Outlook for Australian Property Markets Sydney

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1 Outlook for Australian Property Markets Sydney

2 Outlook for Australian Property Markets Sydney Residential

3 Stimulus and the confidence drives recovery Finance commitments to buy or construct new or to buy existing dwellings NSW 3-month rolling totals New and construct 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 Source: ABS Analysis: Westpac Property Construct New Existing Existing 45,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0 The market crash in during 2008 was due to both high interest rates and falling confidence as the global economy crashed. In last year s Outlook we considered that although stimulus in the form of the First Home Buyers (FHB) boost and low interest rates would help demand in 1H 2009, low confidence would hinder a major recovery. A stronger than expected local economy led to a surge in confidence from May 2009.This helped maintain the recovery started by the FHBs into 2H Strongest growth has been in finance commitments to construct a new home, up by 93% from the lows at year start. The three monthly total was back to levels of late Finance to buy a new dwelling also surged 83% from the lows of late Although not as high at 50% growth from 2008 lows, finance for existing dwellings rose to record numbers. The level of activity was slowing in Q4 2009, as the number of FHB declined and interest rates rose. While continued increases in interest rates should ensure some hesitancy, improving employment conditions should keep confidence, and thus activity at a reasonable level.

4 Home buyers boom/bust, again, existing holding well, but room to grow FHB vs. existing owners NSW 3 month rolling totals FHBs 20,000 18,000 16,000 14,000 12,000 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0 Source: ABS Analysis: Westpac Property Markets First home buyers Existing owners ex-refinance Existing 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0 As expected. first home buyers (FHB) surged to take advantage of the boost. However, the takeup was higher than anticipated, lifting by 106% by Q Despite an extension of the grant, FHBs fell in 2H 2009 by 34%, but remained near the highs of With limited incentive and a mass pull forward to obtain the boost, FHBs should slow further in Existing owners have remained active through 2H 2009, rising by 31% from the Q lows to Q While a 5% slowdown has occurred in Q4 as interest rates rose, expectations of positive job growth should ensure confidence remains positive, keeping the market active into 2010, despite further interest rate rises. Even with the increase, existing market turnover has room to grow. Previous high quarterly activity was achieved in Q and Q at around 33,000 commitments. The recent peak of 29,000, particularly given population growth, suggests greater potential.

5 Investors returning - cautiously Investor Finance NSW 3-month rolling totals Investor Finance ($) Price Adjusted ($) 10,000,000 9,000,000 8,000,000 7,000,000 6,000,000 5,000,000 4,000,000 3,000,000 2,000,000 1,000,000 0 Source: ABS Analysis: Westpac Property Markets Investor finance Price adjusted 3,500,000 3,000,000 2,500,000 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000, ,000 0 As with the overall market, the investors in NSW residential property were spooked by the high interest rates of Interest and activity bottomed out in February 2008 and remaining largely unchanged for over a year. However, rapidly falling interest rates and falling prices in Q led to renewed interest from investors. Finance commitments rose by 35% in nominal values from January to June 2009, or 27% if finance is adjusted for price growth. Although impressive in a short period, the growth was from an eight year low. However, interest rate rises in Q4 slowed investor activity again, by around 7% to 9% towards the end of the year. With room to grow and considerations of an improving economy, particularly around job growth, we expected investor activity to continue to grow during 2010, despite rising interest rates.

6 Population growth continued to surge driven by international migrants. Population growth - NSW Persons (annual) 100,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20, ,000-40,000-60,000 Source: ABS Analysis: Westpac Economics Natural increase International migration Interstate migration Last year we expected that the global recession and potential local recession would impact on population growth. Most impacted would be international migrants and following trends seen in past downturns, these would slow. As seen opposite we couldn t have been more wrong! Rather than slowing, population growth continued to surge, with international migrants the driver. NSW population growth totalled 115,542 in the year to June 2009 the highest on ABS records. The majority of growth was from the net growth of over 85,000 immigrants, again the highest on record. Also contributing is continued growth in natural growth at almost 50,000. Growth was tempered by the continued net loss of residents of just under 20,000 in the year to June. However, even this could be considered positive as this annual figure was the lowest since 2001.

