When the head teller at the Reserve Bank, otherwise known as the ‘Governor of Moolah’ applied his rate kicks at the end of 2003, it would be fair to say that not in his wildest expectations did he believe that the market would start as cautiously as it has in 2004. It’s all right to be cautious – but even a turtle never gets anywhere until he sticks his head out!! Whilst it was reported in the ‘Sunday, just isn’t Sunday without a Sunday belly-laugh’, that last weekend’s clearance rates were 57.5 per cent, it was not noted that quite a few properties were withdrawn. Whilst the numbers at inspections have been positive, the buyers are still throwing caution to the wind. What this tells us is that there are plenty of opportunities for buyers to buy well, as competition is down ( a clue )!! Rest assured that our property market in Mosman, Neutral Bay and Cremorne will post another ten to twelve per cent capital appreciation in 2004.

If one observes the movers and shakers in the property markets the trends normally start with the two strongest markets, those being the Eastern Suburbs and Mosman markets. As I stated last year, Mosman appears to be in a holding pattern as in 2003 it did not make the Top 10 suburbs in capital appreciation. The ‘belly-laugh’ identified 660 suburbs and towns and listed their positions compared to the others, with regard to appreciation and Mosman finished 208th with 13.7 per cent increase for houses and 7.7% for units. Cremorne was 144th with a 15.5 per cent increase for houses and 10.2 per cent for units. Neutral Bay was 290th with 11.7 per cent for houses and 6.6 per cent for units. The Top 10 according to figures published by, Residex were Darling Point (32.8%), Sutherland (30.4%), Miranda (30.1%), Palm Beach (28.2%), Double Bay (25.9%), Caringbah (25.4%), Menai (25.3%), Lilli Pilli (24.3%), Oyster Bay (24.1%) and Cartwright (24%). If one looks at the Top 10, it will be seen that six of the suburbs come from the southern markets. This explains why the north did not feature, as many perceived that this area had peaked. Sanity is prevailing, the market indicators have identified that in 2003 the market growth average was 11.7%, down considerably on the 20% growth posted in 2002. It can be concluded from these figures that some of the participants in the property market are wise, and some otherwise.

The market of intrigue, that being Sydney’s double digit sales has finally been published by Title Deeds. This is the ‘Indulgence Market’, where some are gratified and the vast majority are simply astonished. The first home that sold in Sydney for more than $10,000,000 (hence the term, ‘double digit’) was ‘Altona’, Wunulla Road, Point Piper in 1987 for $11.5 million. In 2002 it sold again for $28 million. The big news of the week is that ‘Rona’, with price expectations in excess of $30 million is on the market and this will be a great test in the battle of the heavy weight letter boxes. No doubt our esteemed Premier ‘Mr Taxes’ Carr is hopeful of collecting a Stamp Duty contribution in excess of $1.8 million for our ailing economy should a sale proceed. Of the 49 sales listed we came in with the sixth and thirty-seventh highest ever sales. Thirty-two double digit sales have been posted since 2000.

The irony of the Sydney property market this year has been waiting for it to start properly, following the market’s early sin-binning with interest rate increases in November and December 2003. It will be a very interesting March market as April is fully booked up with school holidays and long weekends, which means it will be very much like the State Government, non-performing !! With many straddling the proverbial property fence at the moment, maybe we need to tap a few on the shoulder and tell them that they are not going anywhere!! Cheers and clink ^__^

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