December and 2017 sales market
The year has ended steadily, but far from spectacularly. Transactions fell off in December. However sales listing activity held up right through until the last week before Christmas. As a result we will start 2018 with the highest stock level for a long time. This is one indication of gentle cooling in the market: higher stock; lower buyer urgency; steady or (in some cases) falling prices. This isn’t such a bad thing for buyers after 3 or more years of very big and fast price rises. For sellers, it makes right now a good time to think hard about your forward plans.
I expect 2018 to be a year much like the latter part of 2017. The pressures on buyers created by harder to obtain and gradually more expensive finance will continue: the banks will be very determined to “sit up straight and behave perfectly” whilst the Royal Commission is operating. Buyers who do have the money will remain cautious and careful. Sellers will need to be very alert to opportunities. If more sellers come in to the market and create more choice for buyers the price risk will be to the downside.
As always our sales team is fully alert to the market dynamics, so if you want to discuss your plan for selling any time in the future, please give them a call on 4861 0666.
Residential rental market
Our property management team remained more than usually busy right up to Christmas. There were a lot more tenants on the move earlier in the summer season this year: it remains to be seen if the traditionally busy January/February period follows.
Rents have recently remained steady. Whilst our vacancy rate has remained low, many other agents have high vacancy, usually created by over pricing. Tenants have good vision of all rental pricing on the internet, and because they are less fussy about where they live than buyers, they will gravitate to the properly priced rental property. Our strong recommendation is always to market to tenants at competitive pricing: don’t over-price. There’s always the opportunity for regular rent increases later.
The team was deservedly rewarded in December for taking on just over 100 new properties to our portfolio in 2017. This is a great effort, because to maintain a flourishing business we always have to grow ahead of the inevitable losses to the portfolio created by sales, owners moving in to their properties, etc. New business is always important to us, so if you can help our quest in this regard, please talk to your Senior Portfolio Manager.
Our commercial department continues to get busier. Those of you resident in the Highlands will be well aware of how full (and buoyant) business is in Bowral (and increasingly in Moss Vale): that obviously helps drive our business.
Happy new year!
Finally, our whole team at Highlands Property and CIPS Real Estate would like to thank you for your excellent support in 2017, and wish you a happy and prosperous 2018.