Brisbane's sales market

Brisbane house prices drop 6.8%, so where to next?

Latest info from the RP Data Rismark Home Value report shows Brisbane’s house prices have been the worst performing of any capital city over the past year, with our median down 6.8% in the year to the end of March.

Make no mistake, this is a buyer’s market. And this news is being met by some smiling home buyers, eager to jump into the market.

‘On the ground’ we know there’s pockets of Brisbane where property is cheaper now than it’s been in at least a couple of years, while we’ve also seen some inner-city transactions happen at pretty much 2010 prices. Some of the better properties, especially those with strong locations, are still receiving multiple buyer enquiries. Like they do in any market, the quality properties still generate good interest.

None of us knows with any certainty what drives price changes. But our observation is that small price reductions have only happened in recent months where needed to get buyers to act. Conservatism reigns, the peer networks and bank manager/solicitors/adviser/butcher are all telling would-be buyers there’s bargains to be had. Make an offer, shop around. And with fewer buyers making their move some keen sellers have dropped their price to get a quick result.

So should buyers hold off for prices to drop further? We just don’t see any great pressure on sellers to go any lower. Some have to sell due to growing, shrinking and splitting households. There are no doubt some who have financial pressure – but we really aren’t witnessing much of it at all. (We’re not hearing of any job losses, ABS report savings levels up.) And yes many sellers now realise that if they sell and buy again in the same market it doesn’t really matter where prices are sitting. They’re getting on with their plans. Dropping a couple of percent to get buyers over the line. If the property’s well-promoted it rarely takes much more.

So buyers waiting for gun-at-the-head, high pressure, dump and run property prices, may well be disappointed. None of us can pick bottoms (or peaks) of markets with any accuracy and the danger is it will turn before you know it.

There’s some good buying to be had right now, often with less competition. For home buyers, especially in inner-Brisbane, this might be as good as it gets.