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This year saw a lot of ups and down for the property market, but what can home buyers and investors expect from the property market in 2016?

Industry experts have described growth conditions in 2015 as ‘diverse’. Although the media may have indicated that the growth within the capital cities was strong, in actual fact, it was just Melbourne and Sydney who saw a significant increase in property prices.

Recent figures from CoreLogic RP Data’s daily home value index show the average growth in home values across the major capital cities up to November 2015 was 8.7 per cent. Sydney saw the biggest value growth of 12.8 per cent, followed by Melbourne with 11.8 per cent. The other major cities did not see as much of a growth in property values with Canberra at 4.5 per cent, Brisbane at 4 per cent, Adelaide at 3 per cent and Hobart at 1.1 per cent.

However, both Perth and Darwin saw a property value loss of 4.1 per cent and 4.2 per cent, respectively.

According to a number of real estate professionals, the Gold Coast is the area to watch in 2016. John McGrath, CEO of McGrath Real Estate believes southeast Queensland will see a lot of growth in 2016.

“In terms of southeast Queensland, if you focused on suburbs closer to the Brisbane River, CBD and the Gold Coast markets you’ll enjoy significant capital gain over the next few years,” he said.

Grant Harrod, LJ Hooker CEO, tips that the Gold Coast should expect big things and believes the area will see a property price growth of five to ten per cent.

However, Brian White, Chairman of Ray White, predicts Sydney will once again lead the way for growth in 2016, along with Melbournes’ bayside suburbs.

“As the year progresses, price increases will again be a feature,” he said. “Especially if the economy performs as anticipated. The recent rise in the Australian employment numbers is excellent news,” he said.

In regards to interest rates, 2015 has been a fairly steady year with the cash rate not increasing at all. We did see rates increase independently of the RBA across most lenders, the biggest increases were experienced by investors with owner occupied home loan rate also rising. Despite the increase home loan interest rates are still just above record lows. However, for 2016 the experts have mixed views on whether interest rates will rise or decrease further. Predictions made by the Australian Business Economists executive suggest that the RBA cash rate could reduce to as low as 1.5 per cent or increase to as high as 2.35 per cent.

Have you checked your home loan interest rate lately? Checking periodically to ensure you are getting a good deal is advisable but you should not assume that interest rates will remain at a record lows forever. Check out a home loan repayment calculator and see how much your repayments would increase if rates were to rise by 0.25% or even 0.50%. If you have an idea of the impact and a plan for if it does happen, it won’t catch you by surprise.