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Revealed: The places where houses won’t sell


December 01, 201110:35AM

HOMES in many parts of Australia are taking twice as long to sell as they did a year ago, with many remaining on the market for months on end.

Vendors are waiting up to a year to sell in the nation’s worst-affected areas, which include high-end suburbs like Double Bay – where homes fetch an average of $3 million – and Church Point in Sydney, Newstead in Brisbane and Perth’s trendy Cottesloe.

But regional outposts Denham and Mt Barker in Western Australia have been hardest hit, with asking prices slashed by up to 30 per cent, earning each a spot on a list of the most discounted properties in Australia, according to RP Data figures.

Other black spots include Coochiemudlo and Rockhampton in Queensland and Bright in Victoria.

R P Data National Research Director Tim Lawless said many property blackspots were “lifestyle markets” in regional coastal areas where demand had evaporated.

“Essentially, areas where the average selling time is relatively high, it generally indicates that demand for available homes is low, available housing supply may be high, or vendors may be expecting prices that are out of line with buyer price expectations.

“In some instances the statistics may be affected by small housing markets where a few homes that are taking a very long time to sell are driving the statistics higher.”

CEO of investment consultants The Investors Club Kevin Young said the time properties spend on the market is more likely to blow out in small towns hit by an economic downturn.

“In tough times with low discretionary spending these pockets suffer,” Mr Young said. “It comes back to demand. Coochiemudlo, is a small island that you need to catch a ferry to. It’s a place where people might retire too or have a holiday home.

“Similarly, River Heads is a small coastal town and Rockhampton is suffering higher than national average levels of unemployment which means there is simply lower demand.”

But even in capital cities with strong population growth and low unemployment the bracket over $1 million can also be slow because of unrealistic expectations from vendors pricing.

Chris Gray CEO of Empire Property Portfolios said buyers were more savvy these days: “They worry that if no one else has snapped up a property that has been on the market for months, then there must be something wrong with it that they can’t see.”

Market glut

Almost 311,286 properties are for sale across Australia, the highest in more than five years and almost 30 per cent more than the same time last year.

In Melbourne, there are 50 per cent more properties for sale, 30 per cent in Sydney, 14 per cent in Brisbane and almost 40 per cent in Adelaide.

House prices have dropped amid the selling binge, slipping 4 per cent nationally in the year to October to a median of $536,011.

Meanwhile, auction clearance rates have remained below 50 per cent for 20 consecutive weeks in Australia’s largest housing markets, and with Christmas looming an improvement is not expected until next year.

RP Data’s Tim Lawless said market confidence had been battered by global economic turmoil and rate jitters.

Buyer numbers are down by 13 per cent and home sales 33 per cent compared to the peak number of transactions in the last growth cycle (September 2009), Mr Lawless said.

“Before we start to see any material improvement in home values and time on the market we will need to see confidence levels rise,” he said.


In other sluggish signs, Australia’s capital city home prices have been led down by a heavy slump in Brisbane, according to a private report.

Home prices in the regions fell 3.4 per cent on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to data released by RP Data-Rismark.

Brisbane led the drop in values for the year to October, with an 8 per cent slump, after a 1.6 per cent decline in the month of October.

Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth home values have all declined 5 per cent or more in the year to October.
Sydney was relatively steady, with a 1.1 per cent loss of value.

All capital home prices fell in October, except Sydney, which was unchanged, and Canberra and Hobart, which added 1.6 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively, although Hobart’s data was based on the final September results.

Top ten black spots

  • Denham WA 269 days
  • Mt Barker WA 248
  • Robertson 233
  • Bright Vic 233
  • Morunya NSW 233
  • Bowraville NSW 227
  • Coochiemudlo Island Qld 225
  • Rockhampton Qld 225
  • Donald Vic 225
  • River Heads Qld 222


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One Response to “Revealed: The places where houses won’t sell”

  1. Jules says:

    Would be interesting to see where they got the stats from and compare the sales to previous years for the Moreton Bay islands group only – seems to be a subjective assumption to me – worth further investigation.


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