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In these areas, homes are in high demand

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Samantha is a Sydney-based real estate and home improvement writer. She is currently Head of Marketing at OpenAgent.

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In some local markets, we’re seeing more market activity than we bargained for. While widespread indices like CoreLogic’s monthly home value index have shown house price falls at a national level, when you look at performance at an area or suburb level, it can start to tell quite a different story.

The general consensus has been that housing markets are weakening across the country, but according to these agents, the past few months have been decent for buying and selling property. 

While total advertised supply levels have remained relatively low, in some markets, buyers are out in full-force, which has helped to insulate home prices. And for some sellers, they’ve even achieved prices that were way beyond their expectations. 

How was this possible? We spoke to a handful of top agents to find out what it was about these properties and their approach that delivered such solid results. 

Hefty prices being achieved for properties in St George, Sydney

Kristina Lee is the Co-Director of Belle Property St George. As a young agent in October 1993, she sold a timber, single-level cottage in Carlton for $193,000. Now, 27 years later, she’s put that same property on the market, selling it for $1,500,000, which was $100,000 above the original auction guide for the property.

According to Ms Lee, “$1.4m was an accurate guide and the owners would’ve been happy with that.” 

However, the property didn’t make it to auction, as it sold within two weeks, after only its second inspection. 

cottage sold carlton sydney
Kristina Lee from Belle Property sold 24 Edward Street, Carlton for $1.5m in two weeks. $100,000 above the original guide. Source: Belle Property

Ms Lee says this property wasn’t an outlier, and that her and her team are consistently getting some solid results in the current market. She attributes this to the collaboration and creativity being shown by her sales agents. 

“We keep a fairly tight but open database, which means that all our 12 sales people have access to everyone else’s buyers.”

This approach has spelled-out success for the team, as each agent is not just restricted to the buyers they’ve personally met at an open home. 

“It’s a team environment, and that’s really important during these times. So if one sales person doesn’t have a buyer for a specific property, we know another sales person will, because we all work together.”

In addition, the team at Belle Property have been nailing their approach to marketing, by ensuring listings are more visually appealing and interactive, allowing potential buyers to click on a photo of a property and change the colour of floorboards, cupboards, walls and more, to get an idea of what the property’s potential is. 

Other notable sales by Ms Lee and her team include 8/197-207 Princes Highway, Kogarah, which sold right after the first open. 

“We had 25 groups go through that first open. Another townhouse in that complex sold for $797,000 pre-Covid in September last year, and we sold this one for $810,000, which is a solid result,” said Ms Lee. 

Even during the height of the lockdown, the team impressively sold a $1,150,000 property at 44 Bryant Street, Rockdale over facetime. 

44 bryant st rockdale
44 Bryant St, Rockdale was sold by the Belle Property team over Facetime during the height of the Sydney lockdown. Source: Belle Property.

Ms. Lee says the biggest misconception she’s hearing right now is that there’s no buyers out there.

“That’s certainly not been our experience in this area. Ever since we were able to do open homes again, it’s just been full-on,” she said. 

A Hamptons-style cottage in Adelaide sells for a top price

Adrian Patterson and Steve McLuckie from Ouwens-Casserley real estate in Adelaide recently sold 42 Woodlea Drive, Aberfoyle Park. The property was advertised for $549,000 - $579,000, and settled for $580,650. 

“We settled on a pretty bold price, and we pushed above the range. While it’s just above the asking price, it is still in the very high end of the market for that area,” said Mr Patterson. 

The home was unique for the area, which is saturated with 70s and 80s brick homes, but this one, being a renovated 90s-built timber-framed home made it quite unique. 

aberfoyle park houses
42 Woodlea Drive sold for higher than the asking price. Source: Ouwens Casserly Real Estate.

“My clients had done an amazing job on the property. We had 170 people in the first open, and 60 groups through on the first Saturday.”

Of course, the Ouwens-Casserley team ensured that social distancing measures were employed during open inspections. 

“We had people lined-up on the driveway; we were managing one or two in and one or two out - it was like being a doorman at a nightclub,” Mr Patterson said. 

