A different kind of buyer is driving the market - and agent success

There’s been an obvious lack of positive property news lately. But in tough conditions, hard work, knowing your trade and a quality product can still pay off. The team at Property Association are living proof of this. In July, they sold 7 properties within the Pyrus development located in the suburb of Canterbury, absolutely smashing their targets and market sentiment. That’s more than double the amount of units that appeared in the ‘sold' section of realestate.com.au for the whole month. In a confirmed downturn, in a suburb identified as one of the hardest hit, this is no mean feat. Buyers in hiding and many — but not all — agents doing it tough

With banking restrictions paralysing investors and squeezing owner-occupier budgets, optimism is not the narrative we’ve been given over the last six months. There is also no doubt that the inner south-west Sydney market, where Canterbury is located has borne the brunt of this slow-down. Accused of having a ‘glut’ of oversupply, the area has lost a proposed metro and seen clearance rates drop to 40%. With seasonal disadvantages, (Winter tends to be quieter), this only amplifies the success of the team and leaves us asking, is it really that bad?

Sydney has always been a tale of many markets

Whilst certain pockets of the market seem to be withstanding the slump, the numbers show that most areas are suffering. So to see such a healthy result is extraordinary. “It’s been hard work, and a great reflection of the team’s attitude. There are developers in the area who have struggled to sell 7 apartments all year, so I'm really proud of our effort,” Andrew Phanartzis, director of the agency says of his team’s success in Canterbury. “The Sydney market has never been a monolithic one, so it’s possible there are some other forces driving a hidden property market. Many developers have completed property they are trying to sell and not all of it is sold via mainstream channels”, he continues.

Current market is testing agents’ skillsets

Added to the hurdles agents are experiencing, Sydney hasn’t seen this level of brand new completed property for sale in close to a decade, and it’s challenging many agent’s skillsets. A generation of agents have been selling concepts off-the-plan, or older homes that could be inspected. The downturn has changed the game. "We now have a bunch of brand-new completed apartments buyers can actually look at, competing with off-the-plan sales and older homes. Getting the premium the developers want for their new apartments is becoming very challenging for most agents,” Andrew says.

Sydney hasn’t seen this level of brand new completed property for sale in a decade, and it’s challenging many agent’s skillsets.

To compound this, the current buyers are nothing like those of the past decade. With investors crunched, most agents are reporting that over 80% of their buyers are owner-occupiers who are also more emotionally invested in the experience. In price points of under $750,000, the vast majority of these buyers are first home buyers who are extremely cautious, inexperienced and carry very high expectations. “I’ve built my team to be resilient and adaptable to every market and every buyer”, Andrew adds. In a shaky market, agents need to know that they’ll be hand-holding their clients at a level that is unprecedented. “That means being able to identify issues buyers are having, helping them understand the value in what we are selling and investing the time to educate a new generation of buyers.”

“I’ve built my team to be resilient and adaptable to every market and every buyer”

In a market of cookie-cutter buildings, the quality of the property being sold is a factor as well. Whilst 2 of their 7 Canterbury sales went to family or friends of people that already live in the new Pyrus building (a testament to the quality of the product), it’s clear that positive property sales stories do currently exist.

The smoke and mirrors of real estate have disappeared and sales can only come along based on the merit of the property and the agent. In a tough market, hard work, up-skilling, perseverance, customer focus and proactive attitude can ensure agents find success - just like the Property Association team.