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The pitfalls of trying to pick when the property market has peaked

property market

House prices are tipped to fall in the medium term, but experts warn potential buyers not to focus on trying to pinpoint the bottom of the market.

Instead, anyone lucky enough to be in a position to buy would be better served trying to purchase the best quality home they can afford, regardless of whether prices are going up or down, giving them an in-demand product once it comes time to sell, buyers agents say.

“It’s one of the most common questions that we get when we sit down with clients,” Wakelin Property Advisory director Jarrod McCabe said.

“When is a good time to buy?”

The question of timing is in focus as the Reserve Bank prepares to lift interest rates from crisis-era levels, a project it once scheduled for 2024 at the earliest. But the economy has improved faster than expected, and the governor on Wednesday signalled a 2022 hike was possible, although he stressed the board’s preparedness to be patient.

Several economists expect the cash rate could rise as early as the second half of this year, or in 2023, and forecast property prices could rise gradually until that point and then dip modestly, perhaps by single digits.

property market

Rising interest rates could put downward pressure on the property market.CREDIT:PETER RAE

Any fall would be eagerly anticipated by home-buying hopefuls who have watched prices soar to record levels over the past year. Home values have risen 25.5 per cent in Sydney over the 12 months to January, 14.9 per cent in Melbourne, and 22.4 per cent nationally, CoreLogic figures released on Tuesday show.

Industry veterans have watched potential buyers get burnt in previous cycles by trying to pick the bottom of the market and getting caught by a fast price rebound.

Buyers agent and chief executive of Rich Harvey has seen some “unfortunate horror stories” in the past two years, after prices were forecast to deflate as the pandemic hit. Instead, prices fell by single digits and then reversed.

In one example, sellers two years ago thought they got a great price and could wait to buy back in, but ended up waiting too long and are faced with buying outside of Sydney or buying an inferior house in the same market.

“They’ve done themselves out of half a million to a million dollars of equity,” he said.

Rose & Jones buyers agent Stuart Jones remembered a vendor on a high salary who sold in 2015 and rented, banking on a correction.

“By the time the market corrected in 2017, he’d priced himself out,” he said.

“He’s still renting now… lots of people get it wrong.”

Property takes longer to transact than shares, as buyers usually need to get home loan pre-approval, find a home they like, go to auction or make an offer, and if they miss out to a competitor, repeat the steps. Within a few months of searching, prices might have turned.

For a long-term purchase such as a family home, likely to be held through a number of market cycles, Mr Jones urges clients to focus on the asset, not the timing.

“Buy the best possible property you can with the budget you have,” he said.

For example, a home that is light, with an efficient floor plan, with parking, near amenities such as schools and parks, in a low- or medium-density neighbourhood that has hard infrastructure offering access to the city centre even from suburbs further afield.

Mr Harvey adds a vote for buying a home that will grow with a growing family, or a low-maintenance property for a downsizer. Avoid homes on a noisy main road or next to a petrol station, he said.

Mr McCabe recommends a home with strong underlying land value and a good orientation. For investors, he suggests a property that will suit the demands of renters, regardless of the owner’s likes or dislikes.

And what of the opposite risk: purchasing at the top of the market on a low deposit and being forced to sell shortly after into a falling market due to unforeseen hardship such as divorce or job loss?

Markets such as Perth, where house prices peaked in 2014 and have not yet recovered, are a reminder that property prices can fall. And banks now insist borrowers plan for higher mortgage repayments once rates rise.

“The best way to insure yourself against that risk is to buy well,” Mr Jones said.

For example, he cites the difference between a family home close to transport and one further away, or a five-bedroom home with four children’s rooms on one level and a master bedroom on the ground floor compared to a five-bedroom home with three upstairs and two downstairs.

“When the market capitulates, you’ve got a saleable product,” he said. “There’s always somebody who’s trading up or trading down.”


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Local News

Council-owned housing left empty amid south-east Queensland rental crisis

Council-owned housing left empty, will be purchased by the state to create more housing for vulnerable residents

The Queensland will buy a council property sitting idle amid a rental and social housing crisis, to create more housing for vulnerable residents.

The Rochedale South property in Logan, owned by Logan City Council, was originally intended to create affordable rentals for pensioners but has been mostly empty for the past year.

