Stop ‘crying wolf’ over Sydney prices, says market expert

Property analyst Louis Christopher has criticised rival commentators who have talked of a slowdown in the Sydney market.

Mr Christopher, who is the managing director of SQM Research, said Sydney is “still looking strong” and could enjoy “another bull market” in 2015 if the Reserve Bank cuts interest rates.

He said that while growth rates of 15 per cent are unsustainable, he had seen nothing to suggest SQM should change its forecast of 8-12 per cent growth for the 2014/2015 financial year.

“Over recent summers – and including this one – we have been getting the usual commentary from the usual suspects stating the market is about to slow down or is slowing down,” Mr Christopher said.

“It is increasingly feeling like the boys who cried wolf. Sooner or later they will be right, but right now, a slowdown currently happening in Sydney? Hardly.”

Mr Christopher said the real estate agents he consulted over the holidays all reported strong business activity, even during the period between Christmas and New Year.

Meanwhile, the outlook for Melbourne has become more positive, according to Mr Christopher.

“There has been, for quite some time, significant concern about what is coming onto the market in Melbourne with regard to new stock. And, yes, in the inner ring, those concerns are warranted,” he said.

“But, overall, vacancy rates have peaked and, if anything, have slightly trended down in the last two years.”

Mr Christopher said conflicting signals are coming out of Perth – vacancy rates are high and climbing, but asking rents have also been rising.

“It could be just a statistical aberration in the ongoing down market. It is possible, too, that it may represent a signal of a bottom in the market. Right now, it’s too early to call it,” he said.

Mr Christopher also said that Darwin is now experiencing a “full-blown slump”, while Hobart remains one of his investment picks for 2015.

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