Why November?

Most people seemed taken by surprise, when the RBA chose to raise the cash rate to 4.75% on Cup Day this week.

However, with Oaks Day being held yesterday, I thought today would be better timing for this post.

Price Pressures

Price Pressures

Sure, the September quarter CPI had fallen to within the RBA’s target range. And yes, there is still some uncertainty overseas.

However, with industry facing capacity constraints and the mining boom heading towards previous levels … inflation is poised to accelerate during the December quarter, as wages start to rise.
[Read more…]

Will They … or Won’t They?

Balance

Balance

Last month, the RBA left rates on hold — because of what it saw as mixed signals within the Australian economy.

And the rising $A is certainly making its job easier, by generally cooling activity.

Work Allocation

Work Allocation

Growth within the Construction industry appears to have fallen to its lowest level in 18 years. Although turnover for mining and processing plants has once again returned to its path of upward growth.
[Read more…]

Global Progress?

The IMF has recently trimmed its overall global forecast — down to 4.2% from 4.3%, for 2011.

Global GrowthThe emerging and developing economies are tipped to grow by 6.4% (with China’s growth being over 9%).

Whereas, the various advanced economies are expected to grow by a subdued 2.2%, on average.

However, any double-dip recession is considered most unlikely — as investment and domestic consumption has replaced the building up of inventories.

According to the IMF: “Investment in machinery and equipment is already showing strength in a number of advanced economies.”

Nonetheless, spending and investment in most advanced economies will be constrained by households replenishing their savings; and banks remaining reluctant to lend freely to businesses. Plus, the US housing market still languishes.

Overall, the lack of business investment (and therefore employment growth) will adversely impact on tax revenues. And thereby, make government debt reduction programs a slow process.

On all counts, Australia will continue to enjoy solid growth — relative to other advanced economies. And this will provide ongoing pressure for interest rates to rise, over the next three years.

All the more reason to lock in your interest rates long-term … for any Commercial property investments you intend to make.

Some Gloom … Yet More Glee!

The US Federal Reserve is concerned that consumption is still being underpinned by government funding.

US Interest RatesAnd so, even though stimulus measures may be winding down … the Fed has decided to maintain interest rates at their historically low level.

It seems that households and businesses are preferring to repay debt, rather than spend to encourage investment and growth.

In Europe, there is still simply not enough trust between Banks to lend to one another. And that means credit is extremely tight. Right now, Central Banks are stepping in to lend to private banks, in an attempt to free up funds to boost economic activity.

China still remains the bright light with its growing demand for of the commodities Australia exports.

The IMF actually predicts that the Asian economy (which includes Australia) will be 50% larger within five years.

And it will then represent about a third of the world’s trading activity.

h2. The Implications for Commercial Property

Foreign BuyersAlready, major Asian sovereign wealth funds and property trusts are starting to target Office towers within Australian capital cities.

In fact, foreign buyers have invested around $1.7 billion during the past 12 months — representing about 70% of the purchase is made.

While this won’t directly affect the smaller private buyer … it will force everyone to move down a price bracket ought to — looking for better value.

Therefore, as yields quickly firm at the upper levels … this will soon have a ripple effect down through more modestly priced Commercial investment property.

Couple this with rising rentals, as the supply of Office space starts to fall around Australia … and now would be the perfect time to position yourself, ready for the next growth cycle.

Distortion Guaranteed?

While the Rudd government may have moved quickly to provide guarantees for the major Banks during a financial turmoil … the impact of doing so has been disastrous for borrowers.

Right now, these major Banks seem to account for virtually 80% of all owner-occupier loans for property.

As such, the margins they are charging have never been higher — despite the Banks’ protestations of being “squeezed”.

RBA's Dilemma

RBA's Dilemma


Therefore, overall borrowings borrowings have been slowly trending downward over the past six months — because the major Banks have effectively amplified the rate increases handed down by the RBA.
[Read more…]

Is Negative Gearing for You?

