Nicholas Slatyer from Belle Property Cairns gives us his take on local real estate.
FY20 didn’t quite pan out the way we would have hoped but as a business, we have nothing to complain about. By February we had already bettered our result from the previous year. We could dwell on “what could have been”, but as is often the case with a small business, we need to be prepared for obstacles - and this last five months has certainly provided some pretty significant ones.
Market conditions continue to be unusual. It seems there are a few, quite clear, buyer profiles in the market. Most obviously - first home buyers who have stable employment, along with “cashed up” purchasers that need somewhere to live.
We had a run of sales that were very quick (to sell, meet conditions and settle), including a piece of beachfront land at $1.165 million (a record price). The land has sub-division approval which makes it more valuable, but on a direct comparison “price per m2” the result still doesn’t surpass a 600m2 block we sold in 2018 for $975,000 ($1,600/m2 vs $709/m2).
I think anyone who is a bit 50/50 on buying or selling is in a holding pattern at the moment, and we are seeing that translate into a significant reduction in the number of properties for sale across Cairns. We started monitoring the numbers on March 25th, and as at July 20th there are almost 100 less properties for sale, and even more significantly 128 less available for rent. The rental number actually peaked some 300 properties higher in May!
We have also been watching the number of buyers who have been investors versus owner-occupiers and the numbers are pretty astounding. Since January this year, we have sold just three properties to a buyer that was not intending to occupy. Now before you ask if we sell in investor markets; we do more transactions in Palm Cove and Cairns City / Cairns North than any other agency - markets expected to be dominated by investors.
This month we welcomed Mardi Rae to “Team Slatyer” (cringe, but I don’t know how else to name it). Mardi is an experienced agent both in Cairns and Port Douglas, where she worked for Sotheby’s International. She joins Renae, Ashlie and I to help us provide even better service and help us do more and do it faster. In the few weeks she has been with us we can already feel the difference of having an extra pair of hands.
Having Mardi on board highlighted an interesting fact… we now have 17 in our team and of those just four are men! I don’t how or why that happened, but I do know that I am feeling out-numbered.
For the second time in my nearly 20 years in Cairns (the first being the GFC), we are facing market conditions that we have never experienced before. It may seem obvious, but at times like these you need advice that you can rely on and trust. Do not hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss any aspect of the market, my phone is always on.
Chat to Nicholas Slatyer on 0409 00 22 33 or visit belleproperty.com/cairns