Property Purchase Expectations Are Still Strong

Today we continue our discussion of the latest Digital Finance Analytics household surveys, which looks in detail at intentions to purchase property in the next 12 months. This includes data up to late July, so is clear of potential election impacts. The analysis uses a large sample size, so is statistically robust. We use a segmentation model to flush out the main differences between household types. This is described in our publication “The Property Imperative” which is available on request. These results will flow into the next edition later in the year.

We start with some cross-segment comparisons. First, we find that households are just a little less confident house prices will rise in the next year, compared with 12 months ago. However, around half of all households still believe price growth will roll on. Property investors are the most optimistic, whilst those seeking to sell-down, the least.

DFA-Survey-Jul-2016---PricesLooking next at whether households expect to transact, we find that investors are mostly likely to make a purchase, but there is a continued rise among those wanting to refinance. 40% of those seeking to refinance expect to do so in the coming year.

DFA-Survey-Jul-2016---TransactTurning to borrower expectations, first time buyers, those trading up, and portfolio investors are most likely to seek additional mortgage funding. In fact, as interest rates have fallen, demand is even stronger.

DFA-Survey-Jul-2016---BorrowThose saving to assist in a purchase are mainly confined to households who are yet to transact, or who are trading up. More than 70 per cent of first time buyers wishing to purchase, continue to save.

DFA-Survey-Jul-2016---SavingWe will look in more detail at the forces which are driving investors in a later post, but this summary chart gives a good flavour of what we found. Tax efficiency is the single most powerful driver, and property capital appreciation is also important. Together these are perceived to give better returns that from deposits (in this low interest rate environment).  Around 15 per cent of investors cited the low finance rates currently available.

DFA-Survey-Jul-2016---All-InvFinally, in this post, we look at which household segments are most likely to use a mortgage broker. Given that half of all new transactions are originated via this route, understanding which customer groups are most likely to reach of advice is important. Those seeking to refinance are most likely to transact via a broker.

DFA-Survey-Jul-2016---Broker Next time we will look at some of the more detailed segment specific analysis. But in summary, whilst property transaction, and lending volumes may be falling, there is still strong demand for property. This will provide ongoing support for prices in the coming months, and also suggests that households will be seeking deals from lenders. There is life in the old dog yet!

The Investment Property Honeypots

We have just finished updating our household surveys, and over the next few days we will be running through some of the key findings which in due course will flow into the next edition of the Property Imperative.

We start with an observation which, is at one level completely logical, yet at another level is surprising. We have been asking prospective property investors whether they are planning to purchase in the next twelve months, as usual. There is still strong appetite, thanks to strong returns, tax incentives and low interest rates. However, we have also asked about which state they were expecting to purchase in, and we have found some significant variations across the states. We conclude that NSW and VIC are investment property honeypots, attracting both local and interstate interest, especially from WA. Another reason why prices are on the rise here.

The first chart shows the relative proportion of property investors in each state, who expect to purchase in their home state. Almost all NSW based investors are expecting to buy in NSW, and those in VIC, mainly in VIC. But there are more residents in QLD, SA, ACT and WA who are expecting to buy interstate than in their home states.

Investor-Interstate-1We then asked those considering interstate transactions, to identify their likely target state. In NSW, the small number considering interstate investment picked VIC, whilst residents in VIC going interstate will pick NSW. Across the other states, the majority of those seeking investments interstate will pick NSW, or second VIC. A smaller number would also select ACT. These three states captured the bulk of the interstate attention.

Interstate-Investor-2Finally, we asked about the drivers of this decision. The prime driver related to increased capital returns, a larger property market, lending criteria and rental returns.

Investor-Interstate-DriversSo, we can conclude that demand in NSW and VIC for investment property is heightened by interested interstate investors who are attracted by the higher returns in these two states. Further evidence of the two speed housing market.

New Edition of “The Property Imperative” Just Released

The updated edition of “The Property Imperative”, our flagship report on the residential housing sector, which includes survey data to March 2016 is now available free on request.

