by Ray White Group joint chairman Brian White
2015 – the property year without a winter!
There are some unique features about each property year that one, seemingly, can count on. Strong summers, mitigated by a slumber during winter when activity becomes focussed on how to get set for the Spring activity season.
But not this year.
Property markets have continued to rage through winter without pause. Ray White’s result in July of $3.7 billion was almost $1 billion ahead of July 2014. No all time records were set – but there were some that went very close.
It is certainly an advantage, at the moment, to be living “east” – the strength of NSW, Victoria, New Zealand and increasingly Queensland contrasting with the central and western markets.
Much talk during the month relating to change policies by reserve banks including the potential for interest rate increases didn’t create any anxiety amongst purchasers whose continuing presence at auctions has been unprecedented.
Naturally, this is all being reflected in higher prices which have been well documented across our markets. And all property sectors! Sales of high quality commercial investment properties is perhaps the most exciting part of the market. Our July commercial investment group auctions saw 100% clearance rate, with some smaller properties selling in the low-5% yield range. A standout result for July was the $22.5m sale by Rick Bird, Joe Tynan and Terrence Hutchinson of property located in the Brisbane northern suburbs representing a 7% yield – a result far exceeding the expectation of our client.
All sorts of investment properties are in demand – none more than quality hotel investment offerings where in July, Ray White Hotels sold more than $200 million.
Our Projects team has its strongest pipeline of activity, with many of its clients now ready to launch new apartment developments into the traditionally strong spring market. In Sydney alone, our team has 5 projects from Epping to Lane Cove and down to Miranda. Our offices in Hong Kong and Beijing will again be central to these promotions, as it was with the marketing of The Johnson project in Brisbane by Julian Sutherland.
Loan Market had another impressive month, achieving over $1bn in lodgements nationally in July. Victoria’s results are of note, recording more than $348m in lodgements and Queensland achieved over $200m for the second consecutive month.
What’s new at Ray White?
The biggest news for the group in a long time was the fabulous “Connect 2015” conference held on the Gold Coast for over 2000 group members. We run a large number of specialist sessions each and every year, but this was the first time since the group’s centenary that it was open to all group members, including all sessions.
Lachlan Murdoch opened the conference and talked about some of the overlaps between the growth of the Murdoch family and the White family over time. This was preceded by another rendition of the famous Ray White “auction aria” where the unique voice of an auctioneer, blended with the music of the Queensland symphony orchestra created a memorable experience for everyone.
Andrew Denton was our final speaker and received rave reviews. In the middle there were approximately 60 different breakout sessions featuring broad issues and more specific disciplines appearing within the group.
Our international conference gave us the opportunity to have a presentation of our international awards. For the first time, top office in performance went to a Kiwi business! Megan Jaffe’s Remuera office has become one of our stand out businesses in recent times, and fully deserves her win in what was clearly hot competition within a strong market. Gavin Rubinstein from Ray White Double Bay in NSW took the honours for individual performers.
Our Commercial awards saw Ray White Hotels Asia Pacific Director Andrew Joliffe named the top agent with annual sales exceeding $30 billion. Andrew had a great night, also winning the Director’s Cup Award while Ray White Hotels was named the top marketer in the entire Ray White Commercial group.
For Loan Market, Jason Basseal from NSW was named the number one broker internationally and Bruce Patten’s business in New Zealand was the top performing business in the group based on receipted settlements.
One of the features in recent times has been the opening of new businesses by young principals. For a mature group, this endorsement by young principals that the Ray White platform is the ideal one for them to work off has become one of our great assets and case studies of young principals covering all of our markets has now been featured.
A particular new office at Box Hill in Western Sydney is opening, which will be the marketing office for an initial 4,100 lot estate where the demand has already been substantial.
The developer, Celestino Pty Ltd chose Ray White as they wished to remain relevant in their communities post the sale and build of the various houses and home units and specialist commercial facilities. They intend to open a number of offices, each servicing core residential areas. This is one of the first relationships of its kind the group has entered into and we could not be more excited by this development. The availability of land will feature nicely into the broader offerings that all Ray White offices are able to make to its client base – more details to come.
With August now being the last month of what was always a dour property marker, thoughts are turning to the spring markets. Listing numbers are at an all time high, reflecting perhaps some questioning as to whether the pace of growth and values in residential real estate will continue into 2016.