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What Happened In The Markets In January?

by Ray White Group Joint Chairman Brian White

January is never a ‘look forward’ month for those of us in real estate chasing new records!

Last month we talked about the strong finish to 2015 with the good clearance of properties that had been marketed pre-Christmas leaving relatively little carry-over stock into January. Thus Ray White’s result of $2.1billion for January was down just $100million compared with this time last year.

Perhaps the best future guide was the results of Ray White’s major auction events on the Gold Coast at the end of January, when the Group marketed 180 properties with a clearance rate at over 60 per cent. This, traditionally compared favourably to previous events.

The feature of our Gold Coast auctions was the large number of southern purchasers. Conditions were perfect for their interest! The Australian currency is making it more attractive to holiday onshore and the Gold Coast beach weather was fantastic in January! A huge increase in house prices in Sydney and Melbourne over the last year and more gave a huge boost to the ease and ability to finance new holiday locations. Interestingly, it was a yacht sold by Ray White Marine for $3.2million, which was the biggest sale of the day.

Could this be a guide of the overall property market in 2016? All we know is that listings in Sydney have been met with a continuing strong demand from buyers. No sign yet of the supposed industry downturn proffered by a number of commentators.

We are delighted that Andrew Bell from Ray White Surfers Paradise was awarded an Officer of the Order of the Order of Australia – so well deserved. We also welcome Andrew McCulloch who is the new Head for Network Development.

Our commercial team had an unusually busy start to the year, with over $160million in sales and leasing activity in January. A highlight was a personal best month for Perth – a great reward after a very tough 2015.

Our partners at Loan Market lodged over $650 million in loans and settled more than 1300 loans – equating to $615 million. Victoria led the way with nearly $200 million in settlements.

What’s new at Ray White?

Raise More Hands is getting tremendous response from our sellers. By the time our next White Paper is out, a special supplement will have been incorporated in all News Limited Sunday papers across Australia.

Loan Market brokers will be out in force throughout Raise More Hands to qualify buyers and make sure they are pre-approved for finance and ready to bid. Never have referral partnerships with a mortgage broker been more important than during auction campaigns.

Our corporate teams will be meeting in mid February to plan and profile our year to come. So many new technology products will be delivered to our network this year – early prototypes have been met with fabulous reviews from our select business owners – all of which are designed to deliver more leads to our members.

Currently, industry discussion is exploding on the issue of the rankings for sales performers, for individual businesses, and even for real estate networks. Ray White will be presenting in the next edition of Hot Topics our contribution to this debate.

One rankings concept is to have the top 100 agents in terms of numbers of sales for a year, this is different to total value but gives an opportunity for everyone – irrespective of the individual market – to be represented. Ray White had 17 of the top 100 sales producers.

One unchallenged fact is the substantial lead that Ray White has in market share across Australia and New Zealand. This factor is as high as 50 percent above many of our competitors.

We don’t intend to relinquish our leadership, and we are delighted to announce four new office openings in January including offices in Burwood in Victoria, Northmead in NSW, Logan City and Russell Island in Queensland.

During the month, Andrew Jolliffe from our Hotels division announced that every year over the last four consecutive years, Ray White Hotels has completed the largest individual national hotel transaction. In 2015, that was The Newport Arms. 2015 also saw Andrew participate in more premium freehold hotel transactions than any other agent nationally.

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