From the introduction:

The Property Imperative is published twice each year, drawing data from our ongoing consumer surveys, research and blog. This edition dates from March 2016 and offers our latest perspectives on the ever-changing residential property sector.

As usual, we begin by describing the current state of the market by looking at the activities of different household groups using our recent primary research and other available data.

In this edition, we also look at rental yields, household interest rate sensitivity and the role of mortgage brokers, plus data on negative gearing.

Residential property remains in the cross-hairs of many players who wish to influence the economic, fiscal and social outcomes of Australia. In policy terms, debates around negative gearing and capital gains tax breaks for investment properties have hotted up.

By way of context, the Australian residential property market of 9.53 million dwellings is currently valued at over $5.86 trillion and includes houses, semi-detached dwellings, townhouses, terrace houses, flats, units and apartments. In the past 10 years the total value has more than doubled. It is one of the most significant elements driving the economy, and as a result it is influenced by state and federal policy makers, the Reserve Bank (RBA), banking competition and regulation and other factors. Indeed, the RBA is “banking” on property as a critical element in the current economic transition.

According to the RBA, as at January 2016, total housing loans were a record $1.53 trillion. There are more than 5.4 million housing loans outstanding with an average balance of about $249,000. Approximately 64% of total loan stock is for owner occupied housing, while 36% is for investment purposes. In recent months there has been a restatement of the mix between owner occupied and investment loans, and as a result the true blend is hard to decipher.

The RBA continues to highlight their concerns about potential excesses in the housing market. In addition, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has been tightening regulation of the banks, in terms of supervision of lending standards, the imposition of speed limits on investment lending and has raised capital requirements for some bank. The latest RBA minutes indicates their view is these regulatory changes are slowing investment lending somewhat, though we observe that demand remains, and in absolute terms, borrowing interest rates are low.

As a result, momentum in the market has changed, with growth in investment lending relatively static, but counterpointed by a massive focus on owner occupied refinancing and the rise of differential pricing. In addition, 37% of new loans issued were interest-only loans, a drop from 46% last year as the regulators have been bearing down on the banks’ lending standards.

The story of residential property is far from over!

Request a copy of the report here. Please note this is an archived edition now, so if you are after this version – volume 6 please specify so in the comment section of the request form. Otherwise you will receive the latest edition.

 

 

Latest DFA Household Survey

The latest edition of our flagship report “The Property Imperative” is now available. The seventh edition updates the current state of the market by looking at the activities of different household groups using our recent primary research, blogs and other available data.

In this edition, we look at household debt servicing ratios, a critical indicator of potential mortgage stress in a low income growth environment.

We also examine the latest dynamics in the property investment sector and discuss the future of commissions in financial services. We also focus on the impact of “The Bank of Mum and Dad” on first time buyers.

In summary, the rate of mortgage loan growth is slowing, but the overall level of household debt continues to rise and investment loans are back in favour.

property-imperative-7-faceRequest the free report [49 pages] using the form below. You should get confirmation your message was sent immediately and you will receive an email with the report attached after a short delay.

Note this will NOT automatically send you our ongoing research updates, for that register here.

The Stressed Household Finance Report 2015 is Available

DFA has completed detailed analysis of households and their use of small amount credit contracts, a.k.a. payday lending.

Note this is looking at short term credit. If you are after our recent work on mortgage defaults and household financial stress, please follow this link:

The analysis, derived from our longstanding household surveys, was undertaken in conjunction with Monash University Centre for Commercial Law and Regulatory Studies (CLARS) and commissioned by Consumer Action Law Centre, Good Shepherd Microfinance, and Financial Rights Legal Centre.

Stressed-TitleWe review detailed data from the 2005, 2010 and 2015 surveys as a means to dissect and analyse the longitudinal trends. The data results are averaged across Australia to provide a comprehensive national picture. We segment Australian households in order to provide layered evidence on the financial behaviour of Australians, with a particular focus on the role and impact of payday lending.

