by Ray White Group joint chairman Brian White
Every April we hope that we can ‘hang on’ to the extraordinary results we achieve in March – the last of the warmer months. We have never broken records in April, but our $3.4billion was our best April ever by a long stretch (some $400million up).
But there are a couple of cracks in the market. West Australia’s decline is a fact. But there’s still heaps of good news.
Rates were cut today by Australia’s central banking authority. The decision could see discussions among regulating bodies accelerate around the introduction of stronger macro-prudential measures in a bid to slow down the Sydney property market.
The Sydney powerhouse is now well-known. What is not well publicised is the relative shortage of new listings in our markets suggesting potential sellers are still hopeful of more price gain before committing to sell.
New Zealand continued unabated with remarkable strength in the Auckland market. Ray White’s New Zealand CEO Carey Smith observes that it has been a powerful concentric effect from Auckland to the rest of New Zealand.
A remarkable story during the month was the sale of the Surry Hills Shopping Village by Jeff Moxham and Scott Timbrell of our Commercial NSW office for $96m. This followed an extensive marketing campaign throughout Australia and Asia which attracted over 200 enquiries and a brutal second stage of negotiations! The final round resulted in numerous offers significantly higher than unsolicited offers received just months earlier, reminding us that we deliver premium results for our clients when creating maximum competition.
Confidence remains high that there is still strength in the new projects cycle with a number of new projects being launched with strong buyer interest. The pre-release of the Epping One project by Eddie Mansour of our projects team has generated fantastic interest, continuing on from the weekend sell out of the Marquis at Epping project just a month ago. James Li of our Hong Kong office has great success marketing these and other projects in Hong Kong.
Whilst the Australian Government is taking action against foreign buyers in the resale housing market, and we support any action that underpins the integrity of our system, we think it would be foolish to tamper with the continuing strong demand from Asia. How fortunate Australia has been.
On the finance side, our New Zealand Group results in April set a new record, with total settlements (for Loan Market and NZFSG) of $965m, including an all time best of $167m from Loan Market branded advisers. Loan Market Australia lodgements were up over 22 per cent when compared to April 2014, and includes an impressive result from NSW, which was up 80 per cent from the same time last year.
What’s new at Ray White?
As always in a strong market there’s great interest in the top end sales. Tidemark, arguably the best beachfront in the entire east coast, commenced its marketing campaign and in Brisbane two spectacular riverfront properties: Balaam in Hamilton and Molongo Terrace in Graceville, are in the advanced stages of negotiations after prominent marketing campaigns.
Our first major document release to the 200,000 strong client base of the Chinese Government’s CCPIT is set to happen early this month. Twenty Australian and New Zealand properties covering the widest spectrum of our market activity.
As an indication of the strength in Auckland, Keisha Gutierrez, Ray White City Apartments in New Zealand sold four apartments in one day for four different vendors in three different buildings. And an additional deal was completed the next day! Record prices were achieved on many of those. All were sold on the first viewing, at the first open inspections.
Domenic Belfiore commenced his formal role as CEO of Ray White Victoria/Tasmania in April. Domenic has had a successful career both owning Ray White businesses in Melbourne as well as working in our corporate team previously.
New offices in New South Wales include Darlinghurst, Circular Quay and Darling Harbour. We also welcome new owners for our wonderful Maitland business. In New Zealand, the McPherson Group have expanded with Ray White Wigram in Christchurch and a new office has opened in South Auckland, Ray White Drury in South Auckland.
A new office at Kangaroo Point has joined the group’s specialist brand Living Here.