All property owners want to buy at the bottom of the market and sell at the top, but history tells us few of us can pick this with any accuracy. There’s so many moving parts to demand and supply that we often only see major price shifts in hindsight.
Brisbane’s property clock is one way of pre-empting the changes ahead. Based on the premise that upturns will always follow the bottom (6 o’clock) and downturns come right after the peak (12 o’clock), it’s a tool that aims to help investors plan their sale and purchase timings.
So where is the clock on our local market right now?
A large gathering of Brisbane agents took their stab at the answer during a Real Estate Institute of Queensland forum last week. And the range of opinions on our clock’s ‘time’, from 6.30 to 2.30, shows there’s nothing close to a consensus view amongst those of us out in the market each and every day. Views differed wildly.
Some agents talked of easing demand and they’re urging local owners to sell now. All talked of limited supply (listings for sale).
National valuation firm Herron Todd White produce a property clock each month, and their latest has Brisbane units at around 7.30 (“start of recovery”) and our houses at 9 o’clock (“rising market”). HTW has a big team of valuers so its collective insight is well worth considering. That would put Brisbane’s market in a strong position for price gains for some time to come. Or would it?!
So here’s the tricky thing about reading a property clock: the market rarely moves like, um, clockwork! Rarely as reliable in its speed. Sometimes seemingly skipping ‘hours’ completely as waves of demand overwhelm supply, or the reverse. History offers powerful lessons.
Consider 2007, just one year, when Brisbane’s dwelling prices rose 23%. The hands on that clock were spinning and many of us remember the buyer frenzy at inspections, similar to today’s market. Then compare this with the following 10 full years (2008 to 2017) when you could have been forgiven for thinking Brisbane’s property clock had a flat battery, or needed a big new weight to get that cuckoo popping out! Our dwelling prices rose just 9% in that whole decade.
So while a market will move through the cycles of the clock, there’s a myriad of influences on its pace of change. The property clock can be a helpful tool. Just don’t expect it to be predictable!
Please share your thoughts on Brisbane’s property clock in the comments. Where do you think we are right now?!