To request the report, complete the form below. When submitted you will see an immediate acknowledgement, and receive the report via email after a short delay. Note this will not subscribe you to the DFA Blog. You can register to receive future updates here.

Latest DFA Report – The Property Imperative 5 – Just Released

The Property Imperative, Fifth Edition, published September 2015 is available free on request.

This report explores some of the factors in play in the Australian residential property market by looking at the activities of different household groups using our recent primary research, customer segmentation and other available data. It contains:

  • results from the DFA Household Survey to September 2015
  • a focus on underwriting standards and mortgage pricing
  • an update of the DFA Household Finance Confidence Index
  • a discussion of the impact of high house prices

Property-Imperative-5You can obtain a copy of the report, delivered via email here.

From the Introduction.

The Property Imperative is published twice each year, drawing data from our ongoing consumer surveys, research and blog. This edition dates from September 2015 and offers our latest perspectives on the ever-changing residential property sector.

We begin by describing the current state of the market by looking at the activities of different household groups using our recent primary research and other available data.

In this edition, we also look at current mortgage pricing dynamics and underwriting standards; update our household finance confidence index and discuss the impact of chronically high house prices over the longer term.

Residential property is in the cross-hairs of many players who wish to influence the economic, fiscal and social outcomes of Australia.

By way of context, the Australian residential property market of 9.53 million dwellings is currently valued at over $5.76 trillion and includes houses, semi-detached dwellings, townhouses, terrace houses, flats, units and apartments. In the past 10 years the total value has more than doubled. It is one of the most significant elements driving the economy, and as a result it is influenced by state and federal policy makers, the Reserve Bank (RBA), banking competition and regulation and other factors. Indeed the RBA is “banking” on property as a critical element in the current economic transition.

According to the RBA, as at July 2015, total housing loans were a record $1.48 trillion . There are more than 5.4 million housing loans outstanding with an average balance of about $243,000 . Approximately 61% of total loan stock is for owner occupied housing, while a record 39% is for investment purposes. Last month, more than half of new loans written were for investment purposes.

The relative proportion of investment loans leaped by nearly 2.5% to 38.9% thanks to a significant reclassification of loans by some lenders.

In addition, 39.7% of new loans issued were interest-only loans.

The RBA continues to highlight their concerns about potential excesses in the housing market . In addition Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has been tightening regulation of the banks, in terms of supervision of lending standards, the imposition of speed limits on investment lending and has raised capital requirements for some banks . The latest RBA minutes indicates their view is these regulatory changes are slowing investment lending somewhat , though we observe that demand remains strong, and in absolute terms, borrowing rates are low.

The story of residential property is far from over!

Table of Contents:
1 Introduction 3
2 The Property Imperative – Winners and Losers 4
2.1 An Overview Of The Australian Residential Property Market 4
2.2 Home Price Trends 4
2.3 The Lending Environment 6
2.4 Bank Portfolio Analysis 9
2.5 Market Aggregate Demand 10
3 Segmentation Analysis 16
3.1 Want-to-Buys 16
3.2 First Timers 16
3.3 Refinancers 19
3.4 Holders 19
3.5 Up-Traders 20
3.6 Down-Traders 20
3.7 Solo Investors 21
3.8 Portfolio Investors 21
3.9 Super Investment Property 21
4 Special Feature – Current Mortgage Pricing Dynamics 24
4.1 Regulatory Context 24
4.2 Bank Reaction 25
4.3 Portfolio Implications 28
5 The DFA Household Finance Confidence Index 30
6 Who Benefits From High House Prices? 33
7 About DFA 35
8 Copyright and Terms of Use 36

NAB 1H 2015 Results – UK Exit, Stage Left – DFA Research Alert

NAB today announced their results for 1H 2015, which completes the updates from the major banks this week. Somewhat similar themes, with volumes up but lending margins down, offset by some deposit repricing and lower provisions. The hand of the regulator can be seen on the Australian home loan business, but significantly NAB outlined an exit path from the UK requiring capital, and other strategic initiatives, and a rights issue. No commentary on the potential demands by higher regulatory capital.

