Tools, tips, industry knowledge & market trends.

In times to come, historians will conclude that the Sydney real estate market was a year of two halves in 2015.

Interest rate cuts in February and May sent property prices higher and higher. As buyers gorged on record low interest rates, confidence in the market turned into outright blind faith. Some of the prices paid at the height of the boom may not be bettered for years to come.

When there is a gap between the true market price and the seller’s price expectations, some agents will unleash one of the dirtiest selling tactics known. The tactic is called conditioning. The low rank tactic of conditioning has been largely buried during the boom years. It is suddenly raising its head again now that prices have cooled a bit.

When you are selling, if you don’t spot conditioning for what it is, you could make an expensive error.

Common wisdom suggests that spring is the best season to sell. Many confuse a strong presentation with a higher price in the assertion that 'spring is the best time to sell'.

What is often overlooked is the vast amount of stock that is always held back for the spring market. Regardless of the season and the presentation, it's preferable to sell with less competition not more.

There is normally an under supply of listings in winter and abundant supply in spring.

This is the big question about the Sydney property market that everyone is asking but few want to answer. Are house prices in a bubble?

In late 2012, we were told that housing affordability was poor and property was essentially over valued. House prices then shot up 30% over the next 18 months. Has this latest growth taken the market from fair value to being over valued? Or was the market actually under valued in 2012 and is now simply trading around fair value?

Despite predictions of boomers leaving Sydney for a sea change, many are choosing to downsize in Sydney.

A lot of boomers desire a move into well located modern apartment.

The big consideration for boomers moving into apartments is the ongoing rates and levies once they reach retirement.

Paying quarterly strata levies of $2000 or $3000 is a financial burden for someone who is earning. It can become a crippling financial burden for someone not working.

Baby boomers often sell the family home and downsize after their children have moved out.

Because many boomers have seen a phenomenal increase in the value of their home recently, some have entered the market sooner than they otherwise would have.

They have been able to consider this windfall similar to that of having had a second superannuation fund. Over the next decade, many more baby boomers will enter the market and sell their family home.

As the housing boom rages on, the market continues to set new highs.

Buyers often have to pay prices that are not supported by recent sales evidence, in order to outbid the competition. Trading beyond the evidence is always risky and nerve wracking – whether you are selling or buying.

In a falling market, as the market sets new lows, sellers often sell for less than the sales evidence suggested. In a boom, such as the current one, the sale price is often above expectations. The sales evidence to date does not support the final selling price.

Many real estate sales occur off-market. An off-market sale is one which is not publicly advertised to the open market.

Sales like this can happen in both rising and falling markets, but it is particularly common when markets are rising. To explore the merit of selling property off-market, it is imperative to look at this type of sale in the context of different market conditions.

Rising (strong) markets

The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA), which oversees banks, credit unions, building societies and other financial, insurance and superannuation institutions, has called for banks to tighten lending to investors.

This is a move designed to ensure the sustainability of the market going forward. Like any policy, even a small change such as this, can have a big impact.

It's interesting that the APRA has targeted investor lending because that is where the current perceived risk is, in the system.

This is a stinker!

My husband and I are looking into the property market with a view to reducing the amount of tax he pays. 

Many of the comments you have made ring alarm bells with me. For instance the "other people's money" incentive and also because we are buying directly from the developer before the house is on the market. 

My husband is of the opinion that as our bank is involved, it will not lend the money if the property is not worth it. 

After reading your comments, I am now not so sure. How can I find out the property's true value?

by Neil Jenman

If you're selling a property today, good news may be hard to find. 

There seems to be just bad news and worse news. The bad news is that prices are falling; the worse news is that agents won't deliver the bad news.

Agents don't want to sit in a home, eye-ball sellers and say, "Your home is worth less than you're asking. And each day it's getting worse. The longer you wait the less you'll get."

The agents know that sellers may retort, "But you told us we could get the price we wanted."