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  • FOMO returns as market confidence gets a boost in 2024

FOMO returns as market confidence gets a boost in 2024

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The year is off to a strong start after February brought a surprise acceleration to property price growth and a bump to consumer sentiment. 

Now that conditions have shifted once again, how should vendors be navigating their selling choices in 2024? 

We spoke to three of Australia's leading selling agents to find out what's changed in the market, how and when to list, and what's in store for the year ahead.

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'A lot of positivity' in the 2024 market

2022 and 2023 were in many ways challenging years in property as interest rates rose at the fastest pace in Australian history. While prices did broadly rebound in 2023, the uncertain environment had many buyers and sellers feeling fearful. 

Thankfully, those interest rate concerns have eased in the new year, and Tony O'Doherty, principal at Belle Property Bullimba in Brisbane, is seeing confidence returning to the market. 

"If you'd told me in 2023 that the market would be this positive in 2024, I don't think I would have believed you," he said. 

Max Klimenko of Ray White Touma Group is witnessing the same positive shift in sentiment in Sydney.

"This year kicked off with a bit of a bang, at the moment there's a lot of positivity," he said. 

Klimenko explained that buyer competition has grown noticeably, even in areas with elevated levels of supply. 

"Particularly in a market that's somewhat saturated, where there are a lot of apartments available, we're still seeing a handful of buyers competing over each property. We haven't seen that in a couple of years."

Tristan Tomasino, managing director of Buxton Inner West in Melbourne, echoed that “It's been a fantastic start to the year.”

Melbourne agent Tristan Tomasino is seeing FOMO creeping back into the 2024 market. Source: Supplied

"There's a lot more transacting and a lot more competition for property. What we saw throughout Covid — that FOMO effect of missing the boat — that's certainly been the case the past four weeks."

Tomasino noted that February was his agency's biggest month in more than two years. "That's a clear sign the market is certainly on the up."

Buyers are competing over ready-to-move-in homes

Another overarching theme of the past few years has been the high cost of construction as inflation has hit building materials hard and labour has been in short supply. 

That's driven a trend towards homes that are in a well-kept and well-presented state that buyers can move straight into without having to spend money on first. 

Klimenko said "A lot of buyers are now saying to me 'I'd rather compromise on a few square metres of footprint to get something that's ready to move into.'"

He explained that they're willing to draw on every available borrowing option if it means being able to secure a home that satisfies their immediate needs. 

Sydney's Max Klimenko said buyers are wary of properties that require substantial investment before moving in. Source: Supplied

Tomasino is seeing a similar attitude in Melbourne. "People are still very conservative about buying something that needs work as construction costs are still staggeringly high," he said. 

"We've sold a lot of quality properties at a higher price point, while homes that need a lot of work are struggling to sell."

It's a similar story for O'Doherty up in Brisbane, and he pointed out that today's work-from-home culture is also impacting buyers' behaviours. 

"Floorplans are the single most important thing in our game. Properties that cater to the modern family are performing very well," he said.

What are agents advising in the current market? 

The market is always changing, and that's never been truer than over the past few years. Even so, there are some cornerstones that sellers need to remain focused on regardless of market conditions. 

Klimenko said "For me, it's always about three very important fundamentals. Condition, presentation, and location."

While location can't be changed, investing in the property's condition and enhancing presentation through things like home staging can make a huge difference. 

"The biggest thing I find with properties that don't present well and aren't well looked after is that buyers walk in and buyers walk out. There's no engagement."

O'Doherty suggested that vendors who opt to sell first and buy second are often coming out on top in today's market after securing a strong price. 

"When you're a cashed-up buyer with your home sold, you tend to be a lot more proactive and you're able to make a decision and capitalise on any opportunities," he explained. 

"The people we're working with are people that are focusing only on selling, only on optimising their sale price, and then focusing on buying afterwards."

Tony O'Doherty is finding that Brisbane sellers are achieving the best outcomes selling first and buying later. Source: Supplied

For sellers considering holding out for a higher price later in the year, Tomasino suggested that it's a risky strategy that may only deliver a small payoff. 

"Even if we see a 3 to 4 per cent increase this year, is it really worth waiting and potentially trying to get an extra $30k or $40k and putting your life on hold?" he asked.

"Doing it now, you know that you're probably going to get your price. You can move on, do things sooner, and get on with your life."

What's expected for the months ahead?

Now that inflation is receding and there's talk of interest rate cuts potentially arriving before the end of the year, what could be in store for the rest of 2024? 

Tomasino proposed that, since "there's a lot more confidence" this year, "I think it's going to be pretty good for buyers and sellers. It's going to be a more stable market, so everyone can work towards getting a fair outcome."

He cautioned, though, that with the rapid rate of change we've seen in recent years, there are no guarantees that the market will continue to behave as predicted. 

Klimenko sees units having a strong year as affordability continues to bite and buyers are forced to compromise on their Plan A.

"The gap between houses and apartments is becoming so great. I think in the next six to 12 months there will be growth in the apartment market," he said. 

O'Doherty's read of the Brisbane market is that the shortage of available stock is a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future as interstate and international migration remains high. 

"Lack of supply is the new norm for us. I don't see supply increasing enough any time soon," he said. 

In terms of home values, "I see them continuing to grow at a healthy level. I don't see excessive growth and I don't see any negativity in terms of dollar value decline any time soon."

Thinking of selling in 2024?

If you're still looking to get in on the action this year, it's important to be as prepared as possible in order to cut through the competition and achieve a standout result. 

Step 1: Understanding how your market is performing

Every market is different, and understanding your local market is fundamental to making the right selling decisions. Our guide to tracking market trends and data will help you to get a clear picture of how your market is performing and how that impacts you as a seller. 

Step 2: Know what your property might be worth

Getting a free home value estimate is a great way to set a foundation for your selling expectations and begin planning the path forward.

Step 3: Get a no-obligation market appraisal from a top real estate agent

Understand what your property could sell for in the current market by speaking to the top-performing agents in your suburb. Comparing top agents in your area will help you find the perfect partner for your selling journey and move towards a successful result.

Step 4: Finally, get your property listing-ready

Taking a thorough approach to preparing your home for sale is another critical step. From cleaning, decluttering, painting and performing other cosmetic renovations to home staging, photography and marketing, getting your property to sale-ready condition is a must.