David, Author at It's Simple

Author: David

SME credit demand improves, lenders begin next phase of COVID-19 support

Things are starting to look better for small business owners across the country with just 5% of deferred business loans yet to resume repayments. Meanwhile, there are signs that business credit demand is improving, especially when it comes to asset finance.

The first bit of data comes from the Australian Banking Association (ABA), which shows just 11,263 business loans across the country are yet to resume repayments.

That’s a huge drop from the height of the pandemic back in June when more than 200,000 small business loans were deferred.

With automatic loan deferrals now coming to an end, the next phase of support for borrowers who are unable to make reduced repayments or restructure their loans will involve assistance from specialised hardship teams.

As part of this support, banks have developed an industry-wide, consistent approach to hardship and a new online assistant hub to guide customers in financial hardship and improve transparency.

“Customers can expect a thoughtful and compassionate approach, with clear and transparent explanations, regardless of who they bank with,” says ABA CEO Anna Bligh.

Credit demand improving

The other positive news for business confidence around the nation is that credit demand is showing signs of recovery, especially when it comes to asset finance.

Equifax’s Quarterly Business Credit Demand Index for the December 2020 quarter shows that while business loan applications were down 10.1% from the year before, the rate of decline has softened.

Applications in Victoria were up 7% in December 2020 compared to the September quarter, closely followed by Queensland and Western Australia (+5%).

Better yet, asset finance applications were actually 0.2% higher than the same period a year earlier.

“While overall business credit demand remains down, it is encouraging to see that there are signs of a turnaround,” says Equifax’s General Manager Commercial and Property Services Scott Mason.

“The lifting of extended restrictions in Victoria has allowed for a rebound in business credit applications driven by asset finance.”

How’s 2021 looking for your business?

If you’re starting to feel confident about your business’s outlook in 2021, and you want to explore your finance options to make the most of any upcoming opportunities, then please get in touch.

It’s worth mentioning that the federal government’s ‘temporary full expensing’ scheme – which allows businesses to immediately deduct the business portion of the cost of eligible new depreciating assets – is in place until 30 June 2022.

If you’d like to find out more about how it could assist with your business’s cash flow when purchasing assets, feel free to give us a call today.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Tick tock – is time running out for first home buyers?

The first home buyer market had a bumper year in 2020 due to modest declines in property prices, reduced investor activity, and a range of government incentives. But with those advantages tailing off, how will first home buyers compete in 2021?

Another week, another big bank tipping national property prices are set to boom.

This week it was Westpac’s turn, with their senior economist tipping property prices to increase 10% in 2021 and another 10% in 2022.

This follows AMP predicting a 5-10% property price increase in 2021, and Commonwealth Bank expecting house prices will increase by 9% in 2021 and 7% in 2022.

Meanwhile, auction clearance rates are high – in the 80% plus range, according to CoreLogic.

So is time running out for first home buyers?

Not at all, but it sure won’t get any easier as property prices increase throughout the year.

Furthermore, the federal government’s HomeBuilder scheme is set to finish at the end of March.

The scheme provides buyers with $15,000 grants to build or substantially renovate homes that are generally in the first home buyer price range.

With the above in mind, the REA Insights Property Outlook Report 2021 states that ‘first home buyers are set to moderate in 2021’.

“In 2021, it is unlikely first home buyers will continue to be as active as they were. Prices are moving quickly; investors are coming back and any incentives available to first home buyers are likely to be eased,” the recently released report says.

The REA adds that first home buyers tend to be more active in slower markets when they can take their time.

But with savvy property investors returning to the market, this can add pressure to first home buyers.

“Investors and first home buyers frequently target the same sorts of properties at similar price points,” explains the report.

So what can first home buyers do to compete in 2021?

Rest assured there are a number of strategies first home buyers can employ to crack the property market in 2021.

With competition for properties heating up, it’s important to have your ducks-in-a-row when it comes to finance before you start looking.

This can help you find properties within your price range, identify any additional costs you may not have factored in yet, and make an offer while your preferred property is still available.

It’s also worth noting that the federal government is set to release another 10,000 spots in its First Home Loan Deposit Scheme on July 1, which can help you buy your first home with a deposit of just 5% without having to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

Another consideration is shifting the focus of your property search – whether that be the location or property type.

