Sydney property market wrap for 2010 and predictions for 2011

December 17th, 2010

scales

In the last six weeks of the real estate calendar year and with the Federal election finally out of the way, the number of residential properties advertised for sale in the Sydney property market rose to levels unseen since the 2008 global financial crisis. That trend mirrored a sharp spike in the number of off and pre market properties offered to Curtis Associates over the same period especially over $2 million.

Whilst auction clearance rates fell to around 50% during the period, that overly generalized statistic disguises the absence of quality in much of the housing stock and the strengths and weaknesses of demand in the various parts of the Sydney property market.

In the Balmain/East Balmain/Rozelle and Birchgrove peninsula, a veritable army of buyers unfazed by a near 0.5% interest rate hike in November 2010 pounced on the few quality offerings in the $1 million to $3 million bracket sometimes pushing prices well above the sellers’ expectations and past sales levels. The vendors of a north to the rear, double fronted, four bedroom weatherboard at 129 Beattie Street, Balmain on 1 December 2010 accepted a $1.521 million pre auction offer from one of three interested parties over $1.47 million. That equated to a respectable 18.7% capital gain on the $1.28 million they paid for the property in its current condition in boom times on 2 April 2007.

Other strong sales in that district over this six week period confirming that trend included:

  • 18 Wisbeach Street, Balmain – $1.956 million
  • 183 Evans Street, Rozelle – $ 2.1 million
  • 4 Stack Street, Balmain East – $2.6 million
  • 11 Pearson Street, Balmain East – $ 2.7 million

Buyer interest continued to be subdued in those suburbs perceived to be too expensive particularly over $2 million. The ignominy of being withdrawn from auction became the fate of several such properties across Sydney in Mosman and Cremorne Point on the lower north shore, Hunters Hill further north as well as Potts Point and Woollahra in the east. Clearance rates in this bracket in the latter suburb fell as low as 33% with some of the more spectacular flops including:

  • 20 Roslyndale Avenue, Woollahra
  • 86 Holdsworth Avenue, Woollahra
  • 4 Rosemont Avenue, Woollahra
  • 281 Edgecliff Road, Woollahra.

In Potts Pont, a pre market plea that an “urgent sale must be achieved ” combined with a promised “15% discount” has not been enough to yield a buyer for 14 St Neot Avenue, Potts Point.

So too in Mosman where a similar pre market promise of a “$1 million price reduction” still saw 17 Burran Avenue, Mosman being withdrawn from its scheduled 11 December 2010 auction whilst in Cremorne Point at the beginning of November 2010, one selling agent alone had at least six properties quietly for sale in the prestigious Milson Road with asking prices ranging from over $795,000 to over $7 million for 3/50 Milson Road in The Ritz building.

The $2 million + properties in these inner suburbs which bucked the trend were usually those with special appeal to top end buyers who can afford to be fussy. This explains spirited bidding for properties such as 49 John Street, Woollahra which sold for $320,000 over its reserve on 23 November 2010 for $3.82 million. The unusual warehouse conversion at 108 – 110 Hargrave Street, Paddington fell into the same category as did 27 Wilberforce Avenue, Rose Bay where, to the surprise of the selling agent and its client, bidders came from nowhere at its 8 November 2010 auction to push the price of that knock down on just under 600 m2 to $2.67 million. In the north, the sales of 13a Beach Street, Tennyson Point for $4.335 million and $25 The Point Road, Hunters Hill for $6.8 million exposed the same trend.

Further out and the trend identified in CurtiseCall October 2010 continued with strong buying activity over $1 million including:

  • 48 Myrna Road, Strathfield – $2 million
  • 18 Wakeford Road, Strathfield – $2.76 million
  • 66 St Davids Road, Haberfield – $1.7 million
  • 129a Stuart Street, Blakehurst – $3.775 million
  • 450 Willarong Road, Caringbah – $2.606 million
  • 3 Darook Park Road, Cronulla – $4.5 million
  • 28 Goodrich Avenue, Kingsford – $1.43 million.

In summary, the months of November and December 2010 demonstrated that over $1 million in the Sydney residential property market, whilst there is still plenty of money around, buyers are selective about where and on what they spend it.

Predictions for 2011 over $1 million

  • General confidence levels – those “animal spirits” mentioned in CurtiseCall October 2010 – will be the key driver of prices rather than interest rates which may even ease later in 2011
  • Between $1 million and $2 million, investor and owner occupier activity will remain strong and prices will rise especially in areas such as the Balmain peninsula where demand exceeds supply and where buyers hunt for value over 4 kilometres from Sydney’s CBD
  • Between $2 million and $3 million, activity will remain patchy with properties offering something special or value further from Sydney’s CBD continuing to attract buyer interest
  • Over $3 million, it will be a buyers’ market with some prices falling but not crashing
  • Rental yields will rise steadily for properties worth up to $2 million and even start to strengthen at levels above that figure.

Having stuck our neck out for yet another year, all that remains is to wish our loyal readers a happy and safe festive season with many a CurtiseCall’ planned for 2011.