What an interesting and yet crazy world within which we live! 

I guess I am thankful for living on the island, we call home. The environment here and abroad are substantially different and going through very different changes and economies due to the pandemic and each country reacting to business affects of the same.

An interesting read, and remembering there are always two sides to every story. The change early next year will set up the next 15 months of the property direction and trend. There is always opportunity.

We welcome your future business and requests for our expert services.

We are also proud to be announcing several innovative changes for SEA!

1. A new website is in coding and we are excited about the changes

2. We will be introducing a prestige selling arm called SEA PRESTIGE where discretion and a different methodology and strategies will be used to heighten your outcome

3. We are in talks to bring SEA FINANCE into our office for the purpose of in-house mortgage broking and refinance

Exciting prospects and increasing our services.

Kind Regards,

James Smyth
Smyth Estate Agents


Banks are chasing mortgage payments and economists say we’re “pretending” if we think everything’s OK. What’s next for our crumbling economy?

By Tarric Brooker 27 October, 2020

Video Clip:

In the classic fairytale Cinderella, the fairy godmother turns Cinderella into a princess with her magic wand – but only until the clock strikes midnight.

In many ways Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the banking regulator APRA have acted like a fairy godmother for the nation’s mortgage and SME (small and medium enterprise) borrowers.

They’ve used their magical abilities to change otherwise concrete rules surrounding financial regulation and loan repayments, to make bad loans good and offer an unprecedented number of loan deferrals.

But like the story of Cinderella, the magical illusion of low mortgage arrears and good times underpinned by government support will fade when the clock strikes midnight.

However, unlike the fairy godmother, APRA and the Morrison Government have already waved their magic wand again to extend mortgage deferrals, from their initial conclusion in September and October, to March next year.

This has been dubbed by some economists and finance experts as a strategy of ‘Extend and Pretend’. Effectively ignoring what would otherwise be a US subprime crisis level of mortgage arrears and hoping that someway, somehow, things would improve.

According to the latest data from APRA, around one in 11 mortgages and one in six small/medium business loans are currently being deferred.

Of those 393,000 mortgage holders with their loans currently in deferral, the Reserve Bank (RBA) has estimated that around 15 per cent are at the greatest risk of not being able to resume payments when their deferral period ends.

However, the household survey data from research firm Digital Finance Analytics (DFA) paints a much more concerning picture. It suggests the proportion of mortgage holders who will not be able to resume repayments may be significantly higher.

According to DFA’s surveys, 60,880 households will not be able to restart their mortgage repayments. With NSW leading the nation with 38,844 households who will not be resume their repayments, followed by Victoria with 15,627 and Western Australia with 1597.

news chart article Oct.JPG

In recent months, a sizeable number of borrowers have resumed their repayments according to the Australian Banking Association.

However, hundreds of thousands more borrowers still face a nervous wait. The state of the economy in the coming months will be key to how many can come to alternative payment terms with their banks, such as interest only or other hardship provisions.

Otherwise some of these borrowers may end up joining the almost 61,000 households which DFA has concluded will not be able to resume paying their mortgages.

There is speculation that APRA and the banks may choose to further extend loan deferrals beyond their current March 2021 end date. However, eventually struggling borrowers may need to come to alternative terms with their banks or consider selling their property.

With turnover in the housing market near its lowest level in over 30 years, a significant increase in levels of stock on the market driven by forced sales could place downward pressure on housing prices.

Chart 2 housing turnover Oct 2020.JPG

But if we were to stop the story here, that would only be half the tale.

At the end of March next year, JobKeeper and the mortgage deferrals are slated to conclude. When that day comes and the clock strikes midnight, we will finally be able to see what damage has truly been done to our economy and household budgets.

With figures from Treasury indicating that over 3.5 million workers are currently being supported by JobKeeper and around 1300 businesses are newly applying for JobKeeper every day, it’s clear that what we find when the dust finally settles will not be good.

Figures from Roy Morgan’s recent unemployment report are already painting an alarming picture of what may lay ahead.

During September, 56,000 people lost their jobs and 152,000 chose to give up looking for a job and left the workforce.

Meanwhile, ANZ is forecasting headline unemployment to rise to 9 per cent by mid next year and remain at almost 8 per cent until after mid-2022.

Unemployment Set To Rise Oct 2020.JPG

With so many workers potentially facing unemployment in the coming months, it’s possible we may see a second wave of struggling borrowers seeking to defer their loans.

When this time comes, the property market may face a perfect storm as struggling borrowers stare down the possibility of being forced to sell their homes or investment properties at the same time.

While we can assume the banks, APRA and the Morrison Government will do everything they can to spread out any forced sales over the longest possible time period, the scale of transactions may prove too large for the property market to absorb without prices falling.

But like every other market, housing is defined by supply and demand. If the Government was able to engineer sufficient demand for property through HomeBuilder, the First Home Deposit Lending Scheme and other policies, it’s possible that the impact of the inevitable forced sales could be quite limited.

Predicting how this will play out in the coming months ranges from problematic to near impossible.

The Government and APRA may follow the lead of other nations and continue to ‘extend and pretend’, potentially kicking the can down the road for an additional six months or a year. The RBA could step in to provide support to the banks to keep borrowers in their homes even after they have defaulted on their debts, as was seen in the US after the GFC.

Ultimately, the coming year will prove pivotal for the nation’s housing market and our banks.

Perhaps Australia’s property market will be protected by the magic wand of APRA and the Morrison Government, emerging relatively unscathed. Or maybe this time, the storm is simply too powerful for even the magic of government and banking regulator intervention to overcome.

