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  • Why there's 'more confidence about selling' this spring

Why there's 'more confidence about selling' this spring

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Spring is here, and both buyers and sellers have emerged around the country to make up for last year's unusually quiet spring selling season. 

Prices are broadly rising and buyer demand is holding strong, though conditions are varied across different cities and states. So how can sellers put their best foot forward wherever they are in Australia? 

We spoke to two of the country's leading buyer's agents to find out what buyers are looking for, which properties are achieving standout results, and how to navigate this year's spring market.

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Listings have risen in some markets - but there's a catch

New listings have finally been on the up in Australia's two biggest property markets after an almost year-long drought, according to CoreLogic's latest data

"Certainly in Sydney and Melbourne, there's a bit of volume again," explained Pete Wargent of AllenWargent Property Buyers

"I think people have got more confidence about selling now," he said. "There's clearly a lot of underlying demand for housing because population growth is still running at something like 2,000 a day."

CoreLogic's figures show that price growth is continuing and even accelerated in August, suggesting that, so far, demand is comfortably matching the new level of supply. 

The listings increase in Sydney and Melbourne may not be as clear-cut as it seems, though. Sydney buyer's agent Penny Vandenhurk from Purchase With Penny noted that there are still shortages in some key areas. 

"We have seen an uptick in stock but the broader issue is that the majority of people selling at the moment are investors," she said. 

"From the family home perspective, that is a market that's struggling to find good stock. Good family homes are still selling for a good price."

The skew in new listings towards investment properties, which tend to be less desirable for owner-occupiers, looks to be providing opportunities for sellers with good family homes.

Stock remains tight in other areas — 'it's like the Hunger Games'

While Sydney and Melbourne have seen liftings list, much of the rest of the country is still seeing a lack of available stock despite spring getting underway. 

Wargent, who frequently buys for clients around South East Queensland, said the Brisbane market "feels like 2021 again," referring to the FOMO-driven property boom that saw prices surge at historic rates. 

"It's like the Hunger Games," he said. "If a half-decent property comes up, it's very competitive. So that suggests listings are still tight."

The same thing is playing out in Perth where stock levels remain well below average and prices are at all-time highs. 

Pete Wargent of AllenWargent is seeing fierce competition in South East Queensland. Source: Supplied

While Sydney and Melbourne have received the bulk of international migration, interstate movement is playing a big part in boosting demand in both Brisbane and Perth. 

"They've both been pretty tight markets over the past year," Wargent explained. "I would expect as prices rise and confidence grows, more people will look to sell."

More homes are selling off market and pre-auction. Why?

According to both buyer's agents, there's been a growing trend of sellers reaching early agreements, and there are some good reasons for it. 

Vandenhurk has seen roughly 30 to 40 per cent of homes selling off market throughout the year, "and it hasn't changed dramatically even though stock levels have lifted a little bit."

One perk of taking this route is that vendors are able to get their property sold without needing to spend on marketing and home styling, instead simply relying on a selling agent's database of motivated buyers. 

Wargent added that, "for some sellers, if they can get a decent price without going through the stress of a full campaign, then they're happy to do that."

The stress of sellers being able to find a new home to move into in such a tight market has also been a driving force behind off market and pre-auction selling. 

Vandenhurk explained that price isn't the only factor to consider, and that flexibility around long settlements or even offering a six-month rent-back scenario can be "an attractive offer that makes their next step easier."

Buyers are still paying top dollar for quality 

A key difference between the 2021 boom and the current market is that buyers are being discerning rather than clambering over any old listing, though good homes are achieving strong results. 

Wargent cautioned that buyers are still wary of anything that needs significant investment to be brought up to standard for a family to comfortably live in.

"The demand is more for family homes and units, not so much for things that need major work or rebuild," he said. "That part of the market has been knocked on the head quite a lot by interest rates."

Vandenhurk agreed, saying that even homes with outdated bathrooms and kitchens are being overlooked by buyers who fear that the high cost or unavailability of tradespeople will make those properties more trouble than they're worth. 

Penny Vandenhurk is seeing poorly presented or laid-out homes underperform. Source: Purchase With Penny

It pays, then, for sellers to pay close attention to presentation and ensure their property is looking in its best ready-to-move-in condition to maximise buyer interest and, ultimately, sale price. 

Vandenhurk also noted that overpricing is a key turnoff for buyers at the moment, so having realistic conversations with selling agents is critical to finding a price point that reflects current market conditions and attracts the right buyers.

Thinking of selling this spring? Here's what you need to do

If you're still looking to get in on the action this spring selling season, 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.