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Why Mirvac Group’s (ASX: MGR) share price has crashed to a 9-month low

The Mirvac Group (ASX: MGR) share price has tumbled 2.3% to a nine-month low of $2.12 in late trade as investors fled for the exits on news that the drop in Sydney house prices is accelerating.

This makes the stock the fifth worst performer on the S&P/ASX 200 (Index:^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) index at the time of writing.

Its peers are faring much better. The Stockland Corporation Ltd (ASX: SGP) share price is down a more modest 0.8% to $3.58 while Lendlease Group’s (ASX: LLC) share price jumped 0.8% to $17.74.

Mirvac was left holding the wooden spoon after the latest CoreLogic data showed a 7.4% annual plunge in Sydney home prices – the largest decline since 1990.

What’s worse is that CoreLogic is expecting a further drop for our largest city and warned that Sydney’s downturn could surpass the previous low hit in February 1990.

The speed of the price falls is similar to previous downturns but the length of the downturn will be longer, reported the Australian Financial Review which quoted CoreLogic’s head of research, Tim Lawless.

You can blame tougher borrowing standards, poor housing affordability and increasing supply of housing for the drop. These factors don’t look like they’ll go away anytime soon and that means further price falls are likely before we hit a bottom.

Melbourne also recorded a poor result with an annualised fall of 4.7% but it’s Sydney that’s stealing the spotlight.

This explains why Mirvac is at the receiving end of the bad news. The property developer has significant exposure to Sydney – particularly apartments that appeal to overseas property investors.

The CoreLogic data doesn’t break down property types but the outlook for this market segment is particularly bearish as the big banks have turned off the mortgage spigot to this group.

Even local property investors are finding it tougher to borrow and credit growth, on the whole, is slowing. You only need to look at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group’s (ASX: ANZ) full-year results yesterday to see that as loan growth in 2HFY18 dropped 2%, reversing all the gains in the first half.

ANZ Bank’s share price has largely returned all of yesterday’s gains on its results (click here to find out why).

Stockland is seen to be better placed as it targets first home buyers with its house and land packages in the outskirts of metropolitan areas, while Lendlease is arguably the least exposed given its large exposure to infrastructure construction and overseas markets.

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