Agents report strong buyer numbers

There might be a lot of talk about the property market downturn but Sydney and Melbourne agents have noted buyers are flocking to properties and this is translating to sales.

Lisa Novak, of Novak Properties, said buyers were turning out in big numbers at properties right across the Northern Beaches.

“Buyer numbers have been much higher than they usually are for this type of year,” she said.

“We haven’t seen them at this level in more than 12 months.”

Ms Novak said she sold a Dee Why apartment in just two days last week after 48 groups attended the open home, resulting in five offers.

“I turned up for the open house and I thought, ‘Look at those poor renters’, figuring there must have been a rental inspection in the street,” she said.

“Then I realised the line was for my open.”

Ms Novak said days on market for Dee Why was usually about 25 to 30 days. 

She put the significant buyer numbers down to a shortage of stock on the market as well as the tight rental market, which is forcing some people into buying when they can’t find a rental to live in.

Melbourne Real Estate Residential Sales Manager Michael Fava said the situation was similar in the Victorian capital.

“We’ve definitely noticed an obvious increase in the amount of traction, as opposed to what we saw during the last quarter of last year,” he said.

“December tended to display a flatter period than what we commonly see.

“But coming back this year, it’s probably a little bit more active more quickly than what we’re used to seeing as well.”

Mr Fava said “more traction” referred to the increased level of enquiry from buyers as well as the number of inspections buyers are attending.

“From an inspection standpoint I’d say we’ve obtained a 20 to 25 per cent increase compared to where we were last year,” he said.

Mr Fava said buyers were coming in expecting to be able to negotiate on price but were quickly understanding that what was being reported as a market-wide downturn was not necessarily happening on the ground.

He said the MRE team had noticed good buyer numbers across the board but South Melbourne, Richmond and Hawthorn were proving particularly popular markets.

“Buyers are being very quickly educated that maybe what they’re commonly reading isn’t what’s taking place,” Mr Fava said.

“Last week we had an offer for a property for $605,000 and we told the prospective buyer it would have to be signed up because we do have another buyer

“They were probably thinking it was a bit of a bluff but come four hours later it was signed up for another $45,000 to the vendor.

“Buyers are seeing a little bit more competition (now) and they’re noticing that what they were reading towards the end of last year isn’t necessarily what’s taking place in reality.”

Price-wise Ms Novak said after dropping a little last year they had lifted a bit so far this year.

She said she expected interest rates to rise two or three times this year but didn’t think prices would drop, but remain relatively stable or lift slightly.

In Melbourne, Mr Fava said the investment market was seeing more activity with rising rents meaning yields were picking up.

He said with rental vacancy rates still tight he also expected to see some renters make the decision to buy.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.