State of the Property Market July 18

Welcome to my six monthly review of the state of the property market with reference to Brisbane’s Bayside.
Consistent with the general trend across Australia, during the first half of 2018 we experienced a quieter level of activity in property sales in the Bayside, and a reduction in the numbers of investors looking for existing properties. The demand for land has maintained its level, despite land selling for around $1,000 per square metre in some areas.
The table below compares sales in the first half of 2018 with that in 2017, and as you can see all suburbs experienced slower sales, some significantly below the previous year.
Properties Sold Jan-June 2018
Properties Sold Jan-June 2017
Change (%)
Manly West
Gumdale (inc. land)
Gumdale (Houses)
The reasons for this decline in activity are mainly the result of the following influences:
  • General lack of economic growth in Queensland, particularly in the mining industry. We are now seeing this begin to turn around, so this may help the area, which is popular among fly-in fly-out mining industry workers.
  • Bank tightening of lending, associated with constraints imposed by APRA, the Banking Royal Commission, Reserve Bank and other related decisions. Many buyers have reportedly had their pre-approved amounts reduced when it comes time to actually buy the property they have chosen.
  • Some buyers have been waiting for Brisbane prices to fall as they have in Melbourne and Sydney. Sellers, on the other hand, have been assuming that prices will continue to rise like before, and many have been reluctant to recognise that they can’t expect to achieve the prices they might have hoped for.
  • International trade and politics has had an impact, both on the Australian dollar and interest rates, and consumer confidence.
Prices in the area have mostly stayed flat over the past six months. Median prices for the latest available month compared to last July show either small increases or declines (note that the Gumdale figure includes land sales which impacts the median price).
Median Price April 2018
Median Price July 2017
Change (%)
Manly West
(inc land sales)
Despite the flat period recently, the outlook for Brisbane is quite positive, provided it doesn’t follow the negative influences of Sydney and Melbourne. The Herron Todd White Property Clock for July shows Brisbane at 9 o’clock in a rising market, with Melbourne at the peak of 12 and Sydney at 3 o’clock on a falling market. HTW says about Brisbane that “now is a good time to look at purchasing as an owner-occupier or investor as the market is starting to show signs of positive growth.”
In terms of future expectations, the Westpac Index of Consumer Sentiment rose by 3.9% in July, now at its highest reading since November 2013. However, the Housing Index was down by 0.7% in the latest quarterly results. Westpac forecast is for the Housing Index to improve to 1.2% positive by the end of this calendar year.
While the Reserve Bank has consistently indicated the next move in interest rates is likely to be upwards, it’s July meeting made it clear there is not going to be any rise for quite some time yet, given the weaknesses in economic indicators.
So, my take on all of this is that it’s time the banks got their act together and started lending again. If you’re a buyer, my advice is to get pre-approval before starting the house hunting, so you know what you’ve got to spend. And if you’re a seller, don’t price your property on the market at 10% more than you reasonably think you’ll get, because it will just languish on the market and not sell. Now is the time to price close to the market and buy well in the same market.

Buying a house in Qld? Here’s a quick guide.

In Queensland, the buying and selling of homes is regulated by the Queensland Government to protect consumers. Real Estate Agents are required to comply with a strict code of conduct. Terms and conditions of sale are standardised on a contract developed by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland and Law Society.  The following steps apply to a typical sale by private treaty (not an auction and not a sale through a buyer’s agent).


Tell the agent you would like to make an offer. Usually the offer is made on the standard contract document. Sometimes an agent will take an Expression of Interest which is not a contract but has sufficient information to put an offer before a seller.

Verbal offers have no value. Good agents will not take them.

Decide what price you wish to offer for the property based on your knowledge of the area and comparative sales. You should discuss this with the agent. Consider what date would be convenient to settle the transaction – that is, when you would like to move in.

Will the offer be subject to any conditions? Typical conditions are “subject to finance” and “subject to building & pest inspection”.

If you need to sell your own home first, speak to the agent about whether the sellers would consider this. Being “subject to sale” tends to be a weaker offer and is often not acceptable to sellers, or requires a higher price to be offered.

Have you chosen a solicitor or conveyancing firm? If you don’t have one, the agent may be able to suggest several to choose from.


The agent will sit down with you and discuss the property, and take your offer. Remember, the agent is obliged by law to try to negotiate the highest price for the property owner. At the same time, the agent needs to achieve a sale for the owners which is an incentive.

Once you are satisfied with the terms and conditions, sign the contract/expression of interest and the offer will be submitted to the sellers for their consideration.

The sellers may accept the offer, reject the offer, or make a counter-offer. You may need to make a further counter-offer to respond to the sellers counter. Sometimes several counter-offers are made.

Some owners will “sit on” an offer and wait to see if better offers come from other buyers. As a buyer, you can put a time limit on your offer, after which time it is withdrawn.


Once agreement has been reached between buyers and sellers, the contract is dated. Buyers have a 5 business day cooling off period from the contract date. The agency should send you and your nominated solicitor a copy of the contract.