Buying and negatively gearing a Commercial investment property is not forever in one — particularly, with interest rates on the rise.

And if you already have high personal debt … adding to that wouldn’t be a smart move on your part.

Make Borrowing just one of your Tools

Negative Gearing

Negative Gearing

Any gearing you decide to take on, should be viewed as part of your overall strategy — and not there simply to minimise your tax bill.
[Read more…]

Interest Rate Rises …
Are they a Good Sign?

The RBA’s decision on interest rates yesterday came about because of what’s happening here in Australia, rather than in Europe.

It has been made against the backdrop of our exporters having recently extracted massive price hikes for iron or in coal, as a result of China’s strong growth.

Since the global turmoil started in 2008, the $A has climbed by nearly 55% against the $US — and just over 40% against our other key trading partners.

RBA Logic

RBA Logic

This has more or less offset the rise in Australia’s local retail prices, through a sharp decline in the cost of imported items — like electrical goods, clothing, footwear and furniture.

As a result, the NAB’s business confidence index stands firmly positive for the third consecutive quarter. And even more importantly, actually improved throughout the last quarter.

h2. How will this affect Commercial Property?
[Read more…]

Retail Returns to Favour

Retail property has had some press coverage of late.

It has shown a surprising improvement, given global events and the hike in interest rates.

Westfield (a good retail barometer) reported a strong mid-year result from its Australian shopping centres.

RetailMar2010As you can see from the table, Vacancy rates have fallen significantly and Yields firmed — particularly within the strip shopping centres of Melbourne.

And furthermore, rentals have also started to climb … as the economic recovery has given shoppers confidence to start spending again.

Currently yields ranging between 4% and 6.5% across these various strip centres. And would indicate that investors are returning to retail property once more.

If you are planning to acquire some Retail property, you need …

    1. A strong tenant (well-established, or proven backing);
    2. A long lease (5 years+); and also
    3. Solid rental reviews (CPI or at least 3.75% pa).

With these in place, you should be able enjoy a good long-term investment.

Election Year Blues?

It’s not just rising interest rates that the Rudd government will have to contend with, in the run-up to the next election.

The joy of the resources boom restarting brings with it certain unwanted side effects. What you will start to see is wage rate increases; plus the drawing away of materials and equipment, from other sectors within our economy.

Our Exporters

Our Exporters


Furthermore, the stronger Australian dollar will bring increased hardship to our tourism and manufacturing industries — who exported goods and services internationally.

Not to mention, our local businesses … who are finding it harder and harder to compete with cheaper imports.

China

China

Clearly, Australia doesn’t want to miss out on the extraordinary growth occurring in both China and India.

However, the real test of the government will be in how it oversees the insatiable demand for labour and capital by the mining sector — while not starving the rest of the economy of these same key business imports.

With the voice of trade unions becoming louder, the temptation for Rudd is to resort to government subsidies. But sadly, it is often the most vocal (rather than the most deserving) who seemed to benefit from these type of handouts.

Maybe the preferred option would be to allow the “fittest” to survive; and thereby cause of Australia’s overall productivity to rise in the process?

But then, it is an election year!

Nonetheless, the continued stronger demand bodes well for Commercial property during 2010 and beyond.

Was the RBA Asleep at the Wheel?

In fact, the RBA has been cautious … NOT asleep!

Last week, we covered the statistical anomaly relating to Australia’s low unemployment figure. And that may well have influenced the RBA in holding rates steady last month.

Although, the patchy spending in December and January probably coloured their thinking as well.

Bursting Bubbles

Bursting Bubbles


Nonetheless, you continue to see a surge in home values; and headline inflation is now starting to creep up again. [Read more…]

Your Opportunities Moving Forward?

There has been much written already about the global financial crisis.

But in layman’s terms, it occurred as a result of capital imbalances occurring throughout the world. And nowhere more so, than in America.

The principal cause can be found with the high levels of US debt-funded consumption. And in order to better understand this distortion, you might care to consider the following figures …
US Share [Read more…]