Resident George Wright said he’s been at the property for 15 years, agreeing the empty units were “absolutely” a waste.

“I pay about $200 a week,” he said.

“It’s a nice little unit for single pensioners.”

The rental availability in Logan is currently just 0.7 per cent, with several across south-east Queensland forced to sleep in their cars due to an increasingly challenging market.

Seven of the 12 units in the Rochedale South property are currently unoccupied, prompting a push for the government to put the units to use.

“I’ve even said to council, if you haven’t got anybody to occupy them, I’ll give you someone to occupy it,” Logan Ratepayers Association president Rod Shaw said.

Negotiations are underway for the council to sell the property to the state government.

The State Housing Department has signed a lease to take over the vacant units and provide more social housing.

New tenants are expected to move in by the end of this month.

“They’ll do for pensioners, ladies who’ve suffered domestic violence, homeless people,” Shaw said.



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Gold Coast

Townhouse-style dwellings set for Burleigh Heads site

Townhouse-style dwellings set for Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads is one of the most popular suburbs across the whole of the Gold Coast when it comes to multi-res apartment developments.

Given how in demand higher density projects are, it’s rare to see a boutique project in the pipeline.

A recent development application lodged by K2H Developments, in a joint venture with Golconda Property Group, will see just four townhouse-style dwellings created at 8 Bullimah Avenue – just one street back from Tallebudgera Creek and just the other side of the Gold Coast Highway from Burleigh Head National Park.

They will be built on the 550 sqm site and will each have three-bedrooms and two-bathrooms across the three levels, as well as a garaging for two cars.

“Each dwelling has been carefully designed to make the best use of the site whilst enhancing the visual appreciation of the site,” UPS said in their development application documents.

Designed by Mi Design Studio, the ground floor will include the garage of each unit and a mud room and store area. The rear of each residence will also include the bin store and clothesline and a small landscape strip.

Each dwelling is benefitted by their own separate access with unit one with its own private access from a separate entrance off Bullimah Avenue and unit four accessed from the rear. Each dwelling has access to the floors above by way of stairs and lift.

The first floor will home the three-bedrooms and two-bathrooms, including an ensuite, with the second-floor featuring the living, kitchen and dining areas, following an open-plan layout that flows seamlessly onto the adjoining balcony areas.

The roof terrace will be open in nature, providing a private open space for the occupants of each dwelling, benefiting from views around the site. The space will also include a stairway, lift, powder room and laundry.

Each unit has a north-eastern aspect with units one and four also benefitting from aspects to the east and north-west respectively.

Benefiting from close proximity to a number of public transport, retail, dining, education and entertainment options, the site is within walking distance to the Koala Park neighbourhood centre, just 1.2-kilometres to Stockland shopping centre and 100-metres from a bus stop along the Gold Coast Highway.

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Double Bay mansion hits market with jaw-dropping $28 million price guide

Double Bay mansion hits market

A sprawling mansion in Double Bay has hit the market with an eye-watering $28 million price guide.

Representing one of the largest private landholdings in the uber-affluent locale, 11 Pinehill Avenue is being offered for sale for the first time in over 50 years.

The staggering abode is spread over a scarcely believable 2300-square-metre parcel of blue-chip land, tucked away at the end of a quiet, leafy cul de sac.

The main residence is a breathtaking two-story Federation home with great bones and a resoundingly charming aesthetic.

Boasting a total of six bedrooms and four bathrooms, the abode’s interior has, however, been refurbished and redesigned to present as a much more contemporary and functional proposition.

Features include an expansive formal lounge area, formal dining room, a bar, wine cellar, study, library, professional kitchen, and a master suite with his and hers walk-in robes.

Outside, manicured grounds and established flora are complemented by an expansive pool, spa and lounge area, as well as a lock-up two-car garage.

The eye-watering asking price may sound patently absurd to some. However, considering Double Bay’s median house price currently sits at a not unsubstantial $6.5 million, just the sheer size of the block is probably enough to warrant an asking price nearly four times as much as the median.

And, according to Domain’s data, the platinum postcode’s property witnessed skyrocketing values over the course of 2021, up 52.4 per cent compared to 2020.

So, there’s every chance that, if things in Australia’s hottest property market keep going the way they have been, 11 Pinehill Avenue may well be worth a lot more in just a few short years, crazy as that may sound.



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