Market Report: July 2017

July, 2017 by

NSW real estate review

In NSW, auction clearance numbers fell in June, yet buyer demand remains strong and vendor expectations remain predictably high, according to Angus Raine, Executive Chairman, Raine & Horne.

“The revamped first home buyer grant is seeing buyer demand surge in many regional centres,” said Angus. From 1 July, stamp duty on all homes up to $650,000 was abolished, while there’s stamp duty relief for properties up to $800,000. For those first timers building a new home, there’s a $10,000 grant for properties valued up to $600,000. Insurance duty on lenders mortgage insurance was also abolished.

Raine & Horne Bathurst Principal Michelle Mackay welcomed the subsidy changes, saying it would provide a real boost for local first homebuyers. “I think it’s absolutely terrific, it will bring a lot of people into the market,” she said. “It will certainly give first homebuyers a helping hand. “That sort of money goes a long way.” The median house price in Bathurst is $347,500.

In Tamworth, first home buyers are flocking into the market, according to Bryan Bolitho, Principal Raine & Horne Tamworth. “We are finding that the cut to stamp duty means that first home buyers are able to buy a little more with their money,” said Bryan. “We had a young couple, who bought a house in South Tamworth for $370,000. They wanted to build a shed on the property for some of their toys. The stamp duty saving allowed them to buy the property and build the shed.”

Queensland real estate review

The March 2017 quarter has delivered the Brisbane LGA’s first $2 million suburb, as Teneriffe reached a median house price of $2.075 million, according to the REIQ’s March Quarter Queensland Market Monitor.

Additionally a record number of $1 million-plus suburbs as 15 suburbs (including Teneriffe) hit the median milestone, up from 10 suburbs in the December quarter.

House prices annually have grown 4% in the Brisbane LGA, taking the annual median to $650,000. REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the Brisbane house market had once again proven itself to be a solid performer. “This market consistently performs well for property owners, while maintaining its affordable status,” she said.

Outside the capital, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast were the two strongest performing markets in Queensland again in the March quarter, outperforming Brisbane (as they did last quarter). “The Gold Coast has benefited from the investment delivered for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and this has significantly improved the infrastructure in the region, transforming it into an international hub,” Ms Mercorella said.

The Sunshine Coast continues to grow and, along with the Gold Coast, these centres formed the top two most popular migration destinations for people moving within Australia in 2016. More than 12,000 people moved to these two coastal destinations (excluding overseas immigration) last year, according to ABS data.

Noosa was the top annual median house performer with an annual growth of 9.2% compared with March 2016. This has positioned Noosa as the second-most expensive house market with an annual median sale price of $615,000.

The housing market in Fraser Coast, Bundaberg and Cairns held steady for the 12 months to March 2017.

Victoria real estate review

Melbourne’s reputation as the auction capital of the world remains intact with a record number of homes going to auction and selling under the hammer in 2017.

REIV data shows more than 17,630 homes were auctioned in Melbourne in the first six months of 2017 – smashing the previous record set in 2014 when 16,654 auctions were held. Of those that went to auction, a record-breaking 13,980 homes sold under the hammer, 7% more than in 2015 when 13,092 sold.

REIV Acting President Richard Simpson said 2017 is shaping up to be the biggest on record with the current 79% clearance rate on par with 2015 and 2010 – both of which were notable years for price growth. “It’s been a remarkable year for the state’s property sector, particularly in Melbourne, with more homes going to auction than ever before,” he said. “Solid price growth has been recorded across the city this year, driven by strong buyer demand and unprecedented population increases.

“This year also marks the first time we’ve seen more than 10,000 auctions held in metropolitan Melbourne in the June quarter.”

Auction volumes and sales were also up statewide with more than 1,400 homes going under the hammer in regional Victoria in the first half of the year – more than 840 of which were in the June quarter.

Western Australia real estate review

A resurgent jobs market in Western Australia is good news for the local property market, according to Craig Abbott, General Manager WA, Raine & Horne.

The latest ABS employment figures show that WA’s unemployment rate fell to 5.5% in May, the second lowest in Australia after New South Wales at 4.8%. “Lower unemployment is sure to impact consumer confidence in Western Australia, which could encourage some people to jump into real estate,” said Mr Abbott.

Underscoring the improving economic news, Western Australia’s Consumer Sentiment Index remained constant in May, at 91.9. “In addition, the ‘Family Finance’, ‘Economic Conditions’ and ‘Time to Buy Major Household Items’ indexes increased above 100 in May,” said Craig. “The Deloitte Access Economics report predicts that economic conditions in Western Australia will stabilise from 2018,” he said. “In combination, these elements will underpin real estate activity.”

Craig is tipping Morley, which is about 8 kilometres north east of Perth, to be a suburb to watch over the next 12 months. “Morley is close to everything and has good schools, and is just one bus ride into the city.”

Moreover, with a median house price of $515,000, Morley is affordable for entry- level buyers and upgraders. The suburb has good turnover, while price discounting is down, which means current values are realistic, noted Craig.

South Australia real estate review

Adelaide flies under the radar screen of most real estate investors, according to the Money Magazine real estate guide.

But according to Money, Adelaide markets have been busy in the past couple of years and some pockets have delivered good price growth. “There is also solid infrastructure spending especially on major road links around the Adelaide metropolitan area. There are prospects for improved economic performance from defence projects, energy developments and a revival in the resources sector.”

At the same time, while Adelaide’s median dwelling price is an affordable $440,000, is it growing at a steady annual pace of around 2.4%. As a result, Adelaide still offers many properties around $500,000, according to valuation firm Herron Todd White. “Popular areas that offer properties around $500,000 include suburbs such as Pasadena, Hope Valley and Croydon Park.”

Tasmania real estate review

Hobart continues to perform strongly, recording the highest growth of any capital city in June.

The Tasmanian capital produced growth of 2.8%, faster than Melbourne with 2.7% and Canberra with 2.6% growth in June, according to the latest CoreLogic Home Value Index.

Kingston is reported to be Tasmania’s fastest growing region, according to valuation firm, Herron Todd White, and is a 25 minute commute to Hobart via the southern outlet. It is a self-contained satellite centre with major and local shopping centres, public and private schools and recreational facilities.

Recent sales in Kingston indicate that purchasers with $500,000 to spend could expect to buy an older style home with a living area ranging from 120 to 160 square metres. If you can push the budget closer to $600,000 you could purchase a modern, 200 square metre home on a 900 square metre block.

For those wanting to be in Central Launceston residential homes can still be purchased for around $500,000 however such homes tend to be on the periphery, require renovation and are often in very steep locations.

Northern Territory

Raine & Horne has recorded a staggering 75% more sales in Darwin in June, than the same time in 2016.

“A large number of sellers are investors, which could suggest end-of- financial year tax planning might have accounted for some of the early June sales, however many of the properties that sold were on the market for some time,” said Glenn Grantham, General Manager, Raine & Horne Darwin. “To get these properties moving, we introduced the vendors to the reality of the Darwin market place, which for many agents can be a difficult conversation to have with owners. However, the proof of our direct approach is in the pudding, as our early June sales results demonstrate.”

Three of the properties sold by Raine & Horne Darwin in the first week of June were located in the Palmerston area. “Palmerston is a competitive market with plenty of properties for sale. It’s a price driven market, with entry-level properties available from the low $300,000s,” said Glenn. For example, a 2-bedroom villa at 8/14 Duwun Road, Roseberry went to the market for offers above $315,000. At this price, it went immediately under contract.

“These pricing levels didn’t exist at the start of 2017 but at this price point, this villa found a buyer very fast,” he said. “The sweet selling spot for entry level homes in Palmerston is between $300,000 and $450,000 and $400,000 – $600,000 in the popular northern suburbs of Darwin.”

Market Report: June 2017

July, 2017 by

NSW Real Estate Overview

Low interest rates make winter a good time to sell in Sydney. After rollicking along for the best part of 5 years, the NSW real estate market recorded a dip in property exchanges and settlements in April, according to data from Raine & Horne.

However, it’s far from a doom and gloom scenario, with the sales statistics counterbalanced by robust Sydney real estate values. The median dwelling price in the NSW capital is up by than 11% over the past year, according to CoreLogic. “Also our offices reported a surge in buyer enquiry with auction numbers, as a result of the premiums currently being achieved,” said Angus Raine, Executive Chairman, Raine & Horne. “This result underlines that taking a property to auction is still the preferred method of sale for many vendors.”

Often vendors choose not to list their homes for sale in the colder months, a scenario reflected by a 15% fall in appraisals in April compared to the same time in 2016.  “However, with interest rates expected to remain unchanged over the next quarter, we are anticipating relatively robust buyer demand throughout winter,” said Angus. “It’s for this reason, if you’ve decided to move house, a winter sale in Sydney will prove a worthwhile exercise for owners.”

In other news, NSW first home buyers will save more many thousands of dollars on a property purchase due to new concessions set to take effect on July 1. In May, the NSW Government announced that all first home buyers would be exempted from paying stamp duty on properties up to $650,000. The new stamp duty exemption will apply to both new homes and existing properties and is designed to help first-time buyers compete with property investors.

The announcement will prove a boon for home buyers outside of Sydney, Raine & Horne Bathurst Principal Michelle Mackay told the Western Advocate. “It’s absolutely terrific, it will bring a lot of people into the market,” she said. “It will certainly give first homebuyers a helping hand.”

