Why Sydney homeowners are rushing to sell

Commonwealth Bank’s head of Australian economics, Gareth Aird, said potential interest rate hikes would weigh on sellers’ minds more than the upcoming federal election.

“Sellers would be aware we’re on the cusp of a rate hike cycle. I would imagine people would like to sell their properties before rates start going up because there will be buyers out there who expect prices to be lower, and they would like to be ahead of that before it happens,” Mr Aird said.

Katherine Gullotto with her husband Frank and their young son Sam in their Hurlstone Park property, which will be auctioned on Saturday.Credit:Kate Geraghty

He said a pull-back in property prices was all but guaranteed at this point, with growing consensus among experts and the market alike.

“If a lot of would-be buyers wait for prices to drop, then they’ll invariably drop. Buyer’s attitudes towards where they think prices will go is a very good driver of where prices go. It becomes a collective mindset.”

Most vendors listing their properties now are cutting their losses short, agents say, as they would still be ahead given Sydney’s prices rose by 6.7 per cent in 2020 and a further 33.1 per cent in 2021, on Domain figures.

Hurlstone Park vendor Katherine Gullotto and her husband Frank are doing just that, with their property expected to sell under the hammer today.

The Gullottos timed it so they can get a deal done before the long weekend and the federal election.

The Gullottos timed it so they can get a deal done before the long weekend and the federal election.Credit:Kate Geraghty

“We were conscious of putting it to sale before the election and with the murmurs of potential interest rate hikes,” she said, adding that they also wanted to sell before the Easter break.

“Our strategy was to sell now and buy in the second half of the year when there is a downturn.”

Ray White NSW chief auctioneer Alex Pattaro said the Gullotos were not alone, with 65 per cent of the roughly 1000 auctions in April for Ray White scheduled for the first two weeks of the month.

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“Sellers are trying to cash up in the market, but equally buyers are looking to purchase as soon as they possibly can,” Mr Pattaro said. “People have decided to sell before Easter so they can take a break, and sellers are looking to cash out with predictions that interest rates will rise and a change in government.”

The Agency’s chief executive Thomas McGlynn said the two long weekends at the end of April were bringing many listings forward, but so too were other variables in the market.

“The fact the federal election is going to be called, the fact there could be impending rate rises, all of these indicators suggest to owners now’s a good time to take advantage of strong market conditions,” he said. “We are contending with things that we haven’t had to contend with in the past two years.”

He said many sellers realize that the best time to sell was Spring last year and want to capitalize on whatever momentum is left.

“The big question is going to be what is the appetite going to be post-Easter when we know when the election is going to be?” he said.

“The rental market is performing extremely strongly at the moment and many investors are choosing to hold on to their properties.

“If investors return to the market strongly I think that will be able to supplement some of the buyers who chose not to participate in the market, but the listing pipeline is looking healthy right into May.”

With Melissa Heagney

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