Homebuyer FOMO returns ahead of looming rate cut

March 26, 2024

A sense of urgency is returning to the property market as homebuyers look to make their move before an expected interest rate cut later this year.

Real estate agencies say buyer demand has been keeping up with an increase in property listings hitting the market, with some smaller capital cities remaining ‘grossly undersupplied’.

PropTrack data shows home prices have already risen 6.2% over the past 12 months despite rapidly rising interest rates, with economists forecasting further growth throughout 2024 as expected rate cuts underpin confidence and allow borrowers to take on larger loans.

PropTrack senior economist Eleanor Creagh said the expectation of future interest rate cuts was likely providing a positive tailwind for activity.

“Housing demand is also being buoyed by population growth, tight rental markets, resilient labour market conditions and recent home equity gains,” Ms Creagh said.


Autumn is expected to be hotter than normal as buyer urgency returns. Picture: Getty

Agents say autumn is shaping up to be hotter than normal as homebuyer FOMO – a fear of missing out – returns across the country.

We asked several leading real estate agencies for their views on where the market is heading over the autumn months, and the areas where buyers can still find value.

Sydney property predictions

Supply has returned to more normal levels this year, according to PropTrack, with a surge of new properties hitting the Sydney market amid rising seller confidence.

BresicWhitney chief executive Thomas McGlynn told realestate.com.au he expected listings to stay elevated for the rest of the season, resulting in a divergence of outcomes across markets.

“The one thing that is going to be different about autumn compared to the start of the year is that the rapidly rising interest rate environment is starting to have a slight effect on affordability,” he said.


Sydney home prices rose 7.77% in February to $1.053 million compared to a year earlier. Picture: Getty

“We might have some unpredictability in the market throughout autumn and we’ve already started to see that in clearance rates, so I think we’re going to have a little bit of a see-sawing environment throughout autumn and leading into winter.”

Mr McGlynn said there were pockets across Sydney offering great value and were set to grow.

For families looking for their next home, Mr McGlynn recommended Sydney’s lower north shore such as Mosman, Cremorne and Cammeray.


Apartment buyers should look at areas throughout Sydney’s inner west for value according to Bresic Whitney. Picture: Getty

For apartment buyers, he said Sydney’s inner west offers great value.

While house values in that pocket have already seen enormous growth, Mr McGlynn expects unit values will eventually follow suit.

Sydney home prices rose 0.55% in February to $1.053 million, to be 7.77% higher than a year earlier, according to the latest PropTrack Home Price Index.

Melbourne property predictions

The Melbourne real estate market has also been awash with new home listings so far this year, with new listings up 35.4% in February compared to the same time last year, and total listings were up 21.5%, according to PropTrack.

O’Brien Real Estate corporate director Dean O’Brien said there’s a lot more choice for homebuyers.

“I’ve noticed a greater volume of properties coming onto the market as we have moved through the summer and into the autumn,” Mr O’Brien told realestate.com.au. “It’s a very positive time for the real estate market.”

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New listings in Melbourne were 35.4% higher in February than the same time last year. Picture: Getty

State land tax increases announced in Victoria last year were driving landlords to list their properties for sale, he said.

“There’s a lot of landlord selling and investment properties coming to the market due to the state land taxes,” he said.

“Investors are certainly selling off at the moment, but it means there is more choice for homebuyers who are upgrading or downsizing.”

Home prices in Melbourne increased 0.28% in February to $797,000, up 1.33% year-on-year.

Brisbane property predictions

Brisbane has been one of the strongest capital city markets since the pandemic, driven by surging interstate migration and optimism ahead of the 2032 Olympic Games.

Belle Property head of Queensland, Jon Iceton, said pockets in Brisbane’s southern corridor – including the suburbs between the city and out to Annerley and Yeronga – had been very hot lately due to the activity around the games.

Despite this, Mr Iceton said homebuyers could still find good value throughout the south side.

“Tarragindi would probably be my pick if I was looking to put my money into a market at the moment,” he said.

“It’s close to the city, you’ve got major roads into the CBD and it’s probably the most undervalued suburb on the south side at the moment.”

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Brisbane home prices grew 12.16% year-on-year to $797,000 in February. Picture: Getty

Mr Iceton said there had been low listings levels in the Queensland capital, but there were more listings coming on to the market in autumn.

“There’s still more demand than supply at the moment, and as long as that stays the same, it will remain a seller’s market at least into the next financial year,” he said.

Brisbane home prices rose 0.54% to $797,000 in February, to sit 12.16% higher over the previous year.

Adelaide property predictions

Home sellers in Adelaide have benefited from rising home prices, but the autumn selling season should at least bring some more choice for buyers.

Toop and Toop Real Estate owner Bronte Manuel said there was a sense of FOMO entering the Adelaide market again.

“We’re in a low stock market here but there have been some properties that have cleared the decks in the past two weeks, and from that we have seen some FOMO enter the market,” he said.