Queensland Real Estate Overview

Inner Brisbane suburbs offer affordability and the prospect of growth. Traditional near-city Brisbane suburbs are the best for long-term growth, according to valuation firm, Herron Todd White.

Camp Hill is a case in point. Camp Hill, Coorparoo and surrounding suburbs are being serviced by newly minted Raine & Horne Coorparoo led by Principal Mark Evans. “Camp Hill and surrounding suburbs are very desirable as they offer affordability while still being close to the city,” said Mark. The median house price in Camp Hill is $791,000 and $560,000 for apartments. Camp Hill is only 6 kilometres south east of the Brisbane CBD.

The Gold Coast market is continuing to rumble along, said Raine & Horne. “Well-positioned and highly sought after locations such as Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach are very popular with buyers,” said Angus Raine, Executive Chairman, Raine & Horne.

Victoria Real Estate Overview

Hot auctions warm the winter market While temperatures cooled across the city, Melbourne’s auction market remained hot, with a record number of homes selling under the hammer this autumn.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) data showed that more than 9,160 homes sold at auction from 1 March to 31 May – a 7.6% increase on the previous record set in autumn 2015 when 8,517 homes sold. REIV President Joseph Walton said Melbourne’s top performing auction suburbs this autumn were predominantly located in the city’s north.

Reservoir and Craigieburn, which are serviced by Raine & Horne Roxburgh Park, experienced the strongest auction results this autumn with 138 and 116 sales respectively. “Despite these suburbs occupying vastly different price points in the market, both recorded autumn clearance rates of more than 84%, signalling ongoing buyer demand in these areas,” said Joseph.

More than 100 homes also sold under the hammer in Mount Waverley and Glen Waverley, followed by Epping (97), Kew (89) and Preston (89).

In outer Melbourne, Werribee recorded the highest growth in auction sales with 52 homes selling under the hammer this autumn, up from just five for the same period last year.

Western Australia Real Estate Overview

Is Perth property the answer for eastern state millennials? With Swiss investment bank UBS attempting to scare the life out of first home buyers in Sydney with its claim that it’ll take them 40 years to save for a property, Raine & Horne is offering a more straightforward solution.

Paul Curran, Principal of Raine & Horne Rockingham Beach told real estate publication Smart Property Investment that first home buyers on the east coast of Australia could potentially solve their housing affordability issues by purchasing Perth investment property.

“The trouble is that the median house price in Sydney is around $1 million and around $830,000 in Melbourne. In contrast, the median price in my patch of Rockingham is just $425,000,” said Paul. “Therefore, buying an investment property in Perth could be a good strategy for young Sydney and Melbourne millennials wrestling to buy into the real estate market.”

Paul added that owning an investment in one state may not necessarily bar first home buyers from available grants for buying a first home in another state. “For example, if you buy an investment property in Perth, this won’t affect your eligibility for the first home owners grant in Queensland,” he said.

South Australia Real Estate Overview

Steady as she goes for Adelaide real estate. The Adelaide property market has experienced a small lift in values over the past few couple of months, according to Michael McDonald, General Manager, Raine & Horne SA.

With buyer demand continuing to react positively to market strength, the Adelaide market has recorded steady capital growth of 2.2% in the 12 months to the end of April 2017. This reflects a 2.0% year-on-year increase in the number of settled dwelling sales, despite some so-called experts citing a bleak future for Adelaide.

The negativity has been driven by the Holden plant closure and other economic challenges for the state. However, commentators have failed to see the raft of capital investments across South Australia made by the government and private sectors, said Michael.

“Despite the focus of the state’s economy, Adelaide’s property market has been doing a good job of ensuring that demand meets supply,” he noted. “South Australia remains very affordable for buyers, whether they are first home buyers, novice investors or experienced professionals.” The median house price in Adelaide is $460,000 and $365,000 for apartments, according to CoreLogic.

Michael nominates Christies Beach and Port Noarlunga in Adelaide’s south as suburbs to watch. “They are showing very obvious signs of improvement with new developments and enhancements happening at a very good rate,” he said.

Adelaide rentals have remained relatively consistent over the past year, which will continue to catch the attention of yield-focused investors. “With the Reserve Bank expected to leave rates on hold for the remainder of the year, this should result in continued steady growth for the South Australian market,” said Michael.

Tasmania Real Estate Overview

Affordability set to lure mainland investors. Housing affordability in Tasmania improved in the March 2017 quarter, according to the latest Adelaide Bank/REIA Report, with the proportion of income required to meet home loan repayments decreasing to 23.6%

This represents a decrease of 0.6 percentage points over the March quarter and a decrease of 0.7 percentage points compared to the March quarter 2016. It helps that Tasmania is Australia’s most affordable state. The median house price in Hobart, for example, is $381,000 and the median for home units is $311,500, according to the latest statistics from CoreLogic. In comparison, the median house price in Sydney is more than a $1 million.

While Tasmania’s real estate affordability is good news for first home buyers, it is set to attract mainland investors, noted the latest Month-In-Review report from valuer, Herron Todd White. “Investors do seem to be on the increase and there is a strong possibility investors will dominate the market, especially with the increase in property prices throughout mainland Australia, which could drive investors to Tasmania.”

Northern Territory Real Estate Overview

The Northern Territory’s generous first home owner subsidies are influencing more aspiring buyers to take a first step onto the property ladder in Darwin, according to Raine & Horne.

“Around 25% of the sales of established properties in Darwin involve first home buyers, while about 90% of land sales in some developments are to first timers,” said Glenn Grantham, General Manager, Raine & Horne Darwin.

A first home buyer who is building, or buying, a new home in the Northern Territory is eligible for a $26,000 first home owner’s grant. In addition, there is $2,000 first timers can use to buy household goods. There is up to $23,000 in stamp duty relief for first home buyers purchasing an established home valued up to $650,000. “The first home buyer segment is the most active part of the marketplace because of Darwin’s combination of real estate affordability and substantial government subsidies,” said Glenn.

Raine & Horne Darwin is currently marketing blocks of land in Zuccoli, an outer suburb of Palmerston from $149,000 as part of Stages 2A and 2C of the Zuccoli Aspire development. “Stage 2A is due for practical completion early in the 3rd quarter of 2017, and we have just 6 sites left for sale from the original 80 blocks,” said Glenn. “We’re not releasing Stage 2B until later in 2017, and we have only 32 in Stage 2C left for sale with first home buyers leading the charge.

Surging first home buyer numbers is having a knock-on effect for Darwin real estate. “The March 2017 Quarter recorded stronger property sales volumes than the corresponding period 12 months before,” said Glenn. “The strength of Darwin’s entry-level market has enabled quality properties in desirable upgrader suburbs to the north of the city such as Leanyer, Tiwi and Alawa to maintain their values.”

Market Report: May 2017

May, 2017 by

NSW Real Estate Overview

The latest report from CoreLogic says the average dwelling price in Sydney has climbed by 16% over the past year to $860,000.

That said, the latest Herron Todd White Westpac Residential Report revealed there are still suburbs in Sydney offering reasonable entry prices with good capital growth prospects. For example, suburbs close to rail links are always popular among Inner West buyers, according to Herron Todd White. The valuation firm says that good choices for those on a tight budget are 1- or 2-bedroom units dating from the 1960s and 1970s. These types of property can be found in Dulwich Hill (median unit price $716,000) and Ashfield (median unit price $661,000), which also have high tenant demand due to their transport options and affordability.

In Western Sydney, Herron Todd White recommends the outskirts of the south-west growth corridor as suitable. They include Leppington, Oran Park and the recently released Austral. Three-bedroom house and land packages in Austral are priced from $615,000, while in the more established (though still new) suburb of Oran Park, the median house price is $690,000 – well below the Sydney-wide median of $860,000, according to the valuation firm.

However, prices in Western Sydney are unlikely to remain this low in these areas for long, Peter Diamantidis, Sales Manager, Raine & Horne St Marys recently told the Sydney Morning Herald. “We are finding more owner occupiers [and] first-home buyers now moving into these areas compared to 12 months ago which is now getting close on exceeding $500,000,” he said. Peter recently broke a suburb record in Sydney’s cheapest suburb, Willmot, with a $592,000 sale at the end of 2016. The same home last sold for $385,000 in 2014.

Queensland Real Estate Overview

With affordability a major issue in the southern capitals, the Raine & Horne Group is reporting that regional towns in Queensland are starting to enjoy a surge in real estate activity.

“Apart from the great lifestyle on offer, regional Queensland towns such as Bundaberg offer excellent affordability,” said Steve Worrad, General Manager, Queensland, Raine & Horne. “In Bundaberg and north to Gladstone, it’s possible to buy entry-level houses for under $200,000, which can generate gross yields above 5% for investors.”

Smaller acreages located between central Bundaberg and the coast are proving to be the region’s most active real estate market, according to Josh Rub, Principal of Raine & Horne Bundaberg. “Properties between 1-3 acres with 3-4 bedrooms are proving highly desirable with local upgraders, especially given they are selling for between $340,000-$450,000,” said Josh. “The sweet spot for this market is properties located halfway between Bargara on the coast and the town centre. Bargara is 15 minutes from the centre of Bundaberg.

In Gladstone, a combination of shorter days on market for homes for sale and rental are a sure-fire sign local real estate values are set to bounce, according to Mark Patton, Principal, Raine & Horne Gladstone. “We’ve seen that days on market for both private treaty sales and rental vacancy rates have fallen by as much as 15% since the start of the year,” said Mark. “There is also evidence of investors from outside the region snapping up properties valued around $150,000, especially with vacancy rates falling significantly.”

