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Dec 14, 2023

Christmas Markets

Around this time of the year, property markets normally begin to slow in anticipation of and planning for Christmas festivities and the summer holidays that follow. This year is shaping up to be different with buyer enquiry remaining strong and sellers committing to coming to market during the Christmas period. Property values across Australia continue to grow, spurred on from the demand side by higher migration levels and low stock levels. The federal government have already predicted a 115,000-property shortfall by mid-2024 and with dwelling commencements stubbornly stuck below the long-term average, there is little relief for buyers on the horizon. The Real Estate Institute of Australia released the comprehensive September quarter Market Facts report this week, revealing Australia’s median house prices rose 3.2 percent in the past twelve months to rest at $990,807. Perth’s median house price was at $595,000, the cheapest major capital by some margin. Sydney’s median house price as at September 30th was an extraordinary $1,578,000. The remaining capitals (aside from Darwin) returned a median house price of between $710,000 (Adelaide) and $934,000 (Melbourne). With such a yawning gap between our local market and eastern Australia, there is a sense of inevitability that prices here will continue their upward trajectory and the Christmas season will have little impact in quelling buyer and seller enthusiasm. Most agents I speak with expect a flurry of fresh listing activity in January, with new stock to be taken up from buyers bereft of choice. A recent property my agency sold received 20 offers. Another 15 offers. That’s 33 buyers that have committed to purchase, have missed out and will keep trying until they succeed. It is going to take some time for this buyer pool to deplete given stock levels remain below the five-year average, and new buyers keeping entering the pool. Meanwhile, rents continue to rise up to $581 per week nationally and $550 per week in Perth for 3 bedroom homes. Returns on investment for buyers in Perth are at 15.1 percent, leading the nation by some margin. Investors will take note of these numbers and continue to grow as a buyer cohort adding further pressure to our undersupplied market. This year, there will be no Christmas slowdown and buyers holding back waiting for the Santa Claus to deliver a market correction are likely to find their Christmas stocking empty.

Nov 30, 2023

To Auction or Not to Auction

Why Auction my Property? With property listings across the Perth metropolitan area dropping below 5,000 whilst property transactions tack 25 percent above the five-year average, there’s little doubt that the current ‘sellers’ market’ conditions are likely to prevail for some time. With strong demand for quality homes our most popular method of sale, private treaty, normally attracts multiple offers and because buyers are making offers ‘blind’, it is possible to have a large gap between the best offer and the one second in line. The auction process is different, of course, with buyers unlikely to bid much above a competing buyer. It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that selling by private treaty could deliver superior outcomes than an auction in the current market. But this is not necessarily the case. In such a strong market, buyers in open bidding competition know precisely what they need to pay to prevail at auction. With private treaty, buyers will often hold back from their maximum price hopeful they’ll get a chance to further negotiate with the seller.  The seller may choose to accept the best offer, perhaps unsure if they’ve extracted the best price. At auction, the seller knows they’ve extracted the best possible price from those bidding in open competition once past the reserve. Other benefits to sellers include a cash, usually unconditional contract at auction, a settlement period that suits their needs, a healthy deposit and the delivery of what is the very definition of fair market value. The “no price” marketing strategy in the lead up to the auction day is also beneficial as it captures all possible buyers, including those that may not otherwise consider the property if on the market at a fixed price by private treaty. The “start low, end high” nature of auctions also discharges agents’ fiduciary responsibility of obtaining the highest possible price. The auction process also “shakes the buyer tree” and reveals all possible buyers active in the market. Once past the reserve price, a skilled auctioneer will extract the best possible outcome and if two or more competing and motivated bidders are participating, the end result is likely to well exceed the sellers’ expectations. An auction campaign also gives sellers the chance to extract strong offers prior to auction day as some buyers may fear a ‘bidding war’ on the day of auction. And most properties that fail to reach reserve price on the day and pass-in sell in the days following. To give themselves the best possible chance of selling well at auction, sellers ought to set a realistic reserve price and talk to their auctioneer about having some flexibility around the reserve and how this may work on the day. When selling be sure to ask your agent about all the options when coming to market as there’s benefits with all methods of sale, including an auction. It’s a matter of choosing a method that suits your needs and circumstances and agents should be across the details of all options.

