The falls were exacerbated by policies that limited access for overseas investors, including the percentage of dwellings in new apartment buildings allowed to be bought off shore as well as a stamp duty hike.
The value of lending to investors was down 45.4 per cent in April from its peak in April 2015, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Four years ago, investors were borrowing $12.5 billion but that fell back to $6.8 billion.
“We are now looking at a very different property market to what it was like during the boom,” realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said.
“Buyers from Asia, a key market for new development, have dropped dramatically,” Ms Conisbee said.
“Over the past 12 months alone, property seekers from China have dropped by over 60 per cent to the lowest level we have ever recorded.
“And confidence in the new apartment sector is low following some high-profile structural issues.”
CoreLogic head of research Cameron Kusher said investors abandoning the sector could be attributed to property policy as well as an oversupply of dwellings.
Mr Kusher said investors being charged a premium on top of the higher rate for interest-only loans — typically used for investment properties — was a disincentive.
“There’s also been a large volume of new stock in the apartment segment hitting the market at a time when values have started to fall and it highlights that a lot of investors chase the capital growth not necessarily the rental return,” he told news.com.au.
“Once values started to fall, there was less inclination from an investor to purchase a property because the value wasn’t increasing.”
Mr Kusher said investors account for about one-third of the market, therefore a dramatic pull back in purchases was always going to drag prices lower.
“And now we’re also seeing the owner-occupier segment drop off as well,” he said.
“That’s a key contributor to why dwelling values are slowing, when a third of the market starts to slow pretty rapidly, it does have an impact.”
Brisbane was the only capital city where the median house price increased in value in the three months to June, according to the latest figures from realestate.com.au.
In the last couple of months though we have seen a host of things designed to stimulate the property market.
- The Coalition government we re-elected and the possible changes proposed by Labour was defeated.
- The Federal government, introduced the First Home Buyers Scheme, where the government will top up deposits from 5% to 20% for first home buyers.
- Interest rates have come down 0.5% to the lowest levels in memory.
- APRA has relaxed it restrictions on banks ability to lend, making getting a loan a lot easier, especially for investors.
- House prices have eased and rents moved up so returns on investment are increasing.
- In Brisbane our excess of apartments is starting to reduce and supply and demand are more in equilibrium.
- We are seeing the sharemarket falling due to concerns about trade wars.
All in all these initiative and market moves should be pointing to a very strong Spring selling period. Easier access to finance, incentives and confidence in the market suggest that buyers will soon be returning to the market.
If you are considering selling and wondering if now is a good time to sell. Contact us at Madeleine Hicks Real Estate and we can discuss your situation and provide guidance about the best way to move forward in the current market.