March property market just kept its head above the water

Rain, rain, go away. Metaphorically and figuratively the deluge of rain has dampened selling conditions across the great city of Sydney. Through March we saw the balance of power in the property realm move towards favouring buyers after sellers enjoyed 18-plus months of hedonistic selling conditions. While there is still a hangover legacy of last year’s heated market conditions in play, it is now firmly focused on the very best property offerings any area can throw up. For the remainder of listed properties, a new selling speed has evolved and accurate pricing and reducing price expectations are the new norm. The auction clearance rate was firmly pegged below 55% to finish the month, according to the most reliable auction data source SQM Research. When we see a decent volume of listings with the auction clearance rate stagnant, we know there is downward pressure on prices for several sectors of the market.

While the weather was gloomy for the entire month, there was no shortage of activity in the property sector. Normally we’d decry rainy days for an open home, but such has been the veracity and consistency of this weather pattern, we’ve all been left with no alternative other than to soldier on. That said, there is no doubt that ongoing poor weather does seep into the psyche and impact our mood. Can anything else be thrown at us at this point? If there is a case for resilience, then surely the past two years of events has either hardened the resolve of Australians or perhaps sadly broken their spirit. When it comes to buying property, people are out and about, rain, hail or shine. Lifestyle improvement remains top of mind and a key driver behind decision-making for most buyers. This is continuing to drive demand despite overall market conditions showing signs of starting to crack at the fringes.

We continued to deliver stellar results but certainly saw increased demand firmly focused on blue-chip properties with a great layout, quality renovation, sought-after street and good aspect. These properties represent around 10% of the active number of listings at any point and with strong prices being achieved, it does provide enough energy for other buyers to remain confident in an area. As March drew to a close, we noted seeing a lot more price reductions and auctions being pushed out or withdrawn, which is an early warning to anyone bringing their property to market that the time to be bullish has eased. Encouragingly, every property is still finding a buyer but those properties that are perceived as being listed above market value are taking extra time to go through the process and often have a price reduction before locking in a purchaser.

As we charge into the disrupted month of April with Easter, school holidays and ANZAC Day absorbing a two-week window, we’ll likely see slightly longer selling campaigns and a shift towards selling prior to auction. We then have the Federal Election, which is traditionally a ‘wait and pause’ moment for many, and this will also influence when sellers pinpoint auction dates. For the patient buyer, these conditions have swung in your favour and it’s time to get out and about to see what’s on offer as sellers are becoming increasingly open to negotiating.

Posted in All Offices, Inner West, Monthly Market Wrap on 31st March, 2022