Pay the deposit within the period required to the agency’s Trust Account (usually specified on the contract). Notify your bank/broker and send them a copy of the contract, so they can begin the process for loan approval for the property. The bank will normally undertake a valuation on the property. Notify your solicitors so they can start the process of due diligence on your behalf. They will send a list of searches to be undertaken to check the property is legitimate and the owners nominated in the contract are able to sell it.

Ensure you insure the property as soon as you sign the contract and pay the deposit.


If the contract is subject to building & pest inspection you need to contact an inspector to arrange this. It must be undertaken prior to the date specified in the contract. Normally the agent and the buyer will attend the building inspection. The agent may be able to suggest building inspectors (ask for three to four names). The purpose of the building report is to identify significant structural problems or pest damage, not to use to gain a price reduction for minor maintenance issues. It is not the seller’s responsibility to have their house in pristine condition, especially if it is some years old.

Building reports are often drafted by lawyers, so they contain clauses designed to prevent people suing the building inspector. As a result, reports read quite negatively, and it is important not to be put off by this legalistic wording. If you have issues with the building report, discuss them with the agent before pulling out of the contract.


Most contracts are subject to finance. This means the bank/financier has to approve a loan and the purchase cannot be finalised unless this is done. Ensure you provide the paperwork required within timeframes so that there are no delays in this condition. If the deposit is paid in two stages, which is common, ensure the final deposit is paid by the contracted date.


Once all the “subject to” clauses have been satisfied, the contract becomes “unconditional” which means the property is yours, pending settlement.  Arrange with removalists well ahead of time so the move can be scheduled without problems. Arrange for relevant utilities to be notified your change of address and for supplies to be disconnected at settlement date.


Ian Walkley, Place Estate Agents

0402 945 488


40 Maintenance Tips

Many home owners leave repairs and maintenance to the last minute when selling. But don’t expect a buyer to pay for a property in need of repairs, that is the responsibility of the seller, and is part of normal costs of owning a home. Making repairs and undertaking maintenance is not in the same category as renovation or refurbishment. With your house most buyers will require a building inspection, and inspectors make it their business to identify every maintenance issue, from leaking taps to cracks in the cornice. I recommend that you go through the house room by room, and make a list of repairs and maintenance required before listing the property. And unless you are appropriately skilled or qualified, repairs should be done using a professional, especially electrical work and plumbing.

Here are forty maintenance tips to consider.

  1. Lights that need replacement globes. Make sure the wattage is high so the home is bright when on display. Warm white globes are best in bedrooms, cool white in the kitchen. But don’t mix warm white with cool white in the same room.
  2. Use a battery light in cupboards with no power.
  3. Buy fittings for lights with only a globe.
  4. Fix switches that are faulty or cracked.
  5. Fix leaking taps.
  6. Fix toilet cisterns that constantly flow.
  7. Clear blocked drains.
  8. Door bell—in my experience about 75% of door bells do not work.
  9. Loose wiring from an unfinished electrical job. Either get it done, or get an electrician to shield off the wiring.
  10. Replace or repair anything that is rusting, particularly exterior light fittings. CLR can be used to clean off some rust, but not bad damage.
  11. Letterbox—replace if necessary.
  12. Damage to timber—check for dry rot and termites. Repair and paint.
  13. Perimeter of house—is the exterior wall clear of plants, pipes or conduit that termites could climb to avoid the termite barrier? Are the weep holes clear?
  14. Repair squeaky doors and hinges, sticking doors, loose door handles, cupboard doors that are coming off the hinges.
  15. Replace the dead smoke detector battery.
  16. Service pool pumps and filters and cleaner.
  17. Ensure pool is clean and clear. If necessary hire a pool maintenance man for a couple of months so you don’t have a green pool.
  18. Ensure you have a current pool safety certificate (in relevant States). These can be obtained through any pool shop.
  19. Condition of front door—is it in good condition, does it need painting or staining? What about the condition of the screen door? Check the soft-closing mechanism works on the screen door.
  20. Plaster walls—repair and paint chips, cracks, marks, dents, chipped edges, cracks in cornice.
  21. Fix loose or torn wallpaper.
  22. Flaking paint, or other signs that painting is overdue. Exterior and interior.
  23. Replace cracked bathroom and kitchen tiles.
  24. Clean or replace mouldy and dirty grout.
  25. Floor tiles will show any cracks. Timber and vinyl—do they need repair or polish?
  26. Check for damaged roof tiles (especially if you’ve had Foxtel installed). What about ridge capping—does it need replacing?
  27. Exterior pavers—are they bedded properly, damaged, mouldy? Use some chlorine to kill the mould.
  28. Air conditioners—are they all working? Have the filters been cleaned and serviced lately or ever?
  29. Are the batteries on any remote control gadgets like split cycle air conditioners working?
  30. Ceiling fans—are they dust free, rust-free and working on all speeds?
  31. Cooktop—do all hotplates work properly?
  32. Bathroom extractor fans—working properly?
  33. Range hood—light and fan working?
  34. Mouldy shower curtain or screen—does it just need a clean or is there a bigger problem of moisture in the bathroom?
  35. Windows that won’t slide or you can’t unlock. Replace any cracked glass.
  36. Flyscreens—replace any torn flyscreens.
  37. Cobwebs, wasp nests, signs of cockroaches or spiders—when was the last pest treatment?
  38. Clean out gutters, check for rust showing or damaged downpipes and guttering.
  39. Check the DIY patio or carport—does it need painting? Does it have loose bolts, is it half finished? Is there a need for Council approval?
  40. Check under the eaves for mildew or signs of moisture damage.


