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  • How sellers are achieving top results in a 'post-peak' market

How sellers are achieving top results in a 'post-peak' market

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Many agents and experts agree that the peak of this property cycle has passed, and the latter part of this year looks uncertain due to rising inflation, worsening affordability and potential interest rate hikes

Even so, the consensus seems to be that today's market still presents strong opportunities for selling success, so long as vendors come armed with the right knowledge and strategy.

We spoke with top agents in the country's three biggest markets to find out how sellers can excel in this time of transition. 

What exactly is the current state of the market? 

According to Shiv Nair of Ray White TNG in Sydney's Hills district, peak market for the NSW capital was around late November 2021. 

Since then he's particularly seen top-tier properties fall in price by as much as 5 per cent as affordability bites, while low-to-mid-tier homes are still attracting plenty of buyer competition and, as a result, are still achieving strong prices. 

"All of a sudden, a lot of the buyers shopping for the top-end homes are now focusing on more average-priced properties," he said.

Shiv Nair of Ray White TNG in Glenwood, Sydney is seeing the market go through a period of transition. 

Over in Melbourne, John Costanzo at Woodlands Carlton feels that "things haven't changed as much as people think."

"Mediocre properties that are slightly overpriced just don't get the numbers through, but good properties in good locations are still doing quite well. There's very little difference in what they're selling for now compared to what they were selling for last year," he said. 

He also pointed out that stock levels have reduced a bit, "which is keeping the prices up as well because there's more competition for the houses that are there."

Heading up the coast, Belle Property Bulimba's Tony O'Doherty said that Brisbane is "at the top of the market, and we've remained at the top of the market, in my view, for the past four months.

He noted that, while the FOMO madness has cooled off a bit, sale prices are still at peak levels, although some sellers are at risk of getting carried away with unrealistic expectations. 

"There was a stage where the market was growing absolutely wonderfully, but so too were vendors' expectations based on misadvice and often people were disappointed with wonderful results."

Setting the right price is crucial

All three agents agreed that, in this period when the market is shifting down a gear from frenzied boom conditions in 2021, setting realistic and reasonable price expectations is essential for achieving a strong sale result. 

"I see some agents around me are struggling to transact, and it's probably because they're being too aggressive on price at the start," Mr O'Doherty said.

Tony O'Doherty, principal at Belle Property Bulimba, says getting price guides right is key to success in the current Brisbane market. 

Mr Nair has seen the same change as buyers have become more selective about what properties they inspect and make offers on. 

"They're very conscious of price and price guides. Previously, buyers would still inspect the home and show interest regardless of price. Now, if the property is not priced accordingly to what the market value is, we started to notice inspection numbers were fairly low," he said.

"The sellers who are in tune with what's going on in the market and are taking buyers' and agents' feedback on board and pricing correctly, they're selling in the first week."

Mr Costanzo explained that "the problem is the buyers have got to feel that you've got a genuine vendor. If they feel that the vendor's reserve price is over the top and they don't get emotional or attached to the property, then it's hard to motivate them to make an offer."

If price guides are set correctly and fairly, though, sellers are still achieving great results. Now more than ever, consultation with an honest and realistic agent is vital.

Selling in autumn and winter presents a golden opportunity

"Since the start of my career, I've been saying to my sellers 'why are you waiting for the oversupply to hit?'" Mr O'Doherty said.

Spring has long been considered prime time for selling, but with that comes a high saturation of listings that isn't necessarily met with the same influx of new buyers. 

"If I'm a vendor I want to be on the market before everybody else," he said. 

Mr Nair noted that "typically, a lot of sellers have the mindset of selling around spring. It's warmer, it's nicer, however, there are a lot more properties to compete with."

"I think right now is a great time to sell. My advice is always to sell in isolation rather than in competition."

On the seasonality topic, Mr Costanzo explained that "we're a little bit short on listings for April and May, and it will slow down even more in winter. It happens every winter, when stock levels go down, and that's normally when we achieve the best prices."

John Costanzo of Woodards Carlton urges sellers to consider listing in the colder months to avoid peak competition. 

With another busy spring expected this year, and some major question marks on the horizon around how the market will perform in the second half of 2022, there may be an excellent window of opportunity that's currently open for sellers.

What does the future hold?

A lot is up in the air at the moment when it comes to the Australian property market. 

Inflation is rising at an increasingly rapid rate and, as a result, many economists are tipping interest rates to begin rising as early as June. 

Mr Nair noted that many buyers in Sydney are looking to purchase sooner rather than later in order to secure a more favourable interest rate and maximise their borrowing potential. 

"I do see the market correcting, it has definitely started," he said. 

"Anything can happen, but right now I think it's a more balanced market. My advice to sellers is to sell now because the market is still strong."

Mr Costanzo expects prices in his part of inner Melbourne to level off. "I can't see any massive price reductions in the areas I work in," he said.

Even so, he cautioned that "if someone is thinking of selling, I would be saying sooner rather than later.

"I don't think that prices are going to come down, but it's crystal ball stuff at this stage. You could talk to 10 economists and none of them would be able to give you the same answer. You know what the market is now, so take advantage of it."