If you are not an active participant in the market today you would be forgiven for thinking that market conditions are poor, that it is not a great time to sell, and still not the best time to buy.
And while this would put you in line with most media commentary, you’d be wrong.
Sure, some sub-segments of the broader market are challenged right now – a friend who sells house and land packages in the outer suburbs told me their sales volume is down 70 percent from last year.
But here in leafy, affluent Stonnington, on the whole things are pretty good.
Here are our top five market observations right now:
1. Strong Clearance
Across our 30 office network, Jellis Craig has consistently seen clearance rates in the mid 70s in recent weeks. Any way you look at it, 75 percent clearance is healthy.
Our office sold eight from 11 on Saturday, with some very competitive auctions in front of large crowds, such as 34 Lambeth Avenue, Armadale, selling comfortably above reserve with three bidders.
This is a stark contrast to the retreating market of 2018/19, where we were hovering around 50 percent clearance and when even the nosiest of neighbours had no interest in watching yet another pass in.
2. Low Volume (is set to stay)
Auction volume is down around 30 to 40 percent compared to this time last year.
Clearly, the low volume is contributing to healthy clearance rates and increased competition on the most desirable homes.
Unfortunately for buyers, we can’t see stock levels improving in the short term. Last year the sales season ran deep into December. This doesn’t look to be the case this year.
Most of our campaigns for 2022 have now already launched, with just a few remaining for late November. December is looking very quiet, meaning it could be a great time to capitalise as a vendor.
All this talk about the impending interest rate cliff and potential distressed selling next year is likely to be just that – talk.
Like we saw in the GFC and pandemic, owners in Stonnington have plenty of savings and equity to ride out some economic bumps or higher interest rates.
Australia has some of the strictest lending criteria in the world, which will hold us in good stead during this fiscal tightening cycle (which could already be nearing its peak according to the CBA, and may start reversing by the middle of next year).
3. There are plenty of buyers
We had 47 groups inspect 13 Greville Street, Prahran on Saturday – a beautifully presented, fully renovated 1930s single front. This was our second busiest open for the year.
While some buyers are taking a cautious ‘wait and see’ approach, and have become far more picky than last year, the motivated buyers are lying in wait for the right property at the right price, and they will pounce as soon as anything suitable comes up in such a limited choice environment.
4. Interest rates are having an impact on some segments of the market
Borrowing capacity has taken a hit, meaning that many buyers have a lot less to play with than previously.
I’ve seen clients being re-approved down from $1,600,000 to $1,200,000 within the last six months. This seems to be affecting some price points more than others.
For example, the entry level, first home buyer stock such as small two bed cottages seem to have come off by 10 – 15 percent in some instances.
This could also be compounded by the new working from home norm, where (desk) space is at a premium – particularly for a professional couple who both require a home office setup.
And secondly, the cost and difficulty of renovating – houses requiring major work are being shunned by a segment of young buyers who don’t have the means or patience to renovate.
5. Interest rates are not having an impact on other segments of the market
I can now count half a dozen results in recent weeks where a property has sold for $1,000,000 above reserve.
A double front in Motherwell Street, a double storey Victorian in Lyndhurst Crescent, two single level townhouses in Nyora Street and Tollington Avenue… etc.
Clearly the upsizers or downsizers buying and bidding on these homes are not perturbed by the recent interest rate hikes. There are more cash buyers out there than you would think in Stonnington. (Nice for some).
The market is very good right now. As a seller you should have the confidence to come to marketing knowing that the buyers are out there and that you will have a captive audience in this low stock environment.
As a buyer, it’s slim pickings out there but that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. If you find something suitable, you should pursue it now.
Waiting for more stock and/or lower prices is not a great strategy.
In Stonnington, volume tends to decrease in a softer market and increase in a stronger market.
That’s why so few buyers can pick the bottom. Most buyers wait until prices (and stock levels) are on the rise again before jumping in.
The inflexion point could be a lot closer than you might think. It could be behind us already.
Thanks for reading. David.