Market Update: February

It’s been a big month for the Victorian property market, with a new February record set for the number of auctions across Melbourne. In fact, the last weekend of February saw our first ‘Super Saturday’ of the year, with Melbourne recording a remarkable clearance rate of 82% from close to 1200 auctions. This was a clear step up from what was a strong result of 77% the previous week, and well ahead of the 76% on the same weekend last year.

Now that we have some substantial data to look at, it is clear that demand is strong throughout the different regions of suburban Melbourne. The south-east, north-east and western suburbs have all recorded above average results and, similar to last year, the lower priced properties in the outer-suburban fringes are continuing to attract strong results.

The average ‘days on market’ has also been trending downward nationally. According to figures from Corelogic, Melbourne property sales recently hit a new average low of just 29 days from listing to sale. This compares with 35 days for the same period one year ago, and 56 days in 2012.

One trend that has taken many observers by surprise is a rebound in the number of overseas residents purchasing property in Australia. Despite the efforts of the Government and the Banks to restrict property sales to foreign buyers, the NAB’s most recent Residential Property Survey found that the share of new property sales to foreign nationals actually began rising again in the December quarter. A similar trend was also reported in the existing home market, with the percentage of sales rising from 6.4% to 7.6% nationally.

We’ve certainly seen a number of overseas buyers competing strongly at several recent auctions, although not always successfully at the end of the day. One auction of a three-bedroom unit in Mt Waverley saw a mix of local and overseas buyers push the price all the way to more than $1.4 million. This was over $350,000 above the sworn valuation and reserve, and it was a local buyer who emerged the winner. We also saw a similar result at an auction in Box Hill North which took close to 50 minutes before the hammer fell. Again, the result was more than $160,000 above both the reserve and valuation.

The most important tip for anyone planning on selling in 2017 is that there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to making the most of the current market conditions. For example, whilst auction clearance rates have been particularly strong in recent weeks, there are still properties and areas where we would not recommend an auction. Unfortunately, some agents continue to recommend auctions when they are not in the vendor’s best interests, with some very disappointing results. In these areas, we are consistently achieving far better results using alternative methods like our unique Sale by Fixed Date.

Looking ahead, it seems we are in for a very active market through to Easter and beyond. With some leading economic forecasters now predicting that interest rates will remain at their current record lows for the foreseeable future, the market looks like being a very positive one for sellers. So, if we can be of assistance in helping you plan your next move, don’t hesitate to call on us.

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