The inner city property market: our view
While the stockmarket’s tumbled away in recent weeks Brisbane’s own ABC Childcare is one of the few public companies that’s not had a drop in price. Why? A stellar performer maybe? It’s not been traded since August so its price hasn’t moved and its current value is unknown. In much the same way it’s getting harder for experts and commentators to speak with any authority on our real estate market. There are just too few sales happening to draw a firm conclusion. We’ve seen recent agent propaganda with lines like: “Buyers are back – it’s time to sell now!” and other similar rubbish. There are some positive signs happening but overall this remains firmly a buyers’ market.
The last reported stats we’ve come across suggest a 30% drop in sales volumes – but when we looked at the true numbers across many inner suburbs they’re closer to 50% for the first half of this year. In some cases it’s even quieter (South Brisbane house sales volumes are down 64% on 2007). So as every high school stats student will tell you the sample sizes are becoming unreliable. On first glance West End’s prices have skyrocketed recently with houses up by almost $380,000 or 55% since last year. The fine print? There were only 17 sales in the first half of the year, with a bit of a run on river and city view homes.
What’s really happening ‘on the ground’? We’d suggest sales volumes are even lower these past 4 months and for the most part prices are holding for most properties. Most sellers don’t have a gun at their head and are happy to bide their time. There are occasional ‘bargains’ but as registered valuers often say it’s the ‘flight to quality’ trend where less desirable property is the type to go cheaply when markets are quieter. On the weekend we sold a new listing and had 2 other buyers lined up and keen to hand over their cash. One wrote to us to complain that they had missed out! So was it a bargain? The contract price was 20% more than another local agent said they’d get. Buyers are still looking and they are still buying. The smart ones realise there’s currently less competition.