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What Happened to the Markets in April?
April – that fluffy month with Easter holidays – traditionally signals the end of the fabulous Summer selling season. It’s the month that can bring a sharp dose of brutal realities. It’s the month where there seems to be less ‘impulse’ buying – just servicing of the hardcore needs of our communities!
Did we hit our magic baseline $2billion in April sales? – that figure that we see as our platform. Yes we did – but help came from some surprising quarters. New Zealand keeps outperforming expectations. The results from our Indonesian network took our breath away.
Indonesia has had it tough for the last ten years. Interest rates up
to 19 per cent; their joy when rates dropped to their current 8.5 per cent. Their market is now incredibly active. Prices increasing by up to 100 per cent in twelve months. A friendly reminder to all Australians
of the reality and certainty of cycles. If Australian mortgage rates were as high as Indonesia’s currently are there would be black despair! Yet they are booming. It reminds one of the expression ‘when things are tough people expect them to get tougher again, when things are on the improve people expect that improvement to go on forever’. Both expectations are invariably wrong.
On the rural front, the debate on coal seam gas is creating unwanted nervousness from the traditional supporters of rural property. This additional uncertainty is on top of the water debate and the question
of whether Australia should take a greater interest in its long term food security. Recent sales, where the intention of new owners is to provide food security exclusively for foreign markets will, in our view, add to the issues. Thus the pending Ray White sale of the iconic Victoria River District properties in the NT will be followed with great interest.
Loan Market figures were up 16 per cent on last year but reflected seasonal trends. But people are out checking their financial capacity to purchase.
Commercial businesses have seen upward momentum as well. For the first four months of 2012, compared with the same period in 2011, trading is up 14.9 per cent. Positive signs as we are about to head into the stronger transactional period post-Easter through to December.
On the property management front, the need and opportunity to increase property management standards will be the central focus at the forthcoming Wealth Conference on 3-4 June at the Gold Coast.
What’s new at Ray White?
Next month we celebrate another milestone – 110 years since Ray White opened his tiny railway siding shed – ready to do anything to service his community of just one hundred people.
Not much use having a milestone if, at that point, the Group is not in the best “shape” it has ever been. Others will need to be the judge. We remain obsessed with the need for constant improvement.
We have had a number of new office openings (contrasting to the number rebranding to us in recent years). It’s a positive sign. In fact it’s a good time to open a business – vendors seek agents possessing energy and new ideas in selling campaigns.
We have seen new office start-ups in recent weeks across Australia and New Zealand including Coogee, Woollahra, Cessnock, Narraweena, Lakemba, Hawthorn, Point Cook, Taylors Lakes, Melbourne CBD, Frankston, Hawthorn, Central Launceston, Burnie, Hobart and Andrew Acton at Townsville Central. A new division, Ray White Business Broking, has been started by Paul Gogia in South Australia and the Northern Territory.
We continue to see great existing businesses choosing to have a change at the top of their game to Ray White. Clint Wallis at Townsville and our new offices at Strathpine, Montville, Redcliffe and Nerang in Queensland are examples. So too Wentworth Point, Quirindi and Merrylands in New South Wales; Geelong West, Highton and Pakenham in Victoria and Ray White West Lakes and Aldinga in South Australia. In New Zealand, 3 key offices comprising the Dianne Quinn Group rebranded in the Northland district.
Service, above and beyond, is such a critical factor in business. We saw a great example of this in the property management team at Ray White Tokoroa in the central North Island of New Zealand who have been awarded the quarterly property management award for Outstanding Service exemplary to Ray White by volunteering to learn sign language. The portfolio has a high number of deaf clients who, without their sign language, can only express their intentions by writing everything down.
The increasing confidence of our members to the future shape of this industry, where a real estate office will more closely reflect a community-centre with a deeper range of information and activity, has been showcased; Wilston in Brisbane being the most recent.
Contact: Brian White