A record month is usually a time for great celebration. But to post one in the middle of a global health pandemic, amid restrictions on how we operate our business, and with so much of our community experiencing health and economic hardship, reminds us of how grateful we are part of an enormously resilient industry and how blessed we are to have so many wonderful members deeply committed to their customers.
We have just produced our best July ever. A staggering set of sales results, across all of our markets. Results that must give confidence to all Australians and New Zealand on the health and vibrancy of the real estate market and the value of their properties at a time of great economic uncertainty.
It’s testament to the incredible hard work of all our members who chose to focus on the huge opportunity in the market now, rather than be distracted by media talk and speculation, and in turn delivered outstanding results for our customers.
As a combined group we sold more than $4.49 billion in unconditional sales in July 2020, which was up 33 per cent on July 2019. Our New Zealand team posted its best month ever at $1.23 billion, a massive 52 per cent up on the same month last year. NSW/ACT ($1.16 billion), Commercial ($200 million) and Rural ($184 million) recorded their best July results.
Over the past five months, there has been no shortage of opinions from commentators on the likely collapse of the real estate market. As these commentators dominated media reporting, our reliance on real time data has never been more relevant. It’s this data that contributes heavily to the decision making of our agents and, in our clients each day. Our Ray White Now document – produced weekly for the last three months – is the vehicle in which we are transparent with our customers on exactly what is happening in the market right now to ensure the best decisions are made. We are not interested in speculating or giving baseless opinions but rather through our weekly Now document we are able to analyse the important demand and supply trends in each market and focus on the facts.
If you had read every volume of Ray White Now, these outstanding July results would not come as a surprise. We have consistently reported strong buyer demand, pointing to record LoanMarket loan pre-approvals driven by extraordinarily low interest rates, record online viewings and buyer inspections, and record average registered bidders per auction. And we have reported a gradual rise in listing numbers to meet this demand. So, to all potential vendors considering selling, we will keep asking the question, what are you waiting for? As Brian once said to me, you cannot get into trouble for asking questions.
Over the last eight weeks, we have been surveying customers on our website. Of the 5,400 people who were surveyed, more than a third said that were confused by the media’s reporting of the current market and more than half are very concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on the market. We understand these are very natural concerns. During the last week in July, the Federal Treasury released its mini-budget and advised that the budget deficit in the financial year to June 2021 will reach $185 billion, the largest deficit since WW2 relative to the size of our economy, the jobless rate keeps climbing, and government stimulus has peaked. So we understand that this is an anxious time for everyone and the economic outlook is very uncertain. We do not have a crystal ball to gaze into and predict the future, but we do know that there is plenty of opportunity in the current market for us to focus on.
This is especially so, with much talk and concern about the potential for a second wave of virus infection in Australia, and the impact that might have on confidence. Already, in Australia we have seen our new listing numbers recently dip in a similar manner (though not yet as pronounced) as the first wave of the virus. For the first time in a few months, our sales have overtaken listing numbers once again in Australia. Again, this is where our Now document becomes so important, to ensure our customers know the risk of waiting and the potential benefits of transacting now.
Our members should take great pride in that our share of national auctions exceeded 26 per cent in July, while our sales market share tipped 11 per cent in Australia also. These numbers show that we have the momentum.
As we move into August, we look forward to the most important events of the year, being our annual awards. This year they will look a little different, as they will be held over Zoom, yet their message and importance has never been greater. My family and I are looking forward to returning to celebrate our annual awards in person in the way we love so much, but these awards will be extra special given the obstacles that all the awards winners overcame in 2020. I encourage you to watch on with your team or your family, in a way that is safe and appropriate, it should be a lot of fun.
Finally, to all of our Victorian members now in Stage 4 lockdown, while we may be physically separated, we are united by a strong sense of family and a deep commitment from all of our members to support you in any way we can. Already, so many of our New Zealand members who went through very similar experiences have reached out and given their support in such a magnificent way.
Best, Dan White.