Tarric Brooker is a freelance journalist and social commentator 



* Buyers for the Northern Beaches and regional property are highly sought after. Vast amounts of relocations from the high-density areas of the CBD, Inner City, Eastern Suburbs, North Sydney area for the more “lifestyle” future is avid.

* Our last set of sales; buyers came from the following areas: Roseville, Wahroonga, Bondi, North Bondi, Paddington, Mosman, North Sydney, Darling Point and Mona Vale. Migration North: There have been many local owners discussing the future move North. Just like the CBD and Lower North Shore migrations to the beaches, locals here are on the same hot topic to move to far North NSW and Queensland, once borders are re-opened. This is the beginning of a larger trend for now and the future. Businesses understand more than 50% of the workforce can potentially operate from any location. Just 34 properties are on the market over 5 suburbs and 13 are houses. The shortage of supply for this seasonal selling time of year is a complete surprise. However, suggested answers for this are:

* Yes, there are sellers out there! The issue for those owners is that there is very little available for them to acquire or choose from.

* The hangover sentiment: Earlier in the year, whilst COVID19 was ballooning and there were obvious fears about health, contact and job losses, the market did take a slight dip to the south, but did rebound swiftly. The concerns and fears of a potentially devastating fallout for the economy, lockdowns, lack of business has kept sellers at bay.

* 2021 brings some air of turbulence and question. Whilst we are watching European, UK and the Americas be swamped with the enormity of increased COVID outbreaks and further induced restrictions, worst of all, they are going into winter and flu seasons, Australia – the island, contends with reduced spread of COVID and although the Australian Treasurer has stated that we are in a “recession” – household spending continues at an increased rate and can be only due to the government handouts via Keeper & Seeker, moderate living, less going out, and substantially less travel. The sentiment is quite mixed.

* 2021 is expected to be more active with supply and activity, however, once the enormous demand has been fulfilled, expect a levelling correction to STEADY.

* The extended Keeper and Seeker assistance expires in March ’21, bank (mortgage) deferred payments have now ended in September, but for those who pass the governments and banks means test. Our prediction is that only a small handful of people will be affected on the Northern Beaches (approx 2-4%). This type of nominated volume will not make markets change their appearance, at this stage. The statistics from the ABS & ABC suggests that 10% of all mortgages are on a deferred arrangement. This is larger than anticipated.

* Low Interest Rates and in the extreme low supply are forcing pricing up. This is occurring for both rental investors and sales. Our team leased 33 properties in 32 days in September and October, with 40% being bid for. The rental market being auction scenarios.



Summer Christmas.JPG

If you are still considering selling your home or investment this year, you have exactly:

* Just 57 days until Christmas

* Perfect selling time through November – just weeks remaining Like many past years, we try and predict whether the market is warranting a long year or early exit. We are predicting the long version for the following reasons:

– COVID and the restrictions in travel. This will keep overseas travellers at home, even in some states with Australia, not all states will be fully open to NSW residents.

– Indicators are that already within NSW holiday locations, accommodations are solidly booked and at above premium prices. Be ready to pitch that tent in your backyard.

– Likelihood is that sales will recommence and continue early January 2021.



Since having sold 8 properties in just 19 days – approximately $20M of underlying value, we have been inundated with daily multiple requests for properties. SMS and website registered buyers who have sold are lining up with strong buying limits. This in turn, has led to several buyers having to take rentals in the short term.

The rental market has taken a very positive turn, and now our office has leased 21 properties in just 22 days. Landlords are coming back strong, and yields are edging higher.

SMS Messages this week alone:

“Hi James, I’m in the market now, just sold in Riverview – Lane Cove, and am a buyer to $6M, please let me know ASAP”. HP

“Hi James, can you please let us know of any upcoming houses you get in Freshwater, North Curl Curl, Curl Curl and Queenscliff or Dee Why. Looking for 5 beds, level block, pool, family house. Our budget is $3.5M-$5.5M, thank you!” CW

“Dear Sir, we would like to be added to your data base for a house up to $6.5M, we have engaged a buyer’s agent to assist the bidding process.” BT ” Hi James, hoping all is well with you and your family! Looking for a house up to $2.1M, can be semi or larger 2-3 beds, art deco is nice. Warm regards SL.”

“James, we could not find anything, so we have taken a rental until we do. We have been looking for 9 months and have extended our budget to $4.5M. Anything on or off market let us know.” TD ” Smythy, have sold now – many thanks for your efforts with our sale, I am now looking at anything up to $5M. I decided to increase the limit, but don’t need a big house.” TJ

“James, will consider $8M but must be North facing and great views. Happy for cheaper to knock over and build again.” PM ” Thanks for taking my call, we’ve sold and can push to $3.3M maximum, 4 beds in Freshie, no structural renos, cosmetic only.” CE


Currently, it is amazing that there are only two properties available in peak spring summer selling from Queenscliff to Dee Why Headland, over $3.5M. Most strange. This is an amazing time to take advantage, possibly orchestrate a longer settlement.

RateMyAgents # 1 Most Recommended Agent – FRESHWATERRMA.JPG


Coming from a background within the financial markets, charting, analysis and the historical moves are often helpful in determining direction.

The charts indicate that after each rally (increase), at some near point, a decline (correction) follows immediately after. Considering we have reached in new highs for median house prices in almost every suburb, the indications of the following variables may paint a picture.

– Recession

– Unemployment Rises

– Low Interest Rates

– COVID19 effects

Median Prices.JPG
Growth Prices.JPG
Chart Legend.JPG

Sources:, Rpdata- Corelogic


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23/2-4 Beach Street, Curl Curl

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