Property investors turn away from disaster zones

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The number of property investors considering buying property in the areas that have been affected by natural disasters has more than halved.

A new report by insurer QBE has revealed that, before the spate of natural disasters hit at the beginning of the year, property investors made up 71% of respondents considering buying properties in the areas subsequently affected. Post-disaster, the proportion of investors still interested in buying had fallen to 32%.

Overall, out of the respondents who would have considered purchasing property in these affected areas, more than half say the disasters have not impacted on their intentions, while 40% are no longer considering buying property in these areas or are considerably less likely to do so.

The QBE report also revealed rising concern over interest rates, with over a quarter of respondents saying they considered themselves to be under mortgage stress – although only 2.3% said they are unable to meet repayments. The story could be different if and when rates rise, however: a 0.25% rate rise would leave 11% of current mortgage holders unable to pay their mortgage and an increase of 0.5% from current levels would see 23% default on payments.

“The leading states for mortgage stress are South Australia/Northern Territory and Western Australia with both groups having around 30% of respondents claiming to be under mortgage stress," said QBE CEO Ian Graham. "Queensland follows with 28% of respondents, ahead of New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory with 25% of respondents.

"Interestingly, respondents from Victoria/Tasmania report a level of mortgage stress well below the rest of the nation at only 15%," he added.

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