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There’s No Rush To Lock In Rents, The Depression Will Be With Us For Some Time Yet

A report from Nine News in Australia. “Airbnb bookings have been decimated in popular Australian locations, threatening to send overleveraged investors who made a lucrative living from the platform into financial peril. The seismic shock that hit Airbnb will reverberate through the wider Australian property market, some market experts predict, spelling good news for residential renters who have been pushed out from areas like Bondi, Byron Bay and inner-city pockets in Sydney and Melbourne.”

“The flipside is Airbnb super landlords and mum and dad investors who now find themselves over exposed and facing savage cuts to their expected rental income. ‘This is a real problem,’ My Housing Market chief economist Dr Andrew Wilson said. Dr Wilson said many Australians had ‘taken advantage of higher rentals and become enterprise Airbnb landlords’ in what had evolved into a very lucrative venture in recent years. ‘It’s a question of how those Airbnb landlords survive this,’ he said.”

“Chris Pettit, a professor of urban science at UNSW’s City Futures Research Centre, said the sudden Airbnb downturn would likely impact Australia’s broader property investment market. Prof Pettit said the 200,000 Australian listings on Airbnb equated to roughly four per cent of the nation’s total housing market. He said UNSW research indicated around 80 per cent of the 200,000 Australian listings were investment properties – not traditional holiday lettings.”

“‘That is about six to eight per cent of Australia’s total investment market, which is a fairly reasonable exposure,’ he said.”

“Dr Wilson said the property market had been softening already before the coronavirus, and rental prices would likely drop further in the coming months. ‘What looked like a nice little side-earner for those who bought apartments to convert into Airbnb investments … is just gone and it’s finished.’ With international tourism ‘likely on hold for years,’ Dr Wilson predicted Airbnb bookings to remain ‘subdued if not empty’ for some time.”

The Australian Financial Review. “‘I am definitely not very optimistic at the moment, the economic shock is coming. It won’t bypass us,’ Financial Review Rich Lister Tim Gurner said as part of a property webinar. If cities such as Melbourne wanted to bring back people to their CBDs, Mr Gurner said, they needed Chinese students back. ‘They contribute $40 billion a year and we’ve just let them go. We didn’t support them. We told them to go home. It’s just the most insane thing I’ve ever seen in my career without a doubt,’ he said.”

“An exodus of students drove a tripling of residential vacancy rates in the inner city of Melbourne in April, according to new figures published by the Melbourne City Council. ‘The rental market had taken a massive hit. It’s my biggest concern,’ Mr Gurner said. He said rents had fallen between 10 and 30 per cent, which if sustained would impact residential values. ‘We’ve just completed 140 apartments with 100 of them in the letting pool. We’d normally lease them all in two hours with one inspection. We’ve leased half of them in six weeks,’ he said.”

“Fund manager Shane Quinn added that a fall in office values would create buying opportunities. ‘There is pain and suffering coming for those who bought B Grade office buildings at $20,000 a square metre. They need to demonstrate to the banks they can hold rents, but they can’t. It will be like trying to catch a falling knife.'”

The Sydney Morning Herald. “Sydney landlords have been forced to slash rent by 25 per cent in some suburbs as tenants seek to renegotiate their lease or move out for a better deal. SQM Research founder Louis Christopher, who has been covering residential property markets in Australia for 20 years, described the situation as ‘the biggest renters’ market I’ve seen in my career. It’s probably a very good time to do an upgrade on a rental property, because from what we can see in the data, it’s actually been the upper end of the market that’s been hit the hardest.'”

“Mr Christopher said the rental reductions were largest in the inner ring of Sydney, within 10 kilometres of the central business district. For example, compared with 12 months ago, the average rent for a house was 17 per cent cheaper in Randwick, 19.6 per cent in Surry Hills, and 24.7 per cent in Neutral Bay. Mr Christopher said the falls were precipitated by a huge number of migrants leaving the country, young people returning home to live with their parents and former Airbnb rentals being let long term.”

