By ACM – This article first appeared on Macquarie Port News
Over 2 million Australians, according to the ATO, own one or more investment properties, which is why gauging investor confidence is always important when trying to assess future property market performance.
According to a joint industry survey, more than 70 per cent of property investors say it is a good time to buy residential property with the majority also believing it is business as usual.
The Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) and the Property Investors Council of Australia (PICA) survey in mid-May found that 72 per cent of investors were confident about the market’s short-term prospects – down only 10 percentage points from an investor sentiment survey conducted in September last year.
The survey results, which attracted 1877 responses from across the nation, also found that the coronavirus crisis had not changed the investment intentions of 80 per cent of investors over the next six or 12 months.
PIPA chairman Peter Koulizos said the survey showed that investors were overwhelmingly optimistic.
“Nearly 60 per cent of respondents indicated that the pandemic had not made them change their investment plans over the next six months, with a further 18 per cent saying the crisis had actually made it more likely they would purchase a property over that timeframe,” he said.
“The survey results also showed about 30 per cent of investors were more likely to buy a property in the next six to 12 months because of the pandemic.
“It’s clear that record low interest rates as well as the resilient nature of property during turbulent times are inspiring investors to continue with their plans.”
While the survey found that 36 per cent of investors had experienced a loss of income, outside of rent, during the pandemic, the vast majority, at 91 per cent, had not applied to pause their mortgage repayments.
PICA chairman Ben Kingsley said only a small percentage of respondents, or five per cent, indicated the crisis had made it more likely that they would sell a property over the next six to 12 months.
“What’s more telling is that more than 30 per cent said they were less likely to sell over the same period because of the pandemic, with 63 per cent indicating no change at all to their plans,” he said.
“Most investors also indicated that they had the financial buffers to see them through the current economic uncertainty.”
The survey results indicated that about 20 per cent of tenants had asked for rental relief, with temporary rent reductions or rent deferrals being the most common outcomes.
The results also showed that about 15 per cent of all tenant rent requests were unable to provide supporting evidence as per the relevant temporary residential tenancies legislation.
“However, it’s clear from the survey that landlords worked with tenants who were suffering genuine financial hardship during these difficult times, with only a very small percentage not coming to a mutual agreement,” Mr Kingsley said.
“It’s also clear that a significant percentage of investors were suffering financial stress due to their own loss of employment or reduction of work hours, at 36 per cent of survey respondents, but were still able to meet their financial commitments.
“Investors are confident about the times ahead, with many intending to purchase over the next year to take advantage of the burgeoning buyer’s market.”