The first quarter of 2022 saw listings up and sales volumes down when compared with 2021 numbers and trends. Property prices have stopped rising across the board. There are still sales that exceed all expectation, however this is now the exception rather than the norm. The power balance between buyers and sellers is much more balanced than it was during the 2021 boom.
Whilst a lot of talk centers around ‘will the RBA raise interest rates?’, ‘when will they raise rates?’ and ‘how many times will they raise interest rates?’ the main story is being overlooked. The retail banks are actively raising their Fixed Home Loan rates now!
During 2021, consumers were enjoying Fixed Home Loan Rates under 2%. We are close to the average Fixed Home Loan Rate being at or above 3%. In percentage terms, that is clearly a big shift.
Whether someone is buying or selling in the current market, it is wise to acknowledge the role rising Fixed Home Loan Rates is playing and will continue to play in the property market.
Buyers are relieved to see higher stock levels in the market in 2022. The turnover of properties is consistent, albeit not in a frenzied fashion. Many properties are experiencing one or two genuine bidders as opposed to the three to five bidders that most properties enjoyed when mortgage rates were lower. A genuine bidder is defined as someone who is willing and able to pay a fair price for a property, not someone duped into bidding by an artificially low price guide.
For those looking to buy and sell in this market, the equation has shifted slightly. Instead of selling for a record price and paying a record price, the current market suggests you may sell for a slightly lower price than originally hoped for. However, the same dynamic will be reflected in the purchase price.
Discretionary sellers – those that will only sell if they get a certain price, need to look closely at the market to see if their target price is attainable. Certain pockets of the market are still performing very strongly – large family homes in the inner city are doing well for example. Other segments of the market are oversupplied with stock which is putting downward pressure on prices.
Investors looking to sell – its worth noting that the market gains of 2021 are merely paper gains, up until the point the property is sold. If and when the RBA eventually do raise rates, property prices could face further pressure. Given property prices rose so sharply on the back of ultra low mortgage rates, then it should come as no surprise the boom may be unwinding on rising mortgage rates.
Property prices for houses, apartments and townhouses are comfortably higher than they were 18 months ago, providing many owners with strong equity. A modest correction after such a phenomenal boom should not be seen as negative, rather a consolidation phase in the market. Price rises are only positive to the degree that they can be sustained by the market.
Rents became a political issue during the March Federal Budget as many people faced an increasing rental market at a time of an increased cost of living. From a landlord’s perspective however, rents are still below the pre-pandemic levels. Landlords were one of the most negatively impacted segments of the property market during COVID and many need to increase their rental income to make the sustainability of the investment property viable. Many landlords have faced rising costs at a time of reduced income over the past 2 years. Thousands of apartment owners have also been slapped with special levies for building repairs and or replacement of flammable cladding.
Rising rents and soaring inflation on consumer goods occurring at the same time will be a central issue in the May Federal Election, if the Budget debate was anything to go by.
The road ahead …
In the first quarter of 2022, floods, inflation, the Ukraine/ Russian War, geo-political tensions, rising mortgage rates and supply chain issues all came to a head.
The property market performed quite well given the multitude of challenges it faced in Q1. Going forward, the market will face a Federal Election, possible change of Government, a predicted spike in COVID numbers over winter and an expectation that the RBA will move on interest rates after the election.
The RBA will be hoping that the very low unemployment rate will see wages rise to help offset the inflation taking hold.
Whether one is buying or selling, it is certainly an interesting time to be trading.
Written by Peter O’Malley
Kardinia Property is a local family based business specializing in residential property sales and property management located in Pakington Street, Geelong.
Jackson Wilson and Sara Taylor-Wilson are the directors with support from Katie Rosani in Sales, Kate Trickett in Business Development and Office Management and Montanna Williamson in Sales Support. If you are considering either selling or leasing your property we can ensure 6 star service backed up with a proven sales strategy to ensure not just a high but the highest price is achieved.
You will find us at 316 Pakington Street, Newtown (Geelong). 5292 8084.