Will a likely market crash be the perfect time for property investors?

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More than a half of property investors are considering the potential market crash as a concern — but the likely price fall is appearing to be an opportunity to expand, according to a study.

TaxTank’s new research showed that of the property investors who see the market crash a concern, only one in five view it as a primary issue.

TaxTank founder Nicole Kelly said younger property investors are more likely to rank property market crash higher in their list of concerns, seeing it as either part of the “ebb and flow” of investing or an opportunity.

“Some clients see this market change as a potential buying opportunity and are watching property prices closely for a decline,” she said.

“It’s a real balance between managing the investment properties they have and taking the opportunity to expand their portfolios — at the moment, many are sitting on the fence waiting for the market to drop, and to see how the next few months play out.”

However, some investors seem unprepared to make their next move, with one in five knowing little about their current equity position.

Meanwhile, only a third are aware of their cash position while only one in five know their tax position well.

Ms Kelly said these results reflect the need for investors to understand that knowing their overall equity, cash position, and tax standing is crucial in managing an investment portfolio and making decisions about buying and selling.

“From our study we know solid rental returns are a major consideration in the decision-making process when buying, and rental demand is not likely to slow anytime soon,” she said.

“Likewise, understanding the difference between the cash and tax position, which is amplified by rental returns and depreciation, is imperative when comparing property performance — this is particularly important when considering which properties to sell.”

In the same vein, Ms Kelly said property investors should have a good grasp of their available equity in each property and portfolio to ensure that they never miss an opportunity to buy, especially in times of price declines.

House prices are likely to decline, affordability to deteriorate

Moody’s Investor Service analyst Si Chen said despite the likely decline in house prices this year, affordability of the housing market could potentially deteriorate due to rising rates.

“Over the rest of 2022, we expect affordability will continue to deteriorate as the RBA raises interest rates further to combat inflation; property prices will decline and household incomes will increase, but not to the extent that they improve housing affordability while interest rates are rising,” he said.

Mr Chen said there are no expectations that prices will decline to the extent that housing affordability improves.

“If the RBA raises the cash rate to 2.85% this year, our modelling shows housing affordability will continue to worsen unless housing prices decline by around 22%, a materially bigger decline than we currently expect by the end of this year,” he said.

Regulators are keeping an eye on housing

In a recent statement, the Council of Financial Regulators which are composed of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and The Treasury, recognised how housing market risks might evolve as rising interest rates flow through to mortgage repayments and households’ borrowing capacities.

“Housing market indicators suggest that activity has weakened in the major cities in recent months and housing price growth nationally has slowed, although housing lending is only just starting to ease,” the statement said.

“The Council will be closely monitoring the effects of rising interest rates on the household sector. Members emphasised the additional resilience provided by the substantial housing equity and payment buffers built up by households since the onset of the pandemic. “

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