From 7 News. “Rental prices have fallen to 2013 levels in some areas of Sydney, meaning tenants could save up to $25,000 a year if they can lock in a 12-month lease. The more wealthy the area, the more likely rents have fallen. Louis Christopher, CEO of SQM Research, expects the rental depression will continue for some time. ‘These are some of the largest rental declines we have seen since we have started our records,’ Christopher said. Overall Sydney rents are now back to the same figures as when they were in 2013. There’s no rush to go out and rush to lock in rents, the depression will be with us for some time yet.'”

“The most dramatic fall has occurred in the Sydney City area, where rents have fallen by 20-25 per cent in the past quarter. In January, a three-bedroom house in the Sydney City area cost, on average, $1542 a week to rent. That price is now $1037 – a whopping $25,260 annual saving if you can lock in a 12-month lease.”

The Daily Telegraph. “Sydney socialite Tiffany Tilley has sold her Paddington terrace for a small loss, signalling the emerging impact of the pandemic on property prices. Tilley bought the Victorian era terrace two years ago for $4.2 million. The four-bedroom terrace was listed last month with buyer interest reportedly in the $4 million to $4.5 million range. However it fetched $3.9 million this week through Ray White.”

“She seemingly won’t be the only pandemic loss taker as there are dismal price hopes for the Leckie family who have listed a redundant Woollahra investment. The Queen St apartment was bought in 2016 for $1.2 million. There’s a $990,000 guide for its June 6 auction from its listing agents.”

This Post Has 60 Comments
  1. ‘Tilley bought the Victorian era terrace two years ago for $4.2 million…it fetched $3.9 million this week’

    Well, it was cheaper than renting Tiffany.

    1. $300,000 loss over two years, before considering transaction fees and HODLing expenses (taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.).

      $300,000/24 = $12,500+ a month in rent that could have been funded out of the loss on owning.

      It seems very doubtful that owning was cheaper than renting in this case.

  2. ‘‘They contribute $40 billion a year and we’ve just let them go. We didn’t support them. We told them to go home. It’s just the most insane thing I’ve ever seen in my career without a doubt’

    Sir, this is a Wendy’s.

  3. ‘the 200,000 Australian listings on Airbnb equated to roughly four per cent of the nation’s total housing market’

    And that’s just one money losing website. Is 4% a lot?

    1. Every day, these Airbnb stories just get more and more bizarre. I seriously doubt there were that many people who needed short-term rentals. Further, if there were, wouldn’t we have heard of a bunch of hotels failing due to slack demand? I think the plan was:

      1) Buy house
      2) List on Airbnb to try to recoup monthly outlay > while
      3) Capturing that sweet appreciation

        1. It’s not just Airbnbs in Encinitas/Cardiff. I was looking at comps today and came across 4 properties that sold this year and were then put up for rent at $4695-5500/mo.

          1. Yeah, and it’s like “hey, man, didn’t that place used to rent for like $1,000 less per month? Greed much?”

          2. And their rental ads usually read something like this:

            “Need 1st month, last month, and cleaning deposit equal to one month’s rent, so at least $15,000 cash.
            Need to provide 15 years financial statements and 4 references to our liking
            Must agree to multiple visits by landlord per month, some unannounced
            No pets, no smoking, no drinking, no drugs, no visitors, no shoes in the house, no walking on the lawn, no using the pool, no frying on the stove, no playing music, no parking on the street, no using the garage (we’re storing things in there)
            Must keep grounds immaculate. There is a list of chores attached to the outdoor shed. Must provide own equipment and tools and have proof of their existence.
            Ah, hell, just give us the money, but don’t move in. Thanks.”

          3. Need 1st month, last month, and cleaning deposit equal to one month’s rent, so at least $15,000 cash.

            In CA, it’s just first month and security deposit.

          4. 5k a month to live in Encinitas. Ew.

            Don’t tell that to San Diegans. They will insist that it’s paradise and you’d have to be crazy to leave and go to some hot and nasty place like Texas, where you won’t live in poverty.

      1. At least BlackStone and AmericanHomes4Rent had the grace to take in long-term renters while they waited for appreciation.

      2. It made great sense up until people stopped traveling and prices stopped increasing.

    2. He said UNSW research indicated around 80 per cent of the 200,000 Australian listings were investment properties – not traditional holiday lettings.”

