“Spoilt” Sydney venders slash asking prices

Via Domainfax:

 “Spoilt” vendors have been forced to eat humble pie in the inner city Sydney suburbs of Redfern and Darlinghurst as asking prices continue to fall.

Asking and sold prices have come down by up to 18 per cent in the two suburbs in the last two months to match cautious and reticent buyers, agents say.

But while prices are lower, homes were still sold either higher than or right on valuation.

The market has room for these corrections because Sydney prices have risen about 80 per cent since the start of the boom, which commenced in 2012 and only just flattened over the past two months, as macroprudential controls on property investments kick into gear.

“What we are probably seeing is that homeowners are having difficulty understanding that market hasn’t continued to rise,” agency BresicWhitney chief executive Shannan Whitney said.

“They are stuck in cold water and are now trying to get into a different temperature. It’s difficult for people to crystallise what’s happening in the market.”

Plenty more to come as the apartment market tumbles.

Houses and Holes
Latest posts by Houses and Holes (see all)


  1. “…stuck in cold water trying to get into a different temperature…” There’s an analogy about the situation that those investors find themselves in. It’s to do with a frog, slowly rising temperatures and a bad outcome.

    • The real estate game!! Let the public shamings begin for all the mug punters who bought the hype. Watch the narrative subtly change. In 18 months it will be outright astonishment from the media that anybody ever bought a property in the last 12 years. Couldn’t they see it was a farce – rigged ETC???

      • Before that there will be a whole lot of victim stories about idiots being separated from their money by sprukiers, etc.

    • Here’s the main takeaway from the current house price falls:

      WHY BUY NOW?

      If you wait prices will fall further and you’ll owe less on your mortgage. That’s MORE money in your pocket.

      And all you have to do is WAIT. Price falls are only just getting started.

  2. I’ve never read so much fluff and nonsense in one article!
    “The owner wants to establish its market value and be educated before he goes forward,” he said.
    “There is a saying [in agency business], BHP’s CEO does not set the share price, his shareholders do.”

    And my favourite:
    “It’s too early for people to hedge their bets on what market will do. We haven’t seen anyone brave enough just yet.”

    • Prices won’t fall too far. No one is going to sell their property for a loss if they can still afford to pay back their mortgage.

      • what about divorces, deaths and exodus of people to other countries for work etc ?
        Edit: what if they are margin called by the bank? The bank can demand immediate repayment at any time, can they not? They can also demand you top up the loan payments (margin call) if the value of the collateral falls.

      • “Those people won’t sell as long as they can still afford to pay the mortgage. ” Really? What if their loans are interest only? Will some cut their losses? Yes. Will some hang on and ride the market down, then sell? Yes. Will some lose everything? Yes.

      • Owner occupiers may ride it out. Speculators on IO loans will have the bank come knocking pretty quick once lvr goes pear shaped. Consider rent is flat and incomes are falling, where is said speculator getting the money from to shore up the loan(s)?

        They have been sandbagging the leaking dam by using migrants as fodder (literally), but that to has a hard limit when said migrants can’t get jobs.

      • Um, no, people are in fact selling for a loss…mostly because they think its going to get worse, but also because many houses in inner Sydney were bidded up not for what they currently are, little moldy terraces with two bedrooms, but for what they COULD be, slightly bigger moldy terraces with three bedrooms. Unfortunately, the prices paid were just too high and now there is no equity in said houses to remortgage for the renos, nor appetite to sink more money into said houses. I

      • Don’t forget the clever kids who buy their next place and have a bridging mortgage in place while they sell their old place. Probably fine in a rising market, not so good to crystallize those losses in a falling market.

        Place I was buying apparently vendor had already bought elsewhere and was nervous about my subject to finance clause in the contract, but I was nervous about losing 100K deposit on a bank valuation going wrong.

      • @cambro
        Yeah no one who is not dumb enough to do the math! What does it really cost to hold a mortgage as values plummet?

      • Ha ha ha. They won’t except for these examples! And they’re just marginal vendors, they don’t impact prices whatsoever. Plus all those middle and even high income households regularly refinancing on rising valuations to find lifestyle won’t be impacted either. Nor will their diminishing consumption have an impact on the economy. Rainbows and unicorns, no less.

  3. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Corelogic figures for Sydney show for the rest of the year.

