It’s a weird time in the real estate market. In February finance group AFG sold over 7,000 mortgages for a grand total of $20 billion, which is a 27 percent increase on January. According to The Age newspaper the number of mortgages sold last month across Australia was 14 percent higher than in February 2005.
All of the agents I’m chatting with are saying that the market is unusually busy. They really didn’t expect it to be like this at this time of year. Down in Sydney the auction clearance rate recently hit a two year high, yet property prices are still remaining steady. It’s not a boom, but it is busy and there are a lot of great properties to choose from. Channel Nine’sÂ “Extra” did a story on house prices in Brisbane, and their ‘experts’ (mostly real estate agents) strongly suggested that people should get into the market now before property values start heading skyward again. That’s good advice, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t sell up today as we’re probably looking at a fairly steady year or two ahead.
On the other side of the coin we find that home building approvals are at their lowest level in five years. It seems as though no one wants to build the new home, although headlines like “Crunch time for housing” seem a little over the top.