REIA optimistic, but calls on government to make commitments on property policy
With Australia’s housing market recording respectable growth in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Real Estate Institute of Australia is predicting further price increases in 2021.
REIA President Adrian Kelly said the winding down of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs may cause temporary issues for tenants in some capital cities, but the trend of relocation to regional areas is likely to pick up steam.
“Traditionally there is a reduction in the number of house sales over the holiday period due to buyers going away for the festive period, but due to the current restrictions, people are taking advantage of market conditions whilst they are unable to travel and looking to buy while they can,” Kelly said.
Kelly also said that the property sector has been critical to Australia’s economic performance.
“Government stimulus measures and continued low interest rates have been in part responsible for the resilient demand for residential property,” he said. “Even though growth in new dwelling investment is unlikely in the 2020-21 financial year, given the lags between building approvals and construction activity, the forecast for dwelling investment has been revised from -4% in the Preelection Economic and Fiscal Outlook to -3.5% in MYEFO.”
Kelly said that with the possibility of a federal election being called as early as August, policy makers should make commitments about property policy for all stakeholders in the real estate industry – from first-home buyers to investors.
“In May just prior to the 2019 election, house sales were the lowest in two decades across Australia, which was largely attributed to election commitments from the federal opposition to abolish negative gearing and capital gains tax (CGT) in their current form,” Kelly said. “Given the major role investors played and continued to play in providing housing over the pandemic, it is critical that in the run-in to the election that policies from all sides of politics work for all players in real estate.”
On the whole, Kelly expressed optimism about the year’s possibilities for the housing market.
“Overall, the real estate industry looks forward to a positive year for the Australian property market, with the promise of an Australian COVID-19 vaccination program allowing life to resume to a new normal,” he said. “For customers, whatever your objective is for this year, whether you’re downsizing, investing or making a lifestyle move, talk to your local agent about your options for 2021.”