Housing Shortage Good News for Stockland

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
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A flood of foreign investors and a housing supply shortage will combine to deliver a strong real estate market for years to come, property developer Stockland says.

The builder of housing estates and apartment blocks said it was off to a strong start this financial year, with a record number of deposits received in the three months to September.

Chairman Graham Bradley said housing supply shortages across Australia and population growth created a “very strong” outlook for the residential property market.

“We’ve been building about 1,000 houses too few per month for about five years now in Australia, so there’s a considerable backlog of undersupply,” Mr Bradley told AAP after Stockland’s annual general meeting.

“There would have to be record numbers of house building for the next three years for us to really eliminate that undersupply.

“It promises to be a good market for us over the next three to five years.”

The company had also seen strong interest from overseas investors in its residential and commercial property, Mr Bradley said.

“There are a larger number, particularly of Asian property developers, coming to our capital cities, principally Sydney and Melbourne, and buying sites and proposing high rise apartments, many of which they would hope to sell to overseas residents, which they’re entitled to do,” Mr Bradley said.

“We’re not very much in that market, but even in our suburban and outer suburban residential estates, we are finding a number of overseas buyers and investors coming in which is a new thing, a relatively recent phenomenon.”

Investors typically account for just 15 to 20 per cent of Stockland’s sales, Mr Bradley said, with their main customers first home buyers and those upgrading from apartments to houses.

Chief executive Mark Steinert said it was important for governments and businesses to focus on outer areas of the capital cities, to avoid creating unsustainable areas with affordability and congestion problems.

In Sydney for example, planned new rail lines will make it easier for more people to travel to the CBD, which will improve the quality of life in outer suburbs, he said.

“That’s one of the reasons we think Sydney is going to have a golden decade,” Mr Steinert said.

Stockland has reaffirmed its full year financial guidance of growth in earnings per security of between six and 7.5 per cent, plus a dividend of 24 cents per security.

However, Mr Bradley said there were uncertainties surrounding possible interest rate hikes next year, and the prospect of regulatory intervention to curb investor activity in the housing market.

By Belinda Merhab
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