It’s often the last key on the ring that opens the door!! If the results posted thus far are anything to go by, we could be carrying some pretty heavy key rings in 2004. Our market, like many others across Sydney is fast becoming a perseverance market, start from scratch then keep scratching. Whilst many agents are scratching their heads trying to get a hold of what is actually happening, it should be remembered that the real estate market has more questions, than answers. An apartment on The Esplanade, went to auction last Saturday and was passed in at $2,160,000, however when the auction was cancelled late last year there were offers on the table for the same property at just over $3,000,000. It was purchased in May 2002 for $3,050,000. These figures remind me of a Bob Carr ‘Mission Statement’ for the State of NSW. Given that the latest figures released by Home Price Guide, reveal that the average price for a home in Mosman for the twelve months to January 31, 2004 has now hit an all time record of $1,927,964. It’s no wonder the real estate voyeurs find property viewing compelling.

Whatever the likely scenario, society today, is marinated with confusion and in 2004 we could very well experience a few of life’s dull and boring moments with real estate. Nothing like a market that keeps the punters guessing! There is no hidden agenda as the simple truth is that some areas will exceed expectations, and others will see 2004 as a tough year. This is the first time in quite a few years that the market has commenced trading in a new year by ‘second-guessing’ the market. I guess while so many are looking back at previous markets, others are trying to pre-empt, and now everyone is confused. Although it must be said that the property markets have always worshipped ‘Confusionism’.

In markets like these, the key ingredient is getting the values correct and already this year we are seeing agents buying listings as if there was no tomorrow. When one closely examines a market’s performance the clearance rates are usually the main trigger. Mosman, is a market of extremes; it can go from having the highest clearance rate, to having the worst in Sydney within the space of a few weeks. Having missed out on a few of late, it could be argued that some are on the new designer steroid THG, otherwise known as tetrahydrogestrinone. It is the fastest way to win a listing, however in the long run it actually works out to be the slowest way to achieve a sale. The Department of Fair Trading must be salivating at the thought that finally, they can exercise their new legislation; watch the Mosman, Cremorne and Neutral Bay clearance rates over the next month. There really is no better clue to guage a market’s performance.

As for talk about interest rate movements, it appears that the ‘Governor of Moolah’ will leave them alone for some time. The two rate increases at the end of 2003, have restrained the property market and this is certainly a positive sign. Alternatively, there is a fine line between the many schools of thought that more rate increases could, and would be, the trigger for a recession (totally different in the ‘State of Taxes’). In NSW, Bob Carr has given us a balanced economy, wherein we have as many people working, as striking.

One of the most interesting markets over the last twelve months has been the apartment sector. Given the trials and tribulations of Henry ‘de’ Kaye, and the much maligned investment market, the apartment market in Mosman, Cremorne and Neutral Bay is as strong as it has been for quite some time. The interesting observation is that for the moment, the investors have stepped-back and it is the ‘DINKS’ (Double Income No Kids) and the empty-nesters who are driving the market. This week the Apartment Division gave fifteen opinions of value which is a record, and seven will be released to the market in next week’s edition. With ten apartments already finding new owners in 2004, this really is an interesting market sector to monitor closely.

Nothing like a little bit of action in the property market, although some may say certain parts of the market are in slow motion at the moment. What the markets really need is some good old fashioned common sense and honesty. Some may argue that when it comes to valuing real estate, “honesty” it is not as “common” as it used to be. ^__^ Cheers and clink

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