Western Australia Real Estate Overview

The recent sale at auction of a 4-bedroom family home in Baldivis, south of Perth, for a price above the reserve, is one of several strong signs the local real estate market is starting to lift.

“The auction attracted 4 registered bidders and up to 90 interested parties,” said Patrick Holmes of Raine & Horne Rockingham Beach, who sold the property with his colleague Louise Dickenson. “Six months ago, we would have only about 10 people at an auction in Baldivis.”

In another encouraging sign for the Perth property market, the auction result followed 7 vacant land sales in one week in mid-April, which was the highest weekly number of land sales in more than a year. Eleven houses were also sold during the week. “There is life in the market, which is an indication that people are discovering that Baldivis is one of Perth’s best-kept secrets,” said Louise. “It’s about 40 minutes from Perth by car, it has a railway station, and values are still very affordable, with a median house price of $445,000 compared to Perth’s overall median dwelling price of $475,000.”

Victoria Real Estate Overview

The $4 billion investment in regional Victoria – including $1.45 billion for regional rail services announced in the recent Victorian budget, will increase buyer demand for homes across the state, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV).

“Greater road and rail infrastructure will not only improve the desirability of regional Victoria, but will also result in higher property prices in these areas in the long-term,” said REIV Chief Executive Officer Gil King. “We’re already seeing strong price growth in towns within commuting distance of Melbourne, especially in Geelong where the median house price is now $701,000.”

In addition, the Victorian Government will invest almost $2 billion in the state’s roads, which includes $700 million over four years to upgrade the M80 Ring Road and $300 million to build the Mordialloc Bypass. A further $879.5 million will be invested in public transport for metropolitan Melbourne with eight additional train services on the Werribee line and new bus services in a number of outer suburbs, according to REIV.

“Improved transport services in Melbourne’s outer suburbs will drive continued buyer interest in these suburbs, which have experienced strong price growth in the past two quarters,” said Gil. “With estimated population growth of around 100,000 people each year, infrastructure investment in these new growth areas is essential.” According to the latest data from CoreLogic, the Melbourne real estate market is growing at 15.3% year-on-year.

Northern Territory Real Estate Overview

With property values starting to improve, astute empty nesters in Darwin are realising that now is the perfect time to downgrade from a redundant family home into a modern apartment, according to Glenn Grantham, General Manager of Raine & Horne Darwin.

“Some Darwin retirees have recognised the challenges faced by empty nesters in the southern states, where spiralling real estate values and charges such as stamp duty make it difficult to downsize from larger properties into more appropriate housing,” said Glenn. “With these southern state lessons in mind, Darwin locals have recognised that in terms of paying lower fees, charges and taxes, it’s generally better to sell and buy in a less robust market, which we have now.”

Retirees living in larger properties in Darwin’s desirable northern suburbs are starting to enquire about downsizing to apartments in the CBD, according to Glenn. “One retiree has decided to move to take advantage of lower apartment prices in the Darwin CBD,” he said. “The empty-nester is confident that by downsizing into the city now, she’ll pay a more realistic price of around $750,000 for a 3-bedroom apartment, as well as lower transactional charges such as stamp duty.”

South Australia Real Estate Overview

The median dwelling price in Adelaide continues to grow, with the latest from CoreLogic indicating it hit $430,000 in April.

At the same time, the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) revealed recently that the suburbs which have seen the largest growth over a 12 month period were Largs Bay, Malvern and Vale Park. Other big movers included Prospect, North Plympton and Belair.

Top selling suburbs in terms of recorded sales over the March quarter were the perennial Number 1 Morphett Vale, Paralowie and Aldinga Beach. Other performing suburbs included Hallett Cove, Mawson Lakes and Parafield Gardens.

“Morphett Vale and Paralowie will always be sterling performers because they are affordable, have terrific infrastructure and offer prime opportunities for development,” said Alex Ouwens, President of REISA. “Location is also key, and that is why the suburbs close to the beach will always be winners as they offer lifestyle and recreational choices for those wishing to downsize, undertake a sea change or be closer to nature.”

Tasmania Real Estate Overview

Tasmanian real estate is enjoying a purple patch with the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania (REIT) March Quarterly results confirming that over the first 3 months of 2017 the market has continued to strengthen and recorded its highest number of sales since 2004.

Over the period 2,886 sales amounting to $955,721,525 occurred, which is up 296% on the same time last year, according to REIT. Launceston outperformed all other regions recording 440 sales, an increase of 34.6% over last year. Hobart sales increased 20.2% and the North West by 20.9%.

Launceston was the only region to record a decrease in median sale price a result by a large number of transactions at the mid to lower end of the market.

Significant movement in unit/townhouse sales was also a highlight of the quarter that recorded its highest number of transactions (385 sales) for many years. Unit/townhouse transactions were up 27% in Hobart, 22% in Launceston and 4% on the North West Coast.

Twenty five sales were recorded during the period for properties priced above $1 million. 23 of these were in Hobart and 2 in Launceston. Meanwhile, Tasmania’s rental market continues to offer strong investment returns on the back of high demand and historically low vacancy rates. Investor activity grew by 50% over the same time last year, according to REIT.

Head of CoreLogic Research Tim Lawless said that based on the rolling quarterly change in dwelling values, Hobart is Australia’s strongest housing market, where home values have risen 5.1% over the past three months. Hobart’s housing market has staged a solid improvement over the past two years and is now the third best performing capital city on an annual basis, with dwelling values moving almost 14% higher over the past twelve months alone.

Market Report: April 2017

April, 2017 by

NSW Real Estate Overview

The Sydney real estate market continues to motor along, recording annualised growth of 18.9%, according to the latest CoreLogic Hedonic Home Value Index.

While CoreLogic attributes the pace of growth in Sydney to low interest rates and a rebound in investor activity, James Pratt, Director of Auctions, Raine & Horne, says low listing levels remain a factor. “There are fewer homes for sale in Sydney than this time last year, and this is fuelling strong auction clearance rates,” said James. “The strength of demand for property is also illustrated by the large numbers of properties that are selling prior to auction.” About 25% of properties in Sydney’s Inner West are selling before auction day. Moreover, about 40% of properties slated to sell under the hammer in Sydney’s northern and eastern suburbs are selling prior.

Meanwhile, the Illawarra region continued to deliver the highest value growth for property owners, according to the latest CoreLogic Regional Report for the quarter to December. Over the March quarter, CoreLogic research confirmed, Illawarra recorded the largest annual increase in values for both houses (15.2%) and units (14.8%). The state’s Central West is another region to watch. Raine & Horne Bathurst director Michelle Mackay told the Western Advocate that Bathurst’s affordability compared to places like Sydney is drawing attention to the regional centre and helping it to become a hot spot. “I think it is the amount of work that is available and how affordable houses are,” she said. “The median house price is about $360,000 and units are around $285,000.”

Queensland Real Estate Overview

Regional Queensland’s property affordability, high-yielding returns and low vacancy rates mean it’s time for investors from Sydney and Melbourne to sit up and take notice.

“March was very challenging for Queenslanders in the wake of Cyclone Debbie but taking a longer-term view, regional centres in the state represent excellent value for investors,” said Steve Worrad, General Manager, Queensland, Raine & Horne. “places like Nanango have quality rental properties as low as $145,000, which is a fraction of the price of a Sydney or Melbourne apartment. Many regional markets have low vacancy rates and properties delivering returns of 7-8%.

“The biggest problem for these regional centres is that the great investment opportunity remains a secret to Australia’s biggest audience of investors in NSW and Victoria.”

Steve urges investors to consider buying into regional Queensland towns with strong, diversified economies that provide plenty of job opportunities.

Western Australia Real Estate Overview

In a strong signal that Perth real estate is starting to rebound, research from the Real Estate Institute of WA (REIWA) shows that some suburban markets in the city are selling faster than during the heady days of the boom in 2013 and 2014.

In southern Perth, Rossmoyne experienced the biggest improvement in average selling days, with REIWA data revealing it is now 22 days quicker to sell in the area than it was in the year to January 2014. “Churchlands, Glen Forrest and Dalkeith are also experiencing faster selling times, with each suburb improving by 15 days in the year to January 2017 compared to the year to January 2014,” said REIWA President Hayden Groves.

Interestingly, eight of the 10 suburbs on the list have an annual median house price (for the year to January 2017) above $750,000, with four of those above the $1 million mark.

“These results show the quickest sales are happening in the suburbs that predominantly cater to the trade-up sector of the residential property market. Buyers looking to take the next step in their property journey clearly recognise there is good opportunity in the current market to take advantage of more affordable house prices to upgrade to a new home,” said Hayden.

Victoria Real Estate Overview

Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) President Joseph Walton said the 2017 auction market is one of the strongest in recent years, with volumes up 13% on the same period last year. 

“Multiple auction records fell in February when more than 3,200 homes went to auction and close to 2,570 sold under the hammer,” he said. “High auction volumes have continued throughout March with the current clearance rate of 79% signalling ongoing buyer and vendor confidence.”

Mr Walton added that the solid start to the year followed the strongest December in the state’s history – in terms of both auction volumes and sales.

“The 2016 auction market remained buoyant right up until Christmas eve with low interest rates and high clearance rates encouraging more vendors to sell their homes well after the traditional spring selling season.”

