Spring Selling Season, Fact or Fiction?

Does selling in spring really make a difference? Is it 3 O’clock on the ‘Property Clock’? This month, we take a look. Spring time in Sydney is traditionally busier. Spring, the days become longer, gardens become greener, the flowers start to bloom and the buyers come out of hibernation. We wonder if this year is going to be any different.

The graph below shows the total number of listings on the market across Sydney over the past six years, with the spring months often the strongest when it comes to properties available for sale, particularly in October and November.

Whilst the amount of stock on the market remained at high levels throughout winter this year, there are still expectations that this spring will still see an uplift in listings. 
CoreLogic was reporting that the number of new listings is down 8.1% on this time last year, however the number of total listings is up 21.1%, with the median time on the market increasing from 32 days to 46 days over that period. With stock levels at close to six-year highs, a further jump in new listings is likely to provide buyers with even more choice in what is already considered a buyer’s market.While in recent years spring has seen the majority of properties snapped up quickly, and at strong prices, the added supply to the market this spring is likely to put further downward pressure on prices.High quality properties are still likely to achieve solid results but secondary properties with defects or less desirable features will continue to struggle with vendors needing to have realistic expectations to meet the market.
On the other side of this, it provides extra opportunity for buyers, which is certainly welcomed after the highly competitive property market of previous years.

Properties above $5 million have been holding up better than other sub markets over the past 12 months.

Records Sales: –
– $11 Million Kangaroo Point (South Sydney).
– $29 Million James Packers Bondi Pad.
– $14 Million 44 Bower Street, Manly.
– $16 Million 68 Bower Street, Manly.
– $12 Million 3 Pavilion Street, Queenscliff.
– $25 Million Mosman House.
– $10.22 Million Mosman Apartment.

Auction clearance rates are now in the 50% range whereas 12 months ago they were above 70%. Properties are now hitting the market with a private treaty price guide rather than an auction price guide.

Rental properties in beachside locations are often more highly sought after during spring as tenants look to secure a property before summer. With rental vacancy rates starting to rise it will be interesting to see if spring this year provides the usual strong uplift in rental demand in these areas.[i]

In June, the city also hit its highest residential vacancy rate in 13 years! approx. 20,000 rentals are sitting empty. The Hills District with the highest at 4.9% and the lowest rates were in Sydney’s South at 2.1%. The Northern Beaches looking solid at 2.8%.[ii]

Interest Rates are unchanged this month at 1.5% and inflation is 2.1%, the RBA has reported Sydney housing markets have eased and rent inflation remains low. Housing credit has declined to an annual rate of 5.5%. Due to largely reduced demand by investors. Lending standards are tighter than a few years ago. There is competition for borrows of high credit quality. [iii]

Lending News:

  • ANZ has increased their minimum living expenses benchmark.  This will reduce borrowing capacities.
  • ANZ & Westpac are still using 1 year’s tax returns for your self-employed customers looking to buy.
  • CBA are offering $2,000 for refinances.
  • Westpac have introduced a 5-year fixed special rate, 3.79% for first home buyers.
  • CBA are no longer offering Low Doc loans.   This space has really tightened up and is only offered by a couple of non-major lenders now.
  • ING has increased their owner-occupied variable rates by 0.1%.
  • Macquarie has increased their owner-occupied rate by 0.06% and 0.1% for interest only borrowing.
  • Bank of Sydney is offering 3.58% (with no annual fees) for owner occupied refinances under 70% loan ratio.
  • Westpac is 3.59% for owner occupied variable for those customers still wanting that Big 4 lender and 3.99% on investment (by far the market leader rate wise of the major lenders).

In summary, the banks are fighting hard for business at the moment with a lot of competitive interest rates out there but their assessment (and assessment rate of 7.5%) are continually getting tighter.[iv]

[i] Herron Todd White – Month in Review Sept 18.
[ii] SQM Research & Domain.com.au.
[iii] Statement by Philip Lowe – Monetary Policy Decision.
[iv] Finance Warehouse – www.financewarehouse.com.au.
[M. Grafenberg. 4.9.18]