7 Dwelling approvals rising, but under supply still an issue Dwelling Approvals Sydney 3-month rolling Number 8,000 7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 Sydney Houses Sydney Other dwellings Despite a strong lift in the number of dwellings approved in Sydney during 2H 2009, total approvals were down over the year to the lowest on record, at under 16,000 dwellings. The surge in 2H 2009 was welcome and driven surprisingly by other dwellings, which lifted from a quarterly low of 1,126 in Q to the highest quarterly total in 2 years at 3,002. Housing approvals also increased to 2,160 dwellings in Q4. However, with NSW population growth accelerating to 115,500 in the year to June and Sydney historically accounting for 66% of State growth, Sydney s population could have risen by over 76,000 in the year to June Allowing for 2.6 persons per dwelling as per Census 2006, Sydney would have needed completions of 29,320 to house the population growth. Approvals for the past three years have averaged 16,800 per year. Source: ABS Analysis: Westpac Property

8 Residential market remains under supplied; rents to start rising with interest rates Other dwellings median rental growth and vacancy - Sydney Rent per week Vacancy rate (%) $450 $400 $350 $300 $250 $200 $150 $100 $50 $0 Source: REIA Median rent Vacancy rate Analysis: Westpac Property Despite the significant shortfall of new supply and continued population growth, vacancy remained largely unchanged through the year at 1.3%. As expected rental growth slowed significantly to 2.5% for the year to September However, all of this was achieved in Q We had considered that with FHB boost and falling interest rates investors would look to retain tenants rather than potentially push them into ownership while the boost was on offer. There was also the question of affordability, following rental growth of almost 30% over the previous two years. While affordability will remain an issue, continued low vacancy, the lack of FHB boost and rising interest rates should result in rental growth rising over 2010 and into 2011.

9 Yields fell in 2009, but possible increases post 2010 Unit yields against mortgage rates - Sydney Yield 14.0% 12.0% 10.0% 8.0% 6.0% 4.0% 2.0% 0.0% Yield Mortgage rate Mortgage rate Forecast Gross yields for a two bedroom unit fell to 5.2% by September 2009, down from 5.6% a year earlier. We had forecast 5.9% by year end. Strong price growth from the end of Q outstripped slow rental growth to drive yields lower. While we consider rental growth will start to rise in 2010, the current momentum for prices appears to be slowing although continuing through to early As we consider this unsustainable and are forecasting continued rental growth through the year, particularly as interest rates rise, yields are likely to remain relatively stable through the year. However, as prices growth stalls with further rate hikes in 2011 and 2012, continued rental growth should push yields higher. Source: REIA Analysis: Westpac Property

10 Sydney s median house and units prices following past trends Median house and unit price Sydney In last years Outlook we suggested that prices could start to lift again from 2010, if they followed past trends. Although stabilising as Nominal ($000s) Inflation Adjusted($000s) expected in the six months to March 2009, $600 $200 Median House price prices rose by between 7.2% for units and $500 Median unit price 7.7% for houses over the next six months. Inflation adjusted house price ABS data suggests price growth has $400 Inflation adjusted unit price continued into Q4 at close to 5%. $300 $200 $100 $0 $180 $160 $140 $120 $100 $80 $60 $40 $20 $0 The rise from end Q was around a year ahead of our considered earliest start, following past trends. Historically Sydney had experienced time frames of around 8 years between peaks, with growth starting in year 6, which would have been However, while we consider that growth will continue in Sydney over 2010, the 6 monthly rate of 7.7% is unsustainable. With some momentum in prices into early 2010, stability is likely in late Source: REIA Analysis: Westpac Poperty

11 affordability indicator Affordability to decrease as rates and prices rise, and should limit price growth Home loan affordability % income to pay mortgage - NSW 45.0% Affordability 43.0% Median House 41.0% Median Unit 39.0% 37.0% 35.0% 33.0% 31.0% 29.0% 27.0% 25.0% Source: REIA Analysis: Westpac Property $000s As expected the rapid decline in mortgage rates through late 2008 and into early 2009 removed the affordability issue for many buyers. Affordability, as a percentage of household income, fell to 30%, levels last seen in 2002/3. However, the latest data to Q excludes three rate rises and also further increases in prices of around 5%. Our estimate is that affordability will have shifted towards 34% of household income by end While in the past this has led to a stabilisation of prices, there appears to be some momentum of price growth into Q1 2010, albeit at a slower pace. However, should prices rise by 7% over the year to Q3 2010, which is not unlikely considering growth was around 5% in Q4 2009, and mortgage rates rise to an average 7.50%, some 37% of NSW household income will be servicing the loan. This is nearing the 40% mark where prices started to fall in 2007/8.

