The four key property performance indicators for 2014

You can be assured that as we enter a new year we are inundated with real estate predictions. 2014 will be no different so let’s try and make it easier and more understandable for you. Since September 2000, we have been writing our weekly post, Virtual Realty News, which provides an in-depth assessment of what the markets are doing. Despite the banter and hoo-ha that Sydney markets are set to boom in 2014, the most consistent statistic that we have observed over the last six years is that property sales numbers are in a rapid decline.

Here is what we consider the vital property performance indicators:

1. Cash rate

At the beginning of 2013 Macquarie Bank predicted that the cash rate in 2013 would drop to 2.00% whilst most thought it would go up. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cash rate today sits at 2.50% and this is where we expect it to sit for 2014 – we expect to see it start rising again in 2015.

2. Australian dollar

At the time of writing this report it was sitting at 0.87 AU$/US$ which is the weakest point since July 2010. Last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that the unemployment rate remained at 5.8% in December. The world’s biggest money manager BlackRock sees Australia’s dollar falling 10% as a result of disappointing economic growth reporting in 2014 which would then see the RBA cut its cash rate to 2.00%. There would be a number of expats hoping this to be the case as they have been sitting waiting for the Australian dollar to start declining.

3. Inflation

Overall the inflation rate has been well controlled by the RBA over the past few years with the RBA settings from 2.00% to 3.00%. In the 12 months to December, prices rose 2.7%, compared to 2.4% in November. This economic data is confirming that Australia’s record – low 2.5% cash rate is stimulating consumer spending. Across Australia spending has now risen over the past 16 consecutive months.

4. Supply/demand

This is the data I rely on the most as Sydney is comprised of 637 suburbs and growing and reporting generally throws all the suburbs into the one analysis. In 2012 Mosman houses recorded on 23 occasions more than 100 houses on the market over the one particular week – in 2013 it only managed to break 100 on four occasions so we are witnessing significant reductions in stock levels. In 2012 the greatest number of houses on the market in one week was 168, in 2013 it peaked at 144. To see on how many occasions the number of houses on the market breaks 100 will be fascinating given the markets are off to their weakest start ever in terms of volume.

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In 2013 the highest house sale was Altona – Wunulla Road, Point Piper for $52 million. For the first time in years the only property to sell outside the eastern suburbs of Sydney top 20 sales was Julian Street, Mosman which was sold by Richardson & Wrench Mosman & Neutral Bay (RWM) for $13.9 million. From the Sydney top 20 sales in 2013 just four went to Chinese buyers so don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers.

We don’t see any great changes in 2014 to the 2013 real estate markets given that they are now more than ever before consumer sensitive. Like everything markets are controlled by supply v demand mechanisms and if anything we believe again we will see fewer properties on the market in 2014.

Just before Australia Day last year there were 61 houses on the market, the year before 83 and this week just 47. Mosman apartments have 40 on the market this week, last year 68 and the year before 129. It’s quite extraordinary that the combined number of houses and apartments on the market in Mosman is just 87 – which clearly identifies a vendors market.

It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens to the stock volumes this week as the markets historically move into what we call the peak selling period.

Robert Simeon is a director of Richardson  Wrench Mosman and Neutral Bay and has been selling residential real estate in Sydney since 1985.

He has also been writing real estate blog Virtual Realty News since 2000.

The RWM real estate model has sold in excess of $1 billion in database sales globally.

Robert Simeon

Robert Simeon

Robert Simeon is a director of Richardson Wrench Mosman and Neutral Bay and has been selling residential real estate in Sydney since 1985. He has also been writing real estate blog Virtual Realty News since 2000.

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