By KATRINA CREER
Winter has long been seen as the least popular time to sell a home, but strong competition, lack of stock and low interest rates are tipped to keep up current momentum throughout the cooler months.
Gardens may not be lush and interiors a little darker, but with so many active buyers in the market REINSW Chief Executive Officer, Tim McKibbin doesn’t believe vendors will hold off till spring.
While auction clearance rates have dropped in the past six weeks, he is confident there will be continued demand, partly fuelled by an influx of returning ex-pats replacing lack of migrants due to international border closures.
“We have a demand that grows and a supply that is under constant pressure and in that market you are not going to see prices come off, as some people have been predicting,” Mr McKibbin said.
“My personal view is that we have seen the market take a giant step forward now and it will settle at its current levels for the foreseeable future.
“It doesn’t mean that demand is going to disappear – I don’t think that is the case - but price increases as we know just can’t keep going.”
Market ranks up the heat
Mechlenne Douaihy from Merc Real Estate, in Sydney’s north-west, has seen demand for apartments slowing into winter, while houses remain hot property.
Buyers are keen to secure deals off-market, she says, rather than face competition from other house-hunters.
According to latest CoreLogic figures, Sydney auction clearance rates remained at around 80 percent last weekend, with almost the same number of homes selling prior to auction (375 properties) as with those sold under the hammer (381). Another five properties were sold after auction, while 76 were withdrawn from sale.
“Certainly, the demand is there and that is all we can go off and auction clearance rates are still good,” said Ms Douaihy, who is an REINSW member.
FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out - may be driving sales but buyers are becoming more astute. Properties need to be positioned correctly or risk taking longer to sell.
Managing vendors’ expectations can be tricky in the current market but manageable if they are presented with case studies of recent sales in their area.
Decluttering and styling are important regardless of the season, while turning up the heating is essential during winter.
“People are making quick decisions – they don’t want to walk into an icebox,” Ms Douaihy said.
“You need to think of the buyers, you may like the cold but you do need to warm the house up and turn on the air-conditioning well before an open inspection.”
When winter is a winner
Traditionally vendors prefer the warmer temperatures of spring to list with September through to November usually the peak time for listings. Not only are gardens at their best and interiors bright, but buyers are often keen to seal a deal before Christmas.
Some regional areas, however, surprisingly report strong sales in the cooler months - even in towns where the barometer will plummet to zero and below.
Agent Andrew Vogler, Director and Sales at Century 21 Orange in the State’s Central West, said they typically achieve a high-level of transactions in winter and expects it to be even busier in 2021 as the trend for remote work continues.
Properties are currently spending less than two weeks on the market with increasing demand from buyers looking to relocate and investor activity. Good heating and a sunny northerly aspect can help to sell a home in winter.
“If it is two degrees outside and the house is beautiful and warm with ducted heated or a wood fire burning it is going to make a good first impression,” said Mr Vogler, an REINSW member.
“If it is summer and it is 37 degrees outside, it is a struggle to escape the heat so that is why selling in winter can have an advantage here.”
Learn more about off-market sales strategies here.