Safe as Houses? Tips for Buying & Selling

The enigma that is Australia housing market continues to surprise us all with median house price reaching almost 1 million dollars. According to a report by Domain the national median house price is now $994,579 – that’s a 21.9% increase over the past 12 months. The national median unit price is also up, hitting $609,642.

Sydney’s house prices gained a whopping average of $6,700 a week, or $957 a day over the past 12 months. We have seen record house prices in the September quarter across all capital cities, except Perth and Darwin. The median price for a house in Sydney is now a record $1.499 million, and units at a new high of $802,475. Melbourne has also hit a new all-time high, despite being in lockdown for most of the last quarter, hitting $1.038 million. Queensland hit a new record high too, with median house prices reaching $702,455, along with record home sales numbers over the last 6 months.

Median House Prices in Australian Capital Cities as of September 2021

With house prices soaring, eager buyers are waiting for a dip to take their first step into the property market. Unfortunately, experts feel this is just false hope. Low interest rates and increasing demand in the market seem like more permanent forces driving the Aussie property market in this upward trajectory.

Owing to the pandemic, people have been locked down at home and have spent less on things like travel, allowing them to put the spare dollaroos into their homes – furthering the growth of the property market in Australia.

Although news of the increase in property prices is worrying for the everyday Australian, the good news is that experts believe we have passed the peak rate of growth. They are also beginning to see an increase in sellers and properties on the market, which would lead to increase in supply for buyers, more options and (theoretically) lower cost, or at least lower price growth rates.

And so, this begs the question, is this right time for me to buy or sell a home? Well, yes and no.

The sensible answer would be to consider your circumstances and make a decision accordingly. With that in mind, the old saying ‘there’s no time like the present’ still has merit.

Regardless of what you decide to do in today’s property market, we’ve compiled a short list of things to consider when buying or selling a property:

As a Buyer:

  1. Obtaining a pre-approval from the lender before entering the contract is really important, as it will determine your how much you can spend on the property and minimise the risk of losing your deposit if finance cannot be arranged before completion.
  2. With the above in mind, make sure you factor in stamp duty, legal fees, settlement fees and other costs – don’t spend your whole budget on just the property alone, as it could be lost if these additional costs are not paid.
  3. If you plan on moving into the property after buying it, you should consider the costs associated with doing so. Whether it be hiring a moving company or van to DIY, buying new furniture or even a renovation.
  4. Again, if you plan on living in the property you should think about the kind of lifestyle the new property will be giving you – are you close to work? Close to amenities? How long are you happy to commute? Close to family and friends? Close to the beach?
  5. Do your research and be patient. Patience is a virtue for a reason and its no different when it comes to buying a property.

As a seller:

  1. Consider your motivations for selling – having a clear end goal for the sale of property and a reason why will make all the difference during the sales process – especially when working with agents and marketing the property.
  2. When looking for an agent, make sure you shop around and find agent that fits your needs and wants – local agents may be beneficial as they have a better understanding of the area you are selling in.
  3. Ensure you receive sound tax advice when you are selling your property – you want to make sure you get to keep as much of your money as possible, not only when going into the purchase, but on the sale of the property or even throughout ownership if your circumstances or intended use changes.

By far, the most important thing for buyers and sellers is to obtain careful legal advice on the contract. A failure to do this properly can result in the loss of the entire deposit for buyers (or worse), and significant unintended legal (and / or tax) consequences for sellers. This is one thing that cannot ever be rushed or neglected, no matter how much time pressure there may seem to be on the deal, and for buyers going to auction, it even pays to have the contract reviewed and any amendments negotiated well in advance of the auction.

As such, you should consider your conveyancing representation. Although on face value it may be a simple process, buying or selling a property is complicated. There are so many things to consider, and it is valuable to have the right people in your corner (especially if things were to ever go pear-shaped).

If you or someone you know is buying or selling a property, feel free to contact our office today and see how we can help you.

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