Sydneyâs flattening residential real estate market is coming up trumps for first-home buyers, especially those targeting discounted inner-city properties.
The cityâs weekend auction clearance rate hit 46.2 per cent on Saturday, and the half-hearted demand for properties is allowing more first-time purchasers to climb off the rental treadmill.
One professional couple, renting in Redfern, purchased a three-bedroom townhouse at 18 Walter Street, Leichhardt. The duo faced no competition at the auction of the home, which they bought for $1.38 million.
TBAS Buyers Agents head, Rodney McLoughlin, represented the buyer. He said six months ago the townhouse would have drawn three or four registered bidders and sold for close to $1.5 million.
The Redfern couple were the only registered party at Saturdayâs auction after another prospective buyer pulled out when their loan finance wasnât approved.
As a result, the couple snapped up the Cobden & Hayson-listed property with a single $5000 bid, placed after the auctioneer, Damien Cooley, had posted a $1.375 million vendor bid.
âThey have been paying too much in rent and they thought it was a good time to buy,âÂ Â Mr McLoughlin said.
âThe competition is not as fierce as it used to be, and there are some good buying opportunities out there now. The market may drop a little more but still, if youâre ready to get into the market, my advice is to jump in.â
Agents reported robust attendances at some auctions in inner Sydney, with numerous neighbours coming out this weekend to check on prices.
More than 120 qualified property buyers also turned out to 48 OâDea Avenue, Waterloo, for Saturdayâs launch of the Mastery by Crown Group project.
The 374-apartment projectâs director of sales, Prisca Edwards, said about $40 million worth of firm sales had been transacted for the building, which offers units ranging from studios to three-bedroom apartments.
She said several first-home buyers on Saturday purchased studios or one-bedroom apartments.
With median house prices down by more than 6 per cent in the year to September, buyers on the look-out for value targeted entry-level listings.
Affordable property sales reported to Domain Group included a studio at 307/82-84 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale. The apartment changed hands for $558,000 through R&H Newtown, while a unit at 2606680513, sold for $600,000 through the same agent.
Few people want to overpay at any price point in Sydney at present, and stalemates and standoffs between buyers and sellers are keeping many transactions in lock-step with agent-quoted guide prices.
Agents say the price information that sellers impart to buyers has to be spot on. If the guide price is slightly over the mark, they argue, people wonât want to know about the property and they wonât come along to an inspection.
These trends, coupled with the difficulty buyers face in accessing mortgage finance, were the driving factors behind this weekendâs 46.2 per cent clearance rate. The result was from 353 reported auctions out of a total weekend roll-call of 711 scheduled auctions. Some 145 of these properties were withdrawn from auction.
The market pendulum is clearly swinging toward buyers, except in the cityâs most tightly held pockets. Domain has revised down the preliminary 41.3 per cent clearance rate for November 10 and 11 to 37.9 per cent after agents reported their âstragglerâ results.â
Jacki Williams, from Warwick Williams Real Estate Drummoyne, said buyers were being choosier and were highlighting perceived faults, such as there being too many trees on a block.
She believes that having an accurate asking price is the clincher that motivates buyers to make offers.
She said buyers wanted to know that the reserve was reasonable, and that many questioned whether the price that agents were quoting would be right on, or close to, the sale price.
âUntil buyers know that it is within reach, they just donât seem to be engaging with us,â Ms Williams said.
Higher-priced sales this weekend included (901) 529-0439, which sold for $5.75 million through Bresic Whitney Balmain.
A five-bedroom home with a tennis court at oarsmanship, made $5.555 million through Di Jones North Shore.
Also above the $4 million mark were 27 Henry Street, Queens Park, with direct access to the park and a pool, which sold for $4.7 million through Phillips Pantzer Donelley, and 7 Cambridge Street, North Willoughby, which fetched $4.1 million through One Agency Tamara Le Boursicot Property. Both properties had plenty of scope for improvement.