Sep 28, 2023

Preparing Your Home for Sale: Making a Great First Impression

Selling your home is akin to a first date — those initial moments are crucial. Just as you'd dress to impress and mind your manners, your property should radiate charm and care when it's time to list it for sale. The Power of Small Improvements In the process of getting your property ready for sale, it's often the seemingly minor tasks that hold significant sway. Those "I'll get to it someday" jobs around the house? Now's the time. Building that garden bed, freshening up the front fence, fixing the side gate, or bidding farewell to that old couch are prime examples. These tasks fall into the "small but impactful" category. Why Small Tasks Matter Addressing these minor tasks is essential for achieving a swift sale at the best possible price. Buyers notice these details too. A rusty downpipe, for instance, can appear as a major issue to them, potentially hinting at overall neglect of the property. The Balance of Renovation However, it's crucial to strike a balance. Beware of overcapitalising on costly renovations like bathroom and kitchen upgrades. Depending on your property and location these investments might not yield the desired return. On the other hand, a charming Fremantle cottage could benefit from such improvements due to the strong demand for turnkey properties in popular areas. General Guidelines for Presentation While specific recommendations vary by property and situation, some principles remain universal. A clean, tidy, and well-maintained home is your strongest asset. "Present it like you don't live in it," as one client aptly put it. Key Tips: Neutralise Interiors: Paint over bold wall colours to create a neutral canvas. Declutter: Store away trinkets, family photos, and personal items to create a spacious feel. Clear the Fridge: Remove magnets and children's artwork, maintaining a clean appearance. Consider Stylish Furniture: For vacant properties, renting tasteful furniture can significantly enhance the appeal and expedite the sale. Focus on Paint and Landscaping Don't underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint and well-kept gardens. These relatively simple improvements can yield a substantial return on investment and attract prospective buyers. Professional Guidance Lastly, consider consulting a qualified home stylist. While it involves an investment, their expertise can be the difference between exceeding your selling price expectations and no sale at all. Property Preparation Checklist In the world of real estate, presentation matters. Before listing your property for sale, consider these essential steps: Minor Repairs: Address any minor repairs and maintenance tasks around the house. Neutralise Interiors: Paint over bold wall colours with neutral tones. Declutter: Remove personal items, trinkets, and excess family photos. Kitchen and Bathroom: Evaluate whether a renovation is warranted, considering the property's location. Landscaping: Ensure the garden is well-kept and attractive. Furniture Staging: For vacant properties, consider renting stylish furniture. Professional Advice: If uncertain, consult a qualified home stylist to optimise the presentation. A well-prepared property stands the best chance of attracting potential buyers and achieving a favourable selling price.

Sep 20, 2023

2023 Australasian Auctioneering Championships

This week I attended the Australasian Auctioneering Championships, hosted in Auckland. The best auctioneers from across Australia and New Zealand fought it out ‘theatre-style’. An amazing event with the very best auctioneers moving through extraordinarily difficult bidding sequences that, thankfully, auctioneers don’t normally encounter. Christchurch based Ned Allison taking home the 2023 major prize with a stunning call of a very complex bidding sequence. I’m an advocate for the auction process as a method of sale for several reasons. It remains the most transparent selling process with all buyers able to see competing buyers, with the auctioneer bound by an ethical REIWA code of conduct,  bringing fairness to the process. Buyers also usually have the time (unless the seller accepts an offer prior to the auction) to view the property several times, undertake all necessary due diligence, and be ready to buy on auction day. The benefits to sellers include cash, an unconditional contract, a settlement period that suits their needs, a healthy deposit, and the delivery of a price that is the definition of fair market value. The “no price” marketing strategy in the lead-up to the auction day is also beneficial as it captures all possible buyers, including those who may not otherwise consider the property if it were on the market at a fixed price by private treaty. the auction process ‘shakes the buyer tree’ In short, the auction process ‘shakes the buyer tree’ and reveals all possible buyers. If the property is being sold under an executorship arrangement, or the market price is difficult to determine, then auction may be the most appropriate method. And of course, let’s not overlook the X-factor an auction brings which, through fierce competition, sometimes delivers an amazing result well above expectations, one that can be hard to replicate with other methods of sale. Auctions may not be for everyone of course, it’s important that Sellers understand the process and feel comfortable with the strategy. Some sellers can sometimes feel under pressure to ‘meet the market’ on the day of auction if the highest bid is below their original reserve price. The lead-up to the auction day can be stressful too with multiple home opens and inspections during the weeks prior. Some buyers remain deterred by the auction process too; either too nervous to bid or unprepared to buy without certain conditions being met, such as finance approval for example. However, more and more these days, many buyers appear to be welcoming the transparency of the auction process over the blind, confidential negotiation of a Private Treaty sale.   Be sure to ask your agent about all the options when coming to market, as there are benefits with all methods of sale. It’s a matter of choosing one that suits your needs and circumstances, and agents should offer you that choice and confidently explain your options.