      – So, majority of Airbnb properties are “investments.” Another crowded trade bite the dust. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

      “Dr Wilson said the property market had been softening already before the coronavirus, and rental prices would likely drop further in the coming months. ‘What looked like a nice little side-earner for those who bought apartments to convert into Airbnb investments … is just gone and it’s finished.’ With international tourism ‘likely on hold for years,’ Dr Wilson predicted Airbnb bookings to remain ‘subdued if not empty’ for some time.”

      – Australian housing market in local lingo:
      “It’s gone walkabout.” (no explanation needed)
      No worries, mate, she’ll be right (obvious sarcasm)
      Dog’s breakfast (a mess)
      Better than a ham sandwich. (well, probably not, since significant financial losses are looking pretty likely)
      Better than a kick up the backside (debatable – choose your poison)

      – Even before the pandemic, local municipalities were cracking down on the Airbnb/STR scam, at least in the U.S., if not globally. As with many other things, the pandemic is accelerating the trends already in place.

  4. “…B Grade office buildings at $20,000 a square metre.”

    Methinks some people overpaid!

    Thanks for the tasty selection of Oz CR8R, Ben.

    This now seems so far away… (“The Auction – A Love Letter to Sydney”)

  5. Remember the articles the blog host posted where BlackStone and AmericanHomes4Rent paid more than asking price?

    They’ve been liquidating at prices less than they (over)paid.

  6. Hypocritical MSNBC reporter busted live – Nobody’s wearing masks! “Including the cameraman.”

    May 26, 2020

    MSNBC lecture about how stupid everybody who is not wearing masks is interrupted by a man on the street who informs the world “half the crew isn’t wearing them.” That behind-the-camera secret was supposed to remain behind the curtain,

      1. More on the Michigan brouhaha from today’s online edition of the Traverse City Record-Eagle:

        Personal Facebook posts from Dowker, owner of NorthShore Dock in Kewadin, are no longer available online but the Record-Eagle acquired a screenshot of one.

        According to a social media post, Dowker’s staff last week took a call from [Governor] Whitmer’s husband, Marc Mallory.

        “This morning, I was out working when the office called me, there was a gentleman on hold who wanted his boat in the water before the weekend,” Dowker posted. “Being Memorial weekend and the fact that we started working three weeks late means there is no chance this is going to happen.

        “Well our office personnel had explained this to the man and he replied, ‘I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?’” Dowker posted.

        “As you can imagine it does make a difference, that would put you at the back of the line,” he wrote online.

        1. Personal Facebook posts from Dowker, owner of NorthShore Dock in Kewadin, are no longer available online

          Knock me over with feather! Facebook censored someone’s post because it make a Democrat look bad? Say it ain’t so, Joe!

  7. The article I am about to post can mean only one thing: The stock market can only go up from here.

  8. The Financial Times
    Coronavirus business update 30 days complimentary
    Markets Briefing Equities
    Global stock rally falters as Hong Kong braces for protests
    Investor optimism over recovery from coronavirus hit by rising US-China trade tensions
    Riot police stand guard outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on Wednesday © AFP via Getty Images
    Hudson Lockett in Hong Kong 2 hours ago

    The rally in global stocks lost steam as investor optimism was hit by rising US-China tensions and as Hong Kong braced for new anti-government protests.

    In early trading on Wednesday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.9 per cent ahead of expected demonstrations later in the day against Beijing’s plan to impose a sweeping national security law on the former British colony. A separate bill could result in prison sentences for insulting China’s national anthem.

    Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 climbed 1.2 per cent, closing at its highest level since early March as investors were buoyed by hopes that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic had passed. Global markets have rallied in recent weeks as economies around the world have begun easing lockdown measures, as investors pin their hopes on a potential V-shaped rebound in business and industrial activity.

    But US stocks pared gains after Larry Kudlow, Donald Trump’s economic adviser, said the president was “miffed” over China’s handling of the Covid-19 health crisis and that Beijing was making a mistake over its implementation of national security laws in Hong Kong. Bloomberg reported that the US was considering a range of sanctions to punish China for its crackdown on Hong Kong, citing unnamed sources.

    Investors in Hong Kong, an important global financial hub, are concerned that Washington could retaliate by removing its special trading status with the US.

