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Christmas Wish List: Is Property On Yours? - October 2020

By Guest Blogger, Leanne Pilkington, Managing Director,

Laing & Simmons and President REINSW

If it is, good for you, because if your circumstances are right, the market is too. 

And the latest statistics show you’re not alone. Property is on the menu for more people leading into Christmas, according to Westpac, and there’s good reason for the positive sentiment. But time is of the essence because let’s face it: time seems to accelerate at this time of year, as we all get busier. 

According to a recent Westpac consumer survey, it seems the (delayed) Federal budget has provided the trigger for a surge in increased confidence among some Aussies. The survey’s “time to buy a dwelling” index has rebounded in recent times, up 10.6%, with the national “house price expectations” index increasing 31.5%. 

These are indices based on sound methodologies from a credible source which warrant closer decoding than which we have the space for here. Nevertheless, the take-out reinforces what many already recognise. Despite the pandemic, property is resilient. 

Demand is strong. Prices are buoyant and, across the board, have stabilised. In some pockets, there is even evidence of actual price growth. 

Some would-be buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines for a more marked drop, who have put too much stock in the opinions of doomsayers with an agenda, are finding themselves surprised by the market’s performance. 

Now, it’s spring. Even in 2020 – especially in 2020 – we all welcome the calendar ticking over to the season of rebirth. 

Despite the strange times, spring has delivered its traditional uplift. It has encouraged more buyers out of the woodwork. Auctions are becoming more competitive. Clearance rates are providing confidence to vendors. CoreLogic numbers from mid-October put the national capital city auction clearance rate over 70% and on the increase, with volumes up as well. 

But it’s not all rosy. There’s frustration too. Some of those same buyers waiting for their opportunity to pounce are resenting the lack options available to them. There’s a high volume of properties selling off-market, a term flexible in definition depending on the agent using it, but the trend emphasises the lack of visible options for buyers. Agents are experiencing a continual, sustained lack of stock to meet demand. 

So, back to where we started. What does this all mean for people wanting to buy a property now? 

Well, the good news is, a property play now should see you in your new home before Christmas. Maybe the best possible close to a year none of us will ever forget. 

Let’s look at what it will take to get there. Because the fundamentals may be sound, most of the old adages remain true, but things have undoubtedly changed. 

First, you need to consider your finance. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has cut the banks and consumers some slack, winding back some of the more onerous credit rules to make obtaining a loan easier, in order to boost the economy. 

Even so, getting a loan approved still takes longer than it used to, and while banks have the green light to make their loan products more readily accessible to consumers, they will still want to see evidence of secure employment and the capacity to take ongoing repayments. 

Best to get your ducks in a row now, before you even start looking for that perfect property. That’s because, when the right opportunity does present itself, you need to be able to act quickly. 

Quality properties are selling fast at the moment, so it’s essential to make sure your formal pre-approval is in place and signed off. Handshake agreements with brokers won’t work in this fast-paced market. 

Next, make sure you’re exposed to as many available properties as you can be. Follow all the agents in the area that you’re interested in on social media, as many properties are selling straight from social channels before they hit the portals. Alternatively, or additionally, enlist the help of a buyers' agent, an expert whose speciality is knowing everything that’s going on in the local market. 

When you draw on the help of your local real estate expert, let them know what you’re looking for, and let them know you’re in a position to act fast, for when that perfect property comes along.


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