Northern Territory Real Estate Overview

Demand for Darwin rental properties is booming, with leading property specialist Raine & Horne Darwin finalising leases on more than 60 properties in February. 

“This result follows the 60 properties we leased to tenants in January,” said Glenn Grantham, General Manager, Raine & Horne Darwin.

“Consequently, rental yields for Darwin houses have improved and are currently 5.1%, which is the highest in Australia. The Darwin apartment market is also starting to pick up some pace.”

The Darwin rental market is still above the 2% vacancy rate sweet spot achieved a few years ago, with vacancies running at more than 7%.

“That said, the vacancy rate for properties managed by Raine & Horne Darwin is only 4%, which is well below the city’s average,” said Glenn. “Investors need to be sensible about presentation and pricing to ensure a vacant investment property is tenanted as quickly as possible. It seems our landlords are listening.”

Rental days-on-market have fallen to an average of about 32 days in Darwin, according to Glenn. “Vacancies are headed in the right direction, which is a good sign. However, it means investors shouldn’t be complacent about pricing and presentation,” said Glenn.

For first home buyers seeking to exit the rental treadmill, Raine & Horne Darwin recently held the launch of the Zuccoli Aspire display village. “There are 22 homes in the village, making it the biggest display ever in the Northern Territory,” said Glenn.

South Australia Real Estate Overview

In Adelaide, demand for character homes near the CBD is pushing up prices in suburbs such as Goodwood, Unley and Millswood, according to Herron Todd White’s Month in Review April 2017.

As a result, neighbouring city-fringe suburbs are heating up as home buyers widen their search. Clarence Gardens and the nearby suburbs of Cumberland Park and Daw Park are particularly attractive to buyers, as they are only about 8 kilometres from the CBD, and offer good transport and shopping. Detached homes are in short supply in these city-fringe suburbs, especially in Clarence Gardens, and if that situation continues, prices are likely to start heading higher, says Herron Todd White.

Across the Adelaide market generally, buyers continue to have their sights set on detached housing in the $500,000 to $800,000 range. In areas where in-fill development is under way, owner-occupiers are competing for properties with developers.

Turning to regional South Australia, in Mount Gambier, the unit market has seen a significant increase in activity. Sales volumes have been rising in the past 2 years, with almost double the amount of sales in 2016 than in 2014. Herron Todd White foresees that the higher-than-average level of interest in units is likely to continue, thanks to low interest rates and good yields for investors.

Mount Gambier agents have also reported increasing confidence in the house market in the past 9-10 months. According to RP Data figures, the greatest activity in the past 12 months has been in the $200,000 to $250,000 price range, with investors seeing gross rental returns of 6-7%.

Tasmania Real Estate Overview

Hobart has been the fastest-growing capital-city real estate market in Australia for three months in a row, according to CoreLogic RP Data’s Home Values Index.

In the quarter ending March 31, houses and units in Hobart both rose in value by 5.6%. Zooming out to look at the past 12 months, Hobart’s property market is up 10.2% compared to this time last year, Tim Lawless, RP Data’s head of research.

Tim told that the strong performance can be attributed at least in part to the city’s affordability. Hobart’s median price of $355,000 is $84,000 less than the next most affordable capital, Adelaide, where the median is $439,000. And Hobart clocks in at less than half the median price of the most expensive state capital, Sydney, which sits at $805,000.

The RP DATA figures show that Hobart and Darwin share the honours of having the nation’s strongest rental markets, with a gross rental yield of 5% for houses and 5.6% for units. “This high-yield profile is very attractive for investors. Hobart also has a real ‘lifestyle’ appeal about it,” Tim said.

Market Report March 2017

March, 2017 by

NSW Real Estate Overview

The latest CoreLogic Hedonic Home Value Index indicated that Sydney’s current housing growth cycle is into its 58th month. Since dwelling values started to rise in June 2012, the city’s average dwelling values have increased by 74.9%.

Sydney has remained at the top of the capital gain tables over the past two cycles. Since the beginning of 2009, Sydney dwelling values have more than doubled, rising by 104.5% compared to Melbourne where values are 87.7% higher. The next best performing capital city over the same period was Canberra where dwelling values have risen by a comparatively modest 37.4%.

CoreLogic Head of Research Tim Lawless, “The strong growth conditions across Sydney have provided a substantial wealth boost for home owners.”

On the rental front, REA Group’s Property Demand Index found that the Northern Beaches and Sutherland Shire suburbs continue to be popular with renters, with beaches, lifestyle and greater affordability the key drivers.

Interestingly suburbs on the New South Wales/Queensland border also featured strongly, because of their links to the popular Gold Coast.

A list anomaly in terms of geography is Wetherill Park, which is 34 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD. Other favoured rental suburbs in New South Wales are close to the coast. That said, Wetherill Park is home to a major shopping centre and offers good rental affordability.

Queensland Real Estate Overview

With the Brisbane property marketing beginning to turnover, Anthony Steinberg, Principal of Raine & Horne Mermaid said that the Gold Coast real estate market has returned to pre-Global Financial Crisis levels.

“In Mermaid Beach and surrounding suburbs, we saw significant price value falls in 2008 and 2009, however, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find an entry level home in the area under $700,000.”

“Over the past few years, values have risen incrementally by 4-5% annually thanks to the economic impact of infrastructure developments supporting the 2018 Commonwealth Games, along with changes to local council planning regulations and fees, which have made it easier for developers to construct a residential building.

“In 2010, there wasn’t a crane in the sky, and now the Gold Coast skyline is littered with up to 30 cranes on any given day. Cranes are a great indicator of the health of the Gold Coast economy.” Given the strong buyer interest in Gold Coast property, Mr Steinberg is tipping price growth of 5-10% in 2017.

Central Queenslanders are starting to breathe a sigh of relief after Queensland’s latest coal mine proposal, the Olive Downs project near Moranbah, moves a step closer to approval, according to a report in CQ News.

Managing Director of Raine & Horne Mackay and Raine & Horne Moranbah Des Besanko said that Moranbah real estate had already experienced the ripple effects of increased activity in the mining sector. “Leading into the end of the last calendar year we saw a bit of activity, this announcement will increase that activity again,” he said.

Des said he could see a correlation between houses selling and increased coal prices, noting that mine job openings were already bringing more people to the area. “Moranbah is very affordable now. Given how cheap houses are, workers are choosing to relocate and have family close by instead of living away from them,” he said.

Western Australia real estate overview

Sales activity in the Perth metropolitan area increased in February, with data showing volumes were up 8% compared to January.

REIWA President Hayden Groves said it was pleasing to see activity collecting speed. “It’s good to see buyers returning to the market after the festive season. For anyone thinking of trading up to a new home, buying their first home or purchasing an investment, 2017 is the year to take advantage of favourable conditions..,” said Hayden.

Indeed, the latest Adelaide Bank/REIA Housing Affordability Report showed that first home buyers in WA are making a move. According to the report, the number of first timers in Western Australia increased to 3,809 in the December quarter, an increase of 1.3%. Of all Australian first home buyers over the quarter, 16.4% were from Western Australia while the proportion of first home buyers in the state’s owner-occupier market was 21.0%.

In February, Canning Vale was Perth’s bestselling area for house sales, followed by Duncraig and then Ellenbrook. Baldivis, Willetton, Ballajura, Hamilton Hill and Thornlie also enjoyed strong sales.

Victorian real estate report

Stamp duty will be abolished for first home buyers purchasing properties valued below $600,000, a move the Victorian Government is claiming will help thousands into a first home.

Those buying a home valued between $600,000 and $750,000 will also be eligible for a concession, applied on a sliding scale. The exemption and concession will apply to both new and established homes, in a move that is expected to help 25,000 Victorians find their first home.

At the same time, a Vacant Residential Property Tax will address the number of properties being left empty across inner and middle suburbs of Melbourne. Under the changes, owners who unreasonably leave these properties vacant will instead be encouraged to make them available for either purchase or rent.

The Vacant Residential Property Tax will be levied at 1%, multiplied by the capital improved value of the taxable property. For example, if the property has a capital improved value of $500,000, the amount paid will be $5,000. There will be several exemptions, recognising there are some legitimate reasons for a property being left vacant, including holiday homes, deceased estates and homes owned by Victorians who are temporarily overseas.

Northern Territory real estate report

After two consecutive quarters of strong sales activity, Darwin prices are set to head north, according to Glenn Grantham, General Manager, Raine & Horne Darwin.

“There was a bounce in buyer activity in the second half of 2016, which is contributing to a boost in the prices of quality, well-located properties in Darwin’s northern suburbs,” said Glenn. “Desirable houses in Jingili, Karama and Anula, are attracting 30-40 groups to open homes, with many selling within 3 weeks of reaching the market.

“Historically when values in the northern suburbs improve, this creates a ripple effect that eventually flows south to Palmerston,” he said.

Glenn said that while values in Darwin’s north will rise in the medium term, vendors with properties in the city and the south must be patient. “Regardless of where you live, to cash-in on current market activity, a property must be well-presented and priced sensibly to sell,” he said.

Other hurdles to a swift sale might include rental properties with long-term tenants, which are not realising competitive yields. “A Darwin property generating a gross yield of less than 4% will be harder to shift in the shorter-term,” said Glenn. “The bottom line is that properties with a few flies on them will be more difficult to sell now. However, when the momentum picks up across Darwin, they’ll wash through the market too.”

South Australian real estate report

Adelaide’s northern suburbs are offering rental returns of more than 5%, which are proving popular with investors nationally, according to a recent media report.

