Investor lending squeeze ‘biggest concern’ for property professionals

Property professionals’ main concern for 2017 is the tightening of investor lending, followed by rising interest rates, a recent survey of the industry has revealed.

According to the latest member survey by Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA), which gathered responses from association members from across the country between 23 January and 10 February this year, property professionals’ main concern is the tightening of investor lending.

“APRA’s approach to managing investor lending has raised both concerns and question marks for the industry,” explained PIPA chair Ben Kingsley, adding that alternative measures could greatly assist in better managing Australia’s property investment market.

“The government and industry regulators should be addressing the need for comprehensive regulation of property investment advice. Introducing a minimum standard of education or qualification for those providing property investment advice would ensure that Australian investors can receive the same level of appropriate guidance provided to anyone investing in other asset classes,” he said.

“Well-selected property remains a compelling long-term investment. Ensuring investors make well-informed, smart decisions, and that they are well protected from dodgy operators, would go a long way towards reducing the number of ill-fated property investment stories and buttressing the market.”

Mr Kingsley’s sentiments were echoed by PIPA members, as the survey found that 86 per cent of respondents think Australian consumers need a more comprehensive education program for property investment.

Property professionals ‘very optimistic’ about 2017 business conditions

However, despite their concerns about the industry, property professionals remain optimistic about the market outlook for the year and overall business conditions.

The survey showed that more than half (54 per cent) of respondents are ‘very optimistic’ about business conditions for 2017, while another 43 per cent said they are ‘optimistic’.

Commenting on the findings, Mr Kingsley said: “It is encouraging to see property professionals so confident about the outlook for their businesses and this sector more broadly.

“These results are testament to the increasing professionalism of the property investment industry and the diversified businesses our members are building, ensuring they can navigate various market cycles.”

Further, the survey also revealed that 52 per cent of the respondents plan to employ more staff in 2017, and none plan to reduce staff numbers.

“A buoyant property sector can make a significant contribution to the Australian jobs market and broader economy – and it’s great to see this is set to continue in the year ahead,” Mr Kingsley concluded.

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Francesca Krakue

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