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Buyer’s market

Monday, 6th January, 2014

By Andrew Robertson

House prices in Sydney may have soared last year but in Broken Hill it’s still well and truly a buyer’s market.

Capital city house values rose by almost 10 per cent last year, according to the RP Data-Rismark December Home Value Index, the biggest increase since 2009.

Low interest rates have been credited for the increase which was strongest in the state’s capital where house values rose by 14.5 per cent.

But the buying frenzy isn’t being replicated in Broken Hill, according to real estate agents who say the market is still skewed towards the buyer.

Zeta Bennett of First National Broken Hill said yesterday values may not have fallen last year, but they hadn’t increased either.

This is despite a claim by one online property researcher, Pricefinder, that Broken Hill house values increased by more than 13 per in 2013.  

“They’re not continuing to fall but when people are buying and negotiating they are being pretty tough - and they can afford to be,” Ms Bennett said. 

“Whatever’s selling the buyers are negotiating and getting good value.”

Ms Bennett said prices were stagnant across the board with no one price range outperforming the other.

Houses that were priced too high simply weren’t moving, according to Ms Bennett, who said some clients were putting as much as $30,000 or more on top of appraisals.

“We’ve got houses that have been sitting for two or three years.

“There’s unrealistic expectations (and) there’s a lot of over-pricing between agents.

“Houses are selling (but) it’s all about the prices.”

She said there was unlikely to be any improvement until there was some good news on the economic front. 

“I think we’re going to need some long-term positive (news) before we see too much improvement.” 

Matt Handberg of Century 21 said any increase in house values locally last year could be put down to a few more sales of higher end homes. 

He said this would have pushed up the city’s median house price.

“I know in our office we sold a lot of forty and fifty thousand dollar properties (in 2012) that we didn’t sell last year.”

Mr Handberg expects house prices to remain steady this year. 

“I think the median house price should be steady but with a slight increase in sales.

“If Broken Hill could increase that sales volume to 400 that would be fantastic.

“Obviously the new Coles will open in April and hopefully that will show (Broken Hill is) a solid regular place to live or buy an investment property.”

Mr Handberg said Broken Hill property still offered good yields for investors and he expected interest to continue.

“We’ve found a fairly steady increase in inquiries on rentals and we think that will continue.”

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