The best thing to do while the property market naps..

Like most of us after a hefty ham and prawn feast on Christmas day, the property market tends to enjoy a nap during the festive season. That is to say that agent and seller activity goes a bit quiet during December and into January. Ironically, both the big property portals report that January is one of the most popular times for buyers to browse online. So if you start dreaming about buying property in 2020, here’s what you should do over the festive break.  

Firstly, you’ve got to manage the mayhem

It’s just too easy to have a blow out over Christmas, both with the food and your finances. I know it’s mid-month now, so this message might be a little too late, but if you haven’t organised gifts yet: write a list, set a budget, plan your gift ideas and avoid extravagant purchases brought on by a looming Christmas Day deadline. This goes for food too, if you’re hosting, get organised and stick to a strict plan. Delegate some responsibility and some costs. If you’re a guest, find out now what you’re bringing and work out the most cost effective way to contribute. It’s just too easy for Christmas to become a financial crisis due to lack of preparation. Don’t be one of those people who suffer a month-long Christmas credit hangover.

Secondly, develop a record as a model saver

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: banks want serious proof that you’re a saver, and not a wild spender. Make December, January and February your finest months on paper. We want to secure your pre-approval in the first quarter so that you can enjoy your selection of properties in March, April, and May when an influx of listings typically hits the market. If you can get pre-approved in the first quarter, you’ll know your property budget for 2020. Banks are scrutinising the smallest of anomalies in transactions. And every query from a lender results in lost time and more paperwork, so let’s get the house in order. 

Thirdly, don’t miss the boat - it’s buoyant again

The market has rebounded. Even Perth for the first time since early 2018 had an increase in values last month. November saw the fifth consecutive monthly increase in dwelling values, coupled with the largest monthly gain in the national index since 2003.  Since the dip in June, CoreLogic reports that values have recovered by 4.7%. Numerous pundits are saying that now is your time to beat the market before it rediscovers its record highs. CoreLogic says we’re still 4.1% below the 2017 peak, tracking roughly at the same level as recorded in the January 2017 index results. So, according to those numbers, there is still a little room for you on the boat! Plus, rates are low, competition is high, and consolidating debt will probably eliminate surplus expenses from your cost-of-living. But the market’s on the move, they say, so the window for buying is only slightly ajar. Banks won’t lend to wayward spenders, so use this quiet time over Christmas, while the market is napping, to develop exemplary savings and spendings habits.

Want to buy in 2020? Let’s get the house in order over the festive break.