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Should I sell my house now or wait? 2024

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OpenAgent articles are reviewed by real estate experts and professionals. Our reviewers confirm the content is thorough, accurate and reflective of current trends and best practice. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more about our editorial policy and review board here.

Johanna is one of the co-CEOs of OpenAgent. She has over 8 years of experience in the real estate industry through her work at OpenAgent and holds a class 2 real estate license in NSW. Previously, Johanna worked at hipages.com.au, Australia's largest trade marketplace, where she built her experience understanding renovations and home improvements for 7+ years.

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The past few years have been a rollercoaster ride for Australian property. Prices soared by +28.6 per cent over the pandemic boom before rising interest rates caused a downturn in 2022. A remarkable rebound that started in 2023 has now pushed home values back to record levels in 2024. 

Interest rates have settled at a high level but we're still seeing further monthly growth on the national level. Clearly, there's a lot to consider for anybody thinking about listing their home. 

Is it best to take advantage of the current conditions in what broadly remains a seller's market? Or is there value in waiting to see how things unfold over the coming months?

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Whether you choose to sell isn’t just about current market conditions, but also the urgency of your own personal circumstances. For some of us, we needed to upsize into a bigger property yesterday, while for others, waiting for the market to rise might be a good incentive to release more capital before retirement. 

Let’s explore the current real estate climate, the pros and cons of waiting versus selling now, and what economists believe is on the horizon for 2024 and beyond.

The current state of the market

According to CoreLogic data, Australia's property downturn halted and reversed in the early months of 2023. As of April 2024, the national median home price has never been higher.

CoreLogic Australian Home Value Index - April 2024

MarketMonthQuarterAnnualMedian value
Combined capitals0.6%1.7%9.4%$857,139
Combined regional0.8%2.1%6.4%$622,781

Sydney and Melbourne both kickstarted the market recovery, with Sydney gaining a staggering +11.4 per cent in 12 months, but both cities have recently cooled off. 

Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide are all delivering remarkable growth, hitting new all-time highs for consecutive months. Hobart, Darwin and Canberra, meanwhile, are seeing small monthly gains. 

Regional markets have collectively regained some strength and are now outpacing the capital cities. 

On an annual basis, houses have outperformed units, but that trend is shifting in 2024 as buyers seek out affordability. Units and cheaper houses are now delivering the strongest performances as our population continues to swell and interest rates remain high. 

Demand for established units has also been particularly high in the face of negative media coverage around defect-ridden new developments. 

Helpful resource: Get a suburb profile for any suburb in Australia

Australian property market forecast

Interest rates have been a key talking point since they began rising in May 2022 and, after months of talk about rate cuts in 2024, expectations have shifted once again. 

Inflation was on a promising downward trend until April when the latest figures put a dampener on rate cut forecasts. It's possible we now may not see the cash rate drop until late 2024 at the earliest.

Big four banks' cash rate forecast 2024-25

BankPeak cash rateMonth of peakRate cut forecastMonth of trough
Westpac4.35%November 20233.10%December 2025
NAB4.35%November 20233.10%November 2025
CBA4.35%November 20233.10%December 2025
ANZ4.35%November 20233.60%June 2025

While that relief is now expected to come later, all four big banks still believe we won't see another rate hike in this cycle. 

Again looking to the big banks, their latest price forecasts show continued but slower growth than we saw throughout 2023.

Big banks' Australian property price forecast 2024-25

Bank2024 national forecast2025 national forecast

Dr Nicola Powell, Domain's chief of research, said "The interest rate cut is going to be one of those things that’ll probably help to change consumer sentiment.

"Once we start to see interest rates being cut, it’ll feed into improved consumer sentiment, and once consumer sentiment starts to rise, we’ll likely see increased housing activity occur – and that is expected to happen in late 2024."

Pete Wargent, market analyst and co-founder of buyer's agency AllenWargent, warned that the road ahead now looks paved for slower rates of price growth. 

"We may well find that the peak for the rate of housing price growth was in the first quarter of 2024, as higher mortgage rates now begin to bite," he said. 

What are the upsides in the current market? 

There has been another big momentum shift across Australia's property markets over the past year. 

The most obvious benefit for sellers is that the national median property price is at an all-time high. From the start of the pandemic in 2020 to April 2024, the median Australian home value has shot up nearly +40 per cent

In Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, that number has soared beyond +57 per cent, meaning the vast majority of sellers who have held their property for even four years look set to make a very substantial profit. 

The ongoing issue of housing undersupply in the face of record levels of immigration is continuing to support property prices despite the high interest rate environment. 

PropTrack explained that "Given the current trajectory, it's unlikely that 1.2 million new homes will be built in the next five years. This means we’re likely to continue to see an undersupply of homes to buy and an undersupply of homes to rent."

Listings remain below average levels in Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide, but they've increased in Sydney and Melbourne. There's more to that story, though, as Sydney buyer's agent Michelle May explained

A large portion of that fresh stock has come from investors exiting the market, and "If you're looking for a newer apartment and you're open to higher density, there's plenty of choice."

When it comes to houses and family-friendly apartments, though, there's still "not as much stock as we would like to see from a buyer's perspective."

Ultimately, prices are at or near record levels in many markets across the country, and looking back over the past few years there has been an exceptional level of growth for home values. 

See what houses are selling for in your area with a free property report of your local area.

What about investment properties? 

Current market conditions are a bit of a double-edged sword for property investors. 

On the one hand, an extremely tight rental market is providing incentives. SQM Research data shows national vacancy rates still around historic lows at just 1.1 per cent in April, while rental rates have soared nearly +11 per cent per annum over the past three years. 

At the same time, interest rates rose a full +4.25 per cent over just 18 months, driving mortgage repayments far higher. 

How the two forces play out largely depends on an investor's loan balance. Some investors are opting to sell up to avoid inflated repayments, while others with lower or nil balances may benefit from the current rental market dynamics.

Should I sell my house now or wait?

If you’re still on the fence about selling, we get it. It’s a huge decision that deserves all your careful consideration weighing up the advantages and disadvantages for either scenario. 

Even if the market feels uncertain, it’s important to remember that it’s all relative and the market doesn’t stop. There will always be properties being listed and buyers out there wanting to purchase a home. 

It's also crucial to recognise that conditions will vary from suburb to suburb, so it’s important to understand your own local market — and to do that, you really need to get granular. 

Whether your property is impacted by price gains or falls depends on many factors including location, property type, and whether your home falls into the higher or lower end of the market.

If you’re seriously considering selling your home, you need to do your research. As a first step, get an estimate of what your home might be worth in today's market

Speaking to a top local agent is also one of the best ways to get a thorough understanding of how buyers are behaving in your suburb, what kinds of results are still being achieved, and what the best strategy could be for you to still get that dream sale result. 

At the very least, it’s helpful to hear what properties are selling for, what demand is currently like for homes like yours, and to get a no-obligation appraisal of what your home might sell for in the current market. A top agent who knows your market like the back of their hand will be able to help you along the journey.

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