Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Perfect time to sell...stock squeeze forces decisions...a two-speed market.

Before we launch into what is happening in property, just a quick heads up that we are literally almost sold out of stock - as a result of a huge run of sales.  Something certainly is going on.

Last Monday we took a team to Melbourne and got behind the scenes of one of the best agent operators in Victoria. Sylvia and I also had a one-on-one lunch with Greg Ellis - the CEO of realestate.com.au - and a full briefing by their executive team.

Toop&Toop are getting VERY SERIOUS about stepping things up in the way we sell houses. More on that over the next month or so - as we roll out our new innovations and marketing changes.

But what about the market...what a turnaround. Buyers who had become a little cocky in recent times have suddenly found the tables turned on them.

So what is happening?

RP Data's Market Update of 24th February tells a story of record "houses for sale" levels (20,366 houses for sale against 15,924 same time last year), sitting side by side lowest levels of "new advertised listings" (3,446 against 3,872 last year). At first glance, seemingly it is a buyers market, BUT the twist is that I see a "two-speed" market emerging.

There are category A sellers - the serious ones, and then category B sellers - the hopeful sellers. The hopeful sellers in category B are pricing their homes above the buyers' expectations and their properties are sitting on the market essentially as permanent stock, remaining static, or the marketing of their property is so bad that buyers just can't find it.  This group of category B sellers is growing.

Then there are the serious sellers in category A. These are the ones that accept that the market is bigger than them and have taken the less emotional approach and figure they want to get on with their lives and actually sell. Category A sellers are listening and accepting that the market is what it is.

The number of serious sellers is at record lows while buyer numbers are on the rise. We have just under 10,000 active buyers registered, as many as we had in the best market conditions.

So what does this mean?

This means that buyers are swarming serious sellers, resulting in some strange outcomes. We are seeing serious sellers (category A) generate sufficient interest to get really amazing results, in some instances even above the hopeful sellers. Those sales typically are occurring in the first few weeks on market.

Essentially ill-informed, hopeful and greedy sellers are experiencing seemingly life-long selling campaigns, while serious sellers are experiencing strong demand and in some cases, spectacular outcomes. My best guess of the break down is 40% are ill-informed, 30% are hopeful and 30% are greedy (now don't go around categorising friends with houses stuck on the market)!

You may ask "…is this a new feature of the market?" I have thought a lot about this. I would say it has always been this way, it's just that 3 things have now changed to highlight this: 1) The buyers now have unlimited access to market information, 2) the way the major online portals operate it is possible to leave properties on the market basically "forever", and 3) the real estate industry has too many people in it and many don't understand the damage they are doing to the final sale result of clients' properties by having stale stock on the shelf. This results in massive opportunity costs for clients and destroys the seller's chance of a fair final result.

So how do you easily find the category A sellers' properties? One easy way - they are the properties in The Advertiser Weekend Real Estate pages.
If you are selling, and you are serious, we have plenty of buyers so give us a call. It really is a great time to sell right now. Let us show you how Toop&Toop get the job done in this market.

Anthony Toop Follow me on Twitter: @Anthony_Toop or call 0418 824 188

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Buyer activity remains solid this week, and quality properties have remained in strong demand.

The banks' stunt in raising interest rates this week - following suit of course - was entertaining and certainly bold, the news got the headlines going into overdrive. For those of you who react to the daily sport of "who can shock the public most" and create the best negative spin of the day, and take it on board - will find this a long year. The market is still showing resilience this week.

Every day we hear that constant debate when to buy or when to sell. Sounding like a broken record, as long as you sell on the same market, this is the absolute best time to move. Ideally sell first, now is perfect for upgrading and go for that magnificent home you have always wanted. Well over 90% of you have solid jobs, reliable incomes and historically low interest rates, and prices are very fair at the moment.

To those who have been bidding at our auctions - well done. We have had an amazing start to 2012 and it is so great to see people just getting on with their lives this year. South Australian auction clearance rates for January, reported by RP Data this week, stood at 45.7%, which is considerably better than anyone would have anticipated. Our own experience supports these statistics. This RP Data report, for those punters out there, is available here. Note in particular, that the volume of new listings is down at 2,985 properties, compared to 3,361 the same time last year. However, the over all stock level is substantially up at 20,017 in January 2012, compared to the lower number of 15,150 in January 2011. What this essentially means is that there are fewer houses coming onto the market, which is strangling supply, while there is a holdover of existing unsold stock that may have been on the market for months.

A key note speaker at an International Rotary Conference who I shared the stage in Alice Springs with a few years ago  said, "IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME". I have remembered that saying for a very long time now, it is still as powerful now as it was back then. So for those thinking of transacting in real estate, take that saying on board - if you want to move, you have to just make the move. It is up to you, it really is that simple.