12 Outlook for Australian Property Markets Sydney Offices

13 Sydney CBD office market demand to start lifting but supply to impact from 2012 Net absorption, net supply and vacancy Sydney CBD Square metres 400,000 Net absorption Net supply 300,000 Vacancy rate 200, , , ,000 Source: Historical data: PCA OMR 2010 Forecasts: Westpac Property Forecast 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% -10.0% -20.0% Net absorption fell by 142,500m 2 in 2009, 120,000m 2 was in 1H alone. We had forecast 127,000m 2 for the year. We now believe the loss of occupancy has ended, despite the proportional decline at 3.6% being lower than that of the 1990s (4.9%) and 2000s (4.5%). Part of the reasoning is that in the lead up to the crash growth was not as high as in other periods, the rest is the economic rebound. We forecast a modest bounce in comparison to other recoveries, with around average annual take-up over the forecast period. Net supply fell due to higher withdrawals than expected and vacancy rose to 8.1% by end 2009, against a forecast 8.7%. However, starts of large pre-committed projects will drive supply up, with 2012 the highest. Vacancy is forecast to fall to 7.5% in 2010, stabilise in 2011 but lift again to close to 10% by 2012 as the next supply cycle commences.

14 North Sydney office market need to attract more tenants from outside to lower vacancy Net absorption, net supply and vacancy North Sydney Square metres Forecast Vacancy rate Although not as weak as we had anticipated, net absorption fell to -14,530m 2 in 2009, against our forecast of -25,000m 2. However, net supply also surprised on the upside, with an unidentified addition to PCA figures in1h These combined to lift vacancy to 11.7% by end 2009, against our forecast of 11.1% Future supply remains The Ark project plus a small refurbishment in However, at 32,000m 2 they amount to 3.7% of stock. Although we expect net absorption to increase through economic growth, North Sydney needs to attract tenants from other market to reduce vacancy quickly. Despite one relocation in 2010, vacancy is forecast to lift in to 13.3% by year end before falling to 11% by Source: Historical data: PCA Office market report 2010 Forecasts: Westpac Property

15 Parramatta s office market surprises on the upside Net absorption, net supply and vacancy Parramatta Square metres Source: Historical data: PCA OMR 2010 Forecasts: Westpac Property Vacancy Net absorption was not as weak as forecast last year. Excluding the relocation of Sydney Water Board, net absorption was actually positive in 1H 2009, and fell marginally in 2H With demand slightly outpacing supply vacancy fell to 9.8%, from 10.1%. We had forecast 11.1% considering higher loss of occupied space. With minimal new supply expected, most in refurbishments, the expected pick up in demand should drive vacancy down in 2010 to around 9.1%. This trend should continue to 6.2% by end of There is the potential for the proposed redevelopment of Civic Square to re surface, but this would be largely led by pre-commitments from the CBD.

16 Incentives overly pessimistic in 2009, but future supply will keep them high, ex-parramatta Sydney CBD net effective rents North Sydney and Parramatta The negative sentiment through most of 2009 drove incentives higher than our expected 20%. In fact by mid year prime CBD core incentives had reached 28%. They stabilised over 2H 09. The fall in prime rents was also higher at 20% for the year, against our forecast for a 10% fall. However, vacancy did not reach the highs many expected and we expect vacancy to fall. Our forecast is for incentives to fall in 2010, largely in 2H, to 25% and stabilise around that level until vacancy increases again. This drives prime rents up by 6% in 2010 and a further 11% in 2011, before falling as incentives rise in 2010 North Sydney prime rents fell 8% in 2009, as incentives rose to 20%. Although overall vacancy is set to rise, the new supply is largely pre-committed. We forecast stability for prime rents. Parramatta prime rents also fell in 2009, by 5%. Falling vacancy should place pressure on rents to rise from Source: Historic CB Richard Ellis, Forecast Westpac Property

17 Yields well above average and with sentiment turning, firming is possible later in 2010 Prime indicative office yields Sydney markets Yield 10% 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 4% Sydney CBD 10 yr bond North Sydney Prime office yields rose until Q3 2009, with lifts of 61bps for CBD, 50bps for North Sydney and 67bps for Parramatta. However, there was stability in Q4, other than a minor firming for North Sydney, which appears out of line given fundamentals in that market. Last year we had suggested that while yields were back to 10-year averages, further easing was likely as fears around income security grew in a weakening economy. Yields now sit well above both 10-year and 16-year averages. while the risk premium above 10-year bond rate is also above average. The improving market fundamentals, particularly for the CBD and Parramatta suggest that yields should start to firm in 2010, although continued caution may mean that this doesn t occur until 2H Source: CB Richard Ellis historic data to December 2009 RBA bond data

