It is that time of the year when we cruise along Adversity Avenue and Determination Drive, making sure that we bypass Struggle Street as the market enters the final run for 2004. Our ‘Governor of Moolah’ has opted not to apply a rate sting. November is his preference with another annual market slap aimed more at the annual credit card Christmas curse. The only clear pattern that appears to be evolving is that supply for the remainder of the year will continue to be restricted, which will guarantee that housing prices remain constant. Despite current speculation in relation to the overall property market, for the past eight years the bricks and mortar debate has continued to demonstrate a recurring theme. We see no reason to suggest that the coming selling period will show too many flat spots, although we are now coming to terms with the fact that much of the glamour and stimulation ‘have now left the building’. Although, that recurring theme still remains as music to our ears !!

Should the property market look for any reassurance, one only has to cast an eye at the continual strength of our economy. The all ordinaries index has exceeded expectations having risen by thirty per cent over the last eighteen months. This can only strengthen consumer confidence. Unemployment levels currently at 5.6 per cent are the lowest in 23 years. Our economy is now in its thirteenth year of economic expansion, and the gross domestic product is forecast at 3.8 per cent in 2004. It is blatantly clear that our economy is well managed. Today, many businesses that endured the hardships of the early nineties are applying the mental notes that they experienced then, to ensure that the mistakes made, will today, only remain a history lesson. We were told that every Olympic city goes straight into recession at the completion of the games, however Sydney refused to take notice. International distractions such as the Asian crisis, and the dot com crash were simply parked in Determination Drive.

What is difficult to fathom is the demise of the auction market, given that the market dynamics of supply and demand should guarantee a much stronger performance. The anecdotal evidence on the property market’s door step is that in comparison to last year, numbers of properties auctioned were down fifty five per cent. Last month just 934 properties were up for auction compared to 1446, just twelve months prior. Unfortunately, the “hopeless” system of recording the data does not show us how many homes bypassed public auction, preferring the methods of private treaty and expressions of interest. Over the coming months we anticipate that agents will apply preferential treatment to clandestine home sales, which will confuse the data records even more.

The major property portals are experiencing increasingly strong Internet activity, which clearly identifies that property voyeurs feel very much at home with this medium. We are on average, adding between sixty and ninety new subscribers a week, and we are witnessing a healthy mix of local and overseas subscriptions. This week, two separate blocks of 4 x 2 bedroom apartments at 2 – 4 Lavoni Street Balmoral sold for $5,735,000 which is a very healthy price as they sit on approximately 1400 square metres of land. The successful purchaser was an expat, and the word is that both blocks will be demolished to make way for a single residence. Just another example of the strength of the ‘Mosman $’. It is one of the strongest currencies in Australia. Last month our highly talented Apartment Division, exchanged eleven properties which was a record in terms of volume. Yet again that recurring theme is an even balance between first home buyers and investors.

So we continue down the road of character addresses and by all accounts it will be business as usual. Struggle Street is certainly not on our flight path, although the Federal Election may briefly stall the market’s retention period.

Thanks to Geoff Grist for the last two editions whilst I sampled the ‘Bintangs of Bali’. For the month of July, Bali was full of Aussies, and that beautiful place in paradise has well and truly recovered, I just can’t say the same for my liver !! Here we go again cheers and clink !! ^__^

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