For example, house prices are predicted to grow a lot quicker than apartment prices this year.

So if you’re not quite ready to buy just yet, and it appears that properties are rising quickly out of your price range, consider that the apartment market should move more slowly.

Get the ball rolling today

If you’d like to discuss more options when it comes to obtaining finance to pay for your much-anticipated first home, get in touch with us today.

As mentioned above, the more prepared you are when it comes to financing your first home, the less stressful the whole buying process will be.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

“On the cusp of a boom”: CBA’s assessment of the housing market

Australia’s housing market is on the “cusp of a boom”, with house prices set to leap 16% over the next two years, according to the Commonwealth Bank (CBA).

The head of economics at Australia’s biggest bank, Gareth Aird, predicts national house prices will surge 9% in 2021 and a further 7% in 2022.

Apartment prices meanwhile are predicted to rise 5% in 2021 and 4% in 2022.

“The negative impact that COVID-19 had on Australian property prices turned out to be much more muted than almost any forecaster expected,” Mr Aird has written in a note to clients.

The CBA prediction is similar to that contained in an internal RBA FOI document, which projects house prices could rise by up to 30% if interest rates remain low over the next three years (which the RBA has indicated will happen).

So what can we expect across the country?

In Sydney and Melbourne, dwelling (house and apartment) prices are predicted to grow by at least 12% in the next two years, says Mr Aird.

That would see Sydney’s median dwelling price increase by a whopping $160,000 to $1.2 million, and Melbourne’s median dwelling price increase by $110,000 to $920,000.

Meanwhile, Perth values are tipped to rise 17.7% ($99,000), Brisbane 16.6% ($102,000), and Canberra 15.5% ($132,000).

Rounding out the capital cities, Adelaide is predicted to increase 14.5% ($86,000), Hobart 15% ($87,000) and Darwin 18% ($99,000).

So when and why are property prices set to increase?

Well, it appears as though the “boom” may have already just begun, Mr Aird explains in a CBA podcast.

“Over the first two weeks of February, national prices are up 0.8%. So we’re looking at over 1.5% in February alone,” says Mr Aird.

“Prices are now rising in all capital cities. And they’re rising quite quickly.”

Mr Aird says a strong indicator for property prices is lending figures, and over the last four to five months lending has picked up quite significantly.

“It’s quite intuitive when you think about it. The money that people borrow ends up going into the housing market, and that then pushes up housing prices. There’s usually about a six month lead time,” he explains.

“Initially, that (lending) was with owner-occupiers, but more recently it has spilled over to investors. And that is now feeding into house prices.”

Another strong indicator is auction clearance rates, adds Mr Aird.

“They are very, very firm at the moment. Nationally we’re seeing it sit in the 80s (percent), which historically has been consistent with double-digit dwelling price growth,” he says.

Other key momentum builders are the RBA advising that the record-low official cash rate won’t increase until 2024, says Mr Aird, and strong recovery in the labour market.

“The fact that the Reserve Bank has given explicit public guidance that rates are going to stay very, very low for a number of years, that’s given borrowers a lot of confidence to go out there and take on debt,” he says.

“All of those inputs that go into our model are screaming that house price rises could be faster than at any point we’ve seen before, and our model goes back 10 years.”

Explore your options

If you’re one of the many prospective homebuyers who are feeling confident about the housing market right now and want to explore your financing options, get in touch today.

We’re more than happy to help you determine whether you can finance that home you have your eye on before the next housing boom takes off.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Digital transformation: how does your business compare?

How well placed is your retail business when it comes to its digital transformation? Today we’ll look at some of the ways your competitors might be complementing their bricks and mortar stores with online empires.

For some retailers, COVID-19 was the death knell for their business. For others, it gave a much-needed nudge to supplement in-store sales with thriving online hubs.

So how well did you transform your business compared to your competitors in 2020?

Well, Retail Express conducted a benchmarking study of 22,000 Australian and New Zealand retailers across multiple sectors throughout 2020.

It looked at something called “omni-channel” retail, which is defined as “an approach to sales that focuses on providing seamless customer experience whether the client is shopping online, from a mobile device, a laptop or in a brick-and-mortar store”.

