Buyers are gaining the upper hand from sellers heading into the peak spring selling season, meaning it could be “an ideal time” to buy.
With demand easing and housing market activity cooling as interest rates rise, buyers face less competition and have more choice and time, as listings grow and homes take longer to sell.
PropTrack senior economist Eleanor Creagh said market conditions are rebalancing across Australia, from a strong seller’s market last year to one that’s shifting in favour of buyers.
That could make it easier to get into the market than has been the case for a while.
“There’s a lot less competition – stock isn’t moving as quickly and the fear of missing out has subsided,” Ms Creagh said.
“For those ready to purchase, there’s also a lot more choice, which could create opportunity for some, particularly in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra where options have increased the most.”
Ms Creagh cautioned that buyers should also keep in mind that borrowing costs are on the rise and the recent period of exceptional price growth is at an end, with prices already slipping.
Buyer’s agent Rich Harvey, CEO of propertybuyer.com.au, said many are waiting for the predicted fall in prices, but said the challenge for any buyer is knowing when the market has plateaued.
“Really, the next three months is one of the ideal times to buy because consumer sentiment is at its lowest point right now,” Mr Harvey said.
“If you’re a smart buyer and you’re ready to buy, why wouldn’t you buy now when there’s very little competition. If you can find the right property, go for it. Waiting until interest rates finish rising means the market will stabilise and then there’ll be a lot more competition.”
Ms Creagh said demand from prospective buyers has moderated as rising mortgage rates shrink budgets, combined with weak consumer sentiment and expectations of continued home price falls.
“Some buyers may be holding off waiting for a better deal, but trying to time the market isn’t necessarily a great strategy,” she said.
“Many buyers are also sellers in the same market, so although the property they buy could be cheaper, they would also get less for their own home.”
Ms Creagh said there may also be people watching and waiting given the market has shifted quickly and there is some uncertainty around future borrowing costs.
“Inflation has risen and household budgets are under pressure,” she said.
“While the labour market is strong, with unemployment the lowest since August 1974, confidence has fallen sharply, indicating that many are feeling a sense of unease about the future. That could keep buyers on the sidelines.”