by Ray White Group Joint Chairman Brian White
November is one of the truly exciting months of the year for all of us in real estate. Why? It’s the month we normally break records and set new benchmarks. We had every reason to expect the same would happen again this year – 2015 has been one of the strongest real estate years on record so we expected it to come to a healthy crescendo in November.
Alas, that was not to be. Our $4billion record set in May remains undisturbed. However, the November total of $3.7billion reflected a much stronger market than many forecasters have been predicting along with a continuing healthy environment that now exists for both buyer and seller. Buyers will still pay strong prices but are increasingly resistant to paying healthy premiums to recently assessed values.
Two features of the month included the ongoing strength of our Victoria network, which achieved another personal best month at $600million, while a remarkable individual result for one of our biggest businesses Ray White Double Bay in NSW saw them achieve a personal best of $128million.
The fact that New Zealand is now in its second month of reduced activity is of great significance to the Australian market. Our records show a persistent trend where New Zealand is the harbinger of change in property markets in both directions.
Once more, the east coast of Australia was strong – what is interesting is the emerging strength of the Queensland market, where there is now recovery in previously oversold property near the regional cities servicing the resources industries.
In addition, the Gold and Sunshine Coast are looking forward to one of their best Christmas markets for many years. With the change of fortunes to the Australian currency, in our tourism sectors we are looking forward to bumper conditions which always reflect positively on property markets. Michael Finger’s Ray White Double Bay $30million sale of ‘Leura’ was a tonic for the market and reflected the highest priced market sale in the last six months.
Commercial activity remained strong during the month, with over $260million of sales and leasing business being written. Investors’ appetite for yield remains strong, and is not confined to the major cities. Strong sales results from our businesses in Canberra, Noosa and Gold Coast are a testament to this. Perhaps there is no better example of a sector of the market benefiting from investors searching for yield than the hotel sector – our Hotels team writing $63 in the month, and continuing a remarkable year.
Our partners at Loan Market settled over 1,400 loans worth $608 million in November. Victoria led the way, settling more than $185 million and New South Wales was a close second, achieving over $184 million in settlements.
Meanwhile, Ray White Marine has recorded strong contracted and settled sales in excess of $25million for luxury motor yachts, marinas and berths over the last two months in what is considered a very difficult market, including under the hammer sales for iconic global brands Sunseeker and Princess at 82 and 85 feet respectively.
What’s new at Ray White?
December commenced with a China visit by Brian and Dan White planning the next stage in our China development. New offices in Guangzhou compliment our Beijing and Hong Kong businesses, new relationships within China will deepen the flow of business opportunities to our markets.
We’ve put the finishing touches on our 2016 auction strategy which will see us embrace some of the most imaginative marketing packages ever presented to our vendors. It’s the first time Ray White will run an integrated Australia-wide auction campaign that will dramatically broaden the exposure to the benefit of each property.
We are pleased to welcome a number of new offices across our network over the festive season. An additional six offices will open in Brisbane by the 1st of February, and Burwood in Victoria. While we welcome several in New Zealand including Devonport, Rangiora, Takapuna and Patumahoe.
What is becoming increasingly apparent is the advantage the integration our Ray White agent and our Loan Market broker offer their vendors. A great example is Ray White Ferntree Gully, which has a fully integrated Loan Market business within its network of offices. Agent Chris Watson works closely with Loan Market broker Kat Skold to ensure their client’s loan options are prepared and they are confident before purchase, resulting in Chris winning more listings.
Ray White Marine Sales Director Brock Rodwell is currently in Europe negotiating three purchases on behalf of Australian clients including a 122 foot superyacht. Recently, one of our purchasers of a major development site also acquired a sensational boat through Ray White Marine.
The Group’s major community program, A Little Ray of Giving, will have its biggest year yet with 300 offices across the country supporting disadvantaged children this Christmas.