Buyers are back – tape measures and all

Media release - 15th March, 2013

Open homes see boost in buyer confidence

It’s been a solid week for Australian real estate with the news that house prices rose almost 4% in the December 2012 quarter, according to the Bendigo Bank/REIA Real Estate Market Facts report.

At the same time, apartment values increased by an average of 2.4% over the same period, while job security continues to improve, with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicating the economy added 71,500 jobs in February.

“Job security is a critical driver of real estate activity, and along with lower interest rates, appears to be fuelling real estate market confidence in 2013,” said Angus Raine, CEO of Raine & Horne.

“Indeed, Raine & Horne offices are reporting that enquiries are up by as much as 20% since the start of 2013, while there are more groups and individuals at Saturday open homes,” said Mr Raine.

While the statistics all point towards a favourable year for real estate, Mr Raine, who has seen a number of market booms and busts since starting in real estate in 1987, said shifting consumer behaviours could also mark the start of better times for real estate.

“In a more robust property market, buyers are usually more organised and focussed, and this means arriving at open homes armed with tape measures to size up rooms,” said Mr Raine.

“Already we’re seeing evidence of buyers reading contracts on the spot at open homes, looking to push through a speedier sale, which is another sign the market is starting to heat up.

“Our agents are also reporting the return of the Saturday morning sprint, with more puffing buyers rushing to as many ‘open for inspections’ as possible.”

Mr Raine said that as the market picks up, consumers can expect the duration of ‘open for inspections’ to shift from a standard 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

“For really popular homes, an ‘open for inspection’ could run for as long as 60 minutes in some cases, while we expect to see real estate office lights burning longer into Saturday night as agents work later to meet increased buyer demand,” said Mr Raine.

The quantity of free real estate supplements sitting in the baskets outside many offices is another property market bellwether.

“An empty basket means is usually an indication it’ll be a good weekend with plenty of groups at open homes,” said Mr Raine.

In Sydney’s Inner West, Paul Pettenon, Principal of Raine & Horne Concord, said above average auction clearance rates were flagging stronger market conditions.

“At 80%, our auction clearance rate is well above average, and we’ve noticed a definite change in buyer behaviour at auction since the beginning of 2013,” said Mr Pettenon.

“Last year we had to drag buyers to auctions, but this year the bidding has been very spirited.”

In Western Australia, Tim Chant, Principal of Raine & Horne Cannington, said his office is fielding at least three to four firm offers on every listed property.

“The lack of stock and tight competition has many buyers offering incentives such as short settlement terms and even cash transactions to secure a residence,” said Mr Chant.

More readily available finance is an indication the property market in Perth’s south-west is improving, according to Paul Curran, Principal Raine & Horne Rockingham Beach.

“A year ago, getting finance was an uphill battle as lenders were being overly cautious about approving home loans, but now we are seeing many more buyers with pre-approved finance walking through our doors.”



For further media information contact:

Angus Raine, CEO, Raine & Horne on 0409 920 697

Andrew Harrington, National Marketing & Communications Co-ordinator on 02 9258 5400