There is no "perfect MARKET time" to move house, so my "Toop's Tip" is to forget worrying about the market and simply move when "YOUR time is right." Remember, tough times are also great times.

See you on the weekend, we will all be flat out, a ripper weekend for us this Saturday. Not only do we have a heap of Inspections across the weekend, some stunning and high profile properties are going to auction on Saturday. Be sure to grab a copy of our ToopWeekly Magazine from one of our offices, or the e-version on our website, for all the Inspection and auction times. Lots of buyers out and about, an exciting time right now.

Enjoy.

Anthony Toop
Follow me on Twitter: @Anthony_Toop
or call 0418 824 188

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

No interest rate drop, what are they thinking?

The Reserve Bank did not give us the expected rate cut this week and I blame our InsideStory column - too optimistic! We've been saying the market has been great this year compared to 2011, which is true, but I hope the Reserve Bank were not solely relying on our column for their decision this week - people are still finding it tough.

There remains a lot of nervous people out there, so at Toop&Toop we are taking one week at a time. I assume the Reserve Bank know more than we do...maybe they got it right, while seemingly the rest of the population of Australia got it wrong. Either way, their decision to leave rates unchanged this week was disappointing for property people.

Moving on, Toop&Toop have some amazing properties on the market at the moment...a real "purple patch". While we realise it may not continue at this level, those buyers out there looking for really lovely homes should not assume this level of choice will remain either. The reality is that once sold, these properties will be looked back on as missed opportunities by those who where umm-ing and ahh-ing. So take it seriously; properties like "Benacre" and "Carlton House" are generational opportunities; real estate of this calibre doesn't become available often.

If anyone reading this knows of friends or family wanting to sell, please ask them to call us. We have so many buyers running around at present - these gorgeous homes have generated an incredible number of enquiries. Despite reports on Tuesday that the local market is currently overstocked, we have certainly not experienced this problem at Toop&Toop. This flood of oversupply is likely to be "old stock" which has remained static for quite a while now. Right now at Toop&Toop, there are not near enough houses to go around, and we are talking in pretty much all price ranges. The demand is high, the supply is limited.

Landlords - all good for you. Hot demand and rents rising, it's all looking good for you. On the flip side, sorry tenants - it might be best to revisit buying right now; with prices down and rents on the way up, get some advice because buying could be a smart move at the moment.

Not getting that interest rate drop will stop any immediate pressure for property prices to rise, and remember, we are in a very solid space at the moment here in South Australia.
We will keep you posted on any changes in the market...in the meantime: landlords and sellers - call us, we need to hear from you!

Anthony Toop Follow me on Twitter: @Anthony_Toop or call 0418 824 188

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

All Things Change...how the wheels keep turning.

Fads come and go, markets rise and fall, businesses boom and bust, people come and then move on... but some things never change.

Way back in 1988, Toop&Toop produced a corporate brochure - its title was "All Things Change". In those days, we had to "borrow" the father of one of our staff members to feature in the brochure so we had "someone with grey hair." Genevieve, our eldest daughter, also featured in it as a three year old. In those days, we were passionate about doing things better, doing things differently and reinventing an industry stuck in tradition. We wanted to show diversity.

The function of a traditional real estate agency was then, and remains today, at risk of becoming irrelevant to our information seeking customers, and that is why innovation is absolutely crucial for our survival.  

We recruited people with passion and we were driven by our customer's needs. This led to an array of innovation and plenty of flack from the 'Ole Boys' of the industry.
It seems that while all things have changed, ironically at the same time very little has changed. The major difference is these days, we don't have to look far to find experience in our Toop&Toop team; when preparing for a photo shoot, we no longer need the fathers of staff to assist, the diversity is organic.

The future is amazing, providing our focus is kept clearly on our customers, and not on competitors, nor on ego. Competitors and fads will come and go, but if we ensure to do what we do best, our customers will always remain.

Our customer's needs are moving more quickly than ever.  Providing we continue to predict and move where they're heading before they get there, we believe we can truly make a difference to our customers and our profession.

Our people are paramount to our business; they are the most critical link between innovation, systems and best practice for our customers.

Today, we see the return of one of our most passionate and enthusiastic Sales Partners, and we see the arrival of arguably the most highly respected and energetic real estate identities on the Fleurieu to our Victor Harbor Office.

Welcome back Peter Brown (Browny) and welcome aboard Roger Smith.

It is an honour to be able to support you both with Australia's most influential, highly awarded and sophisticated selling systems in the real estate industry. Your passion and commitment to your clients can not be questioned. Toop&Toop's desire to lead our profession and take care of our customers, through supporting our team with industry best marketing and innovation, grows stronger every year.

Some things never change... customers reward quality, they are comforted by experience and they respect results.

2012 is the beginning of an exciting new era, how the wheels keep turning.

Anthony Toop Follow me on Twitter: @Anthony_Toop or call 0418 824 188