‘Tis the silly season. Office parties are being planned, the decorations are going up, the department store sales are on and the shoppers are out in force. One of the items on Santa’s wish list for many is a new home. Recent weeks have seen a sudden growth in numbers through open inspections. Many prospective buyers who have been browsing for some time are now making that final decision to buy.

Spring sees plentiful stock come onto the market, but the summer months are when we see some movement occur. Glenn Regan, senior property consultant of Raine & Horne Newtown, says, Now the federal election is a distant memory, buyers are feeling more confident about the economy and there is a sense that interest rates will remain stable.

This certainly appears to be the case. The recent level of increased activity is promising. Regan adds, serious consumers are making their decisions now and acting on them. We tend to see a lot of positive activity between now and Christmas. Summer has always been a good time to sell, but the unusual market conditions in the last 12 months are still having an impact on those ready to buy. Sellers have only one option and that is to meet current market expectations if they want to shift their property.

The top end of the market, with properties in the $900,000 price range and above, is still doing well in more exclusive Sydney suburbs. However, the buyers on the lookout for these types of properties are still haggling and expecting a bargain. Even these buyers are aware that the top end of the market has to adjust, along with other regions of Sydney.

The New South Wales government has created a double-edged sword. They have introduced taxes that have almost entirely eradicated investors from the equation. Most current buyers are now owner-occupiers. On the other hand, they are dangling carrots at first homebuyers with incentives to help them secure a property. Many of these legislative changes have serious long-term implications for those wishing to buy in the future. It will be a lot harder for younger people to buy in years to come and strategies need to be implemented by the government so that younger generations are able to secure a home as their major asset.

The moral of the story is, if you are a first homebuyer, you should seriously consider purchasing your greatest asset now. Remember, your first home today may be modest, but it is a steadfast stepping-stone to the future. Loans consultant Michael Luca of Mortgage Choice Newtown says, we have seen an unprecedented number of people attending First Homebuyer Seminars all over Sydney. The prospect of securing their first home is getting them excited and many realise the time to buy is now.

Luca adds, It’s important to note the government recognises same-sex couples when it comes to first home buyers. This means that if you are planning to buy with your partner and one of you has purchased in the past, you will not be eligible for the first home buyers grant. More information regarding these incentives and the First Home Plus scheme can be found at www.firsthome.gov.au.

Vendors and buyers alike see the election result as a victory. The confidence levels are slowly creeping back. Increases in buyer enquiries and sales results are evidence of a market improvement.

Some buyers believe that a rise in sales will mean a rise in prices. This is definitely not going to happen. Because we are still suffering a boom market hangover, some are concerned it will happen again. What we will see is a realistic marketplace, with sustainable prices.

The last-minute Christmas rush is happening. We will see a lot of activity in the next month. The best gift anyone can give themselves is a new home. A standard settlement period is six weeks. So buying soon will mean a new home in the New Year.

Garry Rogl is senior property consultant with estate agents Planet Properties of Petersham.

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