Homeowners gearing up to sell as buyers continue to swarm

More than a third of Australian homeowners are considering selling in the next five years, with new research from Westpac showing seller confidence and buyer demand continuing to rise.

New house with sold sign
Transactions are expected to continue to ramp up as Australia's extraordinary market conditions continue. Photo: Shutterstock (Image source: Shutterstock.com)

More than a third of Australian homeowners are considering selling in the next five years, with new research from Westpac showing seller confidence and buyer demand continuing to rise.

While 35 per cent of homeowners were planning to sell in the next five years, Westpac also said 12 per cent were already in the process of doing so, or planned to sell this year.

Westpac senior economist Matt Hassan said Australia’s improved economic outlook had resulted in a deluge of demand for housing.

“It is absolutely a seller’s market at the moment,” Mr Hassan said.

“Sales have seen a big lift over the last four months and are up over 36 per cent on a year ago, resulting in a significant tightening in supply with listings across the major capital cities now at a 12-year low.

“The research suggests the situation will rebalance in coming months as more sellers come onto the market, however demand is still expected to remain strong, driving a sustained lift in prices this year and next.”

On the demand side, 22 per cent of those surveyed said they planned to buy their first home within the next five years, with competition among buyers and lack of supply their biggest concerns.

Two thirds of sellers said moving costs were a big barrier to selling, but 87 per cent of those looking to sell said they would make upgrades to close a sale.

Westpac’s research comes as data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is showing there will likely be no decline in the number of active buyers in the market, with investor lending hitting a three-year high in January.

The number of investor loans rose 9.4 per cent in January, to be up 22.7 per cent year-on-year.

In New South Wales, Grant Foley Property director Grant Foley said there had been a big uptick in Sydney-based investors in recent months.

Mr Foley said clients at his buyer’s agency were currently predominantly investors, reversing a owner-occupier heavy mix of the previous 12 months.

“Last year my client mix was 70 per cent owner occupiers and 30 per cent investors, but, right now, that is reversed,” Mr Foley said. 

“Corporate professionals and successful business owners are restarting their investment plans now that the uncertainty of 2020 is behind them.

“The values of their properties have continued to grow over recent years and they are now feeling confident to reuse some of their equity by starting, or growing, their strategic property investment portfolios.

“Many investors also have additional cash at their disposal after being forced to reduce their discretionary spending over the past year and some have also withdrawn funds from the stock market to invest in property rather than shares.”

Westpac’s top tips for preparing your home for sale

  1. Increase your kerb appeal. An appealing property can help generate further interest into what your property has to offer. Simple measures like cleaning the front porch, adding some striking pot plants, or giving the front door a fresh coat of paint can help increase your kerb appeal.
  2. Remove any clutter. Removing everyday items can help provide clean and spacious areas that prospective buyers can envision living in. Consider removing personal items like family photos during inspections to help the buyer mentally ‘move in’.
  3. Make your kitchen & bathroom shine. Minor repairs or cosmetic changes can help transform a space into an inviting, modern living area. Painting old cabinets, updating doorknobs or cupboard handles and adding fresh towels, candles or flowers can help freshen up your kitchen or bathroom.
  4. Let in the light. Natural light can help make the home feel bright and spacious. Make sure to open all your curtains and blinds, wash your windows and prune back any plants that might block out the light ahead of any inspections.
  5. Don’t forget outside. Outdoor living is popular for many Australians. Sprucing up your outdoor areas by mending fences, weeding the garden, and adding a couple of extra plants can help entice prospective buyers.

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