Worried and staying put

PROPERTY players have farewelled a better than expected end to 2012 but anticipate 2013 will bring another year of low supply and flat prices.

PROPERTY players have farewelled a better than expected end to 2012 but anticipate 2013 will bring another year of low supply and flat prices. While low interest rates are expected to fuel buyer confidence, there is some concern that job insecurity is holding others back in some of the cheaper suburbs.

Love Real Estate agent John Gioftsidis, who sold the cheapest house in Melbourne on Saturday, said there had been ‘‘softening levels of inquiry in the past month’’.

‘‘There’s a lot of positivity regarding interest rates coming down, but people are holding back due to [concern for] job security and cost-of-living concerns,’’ he said.

‘‘Our top end and our bottom end are performing quite well, but it’s the middle that’s lagging the most as people who already have a mortgage aren’t looking to move.’’

Just two out of six properties in Epping sold on the weekend as the broader northern suburbs recorded a clearance rate of 57 per cent – the average for the state.

It was a damp end to the market’s late-spring/summer rally, and some areas in the north and west performed poorly, but it is unlikely to impact on the yearly clearance rate of 61 per cent.

Agents on Sunday reported the results of 822 auctions, of which 352 properties passed in and 216 of those on a vendor’s bid. The results of 107 auctions are pending.

Eastern suburbs agents were more enthusiastic about next year’s prospects as the market shuts down for the holidays.

Marshall White director John Bongiorno said: ‘‘I’m pretty optimistic. The second half has been strong; we’ve had more turnover and people are buying and selling for the right reasons – not for greed but because there’s a necessity. It’s a good normal market and people are taking advantage of of interest rates at record low levels.’’

Bennison Mackinnon director Andrew McCann, who also operates in the eastern suburbs, said the year had ‘‘finished better than people think, even though the clearance rate has fallen slightly because there’s been a fair amount of stock on the market’’.

‘‘I thing it will be a better year next year. People are starting to understand what the new normal is. Vendor expectations took a while to come into line with the market this year and maybe agents were to blame for that.’’

Buyer’s advocate Michael Ramsay was upbeat. He said: ‘‘There’s still some heat in the market and I think that augurs well for next year.’’

In the north-east, Miles Real Estate director Stewart Oldmeadow said: ‘‘I think it will be constant next year, but there’s more positivity across the board than 12 months ago.’’

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