Sep 13, 2023

Pricing Your Property Right

Fremantle’s property market continues its positive trajectory with short supply and solid demand. This current imbalance is keeping up property values as buyers continue to compete for the limited homes available in the area. Although interest rates have stabilised and inflationary pressures have tempered some of the FOMO enthusiasm, the limited buying opportunities have buyers competing for homes. The short supply means agents are desperate for listing stock and, unfortunately, one response to this market is for agents to offer ‘happy prices’ to would-be sellers, the aim being to secure the listing and hope the market catches up during their period of authority. Additionally, emotional attachment often leads homeowners to believe their property is worth more than a market consensus of a fair price. Opinion of market value for a property is largely a subjective exercise; various agents will have differing views of market price, and friends, lovers, and others have their own opinions as does the property owner. take in professional advice from a local REIWA agent Sellers who have committed to another property at a higher-than-hoped price will also be pressured to sell their own home for more than the market will bear. The result can be price expectations that well exceed market reality. In truth, the value of a property is not determined until a buyer is found, negotiations finalised and the contract for sale is completed. The combination of market information, comparative property sales analysis, demand and supply levels, buyer activity, and property presentation provide an insight into what fair market price might eventuate for a property, but what does the anticipated or listing price have to do with the final market price? In short, plenty. Statistics show that sellers who over-price their property lose money in the end. Sellers that allow their property to languish on the market due to unrealistic price expectations (either derived from themselves or an over-zealous agent) end up fighting against the buyer sentiment of a stale listing; a property that has been on the market for above average periods of time. Such properties are often simply over-priced and buyers will discount them because they think “there must be something wrong with it if no one has bought it.” Sellers that have to discount listing prices to sell will almost always end up selling for less than if they had a realistic market price expectation from the beginning.  Sellers are well advised to take in professional advice from a local REIWA agent and form a considered, unemotional opinion of value based on facts, evidence and reputable market data.

Aug 10, 2023

Perth Property Leading National Capital Gain

By Hayden Groves Data house Core Logic’s latest housing price index figures reveal what many property commentators expected; that Perth property values now lead the nation in terms of capital gain over the past twelve months. Off the back of more moderate property value increases comparative to east coast cities during the property rush of early to mid-2020, Perth was better positioned to weather the storm of 12 successive interest rates rises in fifteen months and the resulting impact on property values. For the twelve months ending June 2023, Perth is the only capital city to record annual growth with dwelling values up 2.5 percent and moving 2.8 percent for the quarter. Somewhat remarkably, Sydney’s housing values increased an impressive 4.9 percent in the June quarter off a very high base, but have pulled back 8.0 percent from its peak prices in January 2022. Across the year Melbourne is off 5.7 percent, Brisbane backed off 8.2 percent and Hobart has declined the most by 12.7 percent. Overall, evidence is emerging that Australia’s property values are trending back towards a growth phase with almost every capital returning positive gains last month and quarter. Perth is well positioned for property price gains Property values are rising despite a high inflationary environment, higher interest rates and low business confidence off the back of increased immigration levels and low listing supply fuelling demand. Sales volumes have decreased across the year, down 20.3 percent nationally, with the three big east coast capitals’ transaction levels tracking below the national average. Perth’s property sales activity has only declined 3.2 percent last year, the lowest fall in the nation. The interplay between sales volumes, listing availability and property values provides useful insights into likely future market behaviour.  Listing stock continues to trend downwards, dropping 13.2 percent from last year and 28.7 percent lower than the five-year average. Lack of housing supply is the key driver of property values in today’s market. In Perth, total listings are down a massive 30.3 percent compared to last year and new listings coming to market are off 18.7 percent. With such short listing supply, population gains driving demand and relative affordability, Perth is well positioned for property price gains in the short to medium term. Meanwhile, national rents look like they’ve peaked growing by 9.7 percent year-to-date, down from the twelve-month peak of 10.2 percent for the 2022 calendar year. REIWA reported an uptick in vacancy rates to 0.9 percent last month, some welcome relief for tenants looking for a home. I see the biggest challenge for the housing market being the rate investors are selling their property assets, homes that provide rental housing. The decade average of investor property sales is 25 percent of all property sales. This has risen sharply since January to sit at 32.7 percent. Anti-landlord sentiment fuelled by the Greens and others for political purposes and higher interest rates is seriously damaging rental supply.