Andrew Harvey, Principal of Raine and Horne Salisbury told that he estimates some 35% of his buyer inquiries come from people seeking investment properties. “We get a good mix (of investors) from around Australia — the north has a name,” he said.

The median unit sale price Adelaide’s outer northern Salisbury and Playford council areas are $249,950 and $145,000 respectively, while in neighbouring Tea Tree Gully it is $265,000.

Andrew warns against anything too bargain basement if you want good and steady tenants. “Look for family homes more so than the low-end properties,” he told “Even though the low-end properties have a better rent ratio, they also have higher vacancy rates and higher rates of default and possible damage too.”

Tasmanian Report

Hobart continues to hold onto the mantle as Australia’s most affordable capital city in the country, new data reveals.

The latest CoreLogic Home Value Index showed Hobart had a median dwelling price of $374,000, despite it producing capital growth a tick under 6% for the three months to the end of February. Incidentally, this result made Hobart the fastest growing capital city real estate market, ahead of Melbourne (5.5%) and Sydney (4.5%). The next most affordable Australian capital city is Adelaide, with a median price of $435,000.

The CoreLogic report confirmed Hobart continues to have the highest rental yields for units (6%). For houses in Hobart, the median gross rental yield is 5.0%, which is behind Darwin, which is generating yields of 5.1%.

Market Report: February 2017

February, 2017 by

NSW Real Estate Overview

Figures from SQM Research revealed that during the 12 months to the start of February, residential housing prices in Sydney increased by 11.5% to $1,249,900 with units growing by 8.5% to $698,300.

In comparison, Melbourne’s house price jumped by 11.4% to $803,200, and unit prices rose 6.7% to $475,700. Moreover, with strong buyer demand and a lack of stock, many Raine & Horne agents are expecting Sydney’s real estate values will continue to soar.

In Sydney’s inner city, Raine & Horne City Living’s Matthew Mifsud told he expected to see growth rates in the inner city of around the 7 to 10% mark for the first half of 2017.

Meanwhile, Terry Brandtman, Principal of Raine & Horne Randwick, says the housing sales market is very tight in the eastern suburbs. “The market is strong with entry level units selling for $800,000,” said Terry. “It’s the proximity of this region to the CBD and the beaches that make Randwick, Clovelly and Coogee perennial favourites with owner-occupiers and investors.”

Peter Diamantidis, Sales Manager, Raine and Horne St Marys said most properties in his region were selling in less than two weeks. Raine & Horne St Mary’s services the corridor between St Marys and the Blue Mountains in Sydney’s west. “Therefore, stock levels are significantly below the highs of 2009 when there were around 130 on the market at any one time,” said Peter. “Buyers want to move in to this area for its schools, shopping centres and proximity to several major road thoroughfares such as the as the M4 and the Greater Western Highway. The impending opening of the new airport at Badgerys Creek is a major attraction for shrewd investors with a long-term outlook.”

Queensland Real Estate Overview

With the autumn selling season imminent, Steve Worrad, General Manager, Queensland, Raine & Horne believes the outlook is very positive for the state’s real estate markets.

“Brisbane dwelling prices have started 2017 in positive territory,” said Steve, who nominates the Gold Coast and Carindale, which is 8 kilometres from Brisbane, as patches to watch in 2017. “Ipswich is another area to monitor, where it’s possible to buy houses for under $370,000.”

Interstate downsizers are also making their presence felt. “We are seeing more retirees who have sold up in Sydney and Melbourne. They can buy in South East Queensland and have plenty of money left over for a decent retirement lifestyle.

Another regional town to watch in 2017 is Mackay. “Vacancy rates have fallen to single figures, which savvy investors looking for affordable assets and decent returns will duly note.” According to Raine & Horne, the median house price in Mackay is $265,000 with median weekly rents of $275.

Western Australia real estate overview

First home buyers continued to be active in the Perth property market in the December quarter 2016, according to the latest data from the Real Estate Institute of WA (REIWA).

In the traditional first home buyer market, house sale transactions below $500,000 were up 12% compared to the September quarter, lifting from 49% of total house sale transactions to 55%. Similarly, in the unit market, activity below $500,000 increased from 65% of total transactions to 71%.

“Unlike markets on the east coast, WA is still very much the ‘land of opportunity’ for first home buyers, with plenty of affordable housing options available to help prospective buyers take the leap into home ownership,” REIWA President Hayden Groves said.

In more good news for homeowners, stock levels in the Perth metropolitan area fell 2% in the December quarter compared to the September quarter, with 13,886 properties listed for sale. This figure is also down 3% compared to the same time in 2015. “The decline in listings over the quarter can be attributed to a 6% in the number of properties listed for sale in the $360,000 to $500,000 price range,” Hayden said.

It was five days quicker on average to sell a home in Perth the December quarter 2016 than it was in the September quarter 2016, down from 67 in the September quarter to 62 days in the 3 months to December.

At the same time the Western Australian Government has increased the First Home Owners Grant for those building or buying new properties from $10,000 to $15,000 in 2017. The government has relaxed the eligibility criteria for the low deposit Keystart home loans too, in a further boost for first timers seeking a new home in Perth.

Victorian real estate report

CoreLogic Home Value Index results released in early February confirmed Melbourne’s dwelling values posted a 0.8% rise in the first month of 2017.

Over the rolling quarter, the Victorian capital produced a strong growth result of 2.4% in the three months to 31 January. Over the last 12 months, Melbourne dwelling values increased by 11.8%, with only Sydney producing a higher rate of annual growth.

Inner city suburbs such as Port Melbourne, St Kilda, South Yarra, Richmond, Carlton and Fitzroy are worth watching, according to the latest Month In Review report from valuer, Herron Todd White.

Northern Territory real estate report

After two challenging years for the real estate market in Darwin, the number of buyers has increased threefold in the first month of 2017, according to Raine & Horne Darwin.

“We hosted an average of 4.5 groups at every open home in January. We were lucky to attract an average of 1.5 groups over the last two years,” said Glenn Grantham, General Manager, Raine & Horne Darwin. “More significantly, increased enquiries are converting to sales, with one of our agents, Adam Gulliford, selling 4 properties in the first two weeks of 2017,” said Glenn.

Adam’s sales include a unit at 2/2 Coronation Drive, Stuart Park, which is under contract. This property was marketed for offers over $425,000, according to Glenn.

Raine & Horne Darwin sold a 3-bedroom home at 5 Kapok Court, Karama, for a price significantly above the advertised price of $399,000. “This property hit the market on Tuesday, 17 January, and sold 3 days later.”

“Moving up a level, we sold a modern 5-bedroom home at 194 Hutchison Road, Herbert, valued above $700,000. This property sold well above price expectations,” said Glenn.

Typically, investors from the southern states underpin improved real estate market conditions in Darwin. However, most properties are currently being secured by Territorians rather than New South Welshmen, Queenslanders or Victorians, commented Glenn.

South Australian real estate report

Inner city and suburban fringe suburbs are expected to be Adelaide real estate hot spots in 2017, according to Michael McDonald, General Manager SA, Raine & Horne.

“Inner city suburbs such as Norwood, Beulah Park and Unley on the southern tip of the CBD, which are traditionally high performers, are likely to enjoy decent capital growth this year above 5%,” said Michael. “We also expect that homes priced below $500,000 located on Adelaide’s metropolitan fringes, where first and second time buyers dominate, will enjoy decent liquidity and growth in 2017.”

Already the Adelaide market has produced some gains in 2017 due to a combination of a stronger economic outlook for the city, lower interest rates, its reputation for producing consistent capital growth and competitive yields. “With many new developments and infrastructure projects in progress, people have put behind the closures in the manufacturing sector that dominated headlines over the past few years and are recognising that Adelaide real estate is affordable and capable of producing decent income returns,” said Michael.

Tasmanian Report

Some economic commentators are forecasting increased growth in the property market throughout the greater Hobart and Launceston regions, according the latest Month In Review released by Herron Todd White (HTW) in early February.

Hobart has the tightest vacancy rates in the country, noted the valuation firm, as well as a more controlled housing supply pipeline and increased migration and tourism. These factors have Hobart on track to be Australia’s best performing capital city property market in 2017, said HTW. In fact, Hobart started the year with the largest month-on-month gains of +1.4%, edging out Sydney (+1.0%) and Melbourne (+0.8%), according to the CoreLogic Home Value Index.

A shortage of stock is a key theme in Hobart, and this is driving shorter selling periods and higher sale prices, advised Herron Todd White. As such the valuation firm is tipping that 2017 is the year “we see an increase in properties going to auction due to many properties having multiple offers only a few days after being listed.”

Market Report: December 2016

December, 2016 by

NSW Real Estate Overview

The Sydney real estate market enjoyed growth of 2.3% during the 2016 spring selling season, according to the latest CoreLogic November Hedonic Home Value Index.

Moreover, the Emerald City enjoyed the highest annual growth rate of all Australia’s capital cities, with 13.1%. CoreLogic attributes this result to a steeper upwards trajectory in growth over the second half of the year. While real estate markets in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and north shore recorded strong sales statistics, other regions to enjoy a strong spring included the North West, Inner West and South East.

The NSW Government’s Priority Growth Centre initiative drove demand for developments at Schofields, Riverstone and Marsden Park, according to Arvind Pillay, Principal, Raine & Horne Quakers Hill.

