Australian real estate set for a smoother 2016

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While 2015 may have been a year of upheaval in Australian real estate thanks to regulatory changes and some markets soaring while others lagged, it appears the dream of property ownership is still alive and well across the country.

According to a recent survey by wealth management firm Yellow Brick Road (YBR), saving to invest in property or buy a home made up 40% of Australian’s financial New Year’s resolution.

That is well ahead of other financial-based resolutions such as decreasing debts (25%), to budget (15%), save for travel (10%) and get superannuation sorted (7%).

“In this current environment, you might expect to see property taking a back seat to financial aspirations such as saving and budgeting or consolidating debts,” YBR spokesperson Lyndsey Douglas said.

“However, the Australian dream of owning property and the security that comes with it – is still dominant.” 

With a large proportion of Australian’s still looking to be involved in the property market, Douglas said conditions could soon start to favour buyers.

“The property market is changing rapidly with some cooling predicted in previously hot areas,” she said.

“The upside is that it might ease some of the affordability pressures faced by first home buyers as competition from other buyers declines.”

For those that are considering joining the property market, Sam Saggers, chief executive officer of Positive Real Estate, said the time could be right to make a smart purchase.

“The Christmas and New Year break can really be a great time to buy. People are often on holidays or looking after their kids so there tends to be less buyers around,” Saggers said.

“You’re going to have less people going through open homes which takes away a lot of the fear people often have that they’re going to miss out. That means there’s going to be less emotion around and you can find yourself getting a better deal,” he said.

Saggers believes 2016 is likely to be a year that favours buyers and because of that he recommends investors be more selective in the properties they target.

“There’s a bit of undersupply at the moment of quality stock and there’s a lot of fairly ordinary stock around.

“You’re going to see the really shrewd investors target that quality stock and that’s what people should be looking for, rather than just going after the best bargain.”

While Saggers recommends buying in the New Year period, for those that miss out he says the remainder of 2016 will provide smother time to buy compared to 2015.

“We’ve seen Sydney peak and the wheels haven’t fallen off and I think we’ll see a smoother year.

“There’s been a huge level of investment activity recently and I think this year we’ll see a bit of a return by first time buyers as well as the return of the really shrewd investor.”

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