Here in Brisbane, the inner city apartment market has attracted so much commentary – all very negative – for some time. All driven predominantly by fears of a significant over-supply of new product. What is often not mentioned is that new supply peaked six to nine months ago and completions for the remainder of this year are broadly in line with long term averages. Much of the stock that was planned never came to fruition and many developers put their projects on hold.
As supply hasn’t been as great as predicted, by all accounts – demand and inquiry is back up. Our team reports that there’s been a lot of good inquiry in the first quarter of 2018. With things moving faster than it has in a long time. And importantly the rental market is really strong with low vacancies producing reasonable yields.
While we have seen increased restrictions on investor lending, it’s been fantastic to see that the share of first home buyers in the market is very close to returning to its long term average of about 20 per cent, all adding strength to the market. The big demographic shift of people wanting to live closer to the centre of our cities is further evidenced by our latest data shows that shows that apartment prices are actually out-pricing houses nationally.
On the whole, the Ray White Corporate booked $4.2 billion in unconditional sales for March across Australia and New Zealand which was 10 per cent lower than last March. So we aren’t at the highs of 12 month ago, but we are still in a very active market, with days on market and clearance rates better than long term averages. This drop in overall activity was consistent along the major east coast markets. New Zealand bucked this trend and enjoyed its strongest month for some time. And our regional markets continue to perform strongly – for example we are seeing stronger buyer inquiry in the mining towns of the north west of Western Australian.
And I want to extend a very warm welcome to our new business owners Steven Beattie and Maurice Maroon (left and right below) in South Hurstville.
We also welcomed Simon Power (pictured below) to our corporate ranks last month. Simon has been appointed as our national talent and leadership manager to drive our recruitment program deeper into its network. The 39-year-old Sydneysider will support our group’s 1000 strong offices across Australia and New Zealand to identify the best salespeople to service their local communities. The team uses psychometric tests designed to measure suitability for a role based on the required personality characteristics and cognitive abilities and are having some great results for our business owners.
We very proudly represented over 6,000 vendors and worked with so many buyers during March, and we were so happy with responses received to our customer satisfaction surveys.
Meanwhile, Loan Market Australia recorded very strong lodgements and approval results for March, with lower settlement numbers based on the typically soft seasonal pipeline through January and February. The group saw $1.3 billion lodgements, with $875 million approvals and $693 million settlements in the month which is still considered a solid result.
And with the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games now underway, our network there is taking advantage of the huge national and international exposure being received to launch 80 pages of property marketing for a series of auctions later this month.
Until next time, I’m Dan White.