Sydney house prices could tumble 15%, Melbourne 17% in 2021: HSBC

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on May 22, 2020
Sydney house prices could tumble 15%, Melbourne 17% in 2021: HSBC

Photo by Cindy Tang on Unsplash

Sydney house prices could fall by 15% in 2021, while Melbourne prices could plummet by as much as 17% according to forecasts from HSBC.

Rising property prices before the COVID-19 pandemic hit are expected to offset much of the drop in prices expected in the second half of this year. 

According to analysis by HSBC, national house prices could end 6% higher by the end of 2020, with Sydney house prices potentially up by as much as 9% and Melbourne 7%. 

But next year, house prices could drop anywhere between 2% and 12% nationally.

The biggest declines are expected in our biggest housing markets, with Sydney house prices predicted to fall between 5% and 15% and Melbourne's by between 7% and 17%. 

The drop in house prices could be even higher if economic recovery is an 'L' or 'W' shape. 

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest variable interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Lender

Variable
More details
UNLIMITED REDRAWS
UNLIMITED REDRAWS

Smart Booster Home Loan Discounted Variable - 2yr (LVR < 80%)

    Variable
    More details
    100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES
    • No upfront or ongoing fees
    • 100% full offset account
    • Extra repayments + redraw services
    100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES

    Low Rate Home Loan - Prime (Principal and Interest) (Owner Occupied) (LVR < 60%)

    • No upfront or ongoing fees
    • 100% full offset account
    • Extra repayments + redraw services
    Variable
    More details
    REFINANCE ONLY
    • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
    REFINANCE ONLY

    Variable Rate Home Loan – Refinance Only

    • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
    Variable
    More details
    AN EASY DIGITAL APPLICATION
    • No ongoing fees - None!
    • Unlimited additional repayments
    • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
    • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
    • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster
    AN EASY DIGITAL APPLICATION

    Neat Variable Home Loan (Principal and Interest) (LVR < 60%)

    • No ongoing fees - None!
    • Unlimited additional repayments
    • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
    • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
    • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster
    Variable
    More details
    • Low rate home loan with added benefits, add offset for 0.10%
    • Save thousands & make an environmentally conscious choice on your loan for homes less than 12 months old
    • Get a 7.0 star NatHERS rating or higher for up to 1.59% discount on your variable rate home loan T&Cs apply

    Green Home Loan (Principal and Interest)

    • Low rate home loan with added benefits, add offset for 0.10%
    • Save thousands & make an environmentally conscious choice on your loan for homes less than 12 months old
    • Get a 7.0 star NatHERS rating or higher for up to 1.59% discount on your variable rate home loan T&Cs apply

    Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of August 10, 2022. View disclaimer.

    HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said rising unemployment and a freeze in migration thanks to border lockdowns were likely to be big drivers of oversupply, driving house prices down. 

    "Forecasting housing prices is difficult at the best of times, but at the moment it is particularly challenging," Mr Bloxham wrote. 

    "Although interest rates are at record lows, which should support housing prices, at the same time, the COVID-19 economic shock, stalled migration and rising unemployment are set to weigh on housing demand.

    "We expect larger declines in housing prices in Sydney and Melbourne than in Australia's other cities, given greater reliance in these cities on migration and foreign students, which have stalled as a result of border closures."

    Many economists are forecasting a house price drop of anywhere between 10% and 20% nationally.

    Earlier in the month, the likes of Commonwealth Bank and SQM Research predicted a 30% drop in a worst-case scenario.

    There are already early signs of prices dropping, with combined capital city house values falling by a 0.20% over the 28 days to May 18 according to CoreLogic. 

    "No sign of distressed selling"

    Some vendors are already reducing their asking prices but a recent analysis of Domain listings has found there is "little evidence to suggest an increase in urgent or distressed selling across Australia’s capital cities".

    According to the analysis, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart had a marginal increase in the number of urgent sale listings from February to mid-May "when the full economic shutdown and social distancing restrictions would have been felt".

    But Melbourne and Darwin saw no change, and Brisbane and Canberra saw a small decline in the number of urgent listings.

    "This suggests home owners are not being forced to sell despite the economic turmoil and rising unemployment created by the current health crisis," Domain economist Nicola Powell said. 

    Proportion of urgent sales:

    Feb Mar Apr May mid-May Change: Feb to mid-May
    Sydney 1.4% 1.2% 1.2% 1.4% 1.6% 0.2ppt
    Melbourne 0.5% 0.5% 0.4% 0.5% 0.5%
    Brisbane 3.0% 2.9% 2.8% 2.8% 2.8% -0.1ppt
    Perth 2.3% 2.2% 2.2% 2.3% 2.4% 0.ppt
    Adelaide 0.9% 0.7% 0.7% 1.0% 1.1% 0.2ppt
    Canberra 0.7% 0.7% 0.6% 0.6% 0.6% -0.1ppt
    Darwin 2.8% 2.7% 2.7% 2.8% 2.8%
    Hobart 0.7% 0.9% 0.8% 0.8% 1.0% 0.3ppt

    Source: Domain

    Ms Powell said the aftermath of the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic could result in an increase in the number of distressed sales, but financial stimulus measures such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker will minimise the number of urgent sales, which will support house prices. 

    "If the policies were not in place, the immediate risk to prices would be far greater," Ms Powell said. 

    "The longer-term impact could be different, and an uptick in distressed selling is possible once the policies cease. If the JobKeeper subsidy performs as intended and retains jobs, together with economic activity bouncing back, any dramatic increase in distressed selling is unlikely.

    "However, those who have lost their business, remain unemployed or underemployed will be at greater risk of defaulting on their mortgage."




    Disclaimers

    The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered. Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site. Savings.com.au, yourmortgage.com.au, yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au, and Performance Drive are part of the Savings Media group. In the interests of full disclosure, the Savings Media Group are associated with the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings Media Group manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please visit the web site links at the bottom of this page.

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    Emma Duffy is Assistant Editor at Your Mortgage and  Your Investment Property Mag, which are part of the Savings Media Group. In this role, she manages a team of journalists and expert contributors committed to keeping readers informed about the latest home loan and finance news and trends, as well as providing in-depth property guides. She is also a finance journalist at Savings.com.au which she joined shortly after its launch in early 2019. Emma has a Bachelor in Journalism and has been published in several other publications and been featured on radio.

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