Buyers enthusiastically snapped up Inner West properties throughout the entire 12 weeks of spring, according to Paul Pettenon, Principal of Raine & Horne Concord. “In the last weekend of November, for example, auction clearance rates reached almost 90% in the Inner West, which easily trounced the Sydney average of 79%,” said Paul. However, compared to November 2015, the number of properties for sale was down by 10%. Fuelling the demand-and-supply dilemma, some owners tried to secure a next home before selling an existing asset, said Paul.

Maroubra, Coogee and Malabar enjoyed an excellent November, after a slow start to the spring market, according to Paul Spanoudakis, Principal of Raine & Horne Maroubra. “The later start to the traditional season means we expect to be selling properties right up until Christmas,” he said.

Queensland Real Estate Overview

With real estate in Brisbane slowly gaining speed, it’s was the suburbs of central Gold Coast s that have largely performed as expected during 2016, according to the latest Herron Todd White Month in Review.

Demand for established housing under $1 million was strong, while most suburbs located close to the centre of the holiday Mecca enjoyed capital growth. On the supply side, a lack of stock in some suburbs may be pushing buyers into paying premium prices for properties on the Gold Coast, which is excellent news for current owners.

To Brisbane’s north and the $70 million Knauf plasterboard factory that will reportedly generate 600 jobs for Bundaberg started in 2016 declared Herron Todd White. The Innes Park North and Bargara South beach front residential development is still in the pipeline and should stimulate interest in Bundaberg, which offers excellent real estate affordability.

Western Australia real estate overview

A new set of three interlocking one-bedroom apartments on a 250-square-metre block in Perth is expected to hit the market in March 2017, according to a report in Which Investment Property.

The apartments, located in the new WGV precinct at White Gum Valley in Perth’s southern suburbs, are likely to sell at around $400,000. The aim of the project is to change the way smaller lots are used for multiple homes. The apartments will have a shared outdoor living and green space. “The Gen Y Demonstration Housing Project offers an innovative and unique housing option designed for 21st century living,” LandCorp CEO Frank Marra said.

Targeting the project at young buyers has shaped the demands of the development, which has been designed to reduce running costs by showcasing best-practice design in sustainability and energy efficiency. Craig Abbott, General Manager WA, Raine & Horne, said this is a very interesting development. “White Gum Valley isn’t on the train line but it is close to Fremantle, which is very trendy and popular with Gen Y buyers,” said Craig. “They can take advantage of Fremantle’s restaurants and cafes even if their budgets don’t extend to buying real estate in the port city.

“The lesson from this development is that if housing is designed with a market segment in mind, and are priced correctly to sell, they will find buyers as the Gen Y Demonstration Housing Project is demonstrating.”

Victorian real estate report

The Property Council is urging the State Government to adopt the key recommendations of Infrastructure Victoria’s 30 Year Strategy to lock in the state’s long term success.

Property Council Victorian Executive Director Sally Capp said this is a once in a generation opportunity to objectively plan Victoria’s long term infrastructure needs. “The Property Council’s submission to Infrastructure Victoria supported the three key recommendations of increasing population density, transport network pricing and delivering housing for Victoria’s most vulnerable,” said Sally.

“Transport congestion costs Victorians $4.6 billion per year and its impact is worsening. The side effects of congestion, pollution, and lost productivity are all undermining Victoria’s liveability. It is critical that the State Government take decisive action in this area to maintain our State’s long term prosperity.”

Meanwhile, real estate prices in Victoria kept ticking along with CoreLogic reporting the city’s housing values grew by 11.3% over the 12 months to November 2016.

Northern Territory real estate report

For the first time since February 2015, Darwin’s annual growth rate has moved back into the black and recorded a 1.1% rise in dwelling values over the past year, according to CoreLogic’s November Hedonic Home Value Index.

Tim Lawless, National Research Manager at CoreLogic notes that results for smaller cities such as Darwin, can tend to show higher levels of volatility. He said, “The November results also show a rise in transaction numbers across the Darwin market over recent months, supporting the moderate improvement in market conditions that the hedonic index is showing.”

To demonstrate the Darwin market’s return to form, Raine & Horne Darwin, has amalgamated the rent roll of a major competitor with its existing property management business. The merger has increased the firm’s portfolio by 30%. “We now have 1,500 property managements, which makes us one of the biggest players in Darwin’s property management sector,” said Glenn Grantham, General Manager, Raine & Horne Darwin. “The merger decision was taken after the usual business due diligence was completed, but also recognises that southern state investors are returning to the Darwin real estate market. A national brand such as Raine & Horne is very familiar to investors from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.”

South Australian real estate report

Leading personal finance magazine, Money has nominated Adelaide as a hot spot to watch in 2017.

After a rough period, which includes the announcements of the closures of several vehicle manufacturing plants, including General Motors, Ford and Mitsubishi, Adelaide real estate has begun to flourish with prices up almost 5% to $420,000 for the year to November 2016, according to CoreLogic. Money Magazine says the abolition of commercial stamp duty and the extension on concessions for off-the-plan apartments have combined to drive up prices in the South Australian capital.

Also, underpinning price growth is the fact that there is a continuing issue of limited stock in many suburbs in Adelaide, says valuation firm, Herron Todd White, particularly close to the CBD and the city fringe.

Tasmanian Report

A joint study by Aussie Home Loans and CoreLogic shows that homes in Tasmania are still Australia’s most affordable.

Australia’s three most affordable suburbs are Zeehan with a median house price of $87,662, followed by Queenstown with a median of $90,200. In third place is Rosebery that has a median house price of $91,310.

The towns have plenty in common. They are all located between 100 and 150 kilometres from the nearest capital city, they show little in the way of economic diversity, with local industries generally being dominated by agriculture, mining or tourism, according to the report. To illustrate, Zeehan is 139 kilometres from Burnie, while Queenstown is 154 kilometres from the port city. Roseberry is 109 kilometres from Burnie.

Chief Executive Officer of Aussie, James Symond said, “It is not surprising that the most affordable housing markets with the lowest dwelling values and lowest mortgages are in regions where jobs are scarce, land is plentiful and buyer demand is generally low.

“However, they are in regions rich in history, with close knit communities and low prices offering housing opportunities with price tags and mortgages similar to a deposit required on a house in the large capital cities”, he added.

The Hobart market has also recorded some acceleration in growth rate trends in 2016, with dwelling values up 8.5% in the 12 months to November. Glenorchy and Claremont, approximately ten and fifteen kilometres north-west of Hobart respectively have been strong performers throughout 2016 with most residential sales coming from the $250,000 to $325,000 price range.

Market Report: November 2016

November, 2016 by

NSW Real Estate Overview

Real estate buyers in Sydney are increasingly enthusiastic about settling contracts now, with Christmas fast approaching, said James Pratt, Director of Auction Services, Raine & Horne.

At the same time, James told The Australian that an increasing number of “upgraders” were becoming evident in the major markets, especially in Sydney, and were looking at properties priced above $3 million. “We are seeing a lot of people who sold their house six months ago. They’ve waited and they’re cashed up and now starting to look around in that multi-million-dollar bracket,” he said.

In NSW’s South West Slopes region, Sydney investors seeking affordable property values and strong yields have been a strong influence on recent sales throughout this Spring sales period according to Graeme Schneider, Principal of Raine & Horne Young. “Compared to the previous year, investor numbers are significantly up,” said Graeme. Affordability is at the core of the town’s appeal. The median price for a 3-bedroom house is $245,000 in Young, with a median weekly rental of $250. For two bedroom units, the median price is $175,000 with a weekly median rent of $230. This represents a gross yield of 6.8% for apartments.

Apart from strong yields, investors recognise that Young has a healthy and diverse economy. “Young’s major industries include agriculture, horticulture, construction, engineering and steel fabrication, retail and service industries,” said Graeme. “Young offers stable employment opportunities along with a very comfortable standard of living, which is attractive for tenants moving to the town. A trend the savvy Sydney investors are recognising.”

Queensland Real Estate Overview

The latest Westpac/Herron Todd White Residential Property report reveals that in Queensland, the Gold Coast offers real potential for first home buyers and entry-level investors.

Market conditions have improved in many pockets of the Coast over the past eight months, and the Cabarita Beach/Bogangar area is especially worth a look, as it features a primary school, new supermarket and proximity to the beach. Basic houses are still available for under $400,000, while older duplex units are selling in the low $300,000s.

Staying with the theme of first home buyers, the Real estate Institute of Queensland issued a media release highly critical of the Queensland Government’s First Home Owner grant, which was recently boosted from $15,000 to $20,000. The REIQ claims the subsidy has provided limited support where it is needed most – regional Queensland’s established housing market. REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said “These markets have a surplus of housing, established homes, and there is no need to build more housing – but to qualify for the Government’s grant home owners are forced to build.”

Meanwhile, Raine & Horne launched several new offices in south western Brisbane in October. “We are confident that Brisbane’s property markets will experience strong sales growth over the coming year thanks to the city’s real estate affordability compared to other capital cities, and low interest rates,” said Angus Raine, Executive Chairman, Raine & Horne.

Western Australia Real Estate Overview

For Perth first home buyers with a budget of $500,000 to $550,000, the suburbs of Warwick, Hamersley and Greenwood are worth a look, according to valuation firm Herron Todd White.

These locations offer easy access to the Mitchell Freeway, and are within reasonable proximity to the city centre. Budget permitting, first home buyers are likely to enjoy superior long-term capital gains by opting for houses rather than villas or units.

