Mother Nature has provided us with a timely reminder over the past few weeks that Autumn is now behind us, with the Winter property market officially getting under way this coming weekend. The change of seasons has certainly seen a change in the market place, so I thought this would be an opportune time to look ahead and see what the next few months are likely to bring us.
If you’re a keen observer of property market statistics, you will already be aware that the published auction clearance rates have been tracking at a lower level this year. We also need to keep in mind that a substantial number of auction results are not being reported. As a large majority of unreported results are non-sales, the percentages may be even less impressive than they first seem. However, it is also worth remembering that any comparisons with results during 2017 or 2016 are unrealistic, as those markets were recording historic highs. What we are seeing right now is more of a return to ‘normal’ market conditions, rather than a cause for real concern.
What has become clear is that we are now in a market where vendors need to be responsive to the prices that buyers are prepared to pay if they wish to sell. This is a market where agents who provide poor advice or who are not monitoring market activity closely will be found out very quickly. Those vendors who make the mistake of dealing with an agent who simply “tells you what you want to hear” to win your business will pay a price, both in time and financial expense.
It is certainly not all doom and gloom though. As some of our recent results have shown, there are still some fantastic prices being achieved…perhaps not quite at the same levels as we saw late last year, but we are only talking about a few percentage points at this stage.
So where is the market headed? Some Victorians have a real misconception about selling in Winter, as this is the time of year when the seller reaps the largest benefits from a limited supply of available property. There are still good numbers of motivated buyers in the market right now, and we expect this situation to continue for the next few months at least. Therefore, we expect the Winter of 2018 to be a good one for most sellers.
Looking further ahead, if we continue to see a tightening in lending as well as a steep increase in supply (such as we often experience at the start of Spring) we may experience a market where today’s prices are hard to maintain. Of course, the largest impact on buyer confidence will depend on the media coverage of the market, and if the usual scare-mongering associated with the lead up to the State election in November also impacts on buyer confidence, we may see some softening in the market. Only time will tell.
With all these factors in mind, our recommendation to anyone considering a sale is to consider making that move sooner rather than later, as long as it fits within your plans. Don’t forget that you can give our team a call at any time if you have any questions about the current market in general or your own property plans in particular.