How to Protect Yourself From Underquoting

By Buyers Domain Principal Buyer’s Agent, Nick Viner

The good news continues for Sydney buyers wanting to take advantage of the current cooling property market. In many suburbs, prices and auction clearance rates are declining. That translates to less competition at auctions and more opportunity to negotiate a deal once a property has been passed in, or even prior to auction.

Latest CoreLogic figures from last weekend have the preliminary auction clearance rate of 57.6 per cent, compared to 67.7 per cent over the same week last year.

In addition, Domain stated that Sydney homeowners are discounting their properties at their highest level in five years. Across the city, the average discount vendors accept below originally advertised house prices reached 6 per cent over the latest quarter - the largest markdown in prices since April 2013.

On the buying frontline, I have seen a major push back from buyers rejecting properties that would have been quickly snapped up last year. For the first time in a long while, buyers now have the luxury of taking their time to find what they really want.

While there are great buys to be found across many suburbs, we still have highly sought-after areas in Sydney that continue to record eye-watering prices.

In particular, cashed up downsizers remain enthusiastic about anything close to the CBD, and are driving up the prices of apartments across inner city suburbs and the North Shore.

A recent example was a three-bedroom apartment at 2/43 Blues Point Road, McMahons Point: https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-apartment-nsw-mcmahons+point-128209670 The price guide was "mid-$2ms”. Although needing a complete renovation, it has fabulous water views and off-street parking for 2 cars. Located close to the shops, it has level access making it a downsizer’s dream. I advised my clients to expect a price closer to the mid $3ms, but it actually sold at auction for an extraordinary $4.3m!! Even in a supposedly softer market, rare properties in sought-after areas with high demand will always sell well.

But there are a few areas that I believe offer great potential for buyers at the moment. These are the suburbs of the Balmain Peninsula, the Northern Beaches, and Dulwich Hill in the Inner West.

Balmain Peninsula

Balmain Peninsula

The suburbs of Balmain, Balmain East, Birchgrove and Rozelle have a great community vibe, access to good schools and a multitude of appealing shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. They also offer good proximity to the Harbour, and have handy ferry and bus public transport options. 

These suburbs have a great mix of renovated period homes including traditional terraces and workers’ cottages, as well as smaller art-deco unit blocks and modern residential apartments.

Prices have dropped by about 10 per cent across the Balmain Peninsula so now is a great time to get out and explore the property on offer in these fantastic suburbs, especially in these quieter and cooler months.

One thing to be aware of however, is the proposed construction of the Western Harbour Tunnel, a 7km motorway connecting to WestConnex at ­Rozelle and crossing under the Harbour between the Birchgrove and Waverton areas. This will result in some disruption and noise. It may also affect any potential property purchase so it’s important to do your research before you buy in the affected areas.

Dulwich Hill

While Marrickville has become a popular choice for many looking to buy in the Inner West, Dulwich Hill offers much better value for money right now.

With a wide variety of housing styles, it has something for everyone including families. The light rail to the city is an obvious drawcard but Dulwich Hill also offers a village atmosphere, great café society as well as bars and restaurants. Another benefit is its proximity to the trendy suburbs of Newtown and Erskineville.

Northern Beaches

Northern Beaches

There are some exciting developments happening on the Northern Beaches including the new Northern Beaches Hospital and associated infrastructure to be opened at Frenchs Forest later this year.

In addition, the proposed tunnel to bypass the infamous congestion of the Spit Bridge and Military Road will be a major drawcard, and will dramatically push up prices in the future.

Now could be the best time to buy in the Beaches with suburbs such as Frenchs Forest and Allambie Heights offering good opportunities, especially for families, and representing much better value than the Lower North Shore.

Overall, it’s a great time to downgrade or upsize in Sydney but not all suburbs are offering good value. It pays to be savvy in your approach, and it is important to take your time and do your research on where prices are sitting in your favoured suburb.

Real estate agents are much more open to negotiating but they are not going to make it easy for you. If you want to ensure you don’t overpay in the current market, secure the services of a well-respected buyer’s agent who will be able to find a property that suits your needs, and then negotiate the very best price.

Experienced buyer’s agent Nick Viner has extensive knowledge of property in the Inner West, North Shore and Eastern Suburbs. He can help you find a property that will offer future capital growth as well as the features you desire. Contact Nick now on 0405 134 645.