18 Outlook for Australian Property Markets Sydney Retail

19 Retail sales to slow back closer to average Retail sales growth - NSW YoY growth 14.0% 12.0% Inflation adjusted sales growth 10.0% Retail sales growth 8.0% 6.0% 4.0% 2.0% 0.0% -2.0% Forecast -4.0% Retail sales in NSW held up very well during 2009 rising by some 6.9% in nominal terms and 4.9% real. Initial considerations were that the growth was largely driven by the Fiscal handouts of 1H However, analysis of the data shows relatively even growth over both half years. Access Economics consider that 2010 will be a weak year, with no real growth, or turnover increasing by just CPI. With the improvement in the economy, high sentiment and expectations of continued population growth and job growth, we feel this is too pessimistic. Although rising interest rates will slow disposable income for many, and there will be no more handouts, we consider growth will be closer to the average of 2% real lifting turnover by close to 5% in Source: Access Economics

20 Surprising lift in smaller retailer turnover Small vs. large retailer s sales growth - NSW YoY growth (%) Small retailers Large retailers Data from the ABS provides a breakdown of retail sales by type of retailer. The larger, national retailers are fully enumerated, while the far more numerous smaller retailers are based on samples. The data available for the December quarter is quite remarkable. Growth in retail sales for smaller retailers surged by over 13% on the corresponding quarter last year. This was well above the growth of the more consistent larger retailers who could only post a 3% growth rate. While this is not unique and show the smaller retailers coming from a very weak 2008, it is surprising given the marketing budgets and discounting/competitive ability of the larger retailers. Source: Access Economics

21 Eating out surges in 2009, while specialised food holds overall food back. Annual change in retail spending by sector - NSW Change (%) Spending growth was evident in all categories other than household goods, and department stores in NSW. Strongest growth was from cafes, restaurants and food services at a huge 34%. Even allowing for a fall in previous years it is not a category that would be expected to rise in the recent economic climate. Driving growth were cafes and restaurants. Clothing and soft goods rose by a healthy 11.6% on a year earlier. Food posted another disappointing growth of just over 4%, despite very strong population growth. However, the growth was held back falling other specialised food, which is not surprising given the economic slowdown. Source: ABS

22 Expansion of larger centres continues Future retail supply - Sydney Meters Squared 140, , ,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 Source: CB Richard Ellis Retail supply under construction in Sydney totalled some 315,500m 2 at the end of 2009, higher than at the end of However, the total is not high for a market the size of Sydney (estimated at around 4 million sq.m. of shopping centres). With the slowdown in household goods spending lower bulky goods construction is welcome. The main sectors increasing are the city centre and regional shopping centres. Although the city centre data includes Westfield s development in the CBD, so could be called a regional shopping centre. However, the figures do include the new Top Ryde development. Projects on hold total some 346,600m 2, while projects with a DA amount to a further 250,000m 2.

23 Rental growth sluggish in 2009, limited scope for pick up 2010 Rental growth - Sydney Annual growth rate 12.0% Average growth Q % 2.0% -3.0% -8.0% -13.0% -18.0% Our expectations last year that rental growth would be low and possibly fall in some older secondary centres appears to have been optimistic. Rents fell for most categories of retail in Sydney, with significant declines in sub regional. While the sub regional centres may have been a correction from strong growth in previous years, bulky goods reflects the weakness in the sector, possibly from the high supply through the early and mid 2000s. While there were signs that the rental fall had ended in Q4 2009, potential for a strong rebound is low into 2010, even allowing for our more optimistic level of spending. Source: CB Richard Ellis Analysis: Westpac Property

24 Yields ease further in early 2009, but stabilise in Q4 Indicative retail yield in Sydney and 10 year bond rate Yield (%) Source: Raw data CB Richard Ellis and RBA Analysis: Westpac Property Dec-98 Dec-02 Dec-08 Dec-09 Our consideration that yields were too low at the end of last year was partially backed up by investors. Yields eased by between a further 6bps for CBD centres and 85bps for bulky goods centres. Despite the easing, yields remain below their 10-year averages, with the exception of bulky goods centres. However, yields stabilised or firmed in Q4, suggesting that the easing has stopped. Yields have eased since the peak by between 40bps for CBD and 260bps for bulky goods centres. While fundamentals suggest otherwise, the popularity of retail property may well result in some pressure on yields to firm later in 2010.

