House hunters with plans to scale the property ladder this Spring will need to be fast and decisive or be prepared to expand their budgets.
Property experts suggest fewer home-owners are listing their properties for sale, but there are rising numbers of prospective buyers.
This higher-demand lower-supply dynamic will put pressure on buyers to offer higher prices or more generous purchasing terms to compete with other home-seekers.
It’s a marked change from the market conditions prevalent over the past two years when listing numbers were rising and buyer demand was down at the time because fewer property seekers could get access to finance — especially investors.
But recent interest rate cuts and moves by bank regulators to relax lending criteria have changed this and put a floor under falling home prices.
Buyers have also been streaming back into the market due to the Coalition’s surprise Federal Election win, which removed uncertainty over Labor’s negative gearing plans.
SQM Research director Louis Christopher said the issue for those seeking a home was that the recent uplift in buyer confidence was not being matched by improved sentiment among sellers.
“Spring is usually the busiest time of the year for listings and this year’s spring selling season will be a real test for the market,” Christopher says.
“We anticipate there will be more sellers than in winter but it doesn’t look like there will be as many as in previous years.”
Christopher says many would-be sellers may be waiting for more signs of a market improvement before putting their properties up for sale.
CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher says winter has already been particularly dry on the listings front, which would likely flow through to spring.
The number of “fresh” listings — those advertised in the past month — is currently at the lowest level since CoreLogic records began in 2007, while total listing numbers have been dropping.