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What Happened In The Markets In August?

by Ray White Group Joint Chairman Brian White

Is August 31 the best day of the real estate year?

Because it heralds the end of winter and the commencement of spring! The commencement of that marvelous spring activity that now proceeds right through into the summer months. Homes have been diligently prepared for sale, marketing campaigns have been agreed with one’s chosen real estate agent, it’s the same feeling as new years’ day!

However the strength of the winter season has surprised many of us with its continuing intensity. Ray White’s results for August, at $3.7 billion, were way above our budgets and expectations.

Results in August were a little mixed with our New Zealand numbers not as strong as anticipated. A tightening in lending policies by the New Zealand Reserve Bank having its impact. In Australia, momentum was maintained through the eastern states with one comment being “if only we had more listings we would have had more sales.” Results in Western Australia continue to reflect their alignment process to the past resources boom.

Another month in excess of $200 million in our commercial and projects teams, with broad activity especially in the eastern states. Auction activity continues to be a highlight, the sale of 153 Elizabeth St, Brisbane by John Dwyer for $9.3 million at a yield of 4.95 per cent testament to this.

Our partners at Loan Market achieved nearly $600million in receipted settlements across Australia. This is down on recent volumes and is an expected seasonal trend, with August typically a slower month for mortgage markets. In New Zealand, Loan Market settled $178million. When combined with their partner, New Zealand Financial Services Group, the Kiwis settled more than $1billion in loans for the third consecutive month.

Much talk continued over the success of the group’s Connect conference on the Gold Coast early in August. Reflecting on the size and power of the group, it inspired many of our members to capitalise on the broader talents and skillsets within the network. How encouraging for a group such as ours is that!

A souvenir document of the Connect conference will be published soon, keep an eye on Whiteboard for more details.

What’s new at Ray White?

The just released latest edition of Hot Topics featured Ray White’s new young principals who joined the network. It’s perhaps been the most exciting feature in recent times being the large number of fantastic new young principals who have opened Ray White businesses or acquired Ray White businesses and are busy setting the pace.

Following on the release of our first portfolio magazine through the CCPIT client database in China and a strong reception from its members progress is well advanced on the second edition which will be distributed in a similar way. The edition’s Chinese version carries features of Australasian property together with specific opportunities for Chinese investment.

Ray White Group Director Dan White, Ray White Hotels Director, Andrew Jolliffe, Ray White Projects Director, Peter Walsh and Ray White Commercial Associate Director, Scott Timbrell travelled to China in late August on a research trip visiting four main cities: Hong Kong, Shenzen, Shanghai and Beijing.

The group met with 23 real estate and tourism investment companies, and three Australian Government trade officers – over 65 per cent of these companies currently invest in Australia and other world cities, and the balance are considering investing in Australia.
These companies are currently undertaking $3 billion of property investment and development in Australia alone, and have been undeterred by stockmarket volatility in China. Further to this, when asked, no group was interested in selling any of their existing investments in Australia.

They found that there is a strong feeling that the falling Australian dollar provided reason to invest further in Australia for these companies. Both in terms of relative value, and the potential for it to help increase domestic and international tourism and therefore returns in the hotel and tourism sector.

At the time of this month’s White Paper activity gala evening events across all our markets at our annual company nights is in full swing. The Victorian night, began this years’ proceedings and again saw Glen Waverley take top office and Jason Xi top individual performer, John Shaw was made a life member for his remarkable contribution. Josh Bartlett was named Loan Market Victoria’s number one broker. The other Australian states have similar ceremonies in September.

At the Victorian awards night, Loan Market and Ray White launched their most ambitious referral initiative; A September to remember. The state-based campaign is designed to promote and nurture referral partnerships between the two businesses. The top 100 referrers across both organisations will be announced at the conclusion of the campaign on 31 October and rewarded with a VIP ticket to the polo.

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