Listings remain high, yet rising rates and lower economic confidence have taken the accelerator off fast-paced selling. In September 2022, CoreLogic reported the average Australian property spends 35 days - more than one month - listed on market. This is one week longer than 12 months ago.
We are also seeing vendors turn their backs on selling at auction, a format that thrives when buyers are under high competition and intense pressure to place a bid, get on the property ladder or miss out. Instead, lower-pressure private treaty sales are on the rise. Our own national data from Home-in customers shows that almost 95% bought under a private treaty in September 2022.
For the first time in years, market-savvy buyers can take advantage of more time, greater property choices and extra negotiating power this summer. With the right resources, buyers can now afford a slower and more rigorous approach, paying greater attention to the purchasing journey and ensuring the property they buy is the right one, whether buying their first home, upsizing, downsizing or investing.
Taking advantage of a slower market
With extra time, buyers should focus on finding a property that will support health and wellbeing. This is more than checking for obvious issues like asbestos but ensuring the home provides pollutant-free water and adequate natural light that will support the circadian rhythm of occupants. In addition, our La Nina weather patterns have also seen an increase in harmful mould and mildew, along with an increase in water damage and leakages.
Buyers now have plenty of capacity to identify these vulnerable areas when assessing a property's long-term health implications, and in cases where faults are minor, use these findings as a basis for negotiating on price or contract conditions.
Think about additional costs
It's no secret mortgage repayments are rising, with the average homeowner paying $1000 more per-month than they were six months ago.
When inspecting homes, it therefore pays for savvy buyers to ensure their home has a robust sustainability profile with lower operating costs. For cheaper energy bills, buyers should look for properties with high-grade insulation, glazed windows, reverse cycle heating and air conditioning, and air tightness. These are all factors that are costly to retrofit post-purchase but allow the home to maintain a pleasant air temperature of 18-22 degrees with minimal energy cost.
Homes with solar panels and batteries can also help offset energy bills in the long-term and increase a property's value. But unlike the above, these features can be easily retrofitted at any time.
With a higher volume of listings, property location is also a factor that buyers have greater capacity to assess this summer. And if buying a long-term dream home is the goal, a home in an ideal location will greatly support lifetime wellbeing. We know that close proximity to schools, cafes, shops and green spaces is a compelling location driver for many. Studies have also made it clear that for those who cannot work from home, living close to work and having a shorter commute can promote wellbeing. When seeking properties by suburb, setting up new listing alerts by suburb on a real estate listing website like Domain.com.au or Search for Real Estate, Property & Homes - realestate.com.au can save time.
Making an offer
Finally, when it comes time to make an offer and agree to terms of sale, this season will give buyers more time to carefully plan their offer approach, as well as review the terms of their contract of sale, ensuring no hidden surprises come with the house of their dreams.
A credible home buying concierge service can help guide buyers through the offer process, including types of questions to ask the agent or vendor, common conditions attached to offers, and lending arrangements required to be made prior to the offer. Concierge services can also advise on the buyer's eligibility for certain government grants and schemes, such as grants for regional first home buyers in Victoria, or the trial option in NSW for first home buyers to swap stamp duty for an ongoing land tax.
Having a contract reviewed by a conveyancer is more important than ever to ensure the transaction does not come with hidden surprises or risks. Our service offers customers up to two included contract reviews, which are completed within six hours of contract submission. We find that for most buyers, two contract reviews are more than enough.
With a national median price in capital cities of $928,000, owning a home is the largest and most significant investment most of us Australians make in our lifetimes. What sets home buying apart from other investments, however, is that every factor of owning a home, be it location, size, or sustainability, has a direct impact on our long-term wellbeing and retirement plans.
It's easy to see affordability doom and gloom across the news agenda in this year's summer selling season. But with so many long-term health and wellbeing benefits, owning and living in the right home can make all the difference to the quality of life of buyers and their families for years to come.
With the right professional help, a long-term view, and an eye for the right characteristics this summer, buyers can take advantage of a compelling market opportunity and take the extra time to secure the home of their dreams.