Perth’s population is growing, and large lots close to the city are becoming hard to find, which will underpin future price appreciation, advises Herron Todd White. The median dwelling price in these suburbs is around $500,000. Although significant capital growth was recorded in 2013, prices have remained stable throughout 2014. Long-term price growth is expected to remain healthy.

Victoria Real Estate Overview

Western Victoria has led the way with solid home price growth from Horsham to Geelong, the latest REIV price data as of 30 September shows.

Buyers have been attracted to the surf-coast lifestyle, while in the state’s east, Warragul, Cowes and Bairnsdale, have shown strong price growth.

Horsham in western Victoria topped the list for median price growth over the year, increasing almost 20% to a median price of $249,975. Also, making the top five list for median price increases, in the west of the state, were Geelong (up 16.9% to $675,000), Torquay (up 14% to $690,000), and St Leonards (up 13.7% to $426,250).

“Regional Victoria is increasingly attractive to buyers and investors, offering access to quality amenities combined with a relaxed country lifestyle,” said REIV CEO Geoff White. “Continued growth in the Melbourne median house price – which rose 3% to $740,000 this quarter – also adds to the allure of locations close to Melbourne, which are well below the Melbourne median price.”

Northern Territory Real Estate Overview

The conditional sale of a Darwin home complete with a railway passenger carriage is a strong sign the Northern Territory’s capital city market is set for a rebound in 2017 according to Raine & Horne.

The property, located at 133 Virginia Road, Virginia, includes a magnificent family home on 382 square metres on a 4.9-acre rural block. “The carriage doubles as a granny flat and it is properties offering an interesting twist such as this, which are attracting buyers, and demonstrate the worm is turning for Darwin real estate,” said Glenn Grantham, General Manager, Raine & Horne. “It’s prefect for owner-occupiers who want some extra room for interstate visitors, or for those investors looking for an extremely good yield.”

Darwin’s property hotspots include the city’s northern suburbs and the satellite city of Palmerston, said Glenn. “We have seen a three-fold increase in numbers at open homes and via our online enquiries over the last two weeks, which augers well for the remainder of 2016 and the start of next year.

“A property at Anula, for example, recently attracted 12 buyer groups, whereas six months ago one or two groups would have been the norm.

“This activity indicates Darwin’s real estate is in rebound mode and we’ve also seen an increase in offers. We’ll start to see more sales when the offers and vendor expectations start to align.”

South Australia Real Estate Overview

The Port Lincoln housing market is expected to pick up in the coming months as South Australia comes off a productive September quarter, according to a recent media report.

Regional median house values for the September quarter rose to $260,000, an increase of 4% from the same time last year, according to the South Australian Valuer-General’s latest report.

Raine and Horne Port Lincoln director Steve Prout told the Port Lincoln Times that while Port Lincoln was not one of the biggest movers during the September quarter, action had picked up in the past six weeks. “We’ve seen the median price hasn’t shifted a lot but we’re a bit more season driven,” he said.

Mr Prout said as of the end of August, the median house price for Port Lincoln was at $300,000, above the state-wide median. He added that the result indicated that Lower Eyre Peninsula was a popular destination and the productivity in local industries, including farming and aquaculture, was sure to lead to further improvements. “I think the fact things are stabilising in those industries we can expect a return to the marketplace of positivity,” Steve said.

“The region is looking pretty good with prawn boats going out and farmers getting into harvest, income is coming into the town, which is when we see an increase in the interest in properties.”

While employment continues to be a factor, for the moment the outlook is bright and Mr Prout said an upswing was expected during the spring and summer period. “General activity and enquiries have picked up since the middle of September, more people are at open inspections and we’ve had pretty good sales in the last couple of weeks,” he said. “So if this continues we’ll be pretty happy.”

The Valuer-General’s report showed the top selling regional areas in South Australia for recorded housing sales were Victor Harbor, Mount Gambier and Murray Bridge.

Tasmania Real Estate Overview

The Hobart market took a slight hit in October, according to the latest CoreLogic October Home Value Index, down by 2.1% over the month.

Over the course of the last 12 months, however, the Tasmanian capital’s real estate market is up by 5%. Only the Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra markets have performed better than Hobart.

Within the greater Hobart region, the most favoured price point among buyers at present is within the $300,000 to $400,000 range with most sales coming from the middle Hobart suburbs, said the October issue of Herron Todd White’s Month in Review. Home buyers at this price point, in these middle suburbs, include up-graders, downsizers and some investors. Many recent sales and listings within this price bracket came from Howrah, Kingston, Lutana and Moonah, all of which are within a 15-kilometre radius of Hobart’s centre.

Market Report: October 2016

October, 2016 by

NSW Real Estate Overview

Traditionally the first weeks of Spring see listing numbers soar in Sydney. However, this has not been the case this year, according to James Pratt, Director of Auction Services, Raine & Horne.

“This Spring we are yet to see the full effect of a large September increase in listings, meaning owners are still waiting to put their properties on the market this year,” said James. “Lower stock numbers have also dragged auction numbers down by 15% in some inner ring Sydney suburbs compared to this time last year.”

That said, lower stock levels across Sydney have helped push up the median sale price in some suburbs. For example, North Bondi house values have risen 23.9% to $2.85 million in 2016, according to James.

The latest REIA Real Estate Market Facts publication also shows Sydney remains the capital city with the highest median property prices, with the figure for houses sitting 46.5% above the national average.

Queensland Real Estate Overview

The property market in the southeast corner of Queensland returned to positive territory in September, following last quarter’s contraction, and the Brisbane LGA median house price has grown 1.3% to a new high of $635,000, the highest figure in history.

The data in the REIQ Queensland Market Monitor also revealed some surprises in the June quarter, including almost 3% growth in the Townsville market – its second quarter of growth in the past year – and an unusual twist in Bundaberg where the median unit price is more expensive than the median house price.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said there has been significant focus on Queensland’s affordability and there is anecdotal evidence that investors from the southern states are once more returning to the state’s real estate markets. “The Queensland housing market is doing what it does best – growing in a steady, sustainable way, consistently over the long term and it is a very good thing that we have not followed the peaks and troughs that occupy the graphs of other property markets,” Ms Mercorella said.

The Gold Coast powered to a new median house sale price of $580,156, representing quarterly growth of 3.6%. The annual median sale price, of $560,000 is 6.7% higher than 12 months ago and 14.9% higher than five years ago, establishing the Gold Coast as one of the best performers in the state.

Western Australia Real Estate Overview

Leasing across Perth’s rental market increased by 17% in August, according to new data from the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

All five sub-regions in Perth had a rise in leased properties last month and the biggest increases were in the Central and North West areas, which were up 19 and 17.4%, respectively. REIWA President Hayden Groves told Perth Now the surge in activity was coupled with a 3% drop in properties available to rent.

“Although WA’s population growth has slowed in recent times, there has been a small lift in overseas migration into the state,” he said. Cheaper rentals were allowing share-house tenants to move out on their own.”

On the sales front, REIWA says activity in Perth jumped 24% in the first week of October, with 600 transactions recorded. This increase in sales activity is attributed to a 19% increase in house sales, a 36% lift in unit sales and a 44% increase in land sales.

Victoria Real Estate Overview

If you’re currently renting a one-bedroom apartment in Carlton, then it’s actually cheaper for you to buy the property than continue renting according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV).

REIV data shows tenants can repay the mortgage on a $215,000 one-bedroom property in Carlton for just $226 a week, which is almost $150 less than the inner northern suburb’s median weekly rent of $375.

With a median apartment price of $328,000, one-bedroom apartments in Melbourne are also more affordable to buy than rent, with weekly mortgage repayments of $345 now $50 less than the weekly median rent of $395.

Noble Park is another suburbs offering value for money where mortgage repayments on a $185,000 one-bedroom apartment are $195 a week, while the median rent for the same property type is $215. These figures are based on median house prices by bedroom, a 10% deposit and a three-year, fixed interest rate of 4.5%. And with plenty of fixed rates under 4%, it’s possible that home ownership could be an even better prospect in some suburbs of Melbourne, especially for first timers.

Northern Territory Real Estate Overview

Investors are set to move on first home buyer dominated Palmerston, as yields in the Darwin satellite suburb continue to shine brightly.

“It’s possible to buy some land and build a three-bedroom house for $450,000 in new Palmerston suburbs such as Zuccoli,” said Glenn Grantham, General Manager, Raine & Horne Darwin. “If you are a first time buyer and have a $26,000 first homeowner’s grant to spend on a new property, then Zuccoli continues to look very attractive.

“At the same time, those properties in Zuccoli that have been developed can command rents of $600 a week, which represents a gross yield of 6%, which savvy investors know measures up well against other asset classes.

“Moreover, some of the builders offering house and land packages in Zuccoli have completion valuations indicating their homes would sell in the market for $530,000.”

Raine & Horne Darwin is selling land in the Zuccoli Aspire development on behalf of Costojic, a partnership between developer Costa Property and local firm Ostojic. “We have just released another 200 blocks at Zuccoli Aspire, which are selling from $135,000 and expect investors, especially those from Sydney and Melbourne, to jostle with first home buyers in the race to snap up these very affordable blocks,” said Glenn.

The return of interstate investors to markets such as Palmerston is not totally unexpected, as Darwin’s rental yields compare very favourably with other capital cities. “Our median prices are many hundreds of thousands of dollars cheaper than Sydney and the smart interstate money is recognising there is more to Darwin than mining and resources,” said Glenn. “Darwin has a diverse economy that has a good spread of government businesses, as well as robust defence and tourism industries.”

