Even experts agree that Australia’s property market doesn’t make sense anymore

The last 18 months haven’t just broken records for price growth, they’ve broken the rules for how Australia’s property market usually operates.

Sydney premium suburbs spi

A panel of property experts at a recent AltX webinar has concluded that traditional metrics like land value and sales performance may no longer apply in many parts of Australia.

“The prices that were being achieved in the middle of 2020 are just not relevant in the current climate,” said JPM Valuers director Jason Matigian.

Mr Matigian explained that the past 12 months had seen properties in eastern Sydney suburbs behave in ways that defied the expectations of veteran players in the property sector.

He said: “We did a valuation in Manly recently. The house next door sold for $4.1 million in May or June 2020, so we put our thinking was around $4 million on the property, which was similar. It sold for $6.3 million!”

Beyond just the eastern seaboard, Mr Matigian noted that this kind of situation was just as common in the middle and outer rings of the Sydney metropolitan area.

Asked whether the trends seen in Sydney apply as strongly in a Victorian context, RT Edgar director Mark Wridgway put it bluntly.

“Dollar-per-square-metre rates have been thrown out the door,” he said.

Mr Wridgway said that over the past 12 months, some Victorian suburbs had experienced an average of 30 per cent price growth, while some individual properties had appreciated by as much as 60 per cent.

For all the doom and gloom, the panel noted that not even the restrictions on movement following the outbreak of the Delta variant could slow price growth down.

“Prices are even higher than before we went into lockdown,” said Ray White principal Gavin Rubinstein.

According to Mr Rubinstein, the market has gotten both more bullish and aggressive, as the lockdowns, low interest rates and a lack of supply have collided to the benefit of those with a stake in the property market.

He said that he’s never seen the market “so tight in terms of options for people to purchase”.

“A lot of people now are putting a lot more value on having and wanting space, so with a lack of lifestyle assets — something with a view or close to the beach where you can really improve your lifestyle — the numbers people are paying are insane,” Mr Rubinstein said.

Looking forward, Mr Matigian predicted that property price growth would continue for some time, despite Australia’s looming return to relative normality.

When the borders reopen and the lockdowns end, the expectation is that local residential markets will benefit from the return of international students, skilled migrants and expats.

“There are people buying properties, getting ready to come back next year,” Mr Matigian noted.

Nevertheless, he cautioned those looking to take advantage to be careful.

A market that isn’t behaving as expected when it comes to growth might not necessarily be one you should count on to behave as expected.

“We’re certainly hitting those record prices, but we’ve seen the market when it has gone backwards the other way, and you don’t want to be hanging your hat on one sale out there that just sold,” he said.

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