Residential property sales fall 22 per cent in first quarter of 2018, but there's no reason to worry


RESIDENTAL sales figures are well down on this time last year, but Century 21 Bathurst director Troy Kearney says there is no cause for alarm. 

The Bathurst property market got off to a great start in 2017, but the bumper growth in sales could not be sustained.

A total of 233 residential properties were sold in the first three months last year, the number dropping 22 per cent to 182 in 2018.

However, this figure is still 6.5 per cent higher than what was recorded in 2016.

“We are simply back to our normal, consistent and very steady start to the year like we have seen in every other year with the exception of 2017,” Mr Kearney said.

“This is simply due to Sydney-based investors being conscious of interest rates rises and uncertainty in the Sydney market along with local buyers not wanting to pay premiums trying to outbid their Sydney competition.”

At this stage, Mr Kearney expects that the city will record between 65 and 70 sales in April, similar to 2015 and 2016 figures.

The kind of properties drawing the most interest are those under $500,000, with many first-time buyers and investors snapping them up.

Investor interest was very strong in 2017, but Mr Kearney said Bathurst is seeing less of this type of buyer. 

Once again, the goings on of the Sydney property market appear to be the catalyst of this. 

“Investors are certainly still a large part of our market, but I think the decline in the sales from 2017 are predominately investors from the Sydney basin,” Mr Kearney said.

“They are becoming a lot more cautious and, with the likelihood of interest rate rises later in the year, they are very speculative about what will happen in the Sydney market.”

Throughout the rest of the year, Mr Kearney predicts owner-occupiers coming from outside of Bathurst will become prominent again. 

“With the uncertainly in the Sydney market and the affordability in our market it is becoming an extremely popular option,” he said.

“We have been talking to people that had a two-year plan to buy in Bathurst now, then sell their Sydney home and relocate in the next two years.

“A lot of these buyers are now looking to sell in Sydney now and move straight away.

“I think with the leveling of our market this will also bring our local first home owners, along with local up-sizers, back into the market.”