The study’s key findings

Founder and CEO of Retail Express, Aaron Blackman, says “the quality of a retailer’s eCommerce store, Click & Collect services and home delivery speed have now become key factors in who consumers decide to shop with.”

And the study demonstrates significant opportunities for Australian retail businesses to improve, with less than a third of surveyed retailers offering key omni-channel practices:

Click and collect: 26% of retailers offer this service

Display stock in store on website: 14%

Display live inventory available for online orders: 3%

Ship from store: 21%

Cross-channel gift vouchers: 26%

Inter-store stock transfers: 21%

Pre-orders: 13%

Investing in tech moving forward

As a business owner, it’s important not to think of 2020 as a once-off. Instead, consider that disruption is the new normal.

As such, Mr Blackman says retailers should be constantly thinking of ways to improve their omni-channel offerings.

“Just offering online shopping with Click & Collect will no longer be a competitive advantage, same day Click & Collect, and the speed of home delivery will be the benchmark,” he suggests.

In 2021 and beyond, digital transformation will be a significant priority as retailers look for ways to adapt to future disruptions, adds Mr Blackman.

“Now is the time for retailers to plan and design a robust and flexible operating model including a review of current systems and technology looking for all possible efficiency gains,” he says.

Get in touch

If you think now is the time to invest in your digital offerings, then get in touch today to discuss your funding options.

Obtaining the right finance is an important step when it comes to implementing the right technology, processes and personnel to fund your business’s future.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Back up for grabs: 1800 first home buyer scheme spots reissued

Great news just in for first home buyers: the Australian government will reissue 1800 First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS) spots from the 2019-20 financial year.  

The 1800 spots are back up for grabs because people who previously reserved a spot in the Australian government scheme were unable to complete the purchase of their first home.

Their loss can be your gain!

The FHLDS allows eligible first home buyers to break into the property market sooner, as you only need a 5% deposit to purchase a property without paying for lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

This can save you anywhere between $4,000 and $40,000, depending on the property price and the deposit amount you’ve saved.

More locations now possible

Ok, so the FHLDS has these things called ‘property price thresholds’.

Basically, they mean you can only qualify for the scheme if you purchase a property under a certain price tag in certain locations.

The good news is that the thresholds were recently increased to allow first home buyers a greater range of options.

And helpfully, property research group CoreLogic has just identified suburbs that – due to COVID-19 and the slight impact it had on inner-city apartment prices – are now a prime option for first home buyers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

They’ve identified 23 suburbs where median unit values have slipped below the FHLDS property price thresholds in the past 12 months.

Here’s the full list, but some highlights include:

Sydney: Strathfield, Arncliffe, Ashfield, Gladesville, Wentworth Point.

Melbourne: Brunswick, South Melbourne, St Kilda East, Thornbury, Docklands.

Brisbane: South Brisbane.

Perth: Munster.

Time’s ticking!

It’s important to note that FHLDS spots are usually reserved pretty quickly.

So if you’re thinking about purchasing your first home soon and want to make the most of the scheme, give us a call today – we’ll help you get the ball rolling on applying with one of the scheme’s participating lenders.

And even if you are unable to jag one of the 1800 reissued spots, you’ll be in a prime position to apply when a further 10,000 spots are released on July 1.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Record-breaking: 5 big property trends in 2021

After a bumpy 2020, 2021 is already rewriting the record books. From property prices, to interest rates, to refinancing – no matter which way you look records are being broken. Today we’ll look at why property market sentiment is riding so high.

How quickly things can turn around.

It wasn’t too long ago (9-10 months, to be more precise) that many highly-regarded economists were predicting property prices could plummet 30% due to COVID-19.

Instead, now we’re seeing official RBA documents predict that house prices could increase 30% over the next three years, so long as the official cash rate remains near record low levels (at or below 0.5%).

Suffice to say, market sentiment is soaring. So let’s take a look at some of the records currently being broken.

1. Record high housing values

Australian housing values have just reached a new record high as prices continue to rise across the country, according to CoreLogic.

In fact, housing values have surpassed pre-COVID levels by 1.0%, and the index is 0.7% higher than the previous September 2017 peak.

Every capital city and rest-of-state region recorded a rise in housing values in January, ranging from a 2.3% surge in Darwin to a relatively mild 0.4% rise in Sydney and Melbourne.

