AMP head of investment strategy and chief economist Dr Shane Oliver said when house prices increase and affordability deteriorates, there is a tendency to look for “scapegoats”.
“A decade ago it was high immigration and negative gearing, now it looks to be foreign buyers, SMSFs and as always, negative gearing,” he said.
“Foreign and SMSF buying is no doubt playing a role in some areas but looks to be relatively small overall,” he added.
Dr Oliver said the homebuyer market is a long way from the bubble conditions of 10 years ago, but the risk of a property bubble is rising.
“Further gains in house prices are likely this year, but gains are likely to slow as the Reserve Bank of Australia steps up its warnings about excessively rising house prices,” he said.
Dr Oliver believes the fundamental problem causing high house prices is a lack of supply.
“Vacancy rates remain low and there has been a cumulative construction shortfall since 2001 of more than 200,000 dwellings,” he said.
“The reality is that until we make it easier for builders and developers to bring dwellings to market – and hopefully decentralise our population in the longer term – the issue of poor affordability will remain,” he added.