    Ahead of markets opening in Asia, US senator Marco Rubio tweeted that the US State Department would have “no option but to certify that [Hong Kong] is no longer autonomous & sanctions should follow” if China’s rubber-stamp legislature moved forward on the national security law.

  9. I’m amazed at the amount of airbnb “superhosts” who have absolutely no hedge against a calamity. When I trade stocks I can buy puts if I suspect a rough time ahead or, I can sell 50% of my shares to bag a profit. Hell, I can just sell everything and sit on the sidelines until I sense a bottom but what can an airbnb “superhost” do other than own a property outright?

    What’s that Buffet quote about seeing who’s swimming naked when the tide goes out? The liquidations will be coming fast and furious but the lessons learned will be forgotten when the next property fad comes along.

  10. Day Trading Has Replaced Sports Betting as America’s Pastime. It Can’t Support the Stock Market Forever.
    Published: May 22, 2020 at 3:15 p.m. ET
    By Randall W. Forsyth
    Referenced Symbols
    SCHW +5.08%
    ETFC +8.84%
    IBKR +4.40%
    TSLA +0.24%
    BRK.A +2.75%
    F +3.36%

    A funny thing is happening while we’re holed up at home. In addition to binge-watching and bread-baking, day trading among individual investors has taken off.

    A full-blown retail mania has taken hold in buying and selling small lots of stocks and options, says Jim Bianco, head of the eponymous Bianco Research, who over the years has been in front of the big trends in markets, in part because he watches things that conventional indicators don’t pick up.

  11. What does it mean when stocks are going up like gangbu$ters while the labor market in most developed countries is tanking?

    1. At what point will real economic shrinkage get priced into stocks?

      Coronavirus business update 30 days complimentary
      Eurozone economy
      Coronavirus hit to eurozone economy set to dwarf financial crisis
      GDP expected to shrink by 8 to 12 per cent this year, ECB president Christine Lagarde warns
      Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, speaks during the central bank’s rate decision news conference in Frankfurt last month
      Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, has warned of the heavy toll coronavirus is taking on the eurozone economy
      © Alex Kraus/Bloomberg
      Martin Arnold in Frankfurt
      an hour ago

      The eurozone economy will shrink by 8 to 12 per cent this year as the “sudden stop of activity” caused by coronavirus triggers a recession twice as deep as after the 2008 financial crisis, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde has warned.

      Ms Lagarde told students on a live webinar on Wednesday that the bloc faced “a massive economic crisis and one that was literally unheard of in peace time for the damage it is causing”.

      The ECB president, who will next week announce the central bank’s latest monetary policy decision, said the “mild scenario” outlined by the ECB earlier this month for a 5 per cent contraction in the eurozone economy this year was “in my humble view already outdated”.

      The eurozone economy was “very likely” to end up “somewhere in between the medium and the severe scenario”, she said, meaning it would contract by between 8 and 12 per cent. The bloc’s economy shrank by 4 to 5 per cent after the financial crisis over a decade ago, she said, adding: “Here we are talking about probably double that.”

      Asked whether she thought the single currency zone was heading for another financial crisis, Ms Lagarde said this was unlikely, pointing out that while many countries were raising extra debt in response to the pandemic, this was sustainable because low interest rates made the costs manageable.

      She added: “I am not overly concerned about the increase in debt.”

      However, Ms Lagarde said the “sudden stop of activity that has slowed down the pace of life, the pace of growth, the creation of value . . . will have lasting effects despite all the measures we are taking”.

      “Of course it will be remedied and we will find ways to move to a new stage and to a new form of economy,” she said. “But we are now going through the immediate consequences on the economic front of that health crisis.”

      Ms Lagarde warned that some countries would emerge from the pandemic in better shape than others, and said this would depend on how much “fiscal space” they had to fund their pandemic response as well as their exposure to the hardest hit sectors, such as tourism.

      Many investors anticipate the ECB will next week step up its support for the economy by adding at least an extra €500bn to its asset-purchase plans for this year in its monetary policy conference meeting on June 4.

      Isabel Schnabel, executive board member of the ECB, gave the clearest signal yet that it was preparing to expand the €750bn pandemic emergency purchase programme it launched in March by telling the FT this week that “if we judge that further stimulus is needed then the ECB will be ready to expand any of its tools”.

