The much anticipated and much discussed 2010. Spring selling season ended on an improved note. Such a critical part of the selling year, the result, once again showed that the pessimists and optimists are generally not that accurate. The reality, so often, sits between.

What was pleasing to see was a sorely needed lift in Queensland from the extraordinarily tough market they’ve experienced throughout the year. Upmarket property values in Queensland’s resort areas the hardest hit in the nation? Specific stories could easily support that.

Once more, it shows the major cities are the safest place for property values. During the month, Melbourne and Sydney were rated in the top 50 world cities that have most successfully navigated through the global financial crisis. A direct reflection of their property markets.

Of interest to our readers, is the latest news coming from Christchurch where a sudden burst of activity at month’s end gave confidence that the huge public rebuilding works programme now committed will restore faith in the future of the city.

Perhaps helping to lift this confidence has been the strong message from the Reserve Bank (certainlyin Australia) that interest rates are now unlikely to be increased until perhaps April. Funny how long it takes the authorities to pick up on information that we’ve now known for months! But at least it is now publicly declared that the two speed economy is causing a great deal of problems in the Australian services sector. Now, not only are real estate agents voicing their concerns, but also the nation’s retailers.

So, the chances are we will have a much better balanced market in the forthcoming summer period. Stock levels are good and a lot of interest will centre on the big marketing campaigns that will occur next year. Our Surfers Paradise office has hopes that over 150 properties will be submitted – covering their entire range of activities – at their Auction Event in late January.

Giving support to the improving confidence of purchasers was the record loan approvals for the company’s Loan Market business – just short of $600million for November.

A lot of action occurred in the Commercial markets. Vendors are more determined to meet the new market realities. Our Rick Bird, in Brisbane, is achieving instant success selling high quality office space to owner/occupiers and investors with an offer that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

Unbelievably, we are reminded that too much rain can be as significant a problem as too little. Many of our Australian east coast rural communities are being cruelly denied the buoyant hopes they had so recently for a change in their fortunes.

 What’s New In Ray White

Being promoted as a “partner” of Google’s was the highlight for our month. Many think of Google as just a search engine, not realising that it has expanded into some dramatic new areas. An invitation by Google to Ben White, a Director of the Group, to attend their conference in Paris recently, gave recognition to the respect that Google has towards our approach to being at the cutting edge of real estate technology.

There is so much more to this than just these few comments. I will be writing a lot more about this in the future.

Almost 800 people attended our Wealth Conference – our name for Property Management. New systems were released. In the words of an existing landlord, who addressed the conference, “Ray White’s new approach now makes the invisible visible.” A recognition that we are determined to provide transparency to our property owners who, so often, complain of not having the information they expect from their Property Managers.

Positive momentum continues to build following the successful negotiation, by our Loan Market team, back at the start of the year, to offer a new range of mortgage products, that we believe are the most competitive in the market. It is great news for our purchasers.

A new office opening attracted my attention. The decision by our Surfers Paradise office to open an additional office at Paradise Waters on the Gold Coast – where we already have high market share. The decision was taken, in the words of Andrew Bell, “To ensure our continued dominance of the waterfront properties on the Gold Coast.”

Ray White Invest’s first capital raising for some time to enhance their Western Australian shopping centres met with positive demand. Best was the support from long standing clients to the capital raising proposal.

An unfortunate incident involving our Randwick office required us to reaffirm our values and to express, as clearly as we could, that all people carrying the Ray White name must have every expectation that they will be treated with respect and fairness.

Terminating that franchise was particularly difficult as it put the operating staff of that business – all of whom had been excellent representatives of the Group – in a situation where they were now denied the brand.

We are now well into the summer cycle. The Group remains determined to bring very positive results to our many clients.

 Brian White – Joint Chairman

Ray White Group