Dwelling prices have reached the bottom in Adelaide as buyer confidence rises alongside auction clearance rates.
According to the latest RiskWise Property Research Risks & Opportunities Report, housing finance in South Australia is showing signs of improvement with an increase of 8.6 per cent since February 2019 after a reduction of 6.6 per cent relative to August 2018.
RiskWise CEO Doron Peleg said in recent years the market had delivered modest capital growth for houses and poor capital growth for units.
“While the labour market has improved in the past couple of years, the effective unemployment rate in South Australia is still above 9 per cent and the employment market is still soft,” Mr Peleg said.
“This has a strong connection with low population growth (only 0.8 per cent per annum) and, therefore, low demand for dwellings.
“While serviceability measures have improved due to the RBA’s interest rate cuts (with another expected sometime in the new year), the relatively high unemployment rate increases the risk of credit defaults.
“That, combined with some properties that suffer from low demand, require special attention in relation to credit provisioning.”
However, he said in some high-demand areas the housing market was showing some evidence of recovery, particularly those with steady recent price growth rates.
“Buyer confidence has increased in South Australia, particularly Adelaide. This has also improved auction clearance rates and, consequently, it appears dwelling prices have reached the bottom,” Mr Peleg said.
“However, while South Australia enjoys high levels of public and private expenditure, in the short term, the economic growth is projected to remain relatively low, around the 2 per cent mark.
“Long-term economic growth will be a slow process and with a soft labour market no significant changes to demand are expected in the short to medium term, with less popular areas experiencing modest growth only.”
He said despite low building approvals, demand for houses was projected to remain moderate with, therefore, only moderate capital growth forecast.
However, he said the growth rate was projected to vary greatly across the state with houses in areas close to the Adelaide CBD, such as Adelaide Central and Hills, likely to deliver better growth.
Houses in areas that do not enjoy good growth drivers still carry a risk of delivering poor / negative capital growth. For example, according to CoreLogic, the median house price in the Barossa - Yorke - Mid North area declined by 0.2 per cent in the past 12 months.
He said while South Australia offered healthy rental returns for both houses and units, demand for units among owner-occupiers, despite good affordability, was generally low.
“In addition, units in some suburbs are subject to voluntary lending restrictions by the major lenders, such as lower loan-to-value ratio (i.e. higher deposit) due to oversupply,” he said.
“Units are not considered a popular dwelling option among families especially off-the-plan units in high rises, and these carry the highest level of risk. Overall, units in South Australia are likely to deliver poor capital growth.”
Adelaide Central and Hills has the highest rate of oversupply in South Australia with 2696 units in the pipeline (an 8.2 per cent increase to the current stock). This unit oversupply has led to a price decline of 0.3 per cent in the past year.
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