    I know there are those who think this is just some negative sideways movement before the next boom (Hi Reusa :-)), but I really do think that we are going to be looking at a substantial drop in the overall market in Sydney over the next couple of years, and I don’t mean just a 10% drop to take us back to the end of 2016. Melbourne looks like it’s got the memo as well. Things are looking good there too.

    That initial 10% drop is going to financially wipe out a whole bunch of the heavily geared 90% LVR brigade. The horrors of negative equity are coming soon to a suburb near you. If you’re selling at an 18% price drop in inner Sydney as this article suggests, it’s probably already arrived. Lol.

    • I suspect it could be far worse than a sharp drop, that would punish a few over-leveraged speculators and few others. I fear it may be a long drawn out affair, with plenty of opportunities for naive FHBs to snap up a discounted bargain, only to find their hard saved deposit has evaporated into negative equity a few months later. It will take a long time to change our property oriented mindsets, to rid ourselves of the notion that property “builds wealth” and learn that it can also destroy wealth.

      Maybe check back in a decade.

      • Truer words were never spoken mate. Everybody needs to be very bloody careful, and we know how careful property buyers have been in the past.

        Exciting times for all involved.

    • ObviousChineseTroll

      I’m watching as even MOAR reality seeps into the bovine consciousness of Perth vendors too.

    • Core logic has an interest in keeping the bubble going, so IMHO they will numberwang the price falls if it gets scary. Or in management parlance: socialise the numbers.

      • They seem to be doing it now. Their system is extremely overdamped and unresponsive, so it’s hard to see what the current situation is. Still, the data I look at is free, and you get what you pay for! 🙂

    • Yeah. For example for the 70s style inner west Drummoyne waterfront, one house sold for a ridiculous 3.2 mill in August, the near identical house next just went for 2.7 million.
      15% down in 3 months.
      But still up 20 % from 2 years ago.
      But , Really anything over a million for knockdowns is still a joke.
      A lot further to go before these are worth buying.

    • You ain’t whistlin’ dixie, LSW, this is exactly what happens with a leveraged asset! It works wonders on the way up but will strangle you on the way down. Remember our enterpreneurs of the eighties?

    • Why it will fall and continue to fall regardless of the ‘holder outers’ is because price drops (market) will be set by those who bought earlier and are just taking profits out while leaving those who bought more recently holding the debt baby. They are fcuked

  4. Anyone who bought in the last 3-4 years should be walking around with permanently soiled underpants.

    • Why? We sold and re-bought in the last 12 months. I don’t feel stressed even with my mortgage. Sure, prices may fall but some people have spent a fair chunk of time waiting for the drop. Each to their own.

  5. How are volumes going in NSW? Volumes are the key when they are still low prices will continue to fall… slowly at first…..

  6. Could be time to read those market updates the agents drop in letterboxes. The pain as they search for euphemisms and use a thesaurus to explain collapse will test them.

  7. Har har har…I just read the story and it’s the best RE article of all time. So there are several places that have sold for losses of $200K in around a year, not to mention stamp duty and other costs, so call it maybe $300K+, and one of the idiot agents says “I won’t say that prices have “fallen”, remember the median price has risen 19 per cent a year for the past 15 years in these areas. It’s just not growing at the rate as it was”.

    This guy is either a liar, or he is so innumerate that he doesn’t understand the difference between a loss and a slowing rate of increase. Probably both, when I think about it.

    If you buy something for $2.6M and sell it a year later for $2.4M plus transaction costs, that’s not growing your capital, that’s pissing it up against the wall. The price has fallen. Truly ruly. It’s a loss. It’s a huge loss. The difference between the 4 and the 6 on the right of the decimal point doesn’t seem like much, but it’s $200000, and there’s not too many people who can gaily laugh off that sort of loss while sipping on their pina colada, particularly when the entire loss comes out of their capital and not the bank loan.

    • Definitely he is innumerate. His quote of 19% p.a. for 15 years means the properties were trading around for $200k in 2002. I highly doubt that. Also, that property at the end in Wilson st, it looks like the owners who just sold took a 15% hit in 12 months, before transaction costs. OUCH!! In all likely hood that is the deposit completely wiped out.

