Investors optimistic - but not buying yet

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The real estate market may have cooled, but some investors are sensing the time to jump back into it may be near.

Some 61% of respondents to a new online poll by said they viewed the current slow real estate market as a time of opportunity. While 27% of the 700 respondents said they are cautious and want to “stay on the sidelines until things become clearer”, 12% believe it is not the time to buy because the market is on the decline.

Website founder Terry Ryder said the poll shows prospective property buyers are still optimistic, despite the current climate of subdued sales and price growth.

Ryder also stated that the poll responses highlight the fact that many investors recognise there is strong opportunity to buy low in the current market.

“There are also plenty of properties on the market and not many buyers at present, which puts prospective investors in a position of real negotiating strength. It also gives them the luxury of taking their time and having a good look around,” he added.

He said flat–price growth, falling interest rates, low vacancy rates and rising rents all create real opportunities for property investors to position themselves strategically to benefit from the next market up–cycle.

“Typically, when there is a change in the property market cycle, most people do the opposite of what makes sense – they get ‘spooked’ and follow the herd mentality of selling when the market is on the way down and buying when it’s heading up,” Ryder observed. “History shows that the successful investors buck the trend and capitalise on the market conditions by buying at times like these when there is little competition – and bargains to be found.”

Ryder said increasing costs are making suburbs with railway stations the better investment.

“It is not just petrol prices driving this shift to living in railway–served suburbs, it is also the growing prevalence – and cost – of road tolls, as well as the dramatic increases in inner–city parking prices,” he said.

The growing trend in apartment living is another major change.

“More and more people are now making their homes in apartments. They are cheaper and also offer an attractive, low–maintenance lifestyle. Ten years ago, 15% of first home–buyers bought apartments. That has now doubled to 30%,” Ryder stated.

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