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What Happened to the Market in February

By Laura Anderson

February is traditionally the bridesmaid to March as far as real estate activity is concerned. But not this year!

Rarely before has the real estate market cranked into overdrive after the Christmas slumber. State records within the Ray White Group were broken all over the place leading to total sales value of $3.1billion. Whilst this figure is not an all time record it was certainly the best February we’ve seen.

Sydney was the pace-setter. One can potentially define a market by the percentage of properties taken to the market by the auction process. And this percentage has certainly increased for us. Rarely has there been such vendor confidence in the likelihood of competitive bidding. Again and again sale prices are going well over the reserve figure.

Many new office openings in February, including Ray White Leichhardt

How long will this last? Well, property markets love low interest rates and, as far as we can tell, they are set to be enshrined for the foreseeable future.

March 2015 is the third anniversary of New Zealand’s property market turnaround. If that time frame relates to Australia, which historically it does, then there’s still just under a year before the same anniversary for the Australian market.

John Fieldus and members of the property management team at Ray White Gladstone

The impact of a cyclone on property management businesses, even properties that are vacant, is significant for our industry and our clients. This sort of natural event requires professional skills and experience. It’s where our industry’s leaders step up and take additional responsibility for looking after the investments of their clients. Of particular importance are those absentee vendors’ properties. John Fieldus  from Ray White Gladstone showed particular leadership offering cyclone-affected Rockhampton on-site support to boost their professionals on the ground.

We have documented here some of the incredible recent development site sales of which we have been a part, fuelled predominantly by offshore investors. We are also witnessing similar results for commercial investment sales.  Bob Walsh achieved an off-market sale of the Woolworth-anchored Peninsula Shopping Centre at Matraville to a private property trust for $21.9million.  John Dwyer’s sale of a building in Brisbane’s Ascot, leased to Commonwealth Bank on a four year lease, at a seven per cent yield, provided further evidence of yield tightening in line with reducing interest rates.

Loan Market recorded an equal-record number of lodgements: $950 million in February. NSW in particular was a strong market for the group exceeding its previous highest result by almost 20 per cent.

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