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‘Act fast’: Home-buyers urged to get in before Christmas

Melbourne, Australia - December 7, 2016: An Australian house at Christmas. (Source: Getty)
Melbourne, Australia - December 7, 2016: An Australian house at Christmas. (Source: Getty)

If you’re in the market for a new property, the window of opportunity to nab yourself a good deal is closing fast.

According to Buyers Domain director Nick Viner, home values are set to inch up in the new year. For instance, Sydney home values are predicted to rise anywhere between 10 to 14 per cent while Melbourne should see property prices jump 11 to 15 per cent next year, SQM Research forecasts reveal.

“Frankly, if you’re in the market, this Christmas could be your best chance to secure a home at a reasonable price before competition heats up in 2020,” Viner said.

Lower-than-expected Spring listings are creating a favourable situation for buyers. For example, in Sydney, October listing numbers dropped between 30 and 45 per cent in the suburbs of Balmain, Drummoyne, Erskinville, Glebe and Leichhardt.

“The fact is that anyone who has over-confidently listed at an unrealistic price and not yet sold will see buyer numbers dry up in December and January,” he added.

Sellers and agents are getting desperate

Speaking to Yahoo Finance, chief economist Nerida Conisbee said sellers and buyers tended to like having properties settled before Christmas.

“If you are looking to get a longer settlement, then buying in December could potentially give you a settlement in around February or even March. This means relaxing over Summer before you move into your new home,” she said.

Additionally, some agents’ commission year finishes at the end of the calendar year, meaning motivation to sell homes is running high.

Personal buyers agent Kitty Parker told Yahoo Finance: “The six weeks prior to Christmas tends to be the best time of year for savvy buyers to secure a good property bargain.”

Viner said some owners needed to sell before the new year for family or work reasons, making them desperate to meet their deadline.

Buyers who linger in the market for Christmas will enjoy less competition from others who drop out of the race because they get distracted by organising and attending Christmas celebrations.

From Viner’s experience, buyer numbers drop just when some vendors become more desperate to trade.

“I consistently do some of my best deals around Christmas, but this year it’s even more important to buy now because I think the market will heat back up after the holidays,” he said.

By late February, the market will be back in full force, so expect the best properties to be gone by March.

Window of opportunity: What you can do

If you’re in the market and looking for a good deal, Viner has four points of advice.

  1. Get finance ready. “When opportunities present themselves, you must act fast.”

  2. Stay on top of sales and listings. “Keeping track of offer and sale prices means you’re already well informed on market value, so when a listing is presented you’ll know what to pay.”

  3. Be keen. “Great deals can occur at inopportune times. If something is presented when you’re on your way to a Christmas party, divert course and check out the property. It might be the best gift you receive this year.”

  4. Stay close to buyer’s agents. “When desperate sellers are looking to offload quickly and efficiently, their selling agent often puts out the call to their buyer’s agent network first. And there’s no doubt, you want to be on that ‘first call’ list.”

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