In October this year, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.2% (and 5.4% over the previous 12 months). This resulted in the new Reserve Bank Governor Michele Bullock to raise interest rates by 0.25% last week.
The most significant price rises were Automotive fuel (+7.2%), Rents (+2.2%), New dwelling purchases by owner-occupiers (+1.3%) and Electricity (+4.2%).
While housing prices are still rising, up by 7.3 per cent for the 12 months, and total dwelling approvals recorded a sharp decline in July.
Consumer confidence is continuing to slowly improve. The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence has now increased for a record 26 weeks in a row. Unemployment was up slightly by 0.2% to 3.7%, meaning an extra 36,000 people are now looking for jobs.
China looms large as a threat to Australia’s economy. As our largest two-way trading partner, China’s worsening economic conditions are concerning for Australian investors although stronger demand from steel producers led to a small increase in iron ore prices.
October was a rocky month for global equity markets, but November is off to a positive start. Time will tell if we get a sustainable rally into Christmas.
A positive property outlook for some
Residential property investors have been on a wild ride in recent years as prices slumped during the pandemic then quickly skyrocketed before losing ground again.
Now, with prices levelling out or slowly increasing, there is good news around the corner, according to some analysts.i
A combination of positive indicators for housing could help to fuel further price rises.
With a widespread view that the Reserve Bank’s interest rate increases are beginning to work to ease spending, some believe we may see the first rate cuts as early as next March. Add to that the increase in migration and the fall in new house construction, and residential property gains may follow. CBA Chief Economist Stephen Halmarick is forecasting a 7 per cent rise in house prices this year and another 5 per cent in 2024 claiming that, by this time next year, prices will return to “all-time record highs”.
The sustained levels of high demand clashing with historically low levels of for-sale listings are also pushing prices up, according to the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA).ii
In the meantime, some investors are doing it tough with rising interest rates and the end of fixed interest rate mortgages sometimes a contributing factor. The number of short-term property resales made at a loss has jumped, according to property analysts CoreLogic, from 2.7 per cent a year ago to 9.7 per cent in the June quarter this year.iii The median loss was $30,000, for houses sold within two years, compared to a median profit of $75,000.
PIPA’s annual survey to gauge property investor sentiment found just over 12 per cent of investors sold at least one investment property in the past year.iv Less than a quarter of those houses sold went to other investors, continuing a trend that has been happening for several years.
Almost half of those who sold said they were concerned about governments increasing or threatening to increase taxes, duties and levies.
Where are rents headed?
Will rents continue to rise or stabilise? Experts’ views are mixed about the short-term outlook for the rental market.
The Reserve Bank says the continuing shortage of rental housing is likely to support ongoing increases in rents.
The rents paid by new tenants provide a good indication of price movements in rental housing. Actual rents paid by new tenants increased by 14 per cent over the year to February 2023. Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, rents paid by new tenants have increased by 24 per cent.vi
But CoreLogic predicts a slowing in rental price growth next year, saying rents rose for the 35th month in a row in July but monthly growth has eased over the past four months. It says the expected drop in interest rates next year combined with softer income growth and stretched rental affordability will contribute to a slowing in rents.
Australia’s growing build-to-rent (BTR) market is getting a boost with tax concessions from governments eager to increase housing stock.
BTR projects, common in Europe and North American, see landlords build a large-scale residential development intending to hold it for the long-term while renting the apartments for as long as three years with rent increases locked in. Rents are often slightly higher than market averages in return for better communal amenities such as roof gardens and gyms.
Institutional investors, such as super funds, are also getting onboard with the projects, favouring the steady income stream.
While Australia’s BTR market is mostly being driven by large developers and global players, smaller private investors are also getting in on the act. On the plus side, BTR offers regular income, often better returns and the chance to minimise expenses, not to mention the government tax concessions.
On the downside, there is the possibility the concept might not take off in Australia and that vacancy rates may be higher. Meanwhile, the locked-in rental increases may not keep pace with rapid market changes.
ii, iv https://www.pipa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/PIPA_Investor-Survey-Report_2023_Final.pdf
v, vi https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/new-insights-into-the-rental-market.html
Yours, mine & ours - estate and succession planning for modern families
Navigating complex family relationships and blended families can be challenging at times and particularly when a family member dies.
A good estate plan can help to make sure your wishes are carried out when you die. An estate plan, of which a will is the first and most important part, can ensure your estate is distributed in the way you want. It can also help if you become incapacitated, particularly when it includes an enduring power of attorney and a medical power of attorney that indicate who should be in charge of your affairs and any relevant instructions.
Professional advice is vital in estate planning to make sure that you have considered all the issues, including tax matters, and that your loved ones are protected. It is also important to clearly communicate your wishes, particularly when there are complex issues involved, so that your wishes are clearly understood.
Here are some of the issues to think about.
A binding death benefit nomination should be at the top of your list when you are considering the distribution of your superannuation funds.
This makes certain that your super death benefit is paid to those you choose because without one, the trustee of your super fund will make their own decision.