And unsurprisingly, regional housing values are rising at more than twice the pace of capital city markets due to COVID-19.

“Better housing affordability, an opportunity for a lifestyle upgrade and lower density housing options are factors that might be contributing to this trend, along with the new found popularity of remote working arrangements,” says CoreLogic’s research director, Tim Lawless.

2. Record low interest rates

In case you missed it, the RBA cut the official cash rate three times in 2020, with the last reduction in November taking the rate to just 0.1%.

At the same time, competition amongst lenders is fierce, with many offering record-low home loan rates in a bid to win over as many customers as possible.

3. Record high refinancing numbers

With record-low interest rates, it makes sense that we’re also seeing a record number of mortgage holders refinance their home loans to save themselves thousands of dollars.

According to ABS data, last year, the total number of home loan customers who switched providers increased by 27% – from 143,664 in 2019 to 182,016 in 2020.

And experts are predicting the number of externally refinanced loans will grow by 9% this year, according to a recent Finder survey, meaning nearly 200,000 Aussies will switch to another lender in 2021.

4. Record house building approvals

Private house approvals rose for the sixth consecutive month in December and reached a record high, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data.

In fact, private house building approvals surged 55.6% over the year.

“Federal and state housing stimulus measures (such as HomeBuilder), along with record low-interest rates have contributed to strong demand for detached dwellings,” says Daniel Rossi, Director of Construction Statistics at the ABS.

5. Record-high market positivity

With all of the above in mind, it’s no wonder that buyer confidence is surging.

In fact, positive sentiment among those in the property market has reached a record high, and negative sentiment is at an all-time low, according to ME Bank’s latest Quarterly Property Sentiment Report.

The buoyed sentiment is being supported by expectations for residential property price increases, higher levels of market activity and a combination of record-low interest rates and government stimulus incentives, says ME Bank.

That’s pretty much everything we’ve just touched upon today.

So, if you’re feeling pretty confident yourself and are looking to buy, or you think you’re overdue for refinancing, get in touch today.

We’re here to help you with all your funding and refinancing needs.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

How will your business bounce back from 2020?

If you’re worried about how to recover from the horror show that was 2020, you’re not alone. Two-thirds of Australian small to medium businesses feel the same way, research shows.

As SMEs look towards “COVID-normal” in 2021, many are wondering how they will rebound from the stresses and strains of the past year.

In fact, as many as 65% of businesses are worried about having a clear recovery pathway, according to findings from business banking analysis firm East & Partners.

And despite the government support on offer during the pandemic, almost half of surveyed businesses (47%) said they had difficulty accessing government-guaranteed loans during COVID-19.

COVID-19 exacerbates existing concerns

These COVID-specific concerns come as businesses experience a marked increase in perennial concerns, the ScotPac-commissioned research also shows.

In the past 18 months, the biggest shift has been businesses finding funders harder to deal with than normal, with 56% of businesses saying this was an issue compared to 47% in 2019.

And there has been a marked increase in businesses frustrated that their funder isn’t meeting their needs (22%, up from 16%).

The top three concerns have been loan conditions (84%), having to provide property security (80%) and lack of flexibility (74%).

More businesses seek specialist advice

Amid the horror show of 2020, SME reliance on trusted advisors grew.

53% of SMEs relied more on their key advisor – such as their broker or accountant – during the pandemic.

And the vast majority (82%) said this had a positive impact on their business.

Path to recovery

Moving forward, the report states that “successfully navigating out the other side of the COVID crisis requires SME owners not to delay making the hard decisions about their business.”

“These hard decisions include assessing business viability, pinpointing the best way to fund the business, working out how to deal with the end of JobKeeper (if not for themselves, for the impact this will have on their supply chains) and planning for what happens when ATO debts are enforced and other deferred debts fall due.”

If you think you might have trouble navigating some of these hard decisions, then please get in touch today – we’re here to help you explore your business’s finance and funding options.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

How did your suburb fare during the COVID-19 crisis?

When coronavirus broke out across Australia, doomsday reports tipped the property market could fall as far as 30% across the country. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. Here’s how to find out how your suburb actually fared.

A realestate.com.au analysis shows that property prices actually grew in most Australian suburbs throughout 2020.

Yep, that’s right.