“It feels like the market has just kicked again.”

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Adelaide home prices jumped 12.76% to $709,000 in February, compared to the same time last year. Picture: Getty

Many Adelaide vendors are looking to list their homes after Easter, he said.

“People have put everything on hold until after Easter, when I believe there will be a strong release of homes onto the market,” he said.

“April and May will be really big months from a sales volume perspective, and I think that’s people trying to sell ahead of winter.”

Adelaide home prices were up 0.81% to $709,000 in February and jumped 12.76% over the past year, according to PropTrack.

“From a supply and demand perspective, we are so far in favour of the seller that I don’t foresee a change over at least the next 12 months,” Mr Manuel said.

“As a buyer, it’s not going to get better anytime soon unless we can really change the way we build new homes.”

Mr Manuel expects home prices in Adelaide to rise 10%-15% in 2024.

Perth property predictions

All eyes have been on Perth and the wider Western Australian real estate market this year, with strong home price growth that is tipped to continue throughout the year.

According to PropTrack, Perth home prices rose a solid 0.56% to $651,000 during the month of February, to be up 16.3% year-on-year.

Realmark Coastal director Sean Hughes said local and interstate homebuyers and investors were looking closely at the Perth market.

“We’re expecting to see extremely strong growth in Perth,” he said. “The bottleneck here is the lack of stock on the market.”

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Perth home prices soared 16.32% to $651,000 over the year to February. Picture: Getty

He said there were only about 3,900 homes for sale in Western Australia at the moment, whereas stock levels in a normal balanced market were more than 12,000 homes.

“We are grossly undersupplied at the moment and I can’t see demand falling in any capacity, whether it’s from locals, the east coast or overseas.”

Mr Hughes said more than half of investment properties around the $400,000 price range were being bought sight-unseen by east coast investors.

He said Gosnells in Perth’s southeast was extremely popular among investors, where home prices had grown 20.4% over the past 12 months.

“We’re going to continue to see buyer frustration, fewer days on market and owner’s expectations being exceeded,” he said.

Hobart property predictions

In Hobart, the hype around Tasmania’s first AFL team could present good buying opportunities amid slower-than-normal real estate conditions.

Hobart home prices were down 0.12% to $664,000 in February and were 2.26% lower than the same time last year, according to PropTrack.

Harcourts Hobart property representative Mark Weaver said high interest rates and home listing numbers had put pressure on Hobart home prices.

“But with more than 120,000 foundation members pledged to the new Tasmanian Devils AFL team, we are excited about the flow-on effect to suburbs that neighbour the stadium such as the Hobart city centre and Glebe,” he said.

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New listings in Hobart were 0.4% lower year-on-year in February. Picture: Getty

Mr Weaver said homebuyers may also find value around the new AFL/AFLW High Performance Centre, which will be home to the new club’s training and administration facilities.

Suburbs bordering the new facilities such as Warrane represented great value now and could be in high demand as the centre begins construction, he said.

Canberra property predictions

Home prices in the ACT have remained relatively stable, growing 0.49% to $828,000 in February but rising just 1.16% compared to the same time last year.

Ray White Canberra chairman Ben Faulks said Canberra was a relatively balanced market at the moment, noting that there were typically one or two buyers to each auction.

“We found that over the past six to eight weeks that a lot of older stock that had been on the market for some time started to be absorbed,” he said.

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ACT home prices edged 1.16% higher year-on-year to $828,000 in February. Picture: Getty

“Listings were already quite low, so we’re expecting it to have a positive impact on pricing.

“We hope that as prices start to tick up in the coming months, it will bring back some confidence to people who are thinking of selling.”

He said home prices have been on the rise, citing examples such as the recent sale of a three-bedroom house at 20 Oakes Street in Cook for $1.46 million, well above the suburb’s median house price of $925,000.

Darwin property predictions

In Darwin, Real Estate Central director Daniel Harris noted they have wet and dry seasons in the Northern Territory’s capital rather than the traditional seasons seen elsewhere.

“We’re coming off the end of the wet season and heading into the dry season and we’re currently seeing a two-speed market in Darwin,” Mr Harris said.

Median home values in Darwin have remained relatively flat at $481,000, rising 0.08% last month but down 0.8% during the year to February.

“The turnkey properties that are in good locations and don’t need any work continue to sell really well,” Mr Harris said.

“But the properties that don’t quite tick all of the boxes or need a little work are harder to sell and they have come off a little in price.

“The fixer-upper types of properties are really hard to sell because of high building costs and the unavailability of trades.”

Mr Harris said areas in Darwin’s northern suburbs were selling well and offering good value to homebuyers.

Real Estate Central recently sold a three-bedroom house at 16 Vashon Street in the northern suburb of Leanyer for $722,000, up on the suburb’s latest median home price of $602,500.


Source: realestate.com.au




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