      The ECB is also due to publish its updated economic forecasts next week. In March, it forecast that the eurozone would grow by 0.8 per cent this year, down from a six-year low of 1.2 per cent last year, before recovering to 1.4 per cent in 2022.

      But those forecasts were mostly made before the pandemic and resulting lockdowns brought the economy to a halt in the second half of March. The IMF said last month that the eurozone would be one of the hardest hit regions of the world economy, shrinking by 7.5 per cent this year, and then growing by 4.7 per cent next year.

    2. The Financial Times
      Coronavirus business update 30 days complimentary
      Markets Briefing Equities
      EU spending plans fuel further gains in global stocks
      Analysts remain wary that US-China tensions could derail rally in markets
      Investors have been cheered by a flood of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures around the world
      © Bloomberg

      Adam Samson in London and Hudson Lockett in Hong Kong 2 hours ago

      Global equities have gained further momentum as governments prepare to intensify their spending to prop up economies after the blow from coronavirus.

      Major European markets including those in London, Paris and Frankfurt roared about 1.5 per cent higher on Wednesday, while the region-wide Stoxx 600 index rose 0.7 per cent. Futures tracking Wall Street’s S&P 500 were also up, climbing 1.2 per cent.

      Markets have marched higher in recent weeks as economies around the world have begun easing lockdowns, with investors pinning their hopes on a swift rebound in business and industrial activity.

      Investors have been also been cheered by a deluge of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures from countries around the world. Brussels plans to seek the power to borrow up to €750bn in a vast spending programme to pump money into the bloc’s worst-hit economies, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

      This move would come on top of significant fiscal measures already deployed by EU member states individually and by other governments in countries such as the US, UK and Japan. Central banks have already sprung into action with rate cuts and large asset purchase schemes as part of efforts to juice up the global economy.

      The government debt of Italy and Spain, among the hardest-hit European countries, rallied alongside the euro on Wednesday.

      Travel and leisure stocks, which have been among the worst hit since the coronavirus crisis began, posted large gains for the second day. Shares in Tui, the tour operator, have surged more than 80 per cent this week, while cinema chain Cineworld has soared 50 per cent. But both are still down sharply for 2020.

      Shares in European banks, which have also been hit hard amid concerns about how low rates will affect their profitability and expectations for a jolt in loans turning sour, also jumped on Wednesday. French banks Société Générale and BNP Paribas gained around 8 per cent, while the UK’s Royal Bank of Scotland was up 8.5 per cent and Germany’s Commerzbank climbed 7 per cent.

      Still, several analysts and investors said they remained wary, given signs of a fresh bout of tensions between Washington and Beijing.

    3. The MSM is interpreting the recent stock market rally as due to anticipated reopenings or vaccine development prospects. But how do you gauge the relative effects of such fundamentals compared to the massive helicopter drops of cash the central bankers are dropping on the stock markets?

      1. “anticipated” and “prospects” are both completely imaginary, along with valuations of the stock market.

        1. Yet the MSM’s interpretation of the stock market rally being due to reopening prospects is creating tremendous political pressure for the states to reopen.

          Never mind that new cases are growing by 25,000 a day, with quarantine measures in place.

          1. new cases are growing by 25,000 a day The quickest solution to this conundrum is to completely stop testing any more people for COVID-19, and voila! no new cases!

          2. no new cases!

            Thank you for pointing out this logical disconnect.

            Can a new vaccine even be tested if the infection rate is in the low single digits?

          3. “Thank you for pointing out this logical disconnect.”

            Are you calling the President illogical?

          4. illogical?

            I am calling the CDC guidance illogical. Let the chips fall where they may.

    4. That very rich people are about to get great deals on a lot of assets that used to belong to not so rich people. The market is anticipating a huge transfer of wealth.

      1. I can’t find the quote but remember somebody saying that recessions are when money finds its way back to its rightful owners.

    5. Who moved my rally?

      Dow jumps over 300 points as stocks look to extend rally on stimulus, reopening efforts
      Published: May 27, 2020 at 9:44 a.m. ET
      By William Watts and Sunny Oh

      U.S. stocks mostly rose early Wednesday, led by the blue-chip Dow, as major benchmarks looked to build on the previous session’s strong gains on optimism over efforts to reopen the economy and new fiscal stimulus efforts from the European Union.

