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Danger zone: Aussie suburbs most at risk of off-the-plan settlement problems

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Riskwise Property Research has pinpointed Rouse Hill in Sydney’s NorthWest as the suburb most at risk of off the plan apartment settlement problems.

Its data shows that off the plan apartments equivalent to three times the current unit stock is yet to settle over the next two years.

Investors currently comprise 57% of purchasers of the 1000 units in the suburb which is located 50 km from central Sydney.

Rounding out the top three are Norwest and Beaconsfield both of which have off the plan apartment stock equivalent to double the existing number of apartments set to settle in the next two years.

Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide also have suburbs in what Riskwise call the settlement risk “Danger Zone”.

“There are a large number of high-rise properties in our capital cities being offered to a smaller number of investors,” Riskwise chief executive Doron Peleg said.

“There are less investors in the market mainly due to credit restrictions. Also, lenders are being more cautious about their loan-to-value ratios (LVRs) and more discerning about who to lend to. This has resulted in a reduction in activity and this has a major impact on the market. Lenders understand that oversupplied suburbs carry a greater degree of risk – and those risks are just as real for the investors who buy in those suburbs.”

Most of the suburbs highlighted in the Danger Zone list are already subject to loan blacklists or other such restrictions.

For example requiring significantly higher deposits, up to 30 per cent.

Such moves will make these properties harder to sell, as brokers needing to increase their volume of mortgage sales to up their remuneration would increasingly steer customers away from higher-risk properties that would take more time to secure financing and had less guarantee of success, Mr Peleg said.

“This overall will potentially reduce the demand for those properties,” Mr Peleg told Nine Entertainment’s Financial Review.

“If you have a sub-prime [borrower] and a high-risk property, it means the loan application could take many, many hours if it’s approved. The broker will not have too many ways to compensate for those invested hours if the fee is flat. He will try to minimise those loans and even in many cases a broker will work with a consumer and tell them ‘This is a high-risk property, maybe you need to consider an existing property’.”

Further risks to the swathe of new apartments due to complete and settle over the next two years include the likelihood of a new Labor-led federal government that could more fully implement the royal commission’s recommendations against brokers and reduce the negative gearing and capital gains tax breaks available for property investors, he said.

The outlook for apartments was negative, Mr Peleg maintained.

“The trend we see – everything regarding consumer protection, responsible lending and scrutinising loan applications – we don’t see any indicators that will drive demand for off the plan,” he said.

High-rise apartment approvals hit a four-year low in the year ended December, according to ABS figures.

One example of the numerous Rouse Hill developments that can be currently bought OTP is Villa De M.A (pictured in title).

Situated on Cudgegong Road, this project has one and two bedroom apartments available for off the plan purchase.

Prices range from $499,000 to $693,000.

Another example of an under construction OTP development for sale in Rouse Hill is The Boulevard.

With prices ranging from $620,000 to $925,000 for one, two and three bedroom apartments, AUX Property Group lauds it as “Sydney’s Growth Capital”.

Located on Caddies Boulevard, a new Rouse Hill Hospital and Sydney Metro Northwest Rouse Hill Station, are to be constructed in the area.

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