The January that never was ……

I was having lunch today when I ran into another agent from a well established firm in Kirwan. He made what was such a profound but yet obvious comment – we did not have the usual sales “rush” in January, which the Townsville Property market is so used to.

Reflecting on this, it is not hard to see why, with two cyclones crossing the coast within 2hours drive North and South of  Townsville as well floods in South East Queensland.

When I worked for the Commonwealth Bank, I usually did not take holidays over the Christmas Break for one reason – every one was in  holiday mode and there was home loan business there for the picking. We seen this on the ground this year with extensions for finance over Christmas – some for 2 weeks !. I told the buyers to change banks – this is ridiculous – you are buying a home and no one can see you for your loan (or more likely the lender has targets and conditioned the client not to see nay body else at the bank – it is how their bonus structure works!).

None the less I am divorced from the finance side of things now but it become clear after Christmas that the market was stagnating, very quickly – the old agents cry “It’s the market  – It’s the market“.

Well the market is people – people buy and sell and did so in January and we have three offers on the table at the moment being negotiated – so surprise ! There is life in those old legs.

What this is reminiscent of is two distinct years I recall as a Mobile Lender for the Commonwealth Bank. I wrote big numbers – 1000 loans a year (1200 in one of those years)  the last 3 years with the Bank (and no – sorry Ralph Norris – as you know Sir Ralph they were not for Storm  Financial clients – the Storm loans were written by small cell in Townsville and lenders in branches in Mackay and Bowen  (to set the record straight !).The two worst January’s I remember – were when the Liberal Government first gained power in Canberra and slashed public servant jobs – which seemed to evoke to a cut in spending and transfers of public servants across the country- thus we had no New Year transfers in – (I am not economist but I am sure that’s how it happened – Canberra house prices collapsed – I remember Tim Sheens had moved to Townsville to coach the Cowboy’s at the time and owned a house in Canberra).

The next worst – was when had a really bad wet season and people did not transfer in from down south – it appeared they held off and I distinctly recall the fact stock sat around Annandale until late February and March and then all of sudden cleared.

Now I am not suggesting that the market fundamentals are the same as say 2007 – when as the leading Commonwealth Bank Mobile Lender in Australia I wrote $30m in fundings in May (after which the fall back started in prices – and not because of the Global Financial Crisis – but that another story).

But I am tipping that come late February / March, that we will see higher tide of buyers than we have seen in some time, and this will be due also to stable interest rates and well publicised competition amongst Banks.

This is good thing and will inspire confidence.

So Happy New Year ( a little late but in keeping with the Chinese New Year in the year of Rabbit) – break open the champagne about the March 1 and celebrate – we should see the stock levels starting to move again !

And I also predict that the market may still come back a little before we are through – but when you can buy three bedroom homes in Kirwan for $280000 and Vincent and Heatley for $250000 and $260000 (going going gone ! OR no sell no pay you say – but at what price !), I am sure we will be looking back in three years time saying – gee we should have purchased then !

All the best for 2011 – sorry I’m late.


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