On a statutory basis, net profit attributable to owners of the Company was $3.44 billion, an increase of $584 million or 20.4% compared with March 2014. Cash earnings were $3.32 billion, an increase of $170 million or 5.4% with improved performances across all major businesses. This was in line with expectations. Excluding prior period UK conduct related charges, cash earnings rose 0.3%. Analysis of the results shows a trade off between volume growth and margin.

NAB-May-2015-1Revenue increased 3.1%. Excluding gains on the UK Commercial Real Estate (CRE) loan portfolio sale and SGA asset sales, revenue rose 2.2% benefitting from higher lending balances, the impact of changes in foreign exchange rates, stronger Markets and Treasury income and increased NAB Wealth net income. Group net interest margin (NIM) declined 2 basis points over the year and 1 basis point when compared to the September 2014 half year.

NAB-May-2015-2Expenses were broadly flat but excluding a fine paid in relation to UK conduct and prior period UK conduct related charges rose 4.0%. The increase mainly reflects the impact of changes in foreign exchange rates, investment in the Group’s priority customer segments and higher technology costs, combined with occupancy and Enterprise Bargaining wage increases.

Improved asset quality resulted in a total charge to provide for bad and doubtful debts (B&DDs) of $455 million, down 13.8%. This primarily reflects lower charges in UK Banking and NAB UK CRE. Compared to the September 2014 half year, the B&DD charge rose 30.4% due to releases from the Group economic cycle adjustment and NAB UK CRE overlay of $104 million in the prior period which were not repeated. Group asset quality metrics continued to improve over the period. The ratio of Group 90+ days past due and gross impaired assets to gross loans and acceptances of 0.85% at 31 March 2015 was 34 basis points lower compared to 30 September 2014 and 67 basis points lower compared to
31 March 2014.

The Group’s Basel III Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio was 8.87% as at 31 March 2015, an increase of 24 basis points from September 2014. As previously announced, the Group’s CET1 target ratio from 1 January 2016 remains between 8.75% – 9.25%, based on current regulatory requirements. The interim dividend is 99 cents per share (cps) fully franked, unchanged from the prior interim dividend, and below market expectations.

For the March 2015 half year the Group has raised approximately $17.3 billion of term wholesale funding. The weighted average term to maturity of the funds raised by the Group for the March 2015 half year was approximately 5.0 years.

The Group’s quarterly average liquidity coverage ratio as at 31 March 2015 was 118%. The ratio of collective provision to credit risk weighted assets was 1.01% at 31 March 2015 compared to 0.83% at 30 September 2014 with the increase over the period reflecting transition to AASB. The ratio of specific provisions to impaired assets was 35.5% at 31 March 2015, which compares to 35.3% at 30 September 2014 and 34.8% at 31 March 2014.

There were two significant strategic announcements in the results.

UK Exit – this was signalled in October 2014 as a result of the strategy to focus on the Australian and New Zealand franchise. Significant work has since been undertaken on various exit options, in particular public market options which offer increased certainty on the ability to transact and timing. While remaining open to a trade sale, NAB intends to pursue a public market option of a demerger of approximately 70-80% of Clydesdale Bank’s holding company National Australia Group Europe Ltd and its subsidiaries (Listco) to NAB shareholders and a sale of the balance by way of IPO (approximately 20-30%) to institutional investors. A demerger accelerates the full exit of the UK business, as opposed to a prolonged multi-staged public market sell-down, and allows an exit to be targeted by the end of this calendar year, subject to market conditions. The consequences for NAB will be a reduction in cash earnings on separation of Listco with shares in Listco to be received by NAB shareholders, whilst  NAB cash ROE should increase on separation; the transaction expected to have a broadly neutral impact on NAB’s capital position excluding the capital support to Listco which will receive capital support of £1.7bn is, from separation, expected to be a full deduction from NAB CET1. Actual losses lower than £1.7bn should result in a capital release for NAB over time. Post separation, future actual conduct cost will be recognised by NAB within discontinued operations outside of cash earnings with no impact on capital (netted against £1.7bn support).  No impact on NAB’s credit ratings expected