      • There it is. Leverage works great in a rising market, but will put a heavy zap on your equity (and your head) before you have time to react once the market starts to fall. All losses come out of the deposit and capital gains, and none come out of the mortgage.

        These people are rooted. Dead men walking.

    • Most agents are high school drop-outs who want the prestige of white collar workers, so they do a three day RE course and swan around like they did a four year degree. They are largely innumerate and illiterate. Just read the drivel in their listings. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve read a property is “sort after”.

      • On the weekends we see the “lackey” agent a.k.a work experience kid collect the For Sale signs from the street corner. I joke to my g/f that he’s the lackey or work experience kid because his suit is about 3 sizes too big, so he looks like he’s swimming in it and he’s also mildly obese so I say he can’t be the top agent, nobody would buy a million dollar home from a guy who can’t find a suit that fits and from an agent that looks like he could have just moved on from his role at McDonald’s.

        Across the road from me, the agents catch line for the place was “Count the wows”. My neighbour and I found it hilarious. He hates agents more than me. We get along just fine.

    • A particular house on Wilson street sold last year for something like $1.85, and just recently went back on the market
      for $1.665…..languished. Finally, it sold, but of course it was price withheld. This was a sale, not an auction.

      Emailed an agent about another house in Enmore. Last changed hands in 2015, for $1.33. Since, has had a renovation, new kitchen, bathrooms, etc. Agents response: “I have listed some of the recent sales of properties, as the owner doesn’t wish to give a price guide. The vendors are very keen to sell & they are open to listening to the market.” The houses they listed were mostly around the $1.5 mark….which they will be lucky to get. These people are basically willing and eager to sell at a loss, to get out as quickly as possible.

    • That notional loss of $200k does not include $130k stamp duty, legal fees and probably $40k agents commission on sale. That is closer to 400 than 200 without imputing holding costs. Great investment for retards, ah?

  8. a long time ago somebody in the comment section (was it mike) wrote up this really long narrative of this hypothetical guy who bought a house in pymble or the north shore somewhere, proprety prices crashed and he went 500k or something in the hole. it was one of the most realistically chilling stories of what is probable to come for many australian property owners when the rubber finally hits the road, but i am unable to find it. i’ve been googling differernt key-words for a long time but can’t seem to track it down; does anyone here remember it or was responsible for it?

    • Similar story but the reverse, a guy who I used to work with bought a nice house on big land on the upper north shore, for below $1m basically at the peak of the GFC.
      The previous owner took a bath!
      He couldn’t believe his luck!

      • this was a macro fanfic though, i dont think it was describing a real situation. but i’d love to read it again since it was so good.

    • Could have been on a Chatswood place.
      => But even if prices fall, don’t expect the foreign onslaught to reduce.

      This was a while ago as a comment also on the same topic, and still holds true.

      ‘When the bubble pops… compare the pair’
      David & Sue versus Fuk Yu Ato.

      # David & Sue are young Australian first home buyers who purchased a 2 bed unit for $700,000 in Rhodes.

      * Both David & Sue work full time, on average income – earning after tax & super a net of $72,800 a year or $1,400 a week.
      * Their Mortgage is $600,000 and repayments of $37,000 a year, $3,100 a month or $715 a week. Over half their income.
      * Horribly exposed in any rate increase or fall in market value.

      Fak Yu Ato is a Chinese international student.
      * Doing an 8 year old level English course – for 3 years now. Works illegally. Applying for a PR.
      * He purchased a similar unit next door for the $700,000 paying cash – as a proxy for the Chinese syndicate.
      * His unit has a lead tenant & agency agreement paying a rent of $500 a week. And is sublet to 8 others in bunks & mattress share paying $250 for the ‘bunk, toilet paper & wifi deal’ $2,000 a week of which $1,500 is kept as cash and he declares $500 as income.

      * David & Sue – $37,000 a year mortgage cost – or 50% of their combined net income.

      * Fak Yuh Ato makes $100,000 income (yield of 14%) of which $75,000 goes back to the Chinese syndicate, so he gets a Yield of 10% on their investment excluding capital gain.

      * And Fak Yu Ato as their proxy keeps $25,000 as his declared rental income & he pays no tax.

      => Rates go up ? –
      David & Sue are unable to cope – at their limit.
      Fak Yu Ato is fine – massive cash flow and no debt..

