If anyone had said in April 2020 that we would sell more than $6 billion of property in November…..well no-one would have ever dreamed of such a thing let alone say it! (After all, in April we sold $2.54 billion.)
Well, we have now beaten our all-time best sales result, set just last month, with $6.68 billion in sales in November. The jaw-dropping result is some 34 per cent higher than the same period last year. The continued momentum shows the undeniable underlying strength in the Australian and New Zealand property markets, which have been building enormous momentum over the past 6 months.
The personal best results in New South Wales, Victoria / Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia / Northern Territory, New Zealand and Rural networks are emblematic of the uniformity of record market activity across Australia and New Zealand. Of the other markets, Western Australia and Commercial, they were well up on 2019 and not far from personal best territory. We have never seen such synchronised levels of activity across Australia and New Zealand.
That is not to say that some of our sub-markets aren’t facing more challenging conditions. The inner-city apartment markets are generally experiencing rent reductions and weakening investor demand. It is quite remarkable that those inner-city suburbs that have traditionally been the strongest performers, such as Sydney’s CBD fringe and Potts Point,are currently the most challenged.
Like previous months, our overall listing numbers are very similar to last year, and in fact are down on 2018. So these record results are because a greater percentage of listings are being sold. In short, buyer competition is driving these records. We have been highlighting record levels of buyer activity since May. All our buyer metrics remain stunning – loan pre-approvals, online enquiries, auction bidders, and so on.
These metrics give us confidence that the current momentum should endure well into 2021, because so many potential buyers will finish 2020 with unfulfilled ambitions, and the expectations around interest rates and availability of credit remain very positive.
Our auction data – which is seen as a leading indicator – saw a 16 per cent fall in auctions booked in November at 2,056 for a very robust 67 per cent auction day clearance rate. The average number of registered bidders per auction increased to 5.2 from 4.3 persons which shows the deepening buyer activity. Auction prices achieved under the hammer were on average 10.65 per cent higher than their highest offer prior.
Sentiment is definitely shifting in the media, with regular front page headlines of the major papers highlighting what we have been reporting for many months in Ray White Now. Ray White Now has been providing a weekly detailed analysis of what is happening in the market now to ensure our customers make the most informed real estate decisions. Ray White Now has been read by more than 420,000 people over the past 29 weeks.
Across Australia and New Zealand, we welcomed 260 new members to our family and opened a number of new offices in November.
Our brokers at Loan Market booked another stunning month of record results in November too, with a record $2.29 billion in lodgements (up from $2.2 billion in October). Some $1.49 billion in approvals (from $1.5 billion in October) and $1.26 billion in settlements (compared to $1.4 billion in October). As we have been saying since March, the insights from Loan Market have given us confidence in the strength of the banking system and the availability of credit on great terms to buyers, underpinning the health of the property market.
We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Our thoughts and best wishes for the new year are with those people in other industries that have been so badly affected by the pandemic, and those in our community who lost loved ones or suffered ill health.
It has been a remarkable 2020, and we finish the year extremely grateful for the incredible resilience of the real estate industry, the hard work and determination of our members, and the faith that so many customers showed in us during such uncertain times. We will begin 2021 with great speed and enthusiasm. Dan White.