Market gloom or opportunities for buyers?

The 2019 property market started positively on Saturday. Perfect weather, some good choices among the new listings and plenty of interested buyers inspecting homes.  While we saw many new faces, there were also a number of more familiar faces out and about again, still looking for their perfect home.

Saturday, in reality, was vastly different to the anticipated doom and gloom we had expected to see after reading the ‘House price plunge hits GFC levels’ article in Saturday’s Age before heading out to our inspections.

Of the homes we inspected today, most had a positive vibe and good numbers through the doors. (Note that we generally only inspect the better homes on offer, after ruling out a large portion from review). Some homes, such as 8 Henrietta Street Hawthorn, 64 Paxton Street Malvern East and 22a Ferguson Street Brighton East, were overwhelmingly busy with more than 30 groups through each, reminding us of the more recent buoyant markets.

There’s still a fair bit of water to go under the bridge before we can determine the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of the negative summer media market headlines. However, if numbers are anything to go by, it was a resounding tick for success. With such beautiful weather, we are sure there were better options than looking at homes just for fun!

Questions still loom, however, as to whether the Banking Royal Commission findings report, to be handed down today, will further impact the market. Maybe next weekend there will be no buyers?! Although we can’t see that happening. Looking at the number of families searching on the weekend, they need homes to live in now and really can’t wait until times may be more suitable – the children are growing now.

We see the current market providing good opportunities for buyers. Prices are more achievable than 12-24 months ago, particularly as many vendors have now adjusted to the changing conditions.

Of most importance is the need for buyers to be ‘Buy-Fit’ before embarking on the search.  What do we mean by ‘Buy-Fit’?  We mean completing some due diligence before starting physical inspections.

Buy-Fit includes:

  • Ensuring finance is in place. This can now be a lengthy process, often longer than the three weeks a sales campaign usually runs. Regularly checking it to ensure its currency is also important.
  • Familiarise yourself with the updated prices within the precincts of suburbs.  Some areas have not changed, others have seen significant change. Knowing this can help with negotiations. As fewer homes are being sold under auction conditions, the social proof re price is no longer easily visible
  • Determine your non-negotiables in advance and stick firm on them. While it is unlikely you will find a home that ticks 10/10, stamp duty is an additional cost of 5.5% on top of the purchase price. It can be an expensive exercise if you need to sell again quickly. 

Many agents reported an increase in the number of homes sold in January compared to previous years. While positives can be taken from this, the last few years often saw little stock left unsold leading into the holidays (ie. nothing or very little to sell in January). It does, however, demonstrate that buyers are around and willing to transact at the right price and vendors are becoming more commercial as time goes by.

New stock levels are still fairly low as we start the year. In among the choices are some quality homes. Early indications would suggest that the well-priced, well-located homes should receive solid competition; however, for vendors who haven’t yet adjusted to the new market it may be a little harder to achieve a sold sticker on their board.


Some of the better properties scheduled for Auction on 23 February; an architect’s view

1a Bayview Rd Beaumaris – Amanda Thomson/Nick Jones, Chisholm & Gamon

64 Paxton Street Malvern East – Fiona Ansell-Jones/Andrew Hayne, Marshall White

19 Spencer Road Camberwell – Geordie Dixon/Michael Hingston, Jellis Craig

4 Silver Street Malvern – Tim Derham/Michael Derham, Abercromby’s


‘Off-market’ Properties:

  • Two storey period home on ~500sqm, brick, Nth rear, Armadale – circa $5m+
  • Double fronted brick Edwardian, North rear, St Kilda – early $2m
  • Large period home on over 1,000sqm, Hawthorn – circa $6m
  • 4 bed family home with pool, Malvern – circa high $4m
  • Modern two storey home, 4 bed, DLUG, pool, Canterbury – circa $3.5m
  • Family home, high tech, pool on approx 930sqm, Malvern East – circa $6m
  • Close to beach, 899sqm, dated home, Beaumaris – circa early $2m
  • Large townhouse with lift, school zone, Beaumaris – circa $2.4m
  • Renovated period, two storey home, approx. 775sqm, Brighton – circa $4.2m
  • Basic home, good land with tennis court, prime beach location, Brighton – circa $8m+
  • Good land, 650sqm, well positioned, Hampton – early $2m
  • Renovated period home on large land, Brighton – circa $6m