South Australia Real Estate Overview

Affordability is an ongoing theme in the Adelaide market, according to the October issue of valuer Herron Todd White’s Month in Review.

In the $500,000 to $800,000 price range, there is activity in city fringe suburbs, with first home buyers prominent, including older first timers.

In Adelaide, a purchase price of between $500,000 and $800,000 provides buyers with a myriad of options. Within five kilometres of the CBD, properties in this price range will typically be detached and may be renovated. Outside of this radius, buyers can purchase a detached dwelling on a good sized allotment which has likely been renovated.

The level of market activity at different price points does depend on location and generally proximity to the city and facilities, according to Herron Todd White. Affordable suburbs adjacent to more popular locations, are also experiencing increasing market activity as buyers seek affordability.

Tasmania Real Estate Overview

The Spring 2016 issue of Raine & Horne Commercial Insights has found that the commercial market in Hobart is exceptionally strong with retail and industrial properties in the under-$5 million range attracting particular interest.

“At present, yields on retail properties are 5-7%, and broadly around 7.5-9% for office space,” said Leslie Simpson, Commercial Sales and Leasing Agent, Raine & Horne Commercial Hobart.

Low interest rates are underpinning activity among both investors and owner occupiers. “Self-managed super funds (SMSFs) are also becoming an active force, however unlike seasoned investors, who tend to look at historic benchmark yields, SMSFs are more concerned about the security of returns,” said Leslie. “Tasmania is also attracting interest from Asian investors, and much of this is fuelled by the strength of the local tourism sector.”

Looking ahead, Hobart’s commercial market will enjoy a long term fillip from the University of Tasmania’s proposal to expand its footprint in the city centre.

A 23,000 square metre site has been selected on the corner of Argyle and Melville streets for the construction of a science and technology precinct to cater for an extra 4,000 students. This site is close to the University’s $65 million, 15-storey student accommodation centre currently under construction.

Leslie, said, “Bringing students into the CBD has the potential to rejuvenate night life in Hobart’s city centre and this will be a plus for the commercial property market.”

Market Report: September 2016

September, 2016 by

NSW Real Estate Overview

The Illawarra region, south of Sydney, recorded the largest annual increase in values for both houses and units, according to the latest CoreLogic June Quarter Regional Report.

In the region, which is about an hour south of Sydney, values for houses grew by 14.3%, and units by 13.9%. CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher said, “Given that the Illawarra is close to Sydney, the result for the region is likely to be contributing to its strength with some buyers priced out of the Sydney market now looking to this region.” In comparison, CoreLogic says the Sydney market is growing at an annual rate of 9.4%.

In the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region, median values are increasing, up 8.9% for houses and 5.6% for units over the 12-month period ending June 2016.

However, before moving to regional NSW, Angus Raine, Executive Chairman, Raine & Horne says investors and owner-occupiers need to look for centres with robust and diverse economies, strong employment prospects and population growth. “These factors can help underpin decent long-term property growth and rental yields and provide some cover against the effects of environmental influences that often impact regional centres,” said Angus.

Queensland Real Estate Overview

If you’re thinking of selling a home in Queensland this Spring, there will probably never be a better time.

“Listing numbers are exceptionally low, with some parts of South East Queensland 20% lower than this time last year,” said Steve Worrad, General Manager, Raine & Horne Queensland.

Moreover, Queensland’s two major lifestyle markets of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast were the strongest performing regions across the state, with both house and unit values rising in the 12 months to June 2016, according to the CoreLogic June Quarter Regional Report. Over this period, house values on the Gold Coast rose by 7.4% from $533,571 one year earlier to $572,827, while unit values rose 5% from $359,284 in June 2015 to $377,154. On the Sunshine Coast, the median unit price increased by 4.5%, slightly outperforming houses (+4.0%) over the year, however longer term, detached houses have generally recorded stronger performance.

Western Australia Real Estate Overview

Underlining the benefits of selling at auction, clearance rates edged higher in Perth in August, with a highpoint of 83% recorded on the second Saturday of August, according to leading property group, Raine & Horne.

“The clearance rate in Perth hit a very promising 83%, although the highpoint was bookended by weaker weekends where cold, wet, weather and some high profile AFL games kept bidders away from auctions,” said James Pratt, Director of Auction Services, Raine & Horne. “However, the strong showing in the middle of August proves that selling a Perth home under the hammer can work, and we expect auctions to grow in popularity as the weather warms up, which is excellent news for Perth owners considering spring market property sales later in September, October and November.

“For vendors, there are a number of factors running in favour of using an auction, including improving clearance rates, while days-on-market for Perth properties which sell under the hammer is 28 days less than for private treaty sales.”

Randolph Watson, a Sales Agent from Raine & Horne Mandurah, who recently listed a renovated 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom house at 15 Owen Street, Mandurah for auction, said the auction process helps educate owners about the value of their properties. In Mandurah, the median house price is $332,000, according to Raine & Horne. “The auction process is relatively underutilised in Mandurah, yet we’re finding it’s the best method for achieving premium prices,” said Randolph.

Another appeal with an auction sale is that it’s a less complicated transaction, according to Alec Marra, Principal of Raine & Horne Bunbury. The median house price in Bunbury is $510,000. “There is no cooling off periods and the transaction is finalised on auction day,” said Alec. “Auctions provide vendors with a clear and precise understanding of the buyers’ interests.”

On the rental front, Perth’s North East, where Raine & Horne Midland is located, was the outstanding performer in the June 2016 quarter, recording a 4.7% increase in leasing activity, according to Craig Abbott, General Manager, Raine & Horne WA.

Victoria Real Estate Overview

New REIV data shows it’s possible to save hundreds of thousands of dollars by purchasing in the next suburb along the train line.

The Sandringham line recorded the city’s largest price difference between stations with homes in Brighton Beach ($2,715,000) over a million dollars more expensive than in neighbouring Hampton ($1,490,000). Significant savings of $885,000 were also possible for homebuyers who bought a home in Chatham, rather than the previous station on the Belgrave line, Canterbury.

REIV CEO Geoff White said a number of top commuter suburbs delivered significant savings for buyers seeking value within easy commuting distance of the city. “These areas enable buyers to enter the market at a much more affordable rate without really compromising on travelling time to the CBD,” said Geoff. “Homebuyers willing to live in a suburb just one stop further along the train line can save themselves a significant six-figure sum.”

Northern Territory Real Estate Overview

The latest CoreLogic report stating that the Darwin market grew by 4.1% in August is hard to justify, according to Glenn Grantham, General Manager, Raine & Horne Darwin. 

“That said, the Darwin is much smaller than the titanic markets in Sydney and Melbourne, and while sales activity can drop quickly, it can turn around fast as investors start to see the ongoing yield value available here, “said Glenn.

On this front, the testing sales market is also prompting more owners and developers to move their properties into the investment market, according to Glenn. “This is a sensible decision as Darwin real estate is generating average yields of about 5%, which compares very favourably to other capital cities and asset classes such as fixed interest and cash,” he said.

Now that the ALP has been returned to government in a landslide, its promised $24,000 stamp duty concession for first home buyers buying an established property worth up to $650,000 will be a huge boost for the real estate market in Darwin. In addition to this stamp duty relief for the next two years, Labor will provide $10,000 to first timers purchasing an existing home to undertake home renovations. “Any initiatives aimed at first time buyers that will get entry-level property ticking over will have a positive flow-on effect to the upgrader and investor real estate markets. This will be helpful boost longer-term for values and the broader NT economy.”

South Australia Real Estate Overview

In Adelaide, real estate values have increased by 4.7% over the first 7 months of 2016, according to Michael McDonald, CEO of Raine & Horne South Australia.

“As part of this growth, the median house price is now $445,000 and it’s $369,000 for apartments,” said Michael.

In other news, Raine & Horne South Australia will make a significant mark when the Real Estate Institute of SA’s (REISA) Annual Awards for Excellence are announced on Saturday 22 October in Adelaide. “Eight of our offices have been nominated across nine award classifications including Business Broker, Community Service, Corporate Support, Local Residential Salesperson and multiple residential sales and property management categories,” said Michael. “Our star agent, Kate Smith, Principal of Raine & Horne Semaphore, is in the running to take out the prestigious South Australian Salesperson – Residential award, and multiple winner of the REISA Business Broker Award, Simon Winter, is once again a strong contender in this category.”

“This is a fantastic result, and the 18 nominations underline the fact Raine & Horne is not only making a significant mark selling and managing South Australian properties, but we are also proving to be an employer of choice.”

Tasmania Real Estate Overview

Results from the 2016 Real Estate Institute of Tasmania June Quarterly Report show that the state’s real estate markets are revealing some resilience, with the highest number of sales recorded since the March 2010 quarter.

Hobart recorded a $10,000 median price increase to $395,000, while Launceston and the North West centres remained stable at $285,000 and $230,000 respectively. Increases were again recorded in the sale of units/townhouses with Launceston prices increasing by 22%.

REIT President Tony Collidge was surprised by the result. “With agents reporting stock shortages in most regions we expected sales to be down and prices to start moving upwards, which they have in Hobart,” he said. “What we’re seeing in today’s marketplace is: a good level of buyer interest; a decrease in the number of properties for sale; and a general reduction in the time properties are taking to sell. There is good demand for property across all regions.”