Property developer Stockland is reaping the benefits of a surge in house and land sales driven by strong population growth, job growth and low interest rates.
The group’s residential business settled a company record 6,135 lots during 2015/16, pushing operating profit up nearly 39 per cent.
Chief executive Mark Steinert said about 97 per cent of buyers lived in Australia and more than 74 per cent were either first home buyers or upgrading owner occupiers.
“Australia’s population is growing at 1.4 per cent, the highest in the developed world and that combined with pent-up demand and a historic undersupply, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, is underpinning the market,” Mr Steinert said.
“Lower interest rates have made housing more affordable and have reduced people’s debt burden, and that has increased their disposable income too.”
He said he expects Sydney and Melbourne’s residential sales will continue to be robust, but the rate of growth for home values was expected to ease because of affordability.
The number of people migrating from NSW to Queensland has started to pick up again after being at historically low levels in the past couple of years, he added.
“Affordability, lifestyle and jobs growth – particularly in tourism, services, construction and education – have seen strong housing growth in southeast Queensland,” he said.
“The Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast have been as strong as Sydney and Melbourne in the past year, while Brisbane has continued to show an upwards trend.”
He said the lower Australian dollar was helping boost jobs, particularly in tourism and education.
The company expects to settle more than 6,000 residential lots in the year ahead.
Stockland’s full-year net profit slipped 1.6 per cent to $889 million in the 12 months to June 30, while underlying profit, which removes one-off items, rose 8.5 per cent to $660 million.
The company said it had performed strongly in 2015/16, particularly considering its 2014/15 profit was boosted by the $73 million sale of its stake in property group Australand.
Growth from its commercial property and retirement village businesses were also strong during 2015/16.
STOCKLAND’S HEADLINE FY16 RESULTS
- Net profit down 1.6pct to $889m
- Revenue up 10.1pct to $2.33b
- Final unfranked dividend up 0.3 cents to 12.3 cents