25 Outlook for Australian Property Markets Sydney Industrial

26 Healthy economic outlook for NSW to fuel continued tenant demand Industrial demand drivers- NSW YoY change (%) Industrial production exports Consumption imports The impact of the economic slowdown is clear from the chart opposite. Falling industrial production and import growth and basically flat consumption and exports This led to limited tenant demand through most of However, as the confidence picked up toward the end of the year a number of agent reports were citing and increase in enquiry. However, it would have been from a very low base. The pick up in the economy through 2010 and into 2011 should flow through to demand for industrial premises. However, Access Economics are not predicting too significant a lift in production or consumption in NSW until Source: Access Economics

27 Supply continues to slow, but still in outer areas Industrial supply over 5,000m 2 - Sydney Square meters 100,000 90,000 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 Under construction Site works Outer south south north outer north Central west outer central west Supply under construction at the end of 2009 amounts to 189,000m 2 in Sydney s industrial markets, down on the 473,000m 2 at the end of This slowdown in supply has now lasted 3 years, with consecutive declines from As in past years, most of the supply is in the outer areas, with the northern areas most active. A further 100,000m 2 was at site works. A good indicator of the extent of the slowdown in industrial over the past year is the 1.6 million sq.m. of projects that sit on hold. While some of these will never commence, the sheer mass when compared with actual construction shows the nervousness of developers in the current environment. However, construction should start to lift from later this year as confidence grows. Source: CBRE Research

28 Rents fell in 2009 as expected, but some signs of recovery in Q Annual Industrial rental growth - Sydney Growth 10% 5% 0% -5% -10% -15% -20% Source: CBRE research and ABS Q Historically, over the five years to 2008, rental growth had been at or below inflation in all bar the north Sydney prime warehouse markets. As expected rents declined over the year across the various markets. Largest falls were in the more traditional markets in the North and South of the city at 8% and 14% respectively. However, rents on the central west markets also declined by around 7%. There were also some signs of rental growth in Q4 2009, suggesting some of the oversupply of recent years has started to ease. Above CPI growth was seen in the main outer areas in Q4. With demand lifting and supply low, the pressure could start to increase on rents later in 2010 and into However, such is the magnitude of projects on hold, that any signs of a market improving may well start development again, although pre-commitments are likely to be required.

29 Land value decline continues into 2009, stalls in Q4 Annual growth in industrial land values - Sydney 0.25 Ha serviced sites Industrial land values started to fall across the Sydney region in 2008 and, as expected, continued into Growth 20% 10% 0% -10% -20% -30% -40% Fall since peak 2009 Falls of between 20% in the outer areas to over 10% in the more traditional markets were seen during the year. With the exception of the traditional North and South markets, land values have fallen on average by around 30% since the 2007 peak. While it appears too early to suggest growth, the stability of land values in Q and signs of some rental growth should indicate that the falls in industrial land values have stopped. We forecast steady prices through Source: CBRE research

30 Industrial yields continue to ease over 1H 2009, but stability evident towards year end Industrial yields - Sydney Yield (%) 13 Secondary Prime 10 yr bond Sydney s industrial yields moved by around 57 basis points for prime space and 48 basis points for secondary in 2009 They now sit slightly above their 10 year average of 8.7% for prime and 9.24% for secondary properties. Although yields were higher at the end of the year than at year start, there were signs of stabilisation from mid year for prime properties and Q4 for secondary. In fact both recorded minor firming of yields in Q4. With yields now back to average and limited expectation of rental growth, at least short term, yields should stabilise. However, a prime building offering 8.8% with a secure lease is likely to attract a number of investors in an improving economy and yields could start to firm from mid year. Source: CB Richard Ellis/RBA

31 Disclaimer Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The forecasts given in this document are predictive in character. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the assumptions on which the forecasts are based are reasonable, the forecasts may be affected by incorrect assumptions or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties. The ultimate outcomes may differ substantially from these forecasts. Information current as at February This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information may contain material provided directly by third parties, and while such material is published with permission, Westpac Banking Corporation (ABN ) ("Westpac") accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of any such material. Except where contrary to law, Westpac intends by this notice to exclude liability for the information. The information is subject to change without notice and Westpac is under no obligation to update the information or correct any inaccuracy which may become apparent at a later date. Westpac Banking Corporation is regulated for the conduct of investment business in the United Kingdom by the Financial Services Authority. If you wish to be removed from our mailing list please send an to 2010 Westpac Banking Corporation. CB Richard Ellis Ltd (CBRE) does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information in this publication, including any information sourced from CBRE, and CBRE accepts no, and disclaims all, liability for any loss or damage whether occasioned by reliance on such information or otherwise.

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