NAB Wealth today announced it has received APRA approval for its life insurance arm to enter into a reinsurance arrangement with a major global reinsurer for approximately 21% of its in-force retail advised insurance book. The transaction is expected to release approximately $500 million of CET1 capital (13 basis points) to the NAB Group, and represents approximately 15% of NAB Wealth’s life insurance embedded value. This is expected to result in a reduction in NAB Wealth cash earnings of approximately $25 million per annum.

Also, NAB will be undertaking a 2 for 25 fully underwritten pro rata accelerated renounceable rights issue with retail rights trading (the Entitlement Offer) at an offer price of $28.50, to raise approximately $5.5 billion. Approximately 194 million new NAB ordinary shares are to be issued (approximately 8.0% of issued capital). New shares issued under the Entitlement Offer will rank equally with existing shares from the date of allotment. New shares will not however be entitled to the interim dividend for the half year ended 31 March 2015 of 99 cps because they will not be issued before the dividend record date.

Looking at the segmentals, Australian Banking cash earnings were $2,574 million, an increase of 4.0%, with revenue the key driver. Revenue rose 3.9% reflecting a stronger trading performance, combined with higher volumes of housing and business lending, partly offset by weaker margins. Expenses rose 3.8% driven by additional service roles and front line business bankers, combined with Enterprise Bargaining wage increases and higher technology costs. Cost to income rose by 10 basis points to 40.7%. Asset quality metrics continued to improve and B&DD charges of $366 million fell 2.4%, benefitting from lower business impairment activity partly offset by higher collective provision charges including a $49 million overlay for agriculture and resource sectors. NIM declined 3 basis points to 1.60% as a result of asset competition and lending mix impacts.

NAB-May-2015-5Although NAB experienced above system growth in mortgages, margins on home lending were squeezed 5 basis points.

NAB-May-2015-3Broker volumes grew from 30.2% to 30.9% of loans originated. There was a net 209 increase in brokers across aggregators PLAN, Choice and FAST – currently 3,700 affiliated brokers, and a 31% increase in white label transaction. LVR’s over 80% were circa 20% of transactions, and around 15% of book, with a slight fall above 90%.

NAB-May-2015-6Looking at the loan portfolio mix, 28.8% of loans were for investment property (up from 28.2% in Sept 2014), and 35% of loans were interest only.  The average balance was $276,000. 90 Day past due was 0.48% and impaired loans 0.14%. The loss rate is 0.03%. Home loan impairment is lower through the broker channels than proprietary channels (opposite to what the regulator says, by the way, but consistent with our own modelling).

NAB-May-2015-4Steps are being taken to slow growth in investor mortgage lending to meet APRA’s 10% YoY threshold – currently 13%, and they say they are on track to comply with APRA’s best practice serviceability guidelines by June 2015 – floor rate comfortably above 7.0% and serviceability buffer comfortably above 2.0% (including buffer on existing debt). Interest only lending assessed on a principal and interest basis. This shows the regulator is having an impact and that lending criteria are tightening.

NZ Banking local currency cash earnings rose 4.5% to NZ$418 million with higher revenue given steady growth in lending volumes and improved margins (up 7 basis points, but with a 13 basis fall in lending margin, offset by 10 basis point rise in deposit margin, as well as funding and capital benefits) reflecting lower funding costs and benefits from both higher capital levels and higher earnings on capital. Costs rose 1.8% due mainly to increased personnel expenses, but were broadly flat compared to the September 2014 half year. Cost to income ratio rose 80 basis points to 40.2% B&DD charges were higher over the period with lower collective provision write-backs, but were flat over the six months to 31 March 2015 given the continued benign credit environment.

