Property owners in the biggest capital city markets are putting homes up for sale earlier than normal this year, keen to lock in deals before a period of slower price growth, selling agents say.
Real estate coach and auctioneer Tom Panos says he is already close to booking out for Sydney auctions on the final two Saturdays of January.
“Surprisingly, a lot of people have listed properties for auctions to take place in January, when normally, nothing happens until after Australia Day,” he said. “Normally, I only get bits and pieces for January.”
This four-bedroom, three-bathroom house at 34 Portland Street, Dover Heights, is among the properties listed for sale this month. Core Photography
The higher than expected listing volume was a case of vendors “trying to outsmart the demand and supply equation and sell before house prices slow down further”, he added.
Brisbane-based buyer’s agent Zoran Solano of Hot Property Buyers Agency said listings had started trickling in and were likely to pick up steam next week.
“I anticipate next week to be a massive week of listings, which is earlier than usual,” he said. “I think higher interest rates and the financial effect of Christmas are going to push some people to get moving sooner rather than later.”
Melbourne-based selling agent and branch manager of Barry Plant Yarra’s Edge, Geoff White, said more vendors were willing to get on to the market as soon as possible.
“We have vendors that are launching in the next few days, which is quite unusual,” he said. “I think the market will kick off earlier with more stock and more buyers in the market.”
January usually has 12 per cent fewer listings than other months, says Angus Moore, senior economist at PropTrack.
But more listings than a usual January, from vendors who are motivated to sell, could be good news for buyers who faced limited stock through most of 2023.
Sydney-based agent and principal of Biller Property Double Bay Paul Biller said he and his team had 20 properties listed for sale this month, ranging from two-bedroom units priced about $2 million to houses worth about $15 million.
Among those listed is a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house at 34 Portland Street in Dover Heights in Sydney’s eastern suburbs with a $10 million asking price.
“Most of the vendors that we deal with are pretty motivated, realistic vendors that want to make a move,” Mr Biller said. “There are also some opportunistic sellers who are looking to capitalise on the recent strong price growth.
“But I think most vendors realise that the days when people paid crazy prices are long gone.”
Sydney home values climbed by 11.1 per cent last year, boosted by lower listings volume and strong demand earlier in the year, according to CoreLogic. But the rate of growth has slowed dramatically in the past six months, from a monthly growth of 1.8 per cent last May to an increase of just 0.2 per cent in December.
“The strong price increases last year have been a big incentive for vendors to list their property, but this year, mortgage stress may start to play a part,” said CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless.
“Considering household savings buffers are now being depleted, there probably will be more evidence of motivated homeowners coming into the marketplace.
“They are not necessarily being forced to sell but realise they probably aren’t going to weather the storm through the second half of the year when rates could come down.”
Total listings have already increased substantially in the past three months, with almost six out of 10 Sydney suburbs lifting higher than a year ago, while stock in about half of all suburbs rose above the average of the past five years, according to CoreLogic.
Sydney vendors are returning into the market earlier than normal, selling agents say. Core Photography
The increasing stock levels would bode well for buyers looking to get into the market this year, Mr Lawless said.
“I think it will be more of a buyer’s market through the first half of 2024, at least until interest rates start to fall,” he said.
“There probably will be a good opportunity for buyers to negotiate more than what they had last year. They have more stock to choose from, and they can take their time to make their decision.”
Mr Biller said while quality listings were still getting strong results, the market had softened as the recent interest rate rise took its toll on buyer sentiment.
“There were fewer buyers coming to open inspections, which means vendors need to adjust their expectations,” he said.
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