Debate whether APRA changes will protect Sydney and Melbourne

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The head of one of Australia’s largest developers believes the enforced slowdown of lending to investors has reduced the risks two major real estate markets were facing.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) mandated earlier this year that lenders should not allow investor home loan growth to exceed 10% per year.

Stockland chief executive Mark Steinert believes that move has prevented marketsI - in particular Sydney and Melbourne -  from being hit by a wave of housing over supply.

“A lot of the supply that potentially could cause a problem is not going to be built this cycle because developers won’t get the funding,” Steinert told The Australian earlier this week.

But Todd Hunter, founder of buyer’s agency wHeregroup, believes APRA’s moves are too late to have any real effect on the health of those markets.

“It takes 12 months to three years to go through the approval and DA stages, so the APRA changes might keep some developments that would come online in a few years from happening, but that’s about it,” Hunter said.

“But there’s already a lot of stock coming online now and it’s going to miss the boom anyway. It’s too late to say the changes are really going to do anything.”

Hunter said there are other challenges facing the markets that are more pressing than oversupply.

“Low interest rates can only sustain a market for so long,” he said.

“At some stage it becomes a question of affordability as well, and that’s what we’re seeing now.”

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