kevin, because it shows that development is spreading outwards in the Sydney suburban strata, but Ryde is, I guess, a middle ring suburb to the northwest of the city. And of course, the Hills is the next cab off the rank from Ryde. So, that northwestern surge is continuing; lots of new infrastructure going there.

And of course, it does reflect that buyers are not necessarily looking for inner-suburban or inner-city locations in terms of apartment living. Bayside, of course, is the southern section of Sydney, a merging of councils there. That’s been a very rigorous area for development.

Of course, Sydney city itself is still quite active in terms of development, and midwest areas such as Fairfield and Auburn in Cumberland, quite a lot of development going on.

But it’s interesting that the leading development areas in Sydney are out to the middle west and the northwest of the city, particularly Ryde. It’s quite a high number of approvals there.

Kevin:  Yes. As we move to Melbourne, we see a totally different situation where the bulk of the development is actually in Melbourne itself, Andrew, in the next slide down.

Andrew:  Yes, and I guess that’s no surprise, Kevin, because that CBD area has been the epicenter, really, for development in Melbourne over this surge as you mentioned in apartment approvals for the last three or four years. And continuing on, so plenty of development. That’s a big number, of course, nearly 3000 approvals so far this year, in the five months to May.

Kevin:  Incredible.

Andrew:  But interestingly, we’re also seeing the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne – Maribyrnong and Moreland, of course, just to the north of the Melbourne metropolitan area –are quite active there. And remember, these are four-story-or-above approvals, so this is a high-rise approval model.

And Yarra, of course, is the inner eastern suburbs of Melbourne and Port Phillip the southern suburbs. But I think, interestingly enough, Melbourne is still taking the bulk of new approvals – significantly the bulk – but the northern suburbs certainly contributing to more high-rise.

Melbourne is a bit tougher for developers to get a planning permit for high-rise in the suburban fringe in Melbourne or the outer suburbs, but they’re still certainly gung-ho in terms of development in the inner city.

Kevin:  Yes. And before we take it to the Brisbane one, Andrew wants to have a focus on Queensland itself. Interesting figures there, even out of Brisbane where we thought the development approvals may have been slowing down, Andrew.

Andrew:  That’s right. Numbers are lower as we saw on the first graphic, Kevin, this year compared to last year. And we would expect that, because there’s been just remarkable growth in that Brisbane apartment market. Down by just over 5%, but we can still see quite healthy numbers there. And these are local government area figures.

The Gold Coast, of course, is up and about. I think that’s quite an impressive number there, and also Cairns with351 high-rise approvals over the five months. Even the Sunshine Coast is up there, although I’d suggest that would be the southern and middle part of the coast that’s providing most of the development, likely Caloundra particularly.

But yes, that’s the LGA breakdown for Queensland. Still a lot of high-rise development going there. Gold Coast is attracting developer interest with those numbers, but Brisbane, although it’s down, is still providing quite hefty numbers of approvals for high-rise apartments.

Kevin:  And looking closer at the Brisbane LGAs, not surprising once again that a lot of it is fairly close into the city, around Woolloongabba, Fortitude Valley, all the normal ones where you’d expect, Andrew.

Andrew:  That’s right, Kevin. And some good numbers there. Quite an even spread if you look at that. There’s not a lot of difference between Kangaroo Point and Woolloongabba, and mostly adjacent, I guess we could say, those areas. There’s still plenty of activity there from developers.

I think the Woolloongabba area is quite interesting in terms of it being a leading marketplace. Of course, Kangaroo Point typically has higher priced developments in that area, but I think if we look at Kangaroo Point versus the valley, we see a different profile in terms of the types of units that are being built there.

So, I think the developers are providing a spread of bedroom numbers and styles in that area. But still quite a lot of activity, which is good news for the economy, of course, in Brisbane, and good news for increasing population growth, which is driving that market at the moment.

Kevin:  Those numbers around Eagle Farm and Pinkenba as well, suggesting that there’s a lot of development happening around that airport precinct out that way. And we are seeing that down by the river and out around the airport, Andrew.

Andrew:  Yes. It’s sort of a shift downwards – isn’t it, Kevin – moving from the inner city down through Hamilton, New Farm, and these areas, which have been really a significant focus for development, and I think it’d be interesting to see how the Eagle Farm / Pinkenba area develops in terms of its suburban profile and the types of units that are coming through, the number of bedrooms and the size of the units overall.

But certainly, there’s still quite reasonable activity in that Brisbane apartment market. Developers are still obviously quite keen to be engaged, and I think that they’re realizing that any sense of an over-supply trough has now passed that market. And we know that there’ll be fewer properties coming into the market completed because we passed the peak of the cycle.

But growing population, we’re seeing vacancy rates falling quite sharply now in Brisbane, even for units. So, plenty of demand there from tenants, which will be good news for investors.

Kevin:  Indeed. Let’s have a quick look at Adelaide, Canberra, and Perth, just to round this report out, Andrew.

Andrew:  Well, smaller markets. I guess we tend to ignore Adelaide as being a high-rise destination, but there’s been plenty of development there – particularly in Adelaide city – of high-rise apartments. That’s continuing on. And I guess a much smaller proportion of activity in surrounding suburbs.

But certainly the Adelaide city area, the Adelaide LGA area is taking the bulk of new development, which is continuing on. Again, good news for that local economy to see development being maintained.

Kevin:  Indeed. All right, mate, we’ll leave it there. All those graphs are below for you to have a look at. Dr. Andrew Wilson has given us that update.

Andrew, thank you very much for putting in so much time and effort. It’s a great report and a really good insight as to what’s happening. So, thanks very much for your time.

Andrew:  Thank you, Kevin.

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