Jul 24, 2023

3 Reasons Why You Don’t Sell or Lease

By Hayden Groves The current market is tight on supply and high on demand with rising property prices the result. The rental market is equally experiencing supply constraint and with limited availability, rents are rising too. In such conditions, almost any property that comes to market to buy or lease is fair game, snapped up by buyers and tenants at a record pace. In markets such as these, it is unusual to see a property languish on the market for a substantial length of time. According to reiwa.com, median selling days are at 11, compared to 23 days a decade ago and 58 days as little as four years ago. So, if your property since listing on reiwa.com remains unsold after 11 days, you might begin to question why. In itself, not selling in under a fortnight is not necessarily a problem. Your property is still relatively fresh to the market and if, for example, a major sporting event, inclement weather or long weekend coincide early in your campaign, your buyer simply may not have found your property yet. Such a strategy will always deliver a poorer result However, after you’ve been on the market for more than 60 days, there are generally three major reasons why you’ve not achieved a sale. Firstly, you may have chosen the wrong agent to represent you. Choosing an agent based on the cheapest fee, choosing an ‘out of town’ agent or one that’s carrying too much stock are common reasons why your agent isn’t able to expediently attract a buyer. Choose an agent that carries a strong reputation, deliberately takes on a manageable number of listings and is an expert in their local market. Secondly, your marketing campaign may have missed the mark. In this market, buyers are plentiful and some sellers are tempted to try and sell ‘off-market’, without a well considered and implemented marketing campaign to attract every possible buyer, opting instead to rely on an agent’s data base of buyers. This can often deliver a good selling outcome, but leave you feeling like you may have missed the chance of a better outcome had all the buyers had an opportunity to compete. Choose an agent that can deliver both, qualified buyers known to them as well as a brilliant marketing campaign that gives the best chance of a premium result. Thirdly, and the most common reason, is sellers and owners have a desired price outcome that is out of step with the market. Holding out for a price or rent that is well above the reasonable market price will deter buyers and tenants from engaging with the property, simply moving onto the next one that has a more realistic price tag. Use caution in choosing an agent that gives you a ‘happy price’, one that they know if above the market with a strategy to ‘work you down’ after being on the market for a prolonged period. Such a strategy will always deliver a poorer result than one that gives buyers the chance to compete for your property in an open market where price expectation is reasonably aligned with market sentiment. Right now, deploying the right strategy and choosing the right agent should have you sold or rented in a little over a week.

Jul 14, 2023

New listings are down a nation-leading 30.3 percent

By Hayden Groves This week, REIWA reported that there are 2,395 houses, 1,461 units and 1,364 vacant lots listed for sale on reiwa.com. This meagre total of 5,220 properties is about 40 percent lower than the same week last year. Meanwhile, sales volumes remain relatively high at 880 last week, unchanged from the corresponding week in 2022. Five years ago, reiwa.com listings numbered 12,417 and there were 29,000 property transactions. Last year, there were 58,000 sales across land, units and houses. Unsurprisingly, this shortage of supply matched with stronger sales volumes leads to one thing – higher prices. The same thing is happening in the rental market. Rental stock hit record highs in January 2018 with 12,000 homes available for lease, last week there 2,123. Rents are rising as a result of constrained supply. The problem of low housing supply for either sale or rent is not confined to the WA market. According to the latest Core Logic data, national listings for dwellings is down 13.2 percent on last year and 28.7 percent below the five-year average. In Perth, total new listings are down a nation-leading 30.3 percent from last year, way below the 18.9 percent average decline. Rental prices are rising at a rapid rate, up 13.4 percent in Perth since last year. Median house rents in Perth have moved from $370 per week in July 2020 to $575 per week today. A decade of relatively flat weekly rents, rapidly rising interest rates (which have risen 35 percent in a year), cost of living pressures and higher migration intake fuelling demand are the core reasons for the current rent price increases. new listings are down a nation-leading 30.3 percent Investors remain cautious about buying in the current fiscal environment and many, faced with spiralling mortgage costs are opting to sell. With 70 percent of all rental homes in Australia owned by persons holding a single property other than their primary home, selling the rental property is often a sensible option is your home mortgage repayments are rising. Chatter about rent freezes, high stamp and land taxes, a wobbly national economy, tenancy risk and yet-to-be tamed inflation disincentivise private investment. The structural nature of our rental housing sector has for generations relied on family investors to supply the market and in the absence of an alternative – such as governments supply more housing – we need thriving investment in housing from ordinary Australians to supply the homes tenants need. Yet, some politicians, advocates and the media have lashed these ordinary investors as being ‘greedy’ or even labelled them ‘dodgy’. Sure, there are some unscrupulous landlords out there – in the tiny minority. But this modern, anti-aspirational rhetoric threatens the fundamental underpinnings of our rental system. The government is unable to supply the $3 trillion worth of rental stock in Australia anytime soon, if that is the aspiration of those looking to undermine private investment in residential property.