The Bulletin

The Real Week Ahead with REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin

  • Written by Tim McKibbin

The market continues its steady performance. Flat prices and stable clearance rates have been the norm in recent weeks and this should continue.

But behind the scenes there are some real concerns, with mortgage stress and natural  disasters having a serious impact across the state.

Mortgage stress fuelled by rising interest rates is affecting more Australians. 

According to research from Mozo, three in five mortgage holders are under financial  stress and one-third of people say this would become severe if their interest rate  increased to between 5 and 7 per cent.

As fixed rate loan terms expire, some people are now paying double the interest they  were paying earlier in the year.

With more rate rises likely, the level of stress for mortgage holders will only intensify,  and more people will begin to experience difficulty in meeting repayments. It’s an issue  the market will have to deal with increasing urgency.

While there may be some ‘flood fatigue’ in communities not affected, the latest pattern  of severe rain has caused widespread devastation and affected the living arrangements  of many owner-occupiers and tenants across New South Wales.

The list of regions under Evacuation Orders or Prepare to Evacuate orders is very long.

The REINSW is working with agents in affected areas and has developed a Disaster &  Flood Relief Toolkit for agents, property owners, tenants and landlords. It’s free.

Also this week, the debate on the property tax Bill should continue as the NSW  Government’s apparent solution to the housing affordability issue for first home buyers  comes under increased scrutiny.

Notwithstanding the obvious point that taxing something makes it less affordable, the  basis on which first home buyers are expected to make an informed choice about paying  the property tax or stamp duty could not be less clear.

A consideration of the NSW Government's own published formula to calculate the  property tax payable invites serious questions of transparency (see figure overleaf).

First home buyers already face considerable challenges and should not need advanced  mathematical skills to decode the charges they are to encounter. How can anyone make  an informed decision when faced with such obscurity?

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