The nomination is usually valid for three years before it lapses and must be renewed.
If you have been married more than once and/or have children with more than one partner, your will helps to effectively provide for those you choose.
You may wish, for example, to ensure that your children receive the proceeds of your estate rather than your spouse or ex-spouse. Alternatively, you may need to ensure your will protects your current spouse from the claims of previous spouses.
When it comes to the family home, the type of home ownership is important. If you have purchased as 'joint tenants', the entire asset will pass to the surviving spouse. On the other hand, if you have purchased as 'tenants in common', each spouse can distribute their share of the house to others.
You may also wish to include a ‘life interest’ in the home so that your current spouse can continue to live in the home until their death before it ultimately passes to your other beneficiaries.
Any existing family trusts should be reviewed with a blended family in mind. Check that the trust deed provides clear instructions for succession, if you want to ensure your children from past relationships are catered for.
Your will can also establish new trusts, known as testamentary trusts, to provide for any dependents with disability, when you are worried that a child may waste or misuse your assets, or to allow for young children.
A testamentary trust can also help to protect your adult child’s interests if they were to divorce a partner or are facing bankruptcy. Any inheritance they receive from you would become part of their property and can be considered in a divorce settlement or called on by creditors.
Handing on a business
If you are in business with partners, or would like to hand on the family business to one child but not others, a life insurance policy may be a useful strategy – sometimes known as estate equalisation – to even the distributions from your estate.
In the case of a business partnership, you would name your partner or partners as beneficiaries of the life insurance policy, to effectively ‘buy you out’ of the business. Where it’s a family business due to be handed on to one child, your life insurance would go to your other children to match the value of the business.
Note that it is crucial to continually review the value of the business and the value of the life insurance to ensure they remain current.
Estate planning can be tricky and emotional, particularly when your circumstances are a little more complex. So, get in touch with us to ensure your estate plan meets your wishes and takes account of all the issues.
Destinations to fire up your passions
The world is an amazing place, with so much to see and do. In fact, sometimes it can feel as though there is so much to experience it can be quite a challenge selecting a destination, but if you follow your heart and explore your passions when planning a trip you can’t go wrong.
Considering the plethora of amazing places and experiences our world has to offer, it’s a shame that many people, overwhelmed by choice, stick to going back to places they have visited before. In fact, a poll conducted in the US confirmed that three out of four people always go back to the same places.i
If you are keen to avoid the ‘same old, same old’ but short on ideas, it can help to think not of where you want to go, but what you want to do. One travel trend that’s not going away any time soon is the desire for genuine experiences. Just look at Airbnb – in addition to being an accommodation platform it now offers a massive range of around 41,000 ‘experiences’ across 93 countries and more than 2000 cities.ii
So, what do you look for when there is a big wide world out there with so much to see and do? Think about what you and your travelling companions love.
If you have a ‘need for speed’
The Tour de France is known as the greatest race on Earth. The endurance needed to ride over 100kms a day for three weeks across some of the world’s most physically challenging terrain, is incredible. Every year spectators line the routes to be part of the atmosphere and it’s even possible to hop on a bike and experience some of the stages for yourself.
If you prefer the roar of engines and the smell of burning rubber and high-octane fuel, maybe the Monaco Grand Prix is for you. With a course that is the most difficult on the F1 circuit winding through the streets of the city, it’s certainly a race like no other.
Closer to home, another race like no other is the Alice Springs Camel Cup. The antics of the notoriously unpredictable dromedaries and their riders makes for a hilarious day out.
If you want to marvel at our natural world
The famous Bandhavgarh National Park in central India is a stunning wildlife destination where you have the best chance out of anywhere in the world to spot a wild Bengal Tiger.
And if you want to stay in Australia, head to Ningaloo Reef in WA where you can snorkel with the gentle giants of the shark world – whale sharks, which can measure up to a massive 10 metres.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie
Get your pulse racing with white river rafting on the Colorado River, passing through the iconic Grand Canyon or fly down the fastest zip line in the world in Wales at an eye-watering 200 km/h.
Or for an amazing local experience, walk along the harbour bridge in Sydney on one of the world’s longest bridge climbs and gaze out on an unparalleled view of the iconic harbour.
If you like to sample fine wine
For the wine buffs – not for nothing is Bordeaux France, is considered by many to be the world’s foremost region for wine. If you need to narrow the field a little further, the vineyards of Saint Emilion were the first to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And Australia is no slouch in the wine stakes either, with the Baross Valley in SA widely considered Australia's preeminent wine region, famous for its Shiraz.
If you were born to shop
In terms of sheer variety and abundance of styles and shops, New York City is the shopping Mecca that dreams are made of. Or fossick for exotic treasure in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, the world’s oldest and largest undercover market.
On a smaller scale, but closer to home, Salamanca Market in Tasmania is a vibrant streetscape of the state's finest artisan products.
With so many amazing experiences to be had, think about how you like to spend your time to come up with an itinerary that will tick all your boxes whether you want to race, explore, sip, or shop.
Table of Contents