      => Dwelling values fall ?
      David & Sue are wiped out.
      Fuk Yu Ato – excellent – no impact on cash flow and the opportunity to buy even more Australian property.

      350,000 or more ex Australian dwellings are now owned by people like Fak Yu Ato.

      Occupied by an estimated 2.4 million third world unskilled migrant Guestworkers on pretext TR (2.1 million) or illegally working tourist (400k) visas. (ABF). Of which 98% rent in such private shared accomodation. (DHIA).

      And another 2 million third world unskilled migrants let in on PR grants, family reunion, spousal etc where over 50% or 1 million or more rent in similar arrangements. (ABS).

      => 3 million people plus third world migrants renting in squalid migrant hovels in fetid migrant slums – in a 91% concentration in Sydney & Melbourne.

      A $39 billion or more migrant subletting racket – on which $25 billion or more of income is ‘cash in hand’, illegally occupancy – and is never declared.

      When the bubble pops….

      Australians will be the ones massively impacted in mortgage debt exceeding the property value. It will be Australian families & couples left holding the ‘bubble debt’.

      The government & banks will further loosen up foreign purchase of Australian residential housing. And most likely continue to open the floodgates of pretext visas and purchase rights of temporary & transient visa holders / via guardians / whatever to hold up the property values.

      Prices start to slip..
      -> The conversion of Australian established housing into foreign money laundering & migrant slum share will accelerate.

      When Interest rates go up…
      -> The conversion of Australian established residential housing into foreign owned migrant slum share will accelerate.

      The only mechanism to pop the bubble and protect Australians is :
      Enforce FIRB, enforce money laundering,
      formally notify China, India, Malaysia, Korea in what their ‘citizens / TR PR dual or ex citizen – are doing in detailed money movement & purchase.
      And bring in a proper money laundering & extradition: repatriation agreement.

      Locally / enforce dwelling occupancy & usage (crack down in subletting) with rental addresses for every temporary visa holder then matched by the ATO to the dwelling owner.

      And shut down the Temporary & Tourist illegally worker visa racket.
      It’s these 2.6 million third world migrants (2.2 million TR, 400k tourists working illegally) with over 1.3 million in Sydney & 1 million in Melbourne as the core nutrient driving it all.

      • While true that boarding houses are cash cows that will probably pay themselves off quicker than any market correction can happen, I have trouble believing that a room share with three other guys/girls can collect $250 a person. *maybe* in the CBD. Not in Rhodes.

      • Your prices are too high. For the Melbourne “underground student housing” version, look up “fairyfloss”. You can live in a decent apartment with 3 others for barely 500/m

  9. “What we are probably seeing is that homeowners are having difficulty understanding that market hasn’t continued to rise,” agency BresicWhitney chief executive Shannan Whitney said.

    Hehe, but they said it was a forever boom and prices only went up in Sydney, it’s a global city filled with sexy immigrants who will gladly pay silly prices to live here. You know all that fresh air and baby formula you can’t get in China.

    These property owners should just refrain from Bali Holidays, Smashed Avocado, Flat Screen TVs and continue to drive old cars, instead of a new 1 every 2 years. They just have to learn to sacrifice a little. But they are too entitled.

  10. I can smell blood in the water!
    My wife and I have been wanting to upgrade for a while now.
    We are ensuring our current home is sale ready so we can upgrade when the time is right.

    • If you’re convinced it’s going down, the usual strategy is to bail at the expected peak, rent for a while (should be decent enough profits to make that last a few years) and then buy back in.

      I assume you’re not willing to gamble that you’ll be wrong?

      • The way I figure it is this if I sell:
        * Market goes up – bad
        * Market stays stable – ok
        * Market goes down – good
        Once you factor in transaction costs to the equation, it isn’t as good.
        If I was a betting man and it was just me I’d be happy to sell. But I have young kids and there is a benefit of having somewhere kid friendly.

      • I did that, renting with kids while we waited. I hated the business side of the renting, dealing with really horrible property manager, but the family side of it was good…kids never cease to surprise by how adaptable they are. It sure gave us a great deal of flexibility when choosing the next one. Also it was a good refresher on how appallingly tenants are treated these days. I think it did save us a lot of money and wasn’t nearly as horrible as I was expecting.
        We’re all glad we did it now.