Motivations for Selling

Whether you’re considering selling your home, or perhaps looking to buy one, it is valuable to understand why the vendor is selling. For a seller, it is relevant in considering the possible method used to market the property, and for buyers it is potentially beneficial in the negotiation process.

For most of us, the decision to sell our home is not made overnight. It tends to be the culmination of other events in our lives. Real estate agents sometimes refer to the four D’s that often drive property sales: Divorce, Death, Debt and Desire.

The fourth driver, Desire, is about aspiration — when the owner wants to upgrade to a better house, move to a higher status area, purchase a property that reflects their success, or invest for profit.

I would suggest two other “D” factors here: Demographics and Departure. An example of Demographics would be when a couple has young children and wants a home with a bigger yard, or when the children have left home and a couple wants to downsize. Departure is about moving to another location because of a job transfer, or for lifestyle reasons, such as Victorians relocating to the warmer climate of Queensland.


It should not come as a surprise then that the motivation behind selling implies potentially different time frames, different processes of selling, and potentially different price outcomes. For example a “Debt” situation where the bank is knocking at the door may require a quick and guaranteed sale. Stressed sales often are sold by auction for that reason (although auction is also used in many other circumstances).

If you need to move soon the preparation you undertake will probably be much less than if you’re a middle aged couple considering downsizing. Selling the family home that contains the fond memories of raising the children will be an emotional event, and there may a reluctance to sell. There may even be dispute between partners about whether to sell at all. Health reasons will often come into play here. Where one partner is uncertain about selling, it may only be at the stage of considering a formal offer that the decision to sell or stay is confronted.

Some sellers are less than candid with their agent about why they’re selling, sometimes to their detriment. Of course, there is no obligation to tell your agent if you’re in financial trouble, or getting divorced. But you should only use an agent you feel you can trust, and being open about your circumstances will help you and your agent work out the best strategy to meet your needs, for example the timing of the sale, the likely price range it will sell at, the most appropriate selling method, and the way in which the property would be most effectively marketed.

Below are examples that show how different motivations might influence the selling process and considerations that come into play. This is not a definitive list.


Demographics (Life Stage)

Example: A couple in their sixties wants to downsize from the family home

Price Goal: Maximum possible market price (so they have some funds left over)

Time Frame: Willing to look around until they find a suitable property before selling on a “subject to sale” basis. Would prefer to sell when the market is near the peak.

Considerations: There may be an opportunity to sell “off market” to a buyer on a local agent’s database. This will save costs, and might help in terms of the settlement period, as agents know buyers who are ready to purchase now. This might be necessary, if the sellers have committed to another property.

The timing of the “on market” period is important, as a premium online listing generally lasts for 30-45 days. Sellers normally do not wish to have their house on the market for long periods of time, as it is a burden to keep spotless for open homes and inspections, and can be stressful not knowing when and for what price the home will sell.

Possible Selling Process: Exclusive private treaty.


Example: Couple who have separated and have trouble agreeing on anything.

Price Goal: Top price. One wants out; the other wants to hold on.

Time Frame: Quicker the better for all parties.

Considerations: How to achieve agreement on price and sale, how to accept an outcome.

Possible Selling Process. Auction with 21-30 day campaign and 30 day settlement. One party can buy the other out.


Example: Family wishes to dispose of asset.

Price Goal: Fair market price.

Time Frame: 30-60 days, preferably a short time frame.

Considerations: De-cluttering, cleaning and presenting the home — there may be costs involved in preparing it for market.

Possible Selling Process. Exclusive private treaty or auction.

Desire (Aspiration)

Example: Couple with young children want to upgrade current house for more yard and a pool.

Price Goal: Best possible price to put towards next home.

Time Frame: Want to find new home first then sell.

Considerations: An accurate assessment of likely sale price is important, to know what the changeover costs will be. An honest appraisal by a local agent is essential.

Possible Selling Process. Exclusive private treaty. Auction if in a popular location.

Departure (Moving)

Example: Family with school children moving to another city for job.

Price Goal: Fair market price.

Time Frame: Quick sale to enable family to resettle.

Possible Selling Process. Exclusive private treaty, off market sale to agent database, or auction if in a popular location.


Example: Need to sell to reduce debt.

Price Goal: Fair market price or as close as possible.

Time Frame: The bank requires auction in 30 days.

Possible Selling Process. Auction (with offers considered prior to auction).

So whether you are buying or selling, consider the motivations behind the sale and the implications of this for the sale.