“Our market has been pretty good here - we’ve been starved of listings, and this property has been a good example of that. Three out of the last four or five sales have all sold for above the expected range.”

For sellers in Adelaide, Mr Patterson says that currently, the market is experiencing a lack of supply, with listings down an estimated 37%. With the next 6-12 months filled with so many unknowns, his advice is to consider selling while you know what you have on your hands. 

“There are a lot of buyers and we’re still marching ahead with great prices, so make hay while the sun shines, really.”

“If you’re thinking about doing something in 6-12 months, prices may go down in 6 months, but at least right now, you know what you have on your hands.”

“Buyers are calling us saying that they keep missing out on homes”

Rachel Buglisi from First National Real Estate in Latrobe says that in her region, one of the biggest outside of Melbourne, the amount of listings on the market isn't enough to meet demand. 

“Buyers are calling us saying that they keep missing out on homes, so we’re selling properties above asking price because it gets into a bit of a bidding war.”

“There was one that I listed the other day, 10 Bennet Court, Traralgon. It was on the market for 24 hours with an asking price of $379,000. It went above the asking price, and sold for $396,000,” she said.

According to Ms Buglisi, the seller of this property had only bought it three months prior, hadn’t done anything to the home, and was able to sell it for $17,000 more.

traralgon house
10 Bennet Court, Traralgon was only on the market for 24 hours before it sold.

“It’s because our market is so busy, and we’ve got the demand for property and not enough on the market, so they’re just going so quickly,” she explains. 

For budding sellers, Ms Buglisi advises that it’s important to have 2-3 agents attend your home to give recommendations on improvements that could improve your home’s value before listing. 

Well-presented homes will sell

Jay Standley has been the top selling real estate agent in Western Australia for 10 years, so knows a thing or two about what makes properties sell. 

For those wanting to sell in the current climate, he says it’s really important to understand what’s happening in your local market.

He says most people will have an extreme view; believing that the market is either amazing, or that it’s about to be devastated, and that these views are often driven by the media. 

“It’s important to have a balanced approach as to what is reality, and the reality is, you sell your property if you price it realistically for what it’s worth,” he said. 

He recently sold 15 Latreille Road in South Bunbury through an ‘all offers invited’ method of sale. 

The expectation was that the property would at least go for somewhere around the mid-500k to high-500k mark, but the vendors were told by Mr Standley to sit back and let the ‘all offers invited’ process deliver the price, rather than promising a particular figure. 

“I thought, ‘let’s just see what we can get’”

bunbury home
15 Latreille Road, South Bunbury was sold by Jay Standley within 10 days.

The first open inspection attracted 21 sets of buyers, and the typical open home in South Bunbury will normally attract two to three, and according to Mr Standley this is because it was so well-presented.

“It was a good home. It got top dollar because the owners had really gone above and beyond with the level of presentation and effort, and you know, it just had a touch of class to it. It’s the sort of home where most people would say, ‘I’d like to live there.’”

“We had a bit of a shoot-out with offers and interests, and we sold it for $620,000 in ten days, which was a brilliant outcome,” he said. 

Another fantastic result was the sale of 7 Mindalong Close. It was listed on the market with an asking price of $1,300,000 and sold for $1,475,000. 

south bunbury luxury house
7 Mindalong Close, South Bunbury sold for $175,000 above the original asking price.

In South Bunbury, million dollar properties are an absolute rarity, and it was important in this instance to instruct the vendor to be patient. 

“It would be like if you opened a Rolls Royce distributorship in Bunbury and expected to sell them on volume,” he said. 

While the property did sit on the market for an extended period, which was to be expected, Mr Standley was able to secure a price higher than what was advertised. With all context considered, it was a fantastic result. 

“This was the highest sale price ever recorded in South Bunbury,” he said. 

In terms of how the market is tracking in his area, transaction volume is booming. 

“Last month we sold 67 properties, the month before 82, so far this month we’ve sold 42. We are a regional area, we’re not Perth, and we’re seeing sales at numbers we’ve never experienced, and we’re a fifty-year-old business.”

“We’re in a pandemic and we’re selling more than we ever have. I don’t know why, but we’re just doing really well,” he said.