      • No it isn’t.
        But I’m looking at an area where the land value is basically double, so the payoff diagram is pretty good.
        I’ve got a high demand style of house in the area (NW Sydney). Large single storey on large land, which buyers have always gone crazy for even in market corrections as there aren’t too many of them.

    • Who remembers 3 or so years ago on here there was a couple of people who sold up and rented thinking the bubble was about to burst? I always wonder what their thoughts about that are now it has run so much further…

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Done well actually. Would be able to buy an equivalent place for less than what I sold for. Kinda like when I originally bought it for less than what the previous owner paid.

        I’m fairly sure it worked for those who sold up in WA too. Thanks for remembering. *waves*

      • I sold in July 2015 For really good price – bit lucky the old lady (cashed up who sold hea acreage in leppington) wanted to stay local and just fell in love with the place so she offered $50k more than we expected as she was fighting Asian investors who wanted us to stay in and rent. She bit them by $26k. I can see identical house advertised for $30k less (guidance price for auction so probably under quoting a bit) and similar houses for bit less in the same are – horningsea park. I am happy. 6 months earlier prices were higher.

    • If you’re property is worth 1million say no debt and you want to buy a place for 2 million, of course you’d rather prices halved first! It’s only this crazy debt bubble where people want prices to go up so they can upgrade or buy more with the profits. Once the music stops, as it has, its very ugly as we have seen overseas on several occasions. None of them have the size of our bubble though.

  11. And to think I came so close to buying in Sydney 12 months ago!! … I guess the moment I was finally willing to give into the lunacy, was the moment it started to buckle.

    • Same here, nearly bought last week. Now it’s turning faster and faster.. It’s hard to remain patient.

  12. Won’t it be interesting if the so called “Housing Ladder” collapses.
    Imagine a world (well actually just Australia) where an apartment is worth considerable less than one paid for it.
    How is this magical ladder going to work if each purchase or flip looses you money?
    I can just see the upwardly mobile couple winning an auction on an absolute bargain house, only to discover that they can’t sell their wonderful flat for anything like what they thought it was worth.
    It’s priceless they loose the house deposit and loose money on the flat or are locked into a downward price spiral with that negative equity mounting day by day.
    I love it, couldn’t happen to a more useless group of specufestors.
    But wait a minute, what would anyone talk about at BBQ’s?
    Would anyone even host a BBQ if there was no way to share your RE brilliance with the neighbours?
    On the upside I guess all this expensive/exotic BBQ fare that seems popular atm will disappear, you’ll have a simple choice Coles or Wollies bangers.
    I’m loving it!

    • australians dont know how to bbq anyway. all we do is take a steak or a sausage and chargrill it – the coveted bbq culture here is pretty mediocre.

      but what’s more australian than that!

      • “australians dont know how to bbq”. Now boys and girls, pay attention. Tommy! Stop pulling Cindy’s ponytail this minute! Children, this is what we call a sweeping statement or a generalisation. You will learn, eventually, as you mature, not to tar everyone in the whole nation with the same brush. That is to say, don’t imagine that because you’ve seen a couple of over-cooked mystery bags or cutlets, that this is how it’s done nationwide.

        Some of us move among people who have the knowledge.

        End of rant. 😉

      • Those of us who love the English language are, unfortunately, on a hiding to nothing. Like so many words, the more the idiots use a word incorrectly, the more it becomes accepted and acquires legitimacy and is likely to appear in the Oxford as a genuine alternative. I have seen advertisements (NAB and Progressive Insurance) on TV, no doubt expensive to produce, that could not differentiate between “less” and “fewer”. It’s only going to get worserer 😉

      • As a fatter of mact, I’ve just finished Bill Bryson’s book on Shakespeare. Really worth a read and, amongst other things, tells us how lucky we are not to have lived in Elizabethan times for just about every conceivable reason.

      • I’m love’n it F’en grammar Nazi’s.
        I don’t use Oxford English never have never will …get over it!
        but hey thanks for the helpful advice ’cause you know for some of us English is a second third forth language (miss-spell intentional, figure it out)

    • The game Australians have been playing is actually called snakes and ladders…..

      People have just forgotten about the snakes!

      Hopefully we’re about to see a whole lot of snakes.

