by Ray White Group Joint Chairman Brian White
Hopes are always high in the first month of Spring that we will see the real estate market awakening from its winter slumber. But unusually, in 2015, we had the best winter months of real estate activity in memory. So, the question arose would our September continue the same level of sales as the winter quarter?
Despite all the press speculation that buyers are becoming more sceptical, we were delighted to see our figures holding at $3.8billion in September – the same as the winter months.
Ray White in New Zealand was a highlight, setting a new all time record for the month. Whilst the east coast of Australia remained strong, our Western Australia and South Australia markets were slightly behind the same time last year.
The influence of investors in residential property has been impacted in Australia by the decision of the Reserve Bank to instruct financial institutions to limit financial lending to this sector. The good news for the market is that there is no indication of interest rates increasing, thereby giving hope the market will continue to remain healthy until at least the end of the year.
Despite speculation to the contrary, commercial development site sales in our major cities remains a strong market. Jeff Moxham and Scott Timbrell of our Commercial NSW team sold four development sites in September for a combined value approaching $90 million, following short but effective marketing campaigns.
Commercial investment auctions remain an area of dynamic activity. So far this calendar year, more than 150 commercial, industrial, and retail investment properties have been sold by our commercial team, with a volume of over $250million and an auction clearance rate of 91 percent. Regional property owners, in particular, are achieving significant value through this method of sale.
Nationally, Loan Market achieved more than $1.6billion in mortgage lodgements, including $612 million in settlements for the month of September. Victoria led the way with over $540 million in lodgements ($190 million in settlements). New South Wales was a close second, recording $475 million in lodgements and $180 million in settlements.
What’s new at Ray White?
Our continued commitment to our China expansion saw Dan White as a guest speaker at the Juwai summit in Beijing. Dan explained to an audience of international realtors how the Ray White Group has developed options for the marketing of properties to the Chinese market and our experience in operating businesses in China.
One of the most effective of those marketing methods is the high quality Portfolio document, an online magazine, produced in both English and Mandarin, designed to present Australian properties to members of China’s CCPIT. The second edition of Portfolio has just been released and can be viewed online here.
The success of our activities in China has extended to our Dubai office in the Middle East who has secured a significant marketing appointment of a residential project because of the Group’s ability to market the project in China.
During the month, the group profiled a large number of new offices that have recently been opened by young principals. Our young principals were profiled in the most recent edition of ‘Hot Topics’ – an industry magazine for real estate professionals.
The group welcomes two new offices in Indonesia. Arvind Mohindra and Pravin Rana have a 20 year background of transacting property with Ray White in Sydney, India and Indonesia. The pair will open offices in the Seminyak and Ubud areas of Bali, with a combined team of 30 staff.
Meanwhile, our special projects business in NSW continues to secure major residential appointments in Sydney. As developers are becoming increasingly reluctant to rely upon big marketing launches, our key difference has been the ability to integrate our local Ray White businesses in the area to attract buyers to complement those sales being made to investors and offshore interests.
A new relationship announced by Loan Market enables brokers to broaden the offering to their clients. The new partnership with DirectMoney now allows brokers to add a personal loan product to their portfolio. In September, Beyond Bank – a customer owned bank – also joined Loan Market’s extensive lender panel.
September saw the annual state awards nights held across Australia and New Zealand, celebrating our top individuals and business achievements for the 2014/15 financial year. A highlight was the recognition of our Customer Satisfaction award – a measure that is increasingly important to the success of our best operators. Congratulations to our top international operator in this category – Rebecca Toone of Ray White Metro in Christchurch.
Congratulations also to our number one international office – for the first time outside of Australia – Remuera, in Auckland who also took out the top office in New Zealand. In other states, we applaud the success of our our number one offices including Double Bay in NSW, Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Glen Waverley in Victoria, Clare Valley in South Australia and Rockingham in Western Australia.
This month, our annual Christmas campaign A Little Ray of Giving has officially launched for the fourth year running. It is a fabulous community initiative to help put a smile on the faces of underprivileged children at Christmas time. We invite you to help out by dropping a gift to your local Ray White office.