THEY might be loathe to admit it and they worry about being seen to talk the market up, but Tamworth real estate agents have a real spring in their step right now.
The fact they’re also looking to something of a Super Saturday in sales this weekend, on the back of the biggest ever city property and real estate guide published in Tamworth, also provides some buoyancy to the buying banter.
The publication of the Domain guide, first begun 21 years ago as a designated real estate insert in The Leader, hits an all-time high this weekend with a gigantic 136 pages.
It is a promotional collaboration between real estate agents and the publisher, and pitches properties at what most agents are referring to as a buyer’s market – but where a spring-sale mentality has seen some genuine bargains come back and some sellers determined to make a contract.
Among the significant sales listed is one by Davidson Cameron and Co, an impressive Carthage St home that’s been in the one family for 70 years and is known colloquially as the White House.
That agency is also selling another East Tamworth heritage home, an historic two-storey residence put up for $1.17 million.
The guide this weekend offers more than 400 properties in its record pages.
Agent Dean Cummins from PRDnationwide Tamworth has an astounding 25 pages of properties in today’s guide and says the home loan interest rates cut two weeks ago has probably made housing in Tamworth a little more affordable again.
“Those cuts represent 1.5 percentage points over 12 months. As far as real estate in Tamworth is concerned, it’s the tipping point. It’s probably now more affordable to own a home than rent now, because when it comes to your repayments, you’re probably better off buying than renting,” Mr Cummins said.
The economic climate in the housing industry makes it attractive to two types of buyers – one who wants to buy and live in the house, and the other who wants to buy to get some high rents in comparison to the purchase price.
The prospect of another interest rate cut, due to be decided on Melbourne Cup day, will bring more investors into the market.
Mr Cummins said the perception in the public arena was that the market had been sluggish for a while, but interest rate cuts had provided something of a bounce to the local property market.
He said the number of properties available to purchase, according to the Domain property guide meter, was 401 – that’s 401 houses in the Tamworth district.
“Twelve months ago it was 570, so that’s a significant reduction in the number of choices. When you break it down you quickly realise – and it’s simple maths – we’re selling them quicker than the rate they’re coming on the market,” he said.
Mr Cummins said the city’s PRDnationwide office had chalked up 50 sales in the past two months.
“There are plenty of buyers and, at the moment, if people are sensible and homes are priced correctly, I think they will sell,” he said.
According to Paul Ashcroft from Ashcroft Property, the past seven to eight weeks have seen a boost to local property markets. And, given the fixed rates being reduced by at least one big bank, we’re now seeing the cheapest rates in 22 years.
Among the drivers of the regional bounce in the real estate market, Mr Ashcroft says, is the cut to home loan interest rates two weeks ago and the change in the first home buyer’s scheme to apply to new homes.
“There’s good value in the market now,” he said.
“We sold a house in Westdale this week to a Melbourne investor, sight unseen. We sold another property at Kingswood for $510,000 and one in the Grange for $640,000.
"There’s been a lot of caution in the market in the past two years, but I think we’re seeing the best buying conditions in 10 to 15 years now – it’s working for the home buyer and the investor. Rents are strong and rental returns are likely to increase over the next few years.”
Mr Ashcroft said part of the driving force for the Tamworth market was the fact Gunnedah home prices and rents were higher than in Tamworth which was fuelling a demand from mine workers looking to purchase in Tamworth.