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2012: A Tale of Two Halves

By Dan Sowden

The greatest clichés of the modern era are commonly used to describe the many sporting triumphs and failures that we are so passionate about. “A tale of two halves” has been used by coaches and players across the globe to define performance. Today we use it to define the 2012 Sunshine Coast property market.

Auction clearance rates are often used as the ‘litmus test’ for the property market. To find this rate a number and percentage is derived from the number of properties offered and sold on a single day. Any change is monitored and then opinions are given- good bad or indifferent.

Auction clearance rates in the first half of 2012 were at an all time low. Some weekends as low as 15%.  This can be traced back to poor consumer confidence, rising costs of living, uncertainty in Europe, political debate on resources levies and falling interest rates. Buyers were sensitive to risk and thus only purchasing properties where the perception of value was guaranteed- commonly a distressed sale.

We spent the first half of 2012 working against a strong headwind, sellers were discounting to engage and excite buyers and buyers were taking their time and only picking the bests the market had to offer. Every sale was a struggle. To use another cliche, there certainly were not any ‘easy metres’.

In hindsight, we are confident that the local market did bottom out in May/June 2012.

The new financial year of 2012/13 brought with it a light tailwind and a different feeling amongst the buyers. Confidence was returning and many suspected that the worst was over.

With the second half now in play, our group launched an audacious plan of to list 101 auctions and and conduct 1001 buyer inspections in a single month- September 2012. We knew that the market was about to change, we needed to be ahead of the game and put our sellers in the best position possible to take advantage of the expected market correction.

Thankfully we got it right. In the Spring period we conducted well over 100 auctions and in September conducted over 1400 buyer inspections. With a rejuvenation of buyer confidence, enquiry and competition at our auctions, some weekends our Auction clearance rate climbed to in excess of 80%.

As the tale wind of the market continued to build, so did the sales. In December our group recorded a record sale month with one of our agents selling an astounding five (5) properties on a single day between Christmas and New Year 2012.

2012 is best described as a tale of two halves, a time where just the same as we saw the rock bottom of the market we also saw our market rebound strongly and for the better.

-Dan Sowden

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