More gain, less pain: Fewer homes selling at a loss as dwelling values continue to rise

RP Data has today released our latest Pain & Gain Report for the December 2013 quarter. The report found that of those residential properties re-sold throughout the final quarter of 2013, 9.7% were sold for less than their previous purchase price compared to 31.8% of re-sold homes transacting for more than double their previous purchase price.

The proportion of loss making sales was down from 12.6% at the same time in 2012 and was at its lowest level since the three months to July 2011.

Across the combined capital cities the proportion of loss making re-sales was even lower. Over the quarter, just 6.5% of homes sold at a loss compared to 9.8% at the same time in 2012. The proportion of loss making re-sales was at its lowest level since the three months to May 2011.

Across each individual capital city, the proportion of homes selling at a loss is now trending lower. Given the consistently low mortgage rate environment and the rise in home values over the past year this is not an unexpected occurrence. With values rising and as we move beyond the financial crisis, the likelihood of homes re-selling at a loss is likely to continue to reduce throughout 2013.
chart 1

A key feature of the Pain and Gain analysis over recent years has been the consistently high proportion of loss making re-sales across some of the most high profile coastal markets.  Conversely, key regions linked to the resources sector have consistently recorded a relatively low proportion of loss making sales.  More recently conditions have started to change.

chart 2

High profile coastal markets such as Richmond-Tweed in New South Wales, as well as Far North, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in Queensland and the South West region of Western Australia have generally seen a high proportion of loss making re-sales over recent years.  As the above chart highlights, the proportion of loss-making re-sales is now trending lower across each region.  At the end of the December 2013 quarter, 23.8% of re-sales in Richmond-Tweed were at a loss down from a peak of 29.1% over the three months to October 2012.  Across the Queensland regions, the proportion of loss making re-sales peaked at 41.7% in the Far North (Jun-12), 39.1% on the Gold Coast (Dec-12) and 35.7% on the Sunshine Coast (Dec-12).  At the end of last year, the proportion of loss-making re-sales were recorded at: 28.8% in the Far North, 26.9% on the Gold Coast and 25.8% on the Sunshine Coast.  South West Western Australia recorded a peak in loss making re-sales of 23.3% in May-12 and at the end of 2013 the proportion had fallen to 19.6%.

chart 3

As the high profile coastal markets have started to show improving market conditions, resource areas have seen property values and demand begin to fall resulting in a lift in the proportion of loss making resales.  The above chart highlights the proportion of loss making re-sales over time across the major mining regions of Fitzroy and Mackay in Queensland and the Pilbara and South Eastern in Western Australia.  In Fitzroy, the proportion loss-making re-sales have risen from 9.5% at the end of 2012 to 19.5% at the end of 2013.  At the end of 2012, 10.4% of Mackay homes re-sold transacted at a loss compared to a much higher 23.6% at the end of the December 2013 quarter.  The Pilbara region recorded 13.3% of all re-sales at a loss over the final quarter of 2013 up from 2.0% a year earlier. 18.1% of re-sold homes in the South Eastern region transacted for less than their previous purchase price over the final three months of 2013, up from 11.8% over the same period in 2012.

The impact of the peak in mining investment on local housing markets is clearly the primary cause of the upswing in realised loss.  With demand for mine workers lower in the operation phase compared to the construction phase, local housing markets are often experiencing falling demand both from a rental and an ownership perspective.  As a result it is no surprise that a greater proportion of sellers are realising a loss on the sale of their home in these areas.

The analysis suggests that low mortgage rates are resulting in housing market conditions that are generally improving.  Across the country the proportion of loss making re-sales is trending lower as home values rise.  Coastal markets have seen a relatively high proportion of loss making re-sales and although, as a proportion, loss making sales remain high they are also trending lower.  This reflects the low levels of capital growth returning to these markets.  On the other hand the slowdown in mining investment is already having an impact on regions heavily linked to the resources sector.  The economies in these areas tend to not be overly diversified and it would be no surprise to see a further rise in the proportion of loss making re-sales in these areas throughout 2014.

About Cameron Kusher

Cameron Kusher is Head of Research at CoreLogic, specialising in primary and secondary data analysis, property market commentary and consultancy. Cameron has a thorough understanding of the fundamentals such as demographics, trends, economics and spacial analysis and is a regular keynote speaker for property-related groups, regulated industry bodies, corporations and the government sectors. Follow Cameron on Twitter @cmkusher

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2 Responses to More gain, less pain: Fewer homes selling at a loss as dwelling values continue to rise

  1. Brad March 28, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    I would be interested to see the data adjusted to include transaction costs – ie rather than compare to the previous purchase price, compare to previous purchase price plus stamp duty on previous purchase price. Given the differential between stamp duty rates, this might have some impact on the regional analysis

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  1. Residential Property Investment Update - Buying Rental Property - April 19, 2014

    […] Rising house prices are also seen in resale data, with the profit margin of Perth property sales significantly improving over the last 12 months. In the September 2013 quarter, just 4.9% of Perth property sales incurred a loss compared to their previous sale price (down from 10.3% in September 2012). Premium suburbs (e.g. Claremont, Cottesloe), Perth CBD and outer suburbs (e.g. Mundaring, Swan) had a higher percentage of loss-making properties. (source: RP Data Pain and Gain Report) […]

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