Property investors defy mortgage curbs

The attraction of investment property is still strong in Australia, despite lending curbs and warnings that the property market is slowing, with 3 per cent more Australians investing in property since mid-2015, new research has found.

According to ING DIRECT’s latest Financial Wellbeing Index, which surveyed 1,004 householders between 6-9 September 2016, despite attempts by APRA to cool the investment lending market, one in every five Australians says they own an investment property, up from 17 per cent in 2015.

NSW, one of the strongest property markets in the country, continues to drive strong investment growth – with 22 per cent of residents saying they own at least one investment property.

Those living in Western Australia also are keen investors, with 13 per cent of residents saying they own one investment property, and 9 per cent saying they have two or more.

Indeed, the number of people owning multiple investment properties in Western Australia has more than doubled in the past year (from 4 per cent in 2015), meaning that the state is now home to the most prolific investors in the country (a title previously held by NSW and Victoria). The investor tick up in Western Australia is interesting, as it comes at a time of increasing owner-occupied arrears.

The only state where appetite for investment property has dampened is South Australia, in which approximately one in every 10 people owns an investment property, down from 15 per cent in 2015.

Despite concerns around affordability and the challenges for younger generations in getting onto the property ladder, the survey revealed that the younger generations are currently the most prolific investors, with 22 per cent of Gen Y (aged between 18 and 34) owning at least one investment property, followed by 20 per cent of Gen X (aged 35 to 49) and 19 per cent of Baby Boomers (aged 50 to 64).

Mark Woolnough, head of third-party distribution at ING DIRECT, said that the figures show that “Australians still hold faith in the long-term investment benefits of property,” but added that consumers should seek the advice of professionals – such as mortgage brokers – when making purchasing decisions.

He said: “Property is a great opportunity to build wealth, but it definitely pays to do your research, take your time, speak to the experts such as a mortgage broker or buyer’s agent, and focus on the financials of the investment rather than the emotions of a purchase.”

[Related: Analysis: Is APRA about to curb lending again?]

 

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Annie Kane

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