Changes & Influences I Have Seen this Year
Here we are at the pointy end of 2015. What happened? It seems to have flown by in chunks for me.
It has been a year of change and of great things. Early in the year I made the decision to refresh the business identity and change the name to FineLife Property, in line with what I feel we all crave, a fine life! The underlying essence of the business has not changed though and we still believe strongly in offering a very personal and professional real estate experience for all of our clients. For us it is about the whole process, the preparation, the planning and the negotiations that bring you to a point where your plans crystalize.
The ‘us’ in FineLife Property
The ‘us’ in FineLife Property is because I have welcomed two lovely ladies into the business this year. What a pleasure to work alongside Sue Jackson and Gail Nicolosi who both share my values and beliefs in how our clients should be looked after. Sue has looked after clients from Tarragindi to Cornubia while Gail is reaching into the western suburbs.
Our varied locations are a reflection of where our work comes from because a huge part of our work is as a result of the many personal referrals we get. That is the sort of business we really appreciate.
Changes to the Industry
The biggest industry change has been the deregulation of commission for agents in Queensland. This occurred with the introduction of the Property Occupations act on December 1st 2014 but its impact was really noticed once the market kicked into gear in January. A whole lot of new paperwork for us to get used to so that has been fun (she says as her tongue heads firmly into her cheek). Explaining commission to Sellers is now easier rather than the old terminology which had been in use here in Queensland for years.
The other noticeable change has been the resurgence of buyer confidence as compared to 2014. I feel the political scene has given people some sense of stability and reduced their fear of spending. Also money has been cheap with interest rates at record lows. That is great but I understand some of the financial institutions are tightening their lending criteria so chatting to a broker may open your eyes to other options that may work for you. I certainly have experienced this personally. In fact I have had a couple of conversations this year with people who are experts in their respective fields and it has really firmed up the importance of NOT thinking one knows everything!
So, back to the confidence buyers are experiencing and how their buying patterns this year have impacted on our market. That confidence has meant the middle range – houses being sold in the 500-800K bracket around the more inner city suburbs located up to 8-10km from the CBD – have brought out many multi-offer situations. This is also reflected through a lower volume of stock coming onto the market in these sought after areas, further exacerbating the competition between buyers. I can vouch for this as I have had my ‘Buyer Hat’ on this year and so have been experiencing it myself.
Why else is the demand for houses high?
Supply is down so the market appears buoyant. I think the volume of stock is being affected by many sellers staying put. They see the value of their location. They love the area so now they are deciding to renovate or rebuild themselves rather than relocate. This is patently obvious by the number of builders’ trailers everywhere in our inner south area at the moment. Tarragindi and Salisbury are just transforming.
On the plus side for sellers, they have often achieved better outcomes this year and buyers are loosening their grip on the building inspection as an out because they know there is not a huge volume to choose from. Pests, pools, roofs, stumps and stairs tend to be the main sticking points. There are lots of new roofs on the inner south side since the hail storm a year ago
Building & Pest and Older Homes
I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to building inspections. Shock horror, you might say. But really, why do you need to worry about a building inspection on a unit? The body corporate records will bring to light any major issues most of the time. And, as you walk around the building you should be able to see evidence of cracks that may be a concern that then gives you grounds to raise it with the body corporate when you do your searches. I am generalising here but most of the suburban unit sales are in smaller blocks where the visibility is easy. Besides, an observant agent will have picked up on some of the problem issues (or an owner has made them aware) and can put some perspective around it for you. That is where experience can help you and after 24 years, I have seen it all! I reiterate, I am not a building inspector (perish the thought) but a practical perspective has helped me help many a client.
With houses, look around. If you are buying an old house, it won’t be perfect. In fact, I have heard horror stories about new homes and their poor construction. You can’t expect an old house to be a new house. I do agree with a pest inspection if the owner has not had one done recently or can’t produce a certificate to prove it. Nothing worse than a white ant nest hidden in a wall cavity or under the house that no one knows about. You do need to remember that south east Queensland has white ants everywhere so don’t panic if they are in the garden. That’s common.
Demand for townhouses and units is a little different with the affordability factor driving that. Generally speaking, if they sold around 2009-2010, many are only achieving those same sale prices now. One big change is the introduction of the local council plan City 2014. This has allowed more infill building to occur so where the zoning permits, 600m2 blocks can be developed. Just drive through Moorooka and see what is happening there. Or between PA and the freeway. Cranes everywhere. The same goes for the Valley, Woolloongabba, Coorparoo and other the city fringe suburbs. I feel we are on the brink of oversupply with units so older style properties are likely to take longer to sell over the next year or two. Buyers seem to gravitate towards the newer shinier ones and sometimes overlook the size and solidity of the older units.
Seniors Real Estate Services and Why it May Affect You
An added focus for us from here on in is to assist Seniors with their real estate needs. For you young ones reading this, we are not shifting our entire focus to working with the oldies. We want you, as well as your parents, to know that we have a particular interest in helping families who are facing up to change. It is highly likely that your mum or dad is helping their mum and / or dad right now with their future. It’s pretty daunting when an older person is faced with moving house, particularly when they have lived there for 30-50 years! Having had personal experiences with this ourselves, we each want to offer a caring, guiding service to Brisbane families dealing with these situations.
For property it has been a strong year. Personally it has been a wonderful year. I welcomed 2 baby granddaughters into my world in October, Charlotte and Eve, born eleven days apart so now I have 3 little granddaughters and with my partner’s 4 grandchildren, we are truly blessed. Won’t Christmas be fun for us this year? The 2-6 year olds are very excited about presents for some reason.
Last January we travelled to one of my favourite parts of the world, Vietnam and Cambodia, and that provided a restful start to what has been a busy year.
We are looking forward to being here for you in 2016, whatever your real estate needs are. Have a wonderful Christmas. Keep safe, well and get rested for your best year yet in 2016.
Barb, Sue and Gail.
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