Sydney real estate market gathers momentum

By Hayley Bottrell

We started the year predicting capital city market performance would be led in 2013 by Perth and Darwin, with Sydney close behind.

Early indications suggest that’s the way it’s panning out. Darwin started the year already well into a growth phase and Perth has quickly taken on boom parameters as 2013 has progressed.

Sydney, the under-achiever among the capital cities over the past decade, is busily making up some of the lost ground. Each week the anecdotal reports of rising activity and prices in Sydney grow stronger, supported by research evidence as the data trickles in.

Australian Property Monitors reports strong price growth in many of the million-dollar suburbs, while experienced buyers agent Henry Wilkinson sees a sellers market, with price expectations heading north rapidly.

Wilkinson, of Homesearch Solutions, says prices in some Sydney suburbs have risen 5-10% in the first few months of 2013.

Wilkinson says price movements are so rapid, in some cases, that buyers need to examine very recent sales in an area before deciding their offer amounts, rather than looking at sales from the past six months in property databases.

“The property statistics are often months behind in their announcements on price movements,” he says.

“The advice we are currently giving to our clients is to buy now rather than wait until later in the year. Delaying a purchase may mean having to compromise – fewer bedrooms, no parking, less renovated or a less desirable suburb.”

Wilkinson says auction clearance rates have been consistently above 70% since February, which is the strongest trend since 2010.

“Competition has been intense at most of the auctions we have attended,” he says. “Some auctions have had 15 or more active bidders and indications are that bidders and the eventual buyers have been exceeding their pre-set limits.”

Wilkinson says the market under $700,000 and the market up to $1,600,000 have been the strongest performers, particularly in the inner and medium radius suburbs. “We have also noticed some movement in the upper market after years of stagnation,” he says.

APM says some suburbs had median house price growth above 20% in the March Quarter, including Avalon and Mosman. Other fast movers included Maroubra, Randwick and Pymble.

There was also increasing heat in some unit markets, headed by Neutral Bay, Chatswood, Mosman and Manly.

APM senior economist Andrew Wilson says there is “a perception of value” in the $1 million to $2 million price range, with buyers increasingly active in search of opportunities.

Agents operating in those market report the best activity they have had in several years.

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