  13. Remember, if Sydney genuinely falls over 10% the economy will quickly go into recession and the RBA will be forced to cut. I can see this happening H12018.

    As people have said, if you’ve thrown down $1.5m for an average house, 10% is $150,000. Let alone if you’re an investor and are forced to sell for whatever reason. Conservatively a $200k loss with the transaction costs, more likely closer to $300k.

    Markets go up, markets go down. It’s not about choosing not to take a loss, I remember playing the market in ’08 as a young fella, once the price starts falling the temptation to tap out and stop the bleeding rises pretty damn fast.

    We await.

    • RBA is constrained by US FED rates. Australia needs to find is massive current account deficit and if it drops rated below the FED there will be an economic implosion and local borrowing rates would INCREASE as offshore capital flees. That is why Australia has always had higher rates than the US, we rely on foreigners to lend us money.
      In Dec US rates will = Australian rates (1.5%)
      RBA can’t cut.

  14. TailorTrashMEMBER

    Used to love the applause at Sydney Auctions when smug looking debt jockeys bid up mouldy shitholes to 2 mill and over
    Hope the neighbours will also give applause to these same people as they exit said shitholes with a loss of $300-500k under their belts .
    After all they should ………..where else can you get entertainment like that ?

  15. So not long for Mal to make some phone calls and get those macro controls on the banks lifted so newbies can leverage this prices back into the ionosphere. His govt is on the nose he can’t have the mugs blame him for losing money on houses. While he’s at it beef up the govt guarantee for the banks so they can borrow even more from overseas.

  16. I’ve personally been waiting for this real estate bubble to pop for quite some time. But folks need to realise that it’s just not going to happen until fiscal and monetary policy are both spent, and we are not there yet at all.

    Monetary policy still has some way to go. From 1.5% to 0% creates a lot of buffer for those who need it. Make no mistake, regardless of what is happening in the rest of the world, oz interest rates are going to go to zero before anything pops. If Syd prices continue to fall, will only be a month or two before RBA panics and cuts rates by 25 bp.

    The only thing that will stop this is inflation. But with wage growth going nowhere, this is great news for the RBA, in the current situation they are facing.

    Once monetary policy is spent, its over to the Fed Gov to keep things going. To stop the bubble from popping , they will ramp up gov spending to avoid armageddon. The credit rating is an after thought in this situation. Because at the end of the day, Turnbull and Morrison will not want this to happen on their watch. They will use all the fire power they have to avoid going down in oz history books as the guys who sunk Australia. Do not underestimate the value they place on their egos!

    This bubble will pop, it’s inevitable. But I feel that what we are currently witnessing, is just a natural beginning, that will be artificially subdued for sometime….

    As suggested, the end will come when all ammunition is spent. Just stop for a second and ask yourself how any significant downfall will occur before this happens? It won’t!

    • Not with this government – they are so distracted by citizenship and so ineffectual to begin with they probably haven’t even noticed. Expect no action until it’s way too late. To be sure, the bust may fizzle out or some deus ex machina might stop it, but it won’t be stopped by the government taking deliberate action of some kind.

    • It will be a case of whether stimulus can trump sentiment. Once the prospect of easy and consistent capital gains no longer feels like such a certainty, it will take some pretty extreme bribes to get people to saddle up with million dollar mortgages.

    • Jumping jack flash


      All stops will be removed.

      Who would have thought 30 years ago that governments would directly print money to prop up the financial institutions? It was always an option, but it was strictly taboo – one of those things that hapless 3rd world countries did shortly before they went broke.

      And yet here we are.

      We have plenty of options remaining.
      To deflate the debt bubble is not one of them.

    • If rates go from 1.5% to 0% the banks will keep more than half for themselves to build loss buffers.
      The government will not say peep about it either or at most thrash the banks with wet lettuce.
      It always happens that way in the lowering cycle when there’s mortage distress – give to the banks not the borrowers.

    • How will Australia fund its current account deficit with a negative interest rate spread to the US???? Think about it….

      RBA is constrained by US FED rates. Australia needs to fund is massive current account deficit and if it drops rated below the FED there will be an economic implosion and local borrowing rates would INCREASE as offshore capital flees. That is why Australia has always had higher rates than the US, we rely on foreigners to lend us money.
      In Dec US rates will = Australian rates (1.5%)
      RBA can’t cut.