NAB Wealth cash earnings increased 28.2% to $223 million reflecting improved results from both the investments and insurance businesses, and lower operating expenses. Net income rose 8.0% due to improved insurance claims performance, stable lapses and growth in funds under management (FUM) as a result of strong investment markets, partly offset by lower investment margins related to a change in business mix. Cost to income ratio fell by 7.7% to 67.9%. There was no repeat of the insurance reserve increases seen in prior periods.

UK Banking local currency cash earnings grew 35.6% to £99 million driven by a further material reduction in B&DD charges as the business benefitted from improved economic conditions and loan portfolio shifts. Revenue was slightly weaker despite good growth in home lending volumes with competitive pressures resulting in NIM decline of 11 basis points from lending, points. Costs fell 1.2% (cost to income up 10 basis points to 70.3%) with increased restructuring and marketing spend more than offset by a one-off pension scheme gain in the March 2015 half year and conduct related charges that were incurred only in the March 2014 half year.

Latest Edition Of The Property Imperative Released Today

The Property Imperative, Fourth Edition, published April 2015 is available free on request. This report which summarises the key findings for our research into one easy to read publication. We continue to explore some of the factors in play in the Australian residential property market by looking at the activities of different household groups using our recent primary research, customer segmentation and other available data. Specifically we look at the property investment juggernaut and how we are becoming a nation of  property speculators. It contains:

  • results from the DFA Household Survey to end March 2015
  • a focus on first time buyer behaviour and overseas property investors
  • an update of the DFA Household Finance Confidence Index

PropertyImperativeLargeGo here to request a copy.

From the introduction:

This report is published twice each year, drawing data from our ongoing consumer surveys and blog. This edition dates from April 2015.

The Australian Residential Property market is valued at over $5.4 trillion and includes houses, semi-detached dwellings, townhouses, terrace houses, flats, units and apartments. In the past 10 years the total value has more than doubled. It is one of the most significant elements driving the economy, and as a result it is influenced by state and federal policy makers, the Reserve Bank, Banking Competition and Regulation and other factors. Residential Property is therefore in the cross-hairs of many players who wish to influence the economic fiscal and social outcomes of Australia. The Reserve Bank (RBA) has recently highlighted their concerns about potential excesses in the housing market is on their mind, when considering future interest rate cuts.

According to the Reserve Bank (RBA), as at February 2015, total housing loans were a record $1.43 trillion , with investment lending now at a record 34.4%, and representing more than half of all loans made last month. There were more than 5.2 million housing loans outstanding with an average balance of about $241,000. Approximately two-thirds of total loans were for owner-occupied housing, while one-third was for investment purposes. 36.9% of new loans issued were interest-only loans. This report will explore some of the factors in play in the Australian Residential Property market. We will begin by describing the current state of the market by looking at the activities of different household groups leveraging recent primary research and other available data. We also, in this edition, feature recent research into first time buyers and foreign investors; and look at household finance confidence.

Latest DFA/JP Morgan Mortgage Industry Report Launched Today

The latest report, volume 20 of the Mortgage Industry Report series was released today. As well as over viewing current industry trends, this time we focus on some of the mortgage pricing issues in the light of the FSI interim report, capital and funding.

JPM authored their report using DFA research data as detailed in the Property Imperative which is available on request from DFA. Because of compliance issues the final JPM version of the report is only available direct from them.

Go here for more details of our research programmes, and for media requests, go here.

MortgageReport20Face

Latest DFA/JP Morgan SME Report Launched Today

The latest report, volume 7 of the SME Report series was released today. As well as over-viewing current industry trends, this time we focus on sectoral rotation, with SME’s in the construction industry feeling more confident, whilst other sectors remain patchy. We do not see a significant rise in demand for credit anytime soon.

JPM authored their report using DFA research data as detailed in the DFA SME Report already published and available on request from DFA. Because of compliance issues the final JPM version of the report is only available direct from them.

Go here for more details of our research programmes, and for media requests, go here.

SMEJPM