Property Observer | 17 December 2012

Property buying opportunities could ripen in the festive season: PIPA

Although the official 2012 residential property auction season came to an end over the weekend, now could be the time to negotiate your way into your 2013 dream home.

As we countdown to Christmas and then the new year, the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) says opportunities in the property market could actually ripen, with those closing their cheque books too soon potentially missing out on a unique purchasing opportunity.

Last Christmas Eve in NSW there were 100 sales. They ranged from $77,000 at Cowra to $5.5 million in Bronte when Toni Collette and her musician husband, David Galafassi secured their desired Sydney base.

PIPA says the Christmas season can bring greater room for negotiation and price discounts for both investors and homebuyers, as there’s less buyer competition in the market. Finding a solicitor might make things trying during the break, though. But the economist Christopher Joye bought his Sydney house on a past Christmas Eve, maintaining it was a good time to crunch the cheaper deal given the vendors had the property still for sale after an unsuccessful early December auction.

At Saturday auctions in Sydney, the auction clearance rate hit 71%, according to Australian Property Monitors from the 44 reported auctions. 

A clearance rate of 65% was recorded in Melbourne from the 148 auctions reported to the REIV.

“Astute property buyers and investors are still active in the property market over the Christmas and New Year break because they know some great buying opportunities can come up,” says chair of PIPA Ben Kingsley.

“Most vendors will want to start the New Year with their property transactions completed which means they are often more motivated to close a deal.”

Kingsley suggests investors and homebuyers should retrace their steps through the property market and review properties that caught their eye earlier in the season.

“Originally, these properties may have been out of your price range, but if they’ve failed to sell, the vendor may well be willing to negotiate,” says Kingsley.

REIV say their busiest month is March, with 11,500 sales in 2011.

Based on the 2011 results, REIV are expecting 6,000 sales in January for Victoria.

Almost half the sales of the busiest month, REIV says a significant reason for this is the near total lack of auctions in January.

Sydney similiarly has few January city auctions, but  Australian Property Monitor's senior economist, Dr Andrew Wilson, suggests this year saw the emergence as a "summer selling season."

"Certainly the trend has been for more (December) summer auctions over the last three years."

He puts this year's highest number of December auctions down to sellers being encouraged by around nine weeks of weekend auction clearance rates above 60%.

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