What’s on your Christmas list? If you’ve set your sights on a new pair of runners or some replacement AirPods, you might want to start thinking bigger. Much bigger. Like, new house bigger.
It’s no secret that the silly season kicked off much earlier for Sydney’s property market this year, and a belated Spring rush looks set to keep realtors working hard all the way up until Christmas Day. Usually, the real estate market slows down over Christmas and New Years, going relatively quiet in the last few weeks of December before picking up in the second week of January. But if we’ve learnt anything from 2021, it’s that ‘usually’ means diddly.
On the 16th of October, Sydney broke a 100-day drought on in-person auctions, with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions allowing the return of on-site property auctions. To celebrate being back in biz, a ‘cat-infested’ Hunter’s Hill home went for $300K above the reserve at $2.33M. It’s been full steam ahead ever since, with a frenzy of property selling and purchasing sweeping the city.
Over the weekend, a Five Dock knockdown sold for $5 million at auction, gaining more than $1.8 million in the three years since it last sold. Meanwhile, on the northern beaches, a four-bedroom Balgowlah Heights house smashed the reserve by $1.2M. The same thing happened in Kingsford. Across Sydney, the clearance rate sits at just over 75%. Australia-wide, the housing auction market experienced its second busiest week of the year, with 3,562 homes going under the hammer, up 8.2% from the previous week. See what we mean? Full. Steam.
Demand from buyers has caused an explosion of auction numbers, with new listings rising by 24% this month and buyer inspections up by 31.5%. At the time of writing, there are 707 auctions scheduled in the Sydney region this weekend, with agents reporting homes being snapped up in as little as two weeks, forcing vendors to negotiate longer settlement periods to buy enough time to find their next property.
What’s driving the pre-Christmas push? The professional opinion is a mix of optimism and FOMO. The latter isn’t just from buyers, either, with realtors also seeing it from sellers who’re starting to worry they might’ve missed the market.
Though there are plenty of theories floating around about what the next twelve months might bring (Lending rules? Interest rates? New AirPods?), there’s enough faith (that the market hasn’t peaked yet) and fear (that the RBA will lift rates sooner than 2024) that both buyers and sellers are still convinced they’re getting in and out at a good time. The real estate agent having to work on Christmas eve might have a different opinion, though.