What happened to the markets in December?

There’s no more fitting way to sign off a remarkable real estate year than to have a record-breaking December! The Ray White Group’s result of $3.37billion would be an outstanding month at any other time of the year let alone one dominated by vacation and family time as is our December.

It’s one of the great ironies of property. The market can be lacklustre for years with the anguished thought that perhaps we will never experience another vibrant market ever again!

Well 2014 certainly filled that hope. At year’s end, the question turns to the prospects for 2015. We ask this each year. Shortly New Zealand will be celebrating the completion of its third year of sustained property activity. Australia is at least one year behind – still short of its second anniversary of market revitalisation. In fact Ray White in New Zealand set an all time record of $704million last month.

We’ve never set an all time record for any of our markets in December! So, with all the negativity being expressed in many professional circles, the romance of property in our communities is as strong as it ever has been. One of the features continues to be the extraordinary strength of the inner city suburbs of our major cities. In Australia, the inner areas of Sydney continue at a
blistering pace. It’s been a big social shift – the previous generation was all about moving to the suburbs. How quickly that has reversed.

In 2014, a milestone was reached for the mortgage broking industry. Brokers were responsible for 51.5 per cent of all residential loans in the September quarter. The trend toward customers engaging with brokers has been growing consistently over the past 12 months, and shows positive indicators for 2015.

In December, Loan Market recorded its highest settled loans in all states bar one, with 15 per cent growth on average results for this financial year. Strength in NSW with continued uplift in performance over the last year.

Chinese investment in rural land is ongoing. Bruce Gunning, principal of Ray White Rural Sydney has secured two large deals in South West Queensland. With a total value of over $40million, these properties have been purchased by Chinese investors, showing the continuing foreign interest in Australian rural real estate. The properties have had contracts exchanged in late December 2014 and are expected to settle in the first quarter of 2015.

The remarkable activity in our residential markets was matched by the commercial real estate sector. Our commercial business wrote 65 percent more transactions in 2014 than 2015, with investment sales, development site activity, and leasing all contributing. Our regional markets were a long way behind the capital markets and did not get the traditional flow-on effect from capital city activity – will be interesting to watch whether this happens in 2015.