As we start packing up the open for inspection boards for another year, we are reminded that 2004 was a year of fact, fiction and frustrations. The best catch phrase to sum up the year of confusion would certainly be “get the price right”. The grey clouds that many envisaged during the course of the year whilst observing the property market, were nothing more than clouded judgements. When the property market set off earlier this year, the stark reality was that the market had stopped to catch its breath, after eight years of unprecedented trading. The only problem was, that nobody told the agents that the terms and conditions had been adjusted. An amazing statistic of the 2004 market was that property volume was down by approximately twenty-five per cent, yet demand failed to come to terms with supply. The point of difference being that supply had a much higher opinion of itself, whereas demand said, “you come to me as I am not going to you !!” Whenever, the property market has a correction, the heart of the problem is communication. The wires get crossed and agents become confused as they stumble to get an exact positioning. The point is that the property market for residential properties is an emotional market, it is not commercial. However sometimes our emotions cloud our judgements.

It is not hard to cloud judgements as some of the economic journalists could be accused of getting on the eggnog a tad early, when that nasty recession word is discussed. It is well documented that household debt is at its highest level, however the argument of comparing debt levels between 2000 and 2004 is a no-brainer. During this time property prices have doubled (somehow that little pearler, was overlooked). So many are simply working their assets to build wealth and get tax relief. Vacancy rates for residential properties are fast tracking unemployment rates, which gives landlords heart and still encourages them to invest in the property market. Given that Bobby Dazzler’s vendor tax continues to fail, the clear message is that investors have no intention of selling. Many forget that after the corporate collapses of 2001, the investors simply repositioned themselves and went back to bricks and mortar.

So what happens in 2005 ? Well we continue to remain upbeat as the economy is still a protected species. In 2004 the interest rate remained stagnant with the “Governor of Moolah” preferring to be a property voyeur. The theory that property prices will come back down to earth in 2005 is an optimistic one and yes, there are balanced arguments for and against. It is about niche markets and they are all different, despite being thrown into that imaginary bubble that constantly eludes ‘the prick’. The affluent property markets will continue to remain strong as after all, at the end of the day, people just want to live there. Homes at the top end of the market are an investment and an indulgence. The capital appreciation in these markets has been constant and more importantly, responsible, as the property participants are throwing a little caution to the wind. In 2004, we were constantly reminded that this year the market had a much finer balance and when a purchaser spoke you listened. In previous years, we ‘slapped’.

Despite what some say, the market has continued to be positive and productive. Our subscriber sales this week climbed to $277,065,500 and we are just $22,934,500 off reaching our budget for subscriber sales in 2004 (hate those sales that go to non-subscribers). Given that it has been a difficult year, it identifies that our market is not as sick as many have argued. Last week, a home was sold for $6,000,000 plus in conjunction with Christie’s. Also removed from the menu, was a home in Tivoli Street which sold for $2,175,000, a semi in Spruson Street for $1,360,000, an apartment in Brady Street for $1,050,000, and a home in Koowong Avenue for $1,625,000. We remain confident that we can exchange quite a few more keys before the property door closes on 2004.

Well this is our final edition for 2004, and what a year it has been !! In terms of new subscribers, this year has been our most successful as we added just over 2000 email addresses to our database. On behalf of all the team here at RWM we want to thank you for your ongoing patronage. Keep those feisty emails coming. Have a sensational and safe holiday and yes, in Mosman, we do say Merry Christmas !!

We will be back around Australia Day in 2005, for another forty-something editions. Management has decided to leave the cost of subscription at this year’s rate. Spread the cheer, see you in the New Year !! A loud and large, cheers & clink !! ^__^

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