Project Agenda has been on holidays and we will return to our full format next week as well as introducing some new features including a fresh round of ‘insider’ and industry interviews.

However, for this week, and in future on the third Thursday in every month we are going to look at a brief headline pointer of topical major market trends, and it’s clear there’s going to be no shortage of news and events to review.

To start the year the big-ticket items are no coming into sharper focus including:

  • The election cycle and people’s poor view of politicians will be a big factor in the first-half of 2019 as policies such as immigration levels and urban infrastructure, along with negative gearing figure in the election debate; ‘Over the past four decades, citizens of democracies all over the world have lost faith in their governments.’
  • The end of the Banking Royal Commission and how it’s direct and related recommendations will impact every aspect of the financial system – ‘A revolution in banking competition is now only a few months away’ – as described by one Liberal Senator.
  • Both the election cycle and Royal Commission will be keeping a very close eye on the broader economy beyond the housing market although the outlook is seen as mainly positive according to one commentator; ‘Australia is on the cusp of a budget surplus, which can be a big positive for the economy.’
  • How competitive will home-prices get before they stabilise
  • Regional markets will gain appeal think Newcastle, Orange and Queanbeyan
  • The First Home Buyer will become a market driver – a trend that will be helped along by strong employment growth with over 286,000 new jobs created in 2018 (not including December figures yet to be published).
  • There will be a flight to quality
  • Australia is not alone in seeing its house prices under pressure with the UK, NZ and USA looking at similar trends
  • Auction rates will remain under pressure with private treat and off-market sales gaining in popularity
  • Some over-supplied markets are seeing rents come under pressure
  • Finance will remain a big issue with tougher bank valuations
  • A range of non-bank finance options will take greater market share
  • New finance options, that may well look like a hybrid form of the retail sectors ‘After-Pay’ may emerge
  • 2019 will be the year of incentives for almost all homebuyers as developers innovate ideas and discounts to attract buyers; many home builders and developers are offering buyers incentives to compete in the new home market however, such offers are common in all consumer markets and should not be characterised as unusual
  • Interest rates will remain on hold and may well fall
  • Established homeowners will continue to pay-down their loans at a faster pace