Investor mortgage demand falls as housing returns decline

Investment mortgages may be becoming less popular, with a new report from CoreLogic showing a rapid reduction in overall returns from Australian housing over the past 12 months.

According to the CoreLogic Total Returns Index, Australia’s housing market over the past year has been hit by a double-whammy of falling dwelling values and gross rental yields that are close to historic lows, resulting in total annual returns falling from 14.2% in July 2017 down to just 1.9% in July 2018 – the lowest figure since June 2012.

The fastest falls were recorded in Australia’s capital cities, with the total returns for the combined capitals falling from 14.8% in July 2017 down to just 0.8% – the lowest result since May 2012. While the combined regional housing markets also experienced decline in total returns, their fall was much shallower, dropping from 12.0% to 6.6% over the past 12 months.

The state with the nation’s highest total returns was Tasmania, with Hobart experiencing returns of 17.1%, though even this was down from the 19.7% recorded a year ago, as well as the recent peak of 20.2% in September 2017. Regional Tasmania saw return of 12.0%, down from the recent peak of 14.1% a year ago.

CoreLogic research principal, Cameron Kusher, said that this recent data shows a significant fall in demand for investor mortgages, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, which experienced some of the most significant slowdowns in total returns over the past year (-2.5% and +2.4% respectively):

“Given the decline in returns and an expectation that returns will continue to shrink as values decline further, it is anticipated that investor mortgage demand will also shrink, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne. Investors could see renewed interest for housing in other regions of the country where total returns remain positive however, the returns are anticipated to be far inferior to those recorded over recent years in Sydney and Melbourne.”

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