• September 12, 2019

When’s the right time to list? It’s a question we real estate agents hear a great deal. Director Peter Gordon has almost two decades of local experience and has witnessed the many ups and downs of the market cycle over the years, so he’s as qualified as they come to share some insight into the current state of play.

Peter Gordon – Director at Cobden & Hayson Balmain

“Since the Federal election we’ve seen a 180 degree turnaround in the market,” says Peter. “In the 12-18 months prior, market sentiment was negative, prices were going backwards, the media was critical, banks were difficult to work with and sellers were chasing standoffish buyers. After the election we saw a boost in confidence which coincided with interest rates dropping even further to historic lows. We were also moving into the winter selling period which is always characterised by fewer listings, which was further exacerbated by sellers working out that we’d hit the bottom of market, so anyone not under pressure to sell just sat back and waited. Consequently, demand significantly outstripped supply and eager buyers helped carry this new positive market momentum through winter, with properties selling like hot cakes. In fact, we’re almost back to 2017 prices which is phenomenal considering how bad it’s been for the last couple of years.

If we take a look at the thinking behind why people might still be putting off a sale, there are a number of reasons. In a downturn people want to sell before they buy. They’re happy to put their property on the market confident that they’ll be able to buy back in or just rent for six months if they haven’t lined up their next move. However, as soon as the market turns around they’re more confident that they can sell but they’re fearful that with so little stock they’re not going to find their new home. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The answer to the question about the best time to list your property is ‘last month’! The next best time is right now. We saw a 93% auction clearance rate this week and it’s been above 90% for a month and a half now. The cycle is pretty much the same every year, with winter stock levels contracting and buyer demand building, meaning that properties selling at the back end of winter and early spring often do well. There’s generally a lag time for people to mobilise and put their properties on the market and moving into spring listings pretty much triple.

In the past two weeks we’ve seen more than 50 good quality properties hit the market in our core area. Conversations with buyers indicate that they feel relief is in sight, with more options available and the pressure being released, which should continue as we move towards the end of the year.

If you get your property listed in the next 4-6 weeks you’re going to enjoy favourable selling conditions. As soon as you move into November and December auctions, buyers start to switch off – people get busy and have holidays planned and no-one wants to be settling and moving over Christmas. You really want to be thinking about your buyer. If they’re a family who’ll also be looking to sell their own home, this means they’re not going to have time before the end of the year and they’ll have to wait until 2020. This is where buyers start to lose momentum and reconsider.

As we progress into those later months we’ll see more listings and buyers starting to wane, driving auction clearance rates down. As soon as this happens the media is likely to jump on it and start talking the market down. The point is that the sentiment and psychology can shift really quickly.

I believe that the market for the foreseeable future is solid and you can list with confidence through to mid spring. My advice, however, would be to have realistic expectations, make sure your home presents really well and go into a sale with a strong strategy and stick to it. Also have some flexibility in your settlement period, otherwise you risk cutting out plenty of potential buyers. Most importantly, put your property in the hands of a great negotiator with the experience to get the best out of the market and give you the right advice throughout the process. That way you can really take advantage of some pretty favourable conditions.” 

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