      What are major indexes doing?

      The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA, +0.21%) advanced 340 points, or 1.4%, to 25,335. The S&P 500 (SPX, -0.57%) rose 23 points, or 0.8%, to 3,015. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP, -1.88%) fell 28 points, or 0.3%, to 9,312.

      On Tuesday the Dow jumped 529.95 points or 2.2%, to finish at 24,995.11, while the S&P advanced 36.32 points, or 1.2%, to end at 2,991.77, after briefly breaching the 3,000 level for the first time since March 5. The Nasdaq Composite finished at 9,340.22, up 15.63 points, or 0.2%.

    6. The Financial Times
      Coronavirus business update 30 days complimentary
      Coronavirus latest: French economy to shrink more than 8% in 2020

      Second-quarter gross domestic product in second-biggest eurozone economy is likely to be down by a fifth from a year earlier, statistics agency predicts

  12. Traffic on Coastside thoroughfares have been jammed — particularly on the weekends — as visitors ignore statewide and local sheltering rules.

    ‘It’s been nearly two months since statewide stay-at-home orders, but warm weather has drawn many visitors to Coastside attractions. As the pandemic drags on, the Half Moon Bay City Council, city staff and local law enforcement officials are struggling to find the balance between education and enforcement.’

    ‘Under current San Mateo County health guidelines, people are required to recreate within 10 miles of their residence and must stay at least six feet from others who are not a part of their own household. Additionally, people are to wear masks when they visit essential businesses or when social distancing is not feasible. However, once again over the weekend, people flooded into the coast, creating traffic jams and an enforcement conundrum.’

    1. We drove from north of SLC to San Diego in just over 10 hours yesterday, including stops. We barely encountered any traffic going through the Las Vegas and LA areas, which never happened before.

      1. We barely encountered any traffic Last weekend roads going north & later south between southern lower Michigan and the rest of the state were packed to the gills, as is traditional for Memorial Day, despite the govna’s orders.

      2. …. the destructive and illegal use of government power does wonders doesn’t it.

        Control freaks.

    2. “Traffic on Coastside thoroughfares have been jammed”

      Not quite jammed north of SF but definitely more cars these last few days.

      1. Apparently charging Trump with a big dead count from C-19 is going to be the talking points of the Dems party.

        This death count sort of approach is usually used in a real Military War.

        In spite of China not containing the virus and lying about everything, all deaths are Trumps fault in the USA according to these talking heads.

        So, some corrupt senile screwball like Biden is suppose to be better because he wouldn’t of had a death count , in fact he wouldn’t of had any deaths at all because he would of done everything right.

        Biden is not qualified to run for President and it’s not acceptable to have a scheme to put in the VP as President this way. God, it’s all about how to cheat with that Party.

  13. ‘In Los Angeles, some lawmakers have sought to go even further by preventing landlords from engaging in underwriting evaluations that most lenders find customary. Los Angeles City Councilmembers have described requesting information about sources of income, government assistance and ability to pay as examples of tenant harassment. These instances of credit review, now deemed “harassment” by some, could also give rise to the tenant lawsuits that the ordinance allows.’

    ‘In essence, multifamily operators argue that landlords must now be lenders, but without effective remedies, while they wait for tenants to repay deferred rent amounts. In a traditional lending relationship, a lender could not imagine being prohibited from asking borrowers about their ability to repay a loan. In this context, the ordinance raises these other questions.’

    -Is the effort to rewrite lease agreements constitutionally permissible?

    -Where does the “civil penalty” envisioned by the ordinance go?

    -Why is there a private right for tenants to enforce rather than enforcement being handled by the City Attorney?

    -Is there any substantive justification for the accusation that landlords are evicting tenants in bad faith? Are rampant violations really occurring citywide?

  14. It’s looking a little stormy in Region IV for the launch of the technology brought to us by Hitler’s rocket scientist Wernher von Braun this afternnon.

    1. technology brought to us by Hitler’s rocket scientist Wernher von Braun

      Brought to them by Goddard.

      1. Goddard didn’t get the same government backing as von Braun presumably duue to the lack of appetite to launch V-2 rockets into South America.

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