Despite prolonged lockdowns in some parts of the country (especially Melbourne), most suburbs experienced year-on-year growth in 2020.

Go and have a look for yourself using this realestate.com.au interactive tool to see how your suburb did.

So which suburbs did best?

It should come as no surprise that lifestyle suburbs and coastal areas (such as Pearl Beach in NSW, pictured) ranked consistently high, given that many people had a taste of working from home and might not ever have to return to their inner-city offices.

But houses in plenty of trendy inner-city suburbs did well too, such as St Lucia in Brisbane (up 35%) and Brunswick East in Melbourne (up 20%).

Below are the suburbs that experienced the largest percentage increase in house prices in each state and territory:

NSW: Pearl Beach (46%), North Avoca (44%), Glenorie (38%), Woollahra (35%), Clovelly (34%).

VIC: Portsea (34%), Tyabb (28%), South Melbourne (23%), Collingwood (22%), Brunswick East (20%).

QLD: St Lucia (35%), Virginia (24%), Yeronga (20%), Woodford (19%), Kilcoy (19%).

WA: Kelmscott (39%), Coodanup (30%), Medina (22%), Madora Bay (20%), Mosman Park (20%).

SA: Hove (36%), Port Noarlunga South (27%), Glenelg East (22%), Blackwood (22%), Craigburn Farm (22%).

TAS: Dodges Ferry (26%), New Norfolk (25%), Berriedale (18%), Bridgewater (17%), Rokeby (17%).

ACT: Ainslie (34%), Lyneham (23%), O’Connor (21%), Palmerston (20%), Garran (20%).

NT: Berriham (12%), Zuccoli (8%), Durack (8%), Muirhead (6%), Leanyer (2%).

So why didn’t property prices take a dive?

Director of economic research at realestate.com.au Cameron Kusher says there are several reasons why property prices didn’t fall dramatically, but the key reason is the unprecedented amount of stimulus that was pumped into the economy.

“HomeBuilder has stimulated new housing, JobKeeper has kept many Australians employed and the relaxation of bankruptcy laws along with lenders offering mortgage holidays ensured we didn’t see a rise in forced sales,” Mr Kusher says.

Another key reason is record-low borrowing costs.

Indeed, the RBA cut the official cash rate three times to 0.1% in 2020, and as such interest rates are now at record low levels.

“Historic low borrowing costs at a time when people are spending less has seen more demand flow into the housing market, driving up sales and supporting price levels,” adds Mr Kusher.

How to make property more affordable

As mentioned above, interest rates are at record low levels and there are still a number of government stimulus packages available to help make your next property purchase more affordable.

If you’d like us to run you through some of the support and interest rate offers in more detail, give us a call today – we’d love to help you explore your options.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

House prices projected to jump 30% in three years: RBA

It’s the document that was never meant to see the light of day. But a Freedom of Information request reveals the Reserve Bank of Australia projects a 30% increase in house prices if interest rates remain low for the next few years.

The internal, not-meant-for-public-viewing analysis by the RBA looks at the impact of low interest rates on asset prices, including property.

The November 2020 document projects that housing prices could increase by 30% after about three years, so long as the official cash rate remains near record low levels (at or below 0.5%).

And that part of the equation looks promising, as the RBA board said they “weren’t expecting to increase the cash rate for at least three years” when they cut it to 0.1% in November.

What does this mean for property owners?

A lot more than just a potential 30% increase in the value of their property.

The RBA says both households and businesses can expect their borrowing capacity to increase, too.

That’s because low interest rates will lift asset prices (including property), which in turn will boost wealth, household spending and the value of collateral.

And as the value of collateral increases, so too will the borrowing capacity of households and businesses, the RBA document states.

What about prospective property owners?

With house prices projected by the RBA to rise 30% over the coming three years, it begs the question: is now a good time to jump into the property market?

Well, like most things in life, it will depend on your earnings, savings, borrowing capacity, goals, and where you’re at in life right now.

But it’s worth noting that there are a wide variety of generous federal and state government initiatives currently on offer, including the First Home Loan Deposit SchemeHomeBuilder and stamp duty exemptions/concessions.

The quickest way to find out whether you can finance that home you have your eye on is to get in touch with us today – we’d love to explore your financing options with you.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

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