Hot property speaks volumes - 18th October, 2007

Sometimes a single house sale can say everything about what’s happening in a local market. This month’s sale of a rare sub-$500,000 property in Chapel Hill bared the teeth of a bullish first-home buyer/investor market, with multiple offers above the list price being received within hours of the first open-home inspection. The three-bedroom property in Cassandra Street, the sale of which went unconditional last week at $19,000 above the list price, attracted a record 52 groups of people through its doors within 45 minutes. Following that, another 28 groups inspected the property over the next week – 80 inspections in eight days … that’s heady stuff and it shows incredible interest in this price range. And that’s the key issue here – the price range. With the housing affordability issue dominating every barbecue conversation these days and both sides of politics hurling promised “solutions” at the populace, it’s very clear that first-home buyers simply want to get into the market on the ground floor and work their way up from there. They may have to pay a little more than they thought to get a foothold, but it’s a very solid foothold. Their additional investment will inevitably be recouped within a market displaying such high demand and residual value. It also demonstrates to people wondering whether or not to renovate their old home before selling that many buyers are happy to purchase unfinished real estate with future potential. In this case, the owners of Cassandra Street had done minimal work to the bones of a solid home, but the work that they had done was well-considered and smart. I’m thrilled that the owners have achieved such an excellent result. It’s given them the financial scope to achieve their next housing goal ahead of schedule while also giving another buyer entrée into a value-rich area. Until next week … Gerard Baden-Clay