Gone are the days when the Sydney property markets moved in sync and we are discovering that today, it is a “make or break” market. In Sydney’s west and south, prices are currently in a free fall, well down from the peak in 2003. On the other hand, the traditional wealth markets are well up on 2003, which clearly identifies that the state economy is much worse off than many had anticipated. Interest rate increases have absolutely crucified the working class markets and there is plenty of blood on the letter boxes. Probably the most alarming point is that if the Sydney Morning Herald had not alerted the markets when they reported on mortgagee sales, the majority of us would still be unaware of the disparity. This was highlighted by the fact that the Mosman market is posting clearance rates around the eighty per cent mark and properties are well exceeding reserves. A home in Neutral Bay sold at auction last Saturday for $1.355 million above the reserve price with the hammer finally falling at $4.355 million (it was unrenovated).

Whilst the Federal and State governments stand toe to toe, blaming each other for the carnage – these working class markets will continue to struggle. The most intelligent dialogue came from Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett who said, “Australia needs a national housing strategy, reviewing tax measures such as negative gearing, to address the housing affordability problem.” When you have suburbs in Sydney reporting forty per cent decreases in value, I think we may need to re- define “affordability”. The problem as I see it, is that Australia’s property markets continue to fly under the radar because the powers that be have not introduced a compulsory regulation for real estate agencies to provide current returns on sales and rental data every month. This way they would get an exact positioning, instead of releasing statements months later. What makes this process even stranger is the knowledge that franchises already do this on a monthly basis. This leaves the property market further in the dark which in all probability is what the respective governments prefer, as too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing. The one thing they are sure of, is that the Pacific Highway has much more traffic heading north than it does south!

Congratulations to Steve Patrick who won the coveted Ronald H Pillinger Trophy at the Richardson & Wrench Annual Awards last Saturday night, as the number one salesperson in the network. The trophy did not travel far. He pipped Richard Simeon (last year’s winner) who came in at second place, while yours truly came in tenth! Also in sales, Marize Bellomo finished fifth and Geoff Grist made his debut in seventh position. Not a bad feat! All our salespeople finished in the top ten categories and our office finished number one in NSW and number one nationally. It is great to see that our business model and conduct continue to exceed expectations.

Whilst our property niche markets are in blitz mode – the same can also be said for the release this week of “sydneywaterfrontseast” by Tim Mooney. This book is dedicated to aerial photography from Bondi to the Bridge. It is a truly outstanding book and an absolute must for anyone who admires the beauty of Sydney Harbour. Tim’s next book will be “sydneywaterfrontsnorth” from the Bridge to Middle Harbour. You can order copies online by going to www.sydneywaterfronts.com but be quick, as I hear they are selling fast, with real estate agents ordering by the box. All the photos were taken this year and capture sensational Sydney harbour waterfrontages. If you can’t afford a waterfront get the next best thing !! Cheers ^__^

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