Going property hunting tomorrow? That’s brave.
Please don’t treat the weekend in the way Fairfax Media’s Domain did today.
Their advertising wrap of The Sydney Morning Herald is headed: Sydney’s Super Saturday – which of the 1028 auctions will you attend? And inside: Head into this weekend’s auctions with confidence.
Perhaps the copywriter hadn’t been reading newspapers like The Sydney Morning Herald.
In a year that has seen nothing but the direst warnings about a “bubble”, this seven days has been the worst yet for predictions of disaster.
The banks are clamping down on no interest loans. Investors are being treated like pariahs. So will the clearance rates plummet this weekend? Watch this space…
Of course, there are some perennial winners. The State and federal governments collect their stamp duty and tax. And the banks make better returns from investors than anyone else.
Notice you, the buyer, aren’t in that list. That’s the problem.
One columnist pointed out this week that the Prime Minister can easily fix the problem for home buyers – as opposed to investors – by scrapping negative gearing.
Will that happen? Not likely. Mr Turnbull knows who elected him.
How much are you in debt?
Never mind the housing crisis, what about the debt crisis? According to the Reserve Banks, Australia’s household debt is now so bad that it is 190 per cent of disposable income.
In other words, you owe far more than you earn.
And don’t think your boss is going to bail you out with a big pay rise. Wage growth is at an all time low.
But business still needs you to spend – that trip to Westfield to buy a new bag is the equivalent of 60 per cent of Australia’s economic growth.
Digital Finance Analytics research shows that 670,00 of the nation’s 3.1 million households are unable to cover their living and interest rate costs – despite record low interest loans.
Martin North, the firm’s principal, told The Financial Review:
‘‘It’s the more affluent household groups that are exposed, those with big mortgages and lifestyles that are now finding mortgage rates are rising when wages aren’t . They’re used to being profligate and they may not have as much in the bank as you’d expect.”
Credit growth continues to expand at about 6 per cent a year, while wages growth is less than 2 per cent, and household incomes are running at 3 per cent.
Overborrowed? He’s Peter Switzer’s advice…
On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank boss Phil Lowe tried to scare the pants off silly people overbidding on Sydney and Melbourne houses. It’s called jawboning and it’s meant to create a media storm to create a big effect. My fear is that it might work too well…
Seriously, if any Aussie has over-borrowed and fears rate rises might condemn them to dog food, debtors jail or some other social disaster, then do the following:
• Sell your home in this great over-priced market.
• Refinance to a lower rate. Many people have loans closer to 5% and Switzer Home Loans still has a 3.89% rate that could create a buffer for anyone worried about a future period of rate rises.
• Fix your rate for five years and that would kill any anxiety for a damn long time. By then, your income might have grown to justify any silly borrowing. You can get five-year loans at 4.5%!
For more from the sage, see switzer.com.au
In financial strife? The CBA wants to help…
The Financial Review also reported that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is keen to “renew its social licence” by helping Australian families with their money problems.
The bank quoted the case of “Sally, who suffered years of abuse in the home before leaving. She was helped by her local branch.
Retail banking boss Matt Comyn said her email detailing the story provided the inspiration for a new program being launched by the bank which will provide hardship cases with cash and help with food, communications and shelter.
Mr Cormyn said research showed that financial hardship hit victims as hard as not sleeping for 24 hours.