Lisa Calautti, Property Journalist
Updated 18 Sep 2023, 5:12pm
First published 19 Sep 2023, 12:02am
Spring is traditionally the busiest time of the year for the property market and experts are predicting a bumper season ahead, but warn buyers should brace for hot competition.
After months of sitting on the sidelines, PropTrack data shows sellers are returning to the market with more homes listed for sale in July and August ahead of the spring selling season.
The latest Listings Report showed a particularly strong recovery in Sydney and Melbourne, with both cities recording their busiest end to winter in more than a decade. In Sydney, new listings were up 18.4% year-on-year in August, while Melbourne recorded a 20.8% lift.
However, property experts say new listings are still failing to keep up with growing buyer demand across many of the nation’s capital cities.
The renewed sense of urgency comes as the latest PropTrack Home Price Index showed national property values grew for an eighth straight month in August, with prices reaching record highs in Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth amid a shortage of homes on the market.
Property listings jumped in Sydney and Melbourne in August. Picture: Getty
Home values in regional Queensland and South Australia are also higher than ever before.
“In Sydney and Melbourne, the flow of new listings is increasing as seller confidence improves," PropTrack senior economist Eleanor Creagh said.
"However, buyer demand still far outstrips supply, putting upward pressure on prices"
Here's what buyer and selling agents expect to see around the country this spring.
Raine & Horne executive chairman Angus Raine told realestate.com.au that while many had expected a 'flood' of new stock to hit the market in time for spring, that has not eventuated.
“Our indicators of our appraisals, our OFI [open for inspection] numbers, it hasn't happened yet,” he said.
“So, I think there's going to be a long tail to spring… all it takes is a few good results in a particular area and that'll spur people on,” he said.
“We'll be selling up until the 20th of December, which we’ve seen before.”
With more certainty around interest rates, Highland Property sales director Sarah Street said the group is seeing much greater buyer demand this spring, than they were this time last year.
"There's a greater sense of urgency with buyers," Ms Street said. "Buyers have got a lot of confidence at the moment so I think it's going to be a really good spring selling season.
Waterfront properties are in high demand with buyers. Picture: realestate.com.au/sold
As the weather heats up, she said properties in coastal areas, close to the water, or with water views, would be in high demand.
"Family friendly locations are always on everyone's top priorities, with schools and parks and amenities," she added.
Ben Kingsley, a property investment adviser and managing director of Empower Wealth, told realestate.com.au Melbourne’s spring property market is set for an increase in listings.
“That's actually going to put downward pressure on prices because what we are also seeing in terms of the absorption rate of these listings, is starting to be a little bit more challenged in the Victorian and Melbourne market, so it might actually come into a situation where we might have a flat market by the end of the year,” he said.
“We certainly know based on the evidence we are seeing, there's more investors who are liquidating their properties in Victoria than any other state at the moment.
“So that gives some idea in terms of increased stock that might come onto the market over the course of the spring and summer seasons.”
PropTrack data shows Melbourne and Sydney recorded their busiest end to winter in terms of new property listings in more than a decade. Picture: Getty
A renewed sense of buyer confidence within the entry and mid-tier Melbourne markets was also likely as a result of interest rate pauses, Mr Kingsley says.
“I think you will see a bit of that ‘first mover and upgraders’ because they’ve really been challenged over the course of the last 12 months with the quality of stock,” he said.
“So I think with that quality of stock, we're definitely going to see more turnover because we've got those listings coming through.
“It is going to be an opportune time for a little bit more choice in the market in those entry level and mid-tier level markets.”
Despite a recent upswing in listings in Brisbane, buyer’s agent Jayne Robbins from The Informed Buyer says stock levels are still around 40% below the previous five year average.
“A scarcity of listings seems to be a continuing trend here in the Brisbane market,” she said.
“We are receiving consistent enquiries for our services, which is a sign that buyers are struggling to purchase and are looking for professional support.
“There are lots of buyers in and outside of Brisbane wanting to buy property here.”
Choice for buyers remains very limited in Brisbane heading into spring. Picture: Getty
High buyer demand within Brisbane was likely to continue throughout the spring selling season, Ms Robbins said, with homes in West End, Chapel Hill, Paddington, Clayfield, and Ashgrove in demand.
Perth’s spring property market continues to be hampered by a shortage of stock, according to Realmark Coastal director Sean Hughes.
“If it’s in the owner-occupier market, it’s less around the weather and the timing, and more about actually finding something," he said.
“If you are prepared to sell and there’s nowhere to go, what do you do?
“Other real estate agents won’t like me saying this but the reality is I don’t think that you’d be prepared to sell, regardless of the price, without knowing where you're going to next.”
New listings remain well down compared to a year ago in Perth, Brisbane and Darwin. Picture: Getty
Mr Hughes expects Perth's property prices will continue to rise, saying the spring selling season will supercharge it.
With such low stock levels, he said buyers should be patient for the right property but also need to be aware that they may have to make some concessions.
“The perfect property is not really out there in the current climate and if it is, you're probably going to have to pay over what you were thinking anyway for it,” he said.
“So I think, for people trying to tick 10 out of their 10 boxes. I think as a buyer, they need to probably realise that they might only get seven or eight [ticks] and that's okay.”
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Lisa Calautti, Property Journalist