Selling their Marrickville home wasn't an easy decision for Kevin Evans and his partner. They had lived in the home for over 20 years and invested a lot of love and care into their property.
The house was on a large parcel of land and they had nurtured a large, award-winning garden. Their worst fear was that a property developer would buy the land and concrete over the garden they had put so much care into.
Kevin and his partner were both in their mid-fifties and finally decided it was time to sell. They wanted to buy a unit in the city and a property in the country to "secure a different future and have a foot in both camps."
They were also concerned about the Sydney property market. "We had been tracking the market in Sydney and felt the current market was unsustainable. We didn't want to risk a 30% drop in the market."
"We were concerned about the WestConnex debacle, too."It was a topic that was weighing on a lot of potential buyers' minds, said Kevin. "The government was going to buy a lot of properties, but no one was sure exactly which properties would be affected. Many potential buyers dropped out because they were concerned about WestConnex."
Setting your property up for success
Kevin and his partner contacted OpenAgent because they wanted to narrow down the field of real estate agents. "The gentleman we spoke with was very helpful and talked with us for well over half an hour. He gave us four agents to talk with." They interviewed all four and finally settled on the one they felt was most honest.
"The agent at Ray White didn't overvalue our property and told us about the risks involved. The other agents didn't seem as upfront and honest. We were impressed with his honesty and let him handle the sale."
The award winning garden didn't need work, but before they put the house on the market, they invested $20,000 in renovations. "We fixed up the deck, did some painting, bought some outdoor furniture and did a few other things to make the house more presentable." The extra investment in renovations may have paid off on auction day.
Selling at auction
The hardest part of selling was leaving a home they had invested so much into. The couple was concerned that a property developer would buy the property and destroy the garden they had so lovingly tended to for 20 years. Because they had an unusual property, their real estate agent recommended selling at auction.
When auction day arrived, they were even more concerned. "About 35 or 40 showed up for the auction," Kevin says. "All but one were property developers and they were all talking about how they were going to concrete over our garden." As it turned out, the private party outbid the developers. "We were relieved. They wanted to keep the garden and they even kept our chickens."
They were also pleased with the outcome. "We bought the house for $175,000 in 1995 and sold it for $1.8 million." That enabled them to do as planned and buy a unit in Sydney and a more rural property.
Sydney housing affordability
The median price of homes in Marrickville is $1.3 million, but most properties in Marrickville aren't as large as the 751 square metres Kevin and his partner owned. That may be the reason why they fetched half a million dollars more than the median price.
Marrickville is just a stone's throw from Newtown and other Inner West suburbs that are popular with Gen Y buyers, but isn't on their radar as much as Newtown or Glebe. Nor is it one of the least expensive suburbs to buy in. It has the advantage of being just 10 kilometres from the Sydney CBD and is minutes away from Newtown, though, which is probably why the median price is about the same as Newtown.
The median price of houses in Sydney was $1.1 million dollars at the close of 2016. That's more than the average person can afford unless they have a house on the market in Sydney. As high as it is, the 2016 median rate is 10 percent higher than 2015, when prices topped the million dollar mark.
It's no secret that Sydney prices are high. Australian property in general ranks third in affordability. In Sydney, prices are second only to Hong Kong. This is one reason why some believe the Sydney market is headed for a fall, but the argument that Sydney prices are high because of demand also has merit.
Kevin and his partner were worried about a drop in prices as are many others. Some are trying to sell now, while prices are high, while some buyers are waiting for prices to fall. Those who can afford Sydney property are buying, as Kevin's $1.8 million sale to a private party shows.
Supply versus demand in Sydney
Kevin and his partner were concerned about the possibility of falling house prices. Many homeowners in Sydney are thinking the same thing. There are many reasons why property prices are high. On housing affordability in Australia: is the worst over? points out four reasons why prices are so high in major Australian cities:
- Population growth in Sydney and Melbourne
- Low unemployment
- Low interest rates
- Continued high demand for properties
However, prices in Sydney are well above the average person's ability to afford. Real estate pundits are divided on the issue. Some say the prices in Sydney are unsustainable while others are still bullish about the Sydney market. Those who think prices are unsustainable say prices could fall as much as 40 percent. Others argue that the low Australian dollar is attracting overseas investors and point out that sales are still booming in Sydney and demand is still high despite the high cost of real estate. .
Challenges of selling in Sydney
Kevin was concerned about the WestConnex "debacle" and its potential damage to the sales price of the home. He and others in his area were concerned because at the time, the route had not been finalised.
According to ABC News, the WestConnex project is the largest project since the Sydney Harbour Bridge and "one of the most controversial." While the $16.8 billion dollar project is expected to ease congestion, homeowners in the inner west are concerned. The government is expected to acquire 200 homes in the inner west, but residents aren't sure which homes will be affected.
While local residents are concerned and some passed on Kevin and his partner's property, the number of interested parties who attended the auction suggests the WestConnex issue is not affecting interest in homes in the inner west as much as they feared. Most of the concern is based in St. Peters and Haberfield, where most of the homes the government will acquire are located.
The WestConnex issue will settle down once the route is finalised. What happens to the Sydney property market is anyone's guess. Prices may stagnate, rise or drop. What is not controversial is the fact that Kevin Evans and his partner were more than satisfied with the price they got for their Marrickville property. They were also happy they asked OpenAgent for help and found a real estate agent who made their sale go smoothly and gave them a great outcome.