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Making a profit or loss from real estate: an overview of RP Data’s latest Pain & Gain report

26 Jun 2014 Christies Beach 0 Comment

Making a profit or loss from real estate: an overview of RP Data’s latest Pain & Gain report.

RP Data has just released its quarterly Pain & Gain Report for the March 2014 quarter. Over the first quarter of the year, 9.8% of properties nationally sold for less than their previous purchase price meaning 91.8% of properties sold at or above their previous purchase price. This analysis doesn’t include expenses such as holding costs and purchase and selling costs so the proportion of actual loss-making re-sales would be higher than this reported figure on a net basis.

The figures also showed that there was a big discrepancy between the proportion of loss-making re-sales across the capital cities and regional markets. The data showed that loss-making re-sales are much more prevalent in regional areas than across capital cities. This is reflective of the fact that although values are higher over the year in all capital cities, it is not the case across many regional areas. Over the 3 months to March 2014, 6.5% of properties across the capital cities re-sold for less than their previous purchase price compared to 16.0% of re-sales in regional areas.

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The above chart shows the long-term proportion of loss-making re-sales across both the capital cities and regional markets. Outside of a recent period between the middle of 2004 and early 2009, capital city markets have consistently recorded a lower proportion of loss-making re-sales than regional areas. Recently the differential between capital city and regional markets has been significant which is reflective of the ongoing weaker capital growth conditions within major regional housing markets.

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Across the major capital city markets the proportion of loss-making re-sales is generally trending lower from a recent peak. This is reflective of the low interest rate environment and the rising home values which results in fewer vendors selling their home for less than what they purchased it for. With mortgage rates touted to remain at low levels for some time we would anticipate that the proportion of loss-making re-sales will continue to trend lower across most capital cities.

While we are seeing general improvement in capital cities, regional markets are experiencing a wide variety of performances. Markets that are coastal and linked to the lifestyle segment of the market are seeing a high proportion of loss-making re-sales however, the proportion is now generally trending lower. On the other hand, markets linked to the resources sector, some of which are coastal, are now seeing a much higher proportion on loss-making sales. As many resource projects shift from construction to production demand for workers is much lower which in-turn impacts on the residential housing market, significantly in some instances.

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Across some of the major lifestyle markets depicted in the chart above you can see that the proportion of loss-making re-sales remains high but is now clearly trending lower. In the Bunbury region of Western Australia, the proportion of loss-making re-sales peaked over the three months May 2012 at 22.3% and have since trended lower and over the most recent quarter were recorded at 16.5% of total sales. In Cairns the recent peak saw 42.6% of re-sales at a loss over the three months to June 2012 and the proportion has since fallen to 28.2%. Loss-making resales on the Gold Coast peaked at 38.6% of all sales over the three months to December 2012 and have since fallen to 25.6% of all sales. Within the Richmond-Tweed region 22.3% of re-sales were at a loss over the March 2014 quarter, down from a peak of 28.9% over the three months to October 2012. On the Sunshine Coast loss-making re-sales peaked at 36.0% of re-sales in October 2012 and have fallen to their current 23.2%.

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While the proportion of loss-making re-sales is trending lower in coastal markets we’re seeing a rise in other markets, particularly those linked to the resources sector. Over the first quarter of 2014, 16.3% of re-sales were at a loss in the Fitzroy region of Queensland up from 10.0% a year ago. In the Mackay region, 23.3% of re-sales over the first quarter of 2014 were at a loss compared to 14.4% a year earlier. In the Outback region of Western Australia (which includes many resource areas) loss-making re-sales have risen from 12.0% of sales in the first quarter of 2013 to 17.3% in the first quarter of 2014.

There are some clear trends emerging with regard to loss-making re-sales. As home values and sales activity rise across the capital cities the proportion of loss-making re-sales is trending lower (as you’d expect). Certainly the capital city markets are experiencing far fewer loss-making sales than regional markets. In many coastal lifestyle markets we are starting to see some low-levels of value growth returning and sales volumes lifting. As a result, loss-making re-sales are still relatively high but are beginning to trend lower. In those areas linked to the resources sector we are seeing the proportion of loss-making re-sales trend higher. This is occurring on the back of many mining projects shifting from construction to production phase. In these areas we are generally seeing falling home values, sales volumes and rental rates while discounting levels and time on market increase.

With mortgage rates set to remain low over the coming months we would anticipate that these broad trends will continue. Look for the capital cities and lifestyle markets to see continuing falls in loss-making re-sales whilst markets linked to the resources sector to experience tougher conditions with losses becoming more prevalent.

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