Agents across the country are gearing up in preparation for the traditionally busy season of spring. But with the uncertainty surrounding interest rates movements and market expectations, are agents heading towards disappointment? This month we ask….
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE SPRING SEASON THIS YEAR?
CAMERON KUSHER, RP Data, Senior research analyst
Spring tends to be more characterised as a selling season as opposed to a buying season, but I would be surprised if we see a dramatic influx of homes added to the market. It’s not a great time to be selling a property; transaction volumes are about a third lower than what they have averaged over the past five years. Houses are taking longer than normal to sell. We may see a modest boost to listing volumes during spring as well as a re-vamp of marketing activity for those homes that have been available for sale over an extended period of time.
CHARLES TARBEY, Century 21, Australian chairman
I don’t think the market will be any different to what it is right now. There are a lot of people out there looking to buy real estate at the moment, but the issue is the agents haven’t been able to get sellers and buyers to meet each other’s expectations. A shift in interest rates or stability in rates would certainly be a momentum changer, but I do not expect any major changes to occur during the spring period.
LOUIS CHRISTOPHER, SQM Research, MD
Our expectations are that the number of properties for sale will rise to beyond 400,000 nationwide from the 377,000 recorded now. If that happens then we are close to the all-time high recorded in 2008 of 412,000. Bear in mind that April 2010 was the last cycle low where there were only 220,000 properties listed. So that is quite a lot of sellers looking for buyers, of which there are fewer in number compared to 2010 and 2009. So the market is very much likely to remain in its current downturn until at least next year. The one “X” factor though is if the RBA were to cut interest rates...If they did that, this spring would likely represent the bottom of the market.
PAMELA BENNETT, REIA, Acting president
Despite the housing market softening slightly in the first quarter of 2011, prices will remain steady until the end of the spring/summer real estate season. We know that spring/summer is the best time to buy and sell because the weather warms up and traditionally, this is a time to optimise the presentation of a house and gardens. And with the median house price down 2.5 per cent, it could be a great opportunity to find your perfect home at a great price.
RAY ELLIS, First National Real Estate, CEO
All estate agents are excited and gearing up for the traditionally busy season, but given the state of the Australian economy and lack of buyer confidence, we’re generally expecting this spring to be rather quiet. For the first time in living memory we are seeing incredibly high numbers of vendors listing properties in a market where buyer activity is reasonably high, but we can’t get them to meet in the middle. If buyers and sellers can find a balance between expectations and price, we will see increased activity over spring.