Hello from Hobart where we are joined by nearly 150 Elite members at our annual Elite conference – celebrating their success and sharing ideas and learnings to ensure the value they provide clients continues to develop.
The mood among our leading operators remains positive, and as we take a look back over September, our financial results continue recent trends of being softer than prior years but definitely still solid, with a number of positive spots in key markets.
We traded almost $3.4B for the month, which was 10 per cent lower than September 2017.
Commentators have been quick to point out that it’s been 12 months now since the Australian east coast housing correction started. Half of Australia’s capital cities have seen values track lower over the past year and the remaining capital cities, as well as regional markets, recorded slowdowns in annualised growth as the housing downturn became more broadly based.
Since the national house price index peaked 12 months ago, dwelling values have only fallen by 2.7 per cent. That is hardly a crash. Hobart has defined the broad slowdown and has enjoyed a remarkable period of activity. Red-hot Hobart has now been overtaken by Adelaide for the tag of Australia’s most affordable capital.
So as we all now know, buyer confidence in the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets have continued to ease. With credit conditions remaining tight, especially for investors, the dynamics of the housing market have changed. There is more choice for buyers with overall nearly 7.5 per cent more stock on the market, and more auctions being held than last year.
Many of our members have adjusted to this new market, and found ways to bridge the larger gap between buyers and sellers.
A great example of this is Ray White Woollahra in Sydney’s leafy eastern suburbs, which closed September at $34 million in sales for a monthly Personal Best result. NSW Blue CEO Jason Andrew said selling principal Randall Kemp and his team have executed the auction method so well, and achieved this results while moving office to impressive new premises. Other heavy-weight businesses in key Sydney inner-city or affluent markets also enjoyed a bounce back in activity in September, only four per cent down on last year.
And this success is not isolated to the blue chip markets. Ray White Campbelltown, a long-standing leading business in Sydney’s outer west also recorded a solid September – just shy of a PB – which is an outstanding effort by its team to defy current headlines and deliver such outstanding results for their clients. Congratulations to Brendan Lappan, associate partner at Ray White Macarthur Group, who had a personal PB.
During the month there was also a changing of the guard at Double Bay, as it’s founding directors Craig Pontey and Mike Finger of more than 30 years sold their shares to fellow director Elliott Placks to continue to lead the business. This well established machine continues to go from strength to strength with impressive results.
Results in Queensland, WA and SA were fairly consistent. Victoria again experienced the softest results of all markets, again down about 25 per cent on last year.
New Zealand results were similar to 12 months ago. Interest rates continue to remain at record lows. New Zealand CEO Carey Smith says the market was relatively consistent for both buyers and sellers with properties coming to the market increasing and this is providing buyers with more choice as we move into the traditionally strong selling months of the year. “Prices across the country continue to edge up slightly with days on market remaining similar.”
Our streamlined auction data collection continues to provide value insights. Our members cleared 51.8 per cent of the 1950 auction stock under the hammer in September across Australasia. But it’s interesting to note that at least 75 per cent of the properties that passed in had bidders on the day. Our energy to remain committed to this method of sale in markets where the gap between seller and buyer has broadened will define our success in the crucial period up to Christmas.
We launched our first Australian brand campaign in our 116-year history which has been receiving GREAT feedback from all our members. The campaign, based on The Great Australian Dream with a tongue in cheek twist, shows how we help Aussies as they seek out their property dreams and bring them to life.
This month we welcomed some new members to our family in beautiful Timboon, which is a western Victoria rural and gourmet hub. Experienced stock and station agent and auctioneer Gerard Delaney is at the helm, with sales agent Jennifer Neale.
It was great to see Jon Kingston who owns our rural Miles business, expand and open a new business in Chinchilla. Jon knows first hand the impact of recent market volatility but feels confident in moving forward. His remarks suggest there was genuine confidence in Chinchilla as a strong, vibrant community, and we wish him all the best with his ambitions.
Our partners at Loan Market had a sound month in September with $1.3B in lodgements, $855M approvals and $671M in settlements. Chief Operating Officer Stephen Scahill said there was a strong pipeline of lodgements and approvals in September which tracks well for big increases in the final quarter of the calendar year.
And we cannot stop focusing on customer satisfaction as a measure to highlight. During the month we sent 8,122 surveys to our buyers and sellers and received 2,053 10 out of 10s from satisfied clients. As a group our NPS sits steady at 79 we also are very proud to have our complaints resolution handing down to less than 24 hours.
Thanks, I’m Dan White.
Ray White Group Director