Once again it is the articles of mass destruction (AOMD) that proliferate in the real estate market at the moment, and all I can say is “talk is cheap”. Yes, we all agree that some of the dynamics have changed, and we have told our agents that in the current market conditions they need to negotiate more with their ears, and with less talking. I am the first to admit that I too have been caught short on a few properties, where we received good offers early in the campaigns, and when the vendors did not accept the offers, we lost the buyers and then we lost the sale. In the current market, vendors need to think long and hard and apply the adage “a bird in the hand, is worth two in the bush”.

Here is the headline of an article that appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald by Lisa Pryor, Property Reporter, “Property faces decade in doldrums”. Memo to Lisa, please don’t perceive that all property markets are one and the same. In property we refer to them as niche markets and therein lies the first clue. The article referred to CommSec’s Property Quarterly, where Ron Bewley head of quantitative research stated, “You get extended periods of flat where nothing happens”. Then the article goes on to say “Past flat periods have lasted up to ten years, or as little as four”. What a pearler! I can well remember the four year markets, however I was not around in the great depression of 1929 when they had the ten; great to see them moving with the times. I am always amazed when economists come out with these statements, and I have formed the opinion that they get a fatter bonus when investors are playing in their market, as against to the one they derive from our market!!

So let’s take a look at the figures hot off the press from the Real Estate Institute of NSW for the month of February 2004. Total number of properties offered for auction 629, sold 363 with a clearance rate of 58% to a value of $340,917,250. Mosman for the year 2003 traded to a value of $650,000,000 in house sales. Now if you take the 58% clearance rate, it would be much greater now as the vast majority of properties usually sell a few weeks later, so I will let you be the judge of the state of play. Now many will say that the investor market is the one that is suffering, well I have an opinion on that (that shouldn’t come as a surprise) as well. Just a few weeks ago the newest local apartment development was completed and it is called Nuova. One investor purchased twelve months ago for $515,000 and we have just resold it for $640,000. This is what we refer to as a niche market, and they all vary one from another.

Another interesting week of sales at the top-end, our property at 70 Bay Street, was scheduled for a 5 May closing date, for Expressions of Interest. Given strong early interest, we scheduled a Private Auction for the interested parties, one even flew in from Singapore. This is a unique marketing concept if handled correctly, the end result was a sale under the hammer at $4,900,000 which was $400,000 above reserve. Well done Richard!! Another home on Curlew Camp Road, sold during week one for reportedly $5,250,000. I would call these results anecdotal.

Not a week goes by without our esteemed (now TV personality) Premier Bob “State of Decay” Carr, failing to make the headlines and I am not referring to the Commonwealth Grants Commission. No, this week he is in a spot of bother with his water works, namely, Warragamba Dam, which supplies eighty per cent of our water! On the 15th November it was 67.4 per cent full, on the 18th March it hit 49%. Now Bob boasts that “he himself thinks outside the square” in his latest TV exposé, (I wish he would get back in) does not appear to be that perplexed. Given that construction commenced in the late 1930’s to service a population of just over 1,000,000 Sydneysiders, it seems that the penny may be dropping. Still smarting over his missing $376,000,000 deduction in grants, they have sacked the boss of the state’s H2o, after only eight months in the job, he did get a handshake of $187,500. The Opposition claim the ‘State of Decay’, has blown $1,000,000 in payments recently to four sacked bureaucrats. One ponders on just how many nurses that would employ!!

We recently received quite a few enquiries about what e-mail program we use, as many are finding spam and viruses at out of control levels. We use Eudora as I don’t like Outlook, we are also testing Spamnix which immediately blocks 95+% of all spam and it is compatible with Eudora. For the very first time I can tell you how well Spamnix is being received in the office, as it quarantines all the spam and viruses for deletion. We have no connection with these companies, but I am more than happy to endorse them as they are the best that we have found.

With some thinking that we have to now wait 3,650 days until we see the property market resurrect itself, where would you put your money? We have a greater possibility of running out of water before 2014, given that to the best of my knowledge, no alternative dams are on the drawing board, and building a dam is not like building a house. What is the difference between a house and the State Government? Well at least